Laowai in Shanghai (IV): I like big Bunds and I cannot lie

My second day in Shanghai was very similar to my first, because the weather was just as bad (I can’t tell if the grey is from the rain or the pollution, but either way, all it makes me want to do is stay in my room). But even though it was raining hard, I ventured out to Xintiandi and the Bund. Xintiandi, with its unique little shops and cafes looks like what you might get if you mixed Nanluo guxiang and Houhai in Beijing and added more charm and more money, and the Bund, well, the Bund is unlike anything I have ever seen. It was like seeing Europe in China—but not a gimmicky Chinese imitation of Europe. It realizes that romantic and oft-discussed concept of fusion of East and West, or, to play on the Party phrase, “[The West] with Chinese characteristics.” That said, there was something a little gimmicky in the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel—a tunnel beneath the Huangpu river that will take you from the Bund to Lujiazui—but the light show was fun, at least the one way. I should have probably just taken the Metro for the return trip, but for 50RMB one way, 70RMB round trip, I figured, “why not?” (especially since I planned to have dinner and a drink at one of the nice hotel bars on other side of the river and thought the light show might be more entertaining on the return trip with a little bit of booze in me—and it was, though not much).
My Professor always stays at this one hotel when he’s in Shanghai—over the years, he’s even decided on a favorite room there (“The River View!”). Seeing the tower in the distance when I got to the IFC mall on my first day, it looked pretty meh to me. But when reading up on nice bars and lounges, I discovered them that one of them was at the hotel where he usually stays. So when I left the sightseeing tunnel, I decided to head over there and see what the fuss was all about. I immediately realized the hotel had more than one tower , and the one my professor was staying in and the one the bar was in was as beautiful as any of the silvery, soaring financial buildings of Pudong (I’m assuming the second, less—externally—glamorous one is residential). Every hotel lobby I’ve wandered into has been more impressive than the next, but I find it hard to believe that any of the lobbies I’ll see the rest of this trip will be able to top what I saw last night.
I also made my first visit to the Harvard Center in Shanghai, the offices of which were absolutely stunning. If I could write my cases and work for my professor here instead of the windowless corner I was unceremoniously given to work in at HBS, it would be wonderful. I finally met Nancy, with whom I’ve collaborated on a few case studies, in person and showed me that Baidu had a whole television webpage, WHICH EVEN HAD THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF MAD MEN (bonus—with Chinese subtitles!). Guess who won’t have to miss the season finale? :)