Want to get the full picture? Before reading this why not start with my article: My 5: Shanghai French Concession Part I.
1. March 2019. It was late afternoon in Shanghai’s gorgeous French Concession District and I’d been exploring pretty much the whole day. My legs were oh so tired by this point, so it was a happy coincidence that just as I was thinking about taking a breather I came across this little park on Wulumuqi Road. Dropping down on one of the free benches and my eyes were drawn to the striking statue of Ni Er, one of China’s most beloved composers. Born in Kunming, Yunnan Province, Ni Er is best known for composing March of the Volunteers, which later became the national anthem of The People’s Republic of China. Nie Er died at the tender age of 1983 when he drowned while swimming with friends in Japan.
March 2019. The park was packed with groups of men playing cards that afternoon. These fiercely competitive games drew in plenty of spectators, some of whom were placing bets between themselves on the likely winner. My presence watching these games, whilst not exactly welcomed, was at least accepted with the occasional solemn nod.
2. March 2019. Back on the walking route and it wasn’t long before I came across the sleek Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall on Fuxing Zhong Lou. It’s a 1200 capacity venue where Shanghai’s finest musicians come together for performances. Performances need to be booked online and are usually sold out well ahead of time: https://www.smartticket.cn/venues/shanghai_symphony_orchestra_hall
The iron railing-clad approach introduces a wall of fame style overview of the orchestra’s most revered members.
3. March 2019. Shanghai’s French Concession has some of the city’s best craft beer bars. One of these is Boxing Cat Brewery, where the drinks menu includes such tantalizing options as Money Shot Cream Ale and Breast Wishes Milk Stout. The menu isn’t too shabby either, with monster burgers, American BBQ and a selection of Mexican dishes.
4. Further down on Fuxing Middle Road, I passed a a row of Spanish style colonial houses and an imposing old apartment block that looked like something out of Rosemary’s Baby.
As Fuxing Middle Road’s house numbers stretched out into the 1300s up sprang a row of trendy boutiques, such as Yan’s Custom Shoes where the owner was busy hand stitching a pair of dress shoes out in the courtyard. Next door there’s a high-end violin store that looked so damn fancy I didn’t even dare walk in.
5. When I stumbled across this funky hairdresser I knew I had to go in. Partly because I needed a haircut, but mainly because of the cool prints on the facade.
Inside the barber’s it was pure simplicity. Just a lone chair for customers, a floor-to-ceiling mirror, a single chest of drawers for all his tools and a little bench where I sat waiting my turn. His prices were similarly no-nonsense too, with a simple short back and sides priced at 70RMB (£8/€9.30/$10.40).
Like this? Check out more articles from my wanderings around Shanghai.
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For a more detailed and personalized slant, you might want to take a look at my short story series Challenged in China.
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