Posted by: daradoodle | October 31, 2008

Western Weekend

Westerners ā¤ Mark's and Sparks coffee

Expat.

In China, this word is thrown around like beads during Mardi Gras. We have an expat bar here… an expat newspaper there… an expat website here… an expat coffee shop there. Expat is the Jenny Craig version of the word “expatriate” defined by Webster as (adj.) “living in a foreign land.” When a person in China is referred to as an expat, more than likely they’re talking about a Westerner living in China.

After a month and a half of residency in Shanghai, I’m not gonna lie, I started missing a few things Western. One of which was a burger. Nothing says the U.S. of A. like a cheeseburger. It was time to do a weekend in Shanghai “expat” style.

For my very first China burger, ironically located across the street from the American Consulate, the place of choice was the Bulldog Shanghai.

Woohoo! A cheeseburger!

I must say, not too shabby. Then again for 80 kuai, it better be something to write home about. And what’s a pub without a nice beer selection? There was a drink special of 10 beers for 150 kuai, so we got a few Leffe, Stella, and Lindemans Kreik.

Poppy enjoys a Framboise

Poppy sampling a brew

Poppy and Charlie in front of the Bulldog

After the pub, we headed over to the uber expat lounge/club, Bar Rouge.

Disclaimer: The only reason I chose this place was because my favorite dj from my high school days was playing the venue. Had I known how over priced the drinks were and how many wacky foreigners, oops, I mean expats, were going to be there, I would have taken a rain check.

The year was 1997 (or was it 96?) and I was enjoying the last years as a high school student. It was a Saturday night at the New Orleans State Place Theatre when I heard John Acquaviva dj for the first time. Although I’m not too huge into dance music these days (I was), I remember that his selection of music and mixing skills sparked my interest in electronic music. I would go on to purchase a few CDs and see him play at numerous events throughout the U.S. When I learned that he would be making in an appearance in Shanghai, I had to be there.

Mobs, or as my Aussie roommate Jenn would say, “heaps” of people from Fudan came out to Bar Rouge. The music was great and a photographer from a Shanghai based website caught myself and Kerstin boogying on the dance floor. Check us out.

But the highlight of the night was finally meeting Mr. Acquaviva after all of these years. I let him know how big of a fan I’ve been since first hearing him spin so many years ago. He was humbled and actually remembered that night in New Orleans! A really nice guy.

Me and John Acquaviva

Other than the music and the flaming bar, I was not a fan of Bar Rouge and probably won’t be going back there anytime soon. But the expat adventure didn’t stop there!

On Sunday, a group of us from Fudan made our way over to the Shanghai Centre for a Farmer’s Market! Real cheese! Awesome German bread! AMAZING homemade cheesecake.

Shanghai Centre's monthly Farmer's Market

Produce from an "American Garden"

We even found a Western grocery store attached to the Shanghai Centre called the City Shop that had everything we didn’t find at the Farmer’s Market.

Wanye & Charlie with the Australian cookie, Tim Tam

Once everyone stocked up on their Western goodies, we began to walk down Nanjing Road in search of a plot of land to have a picnic. En route, a Marc Jacobs store came into sight and I had to run in and sneak a peak. Oh, how I do love Marc.

Anyway! We managed to set up shop in a grassy area offset from the road. Actually, it was a restuarant’s garden, but the establishment was closed and we didn’t think anyone was going to kick us off of the grass. Then we remembered that we’re in China and grassy areas don’t always serve as a leisure purpose. This is a new concept for expats.

We had a good run for about 20 minutes before a security guard came out and told us (in Chinese of course) that he wouldn’t come to our country and disrespect our property. Yikes! We found a few benches along the sidewalk to hangout on while we finished up our snacks. Here are some before and after the grassy knowl pics…

Mmm... pesto and pretzel bread!

Paul, me & Wayne after we were booted from the grass

Paul, me & Wayne post-grassy picnic

The last stop on the Western Weekend train was the brand new Marks and Spencer department store. This was my first time in one of these clothing/grocery/cafe chains that are popular in the U.K. If I had to compare a Marks and Sparks with a store I’m familiar, I’d say the clothes are a bit H&Mesque.

The sign says "Best of British" - perfect slogan for our 'ginger' Charlie

An expat extravaganza weekend in China makes you appreicate the little things in life as a Westerner including, dairy products, avocados at a reasonable rate, a good cup of coffee, and not having the Backstreet Boys as your default ring tone.

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Responses

  1. they have a marc jacobs store??? how does it compare price wise?? any good deals?

  2. Gurl, you are having so much fun…I am sooo Jel Jel…come on blue oragami box!

  3. Shiz…I guess it will always be red oragami box for me:(

  4. Hells Yeah! You know I’d a been all over the John Acquaviva with you. I was just wondering what he was up to the other day. Glad to know he’s still busy abroad.

  5. Hehe, rememer the cassette tapes, I wonder if John Aquaviva knows you still have his tape. šŸ™‚ hahaha


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