May 6th: Shanghai Spring

After two weeks away, we arrive back in Shanghai to discover spring has most definitely arrived.  The trees once more appear fully dressed, the temperature is consistently above 20 degrees and the outdoor “free flow, all you can eat” Sunday brunches/lunches have re-appeared.  This has an inevitable, detrimental effect on weight.

After Friday night’s necessary curry with Rachel and Andrea (two weeks is the longest I can remember going without one), we met up with Anny and Linda plus families for a little Hunan cuisine on Saturday lunchtime.  Great to see them all, but possibly the last time we’ll meet Linda’s family and Frank.

The ostensibly healthy benefit of spring is that we can get back out and about, walking our way through Shanghai’s infinite collection of tower blocks, shopping malls and Family Marts.  Sadly, about 20 minutes into the stroll on Saturday afternoon with Bron and Rachel, all three of us were coughing away.  Clean Philippine skies replaced with Shanghai air; a shock to the lungs.  We gave up, and took a taxi* to our destination.

Rachel, me, Chong, Isaac, Bron and Ben at Commune Social

Rachel, me, Chong, Isaac, Bron and Ben at Commune Social

What Commune Social lacks in table space (2 hours to wait for a table!), it made up for with bizarre cocktails.  Mine came with dice (showing 7, since you ask) and Bronwen’s came with a note (blank – they hadn’t yet hired the marketing company to fill them in).  Very pricey tapas made for a very expensive Saturday night out, but great to see Isaac and Chong again, and to finally meet Rachel’s “special friend of the boy variety”: Ben.

Bron and Rachel post-buffet

Bron and Rachel post-buffet

Bron, me and Rachel at the Andaz Hotel.  All you can eat buffet... Plus a little more...

Bron, me and Rachel at the Andaz Hotel. All you can eat buffet… Plus a little more…

On Sunday afternoon, Bron, Rachel and I didn’t so much put the world to rights as slowly dissect it and reclaim it as our own.  The staff at the Andaz hotel were gracious and patient hosts to our attempt to take absolute, full value from their “free flow, all you can eat” offer.  We sloped away around 6pm, heading straight for Rachel’s favourite massage place.  We suspect it’s the elasticated shorts the guests are asked to wear that she’s addicted to.  Damn sexy.

The other photos below were taken before our trip to the Philippines – a great night out with a few of Bron’s former marketing team, taking in Sailor’s and The Handle Bar for probably the last time.  And a good opportunity to try out the relocated Blarney Stone for a little taste of Guinness in Shanghai.

*Indeed: we gave up walking due to pollution, so we instead add to the pollution.

Bron, Lucia, Nancy and Valentina in the Handle Bar

Bron, Lucia, Nancy and Valentina in the Handle Bar

Lucia, Nancy, Valentina, me and Bron in Sailors

Lucia, Nancy, Valentina, me and Bron in Sailors

Lucia, Nancy and Bron in the relocated Blarney Stone

Lucia, Nancy and Bron in the relocated Blarney Stone

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