Thursday, September 21, 2006

Went to Shanghai last weekend. Ningbo is reasonably developed but is still lacking in a lot of areas - the shops are pretty monotonous, there aren't many bars and mostly it's just the same people out every week. Which is nice but it's good to experience something different for a change, especially as I've been feeling stressed. And Shanghai is very different. It's a truly modern city, with a fast, reliable underground, bookshops with good supplies of English novels, shops of a dizzying variety (everything from specialty kilim shops to Ikea), and a busy but relaxed vibe that makes London seem very quiet.
Mostly I wanted to buy a couple of books, and I ended up getting five. For those who are interested:
  • Umberto Eco - The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • China Mieville - Looking for Jake
  • Liz Williams - Banner of Souls
  • Mark Gatiss - Vesuvius Club
  • Murakami - Norwegian Wood
We stayed in the Metropole as all the cheap places were booked up and we hadn't put a lot of thought into planning it. Still, it's a nicely decadent place, very reminiscent of the 1930s and our room had views over the Bund and a balcony looking over the rest of Shanghai.
Went to the Gongdelin vegetarian restaurant and had a couple of beers in a bar on Saturday. On Sunday I went to meet Victor, a guy I've been in occasional contact with as we share an interest in GTD and moleskines. We had a delicious Xinjiang meal and chatted about computers and time management. He's a nice bloke and I look forward to having the opportunity to meet up again.
After that I met up with Zak who had been looking at violins. As well as walking up and down a street filled with musical instrument shops we also headed to the Yu Gardens area but didn't really do much else before getting the train back to Ningbo.
It seems strange to me that I haven't been to Shanghai for the weekend before now, but I think I'll definitely be heading over again in the next month or so.

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