So it all started when I invited my friend Anna to join me on my Friday exploring expedition. My, until now, solo forages into Shanghai’s hidden (and not so hidden) gems, were joined by my dear, crazy Australian pal. There are certain people I’ve met along life’s journey that, on a level deep-down in my psyche, identify with my naughty side, bring it out and carnage ensues. There was a time, way way back when a friend and I had to stop hanging out with each other because when we got together we were just too naughty. We just had to take a step back and say whoa, maybe we just leave it there…Anna is one of these people, a kindred spirit and a little bit naughty…But now I’m a (much) older, far more responsible adult with a husband and children and..er…responsibilities and stuff. So I’m sure I’m not going to get into too much trouble.
Life as an expat, especially when you’re not working too much, can kind of be like life as a student. You don’t have a lot of old friends and family to entertain, distract or demand your free time so you are thrust into this wonderful, intense bubble of close friends who are all in the same boat. Scared, excited, out of comfort zones and thrilled by this brand new punch to the senses and the feels. It’s a matter of luck who you meet, the city is vast and expats are many. I’m lucky to have met some of the best people imaginable. Kind, warm, funny, spirited and so much fun. This is mostly thanks to the most wonderful friend Lisa Marie Badham (she’s the original go getter to my slightly surly can’t be bothered with new people attitude).
Anyway, I invited Anna to go to Xintiandi to look at some of the quirky little shops, vintage stores and funky cafes. We took a metro over, grabbed a large coffee and looked in a few shops. We went to the opening of Huaihai World Fashion Month and saw some of a fashion show. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so we had a lot of catching up to do. A little wine was called for. This is where it all went wrong…or right…idrk.
With husbands covering childcare we got ourselves dressed up and headed out into the city. We went to a bar called Kartel and made friends with a large group of women. They called themselves the Kartel, based on their WeChat group alias. It’s not as weird as it sounds, its a Chinese version of a whatsapp group chat. Ours is called Lollipops after an iconic night at a gay bar of the same name, pre dating my entry to the group. Friday at Kartel was full of laughs and chats and drinks. The night became hazy after that so I’ll leave my story there, save to say it was a night to cherish and remember, although it should have maybe ended an hour or two earlier!