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stroll into posh Jinjiang club

well it was once

sunny 20 °C
View 1985 on 1985 trip's travel map.

Thursday 11th April
Cold in full flood. Set off with a new lavatory roll in my bag. A precious commodity. Wander into a local café and strike it lucky with deep fried battered pork and two glasses of house beer, and an excellent and strong lager. 1.50 yuan.
Wander slowly down to the French quarter. Shanghai’s paraplegics have collected in one corner of Renmin Park. Several of them have hand pedal wheelchairs, I imagined they are discussing the rights of the disabled in a socialist state. All maybe the lack of them. Certainly the Chinese have an out of sight and out of mind attitude to disability.
Locate the massive Jinjiang hotel. Actually it is about three hotels, and a supermarket, international business office, bars, discos, gardens etc. The supermarket has an extensive and frightening help yourself pharmacy. Just opposite is the Shanghai Arts Theatre, the photographs outside suggest a magic show which one chap in the dormitory had mentioned. I invest 30 F. in the matinee and rest my legs through an incomprehensible Chinese film.
Emerge to search for the Shanghai arts research centre with its inhouse craftsmen. Find the music centre, but the nearby number 79 referred to in the guide book seems to be the Embassy of a small African republic. Retire to lounge in the Jinjiang and fall asleep until someone tinkles on the grand piano.
Eat in the vast banqueting hall with art nouveau plaster work, crenellated pillars, and heavy bronze chandeliers. The staff here have their act together, this hotel must be under foreign management. They call my bluff and refuse my Renminbe. I say take it or leave it, and leave them looking aghast.
Walk over to the Jinjiang club. The admission charge was waived, do I look that poor, probably by now. Like the hotels and clubs in China from the concession days this place is a museum, the overseas businessmen, the chipped paintwork and grubby original carpets only hint of what must have gone before. Grand dining-room, reading room, small Tudor bar, gymnasium and fancy modern 10 pin electronic bowling alley in the basement. Up the marble staircase there are more banqueting suites and an enormous and impressive oval ballroom, well worth seeing. Bus home. Pay hotel bill, could not get out of paying foreign exchange certificates. Damn.

Posted by 1985 trip 16:00 Archived in China

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