And so read the bag in which the hand-tailored clothes smelling of Chinese food and cigarettes was delivered to me on the last night of my visit to Shanghai. It’s a cheap shot to poke fun at translations, but I really like this one. It’s poetic, an off-kilter haiku.
My week in Shanghai started with a shopping trip on which I ordered the above mentioned clothes (which, smell aside, turned out beautifully). Shortly after touching down at Pudong airport, our personal shopper, Francine of East of the Sun, collected us from the hotel and took us on a whirlwind tour of cloth markets, pearl vendors, silk-binders, and cashmere boutiques in the French concession, with a welcome stop for a street snack of savory, glutinous rice-filled dumplings. The rest of the week was work-dominated, but there were other highlights like the Chinese banquet on our second night. After about ten dishes of varying degrees of identifiability (including tofu, something that looked like a stingray and was delicious, and meat of some kind with red chilies), the pièce de résistance arrived: hairy crab. I am a fairly adventurous eater, but on the advice of the more adventurous woman sitting next to me, I simply admired rather than indulged in the seasonal delicacy. I did, however, enjoy the red bean curd-filled dessert dumpling that looked and felt exactly like a silicon breast for a doll, right down to the crowning red dot. My final highlight of the trip was discovering a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the ground floor of the office building of Thomson-Reuters, where we went for a presentation. They don’t even have those in London. And yes, I can confirm that a Coffee Bean latte tastes exactly the same in Shanghai as it does on Main Street in Santa Monica.