Category Archives: People

Julu Lu hostess bars getting shut down

Guys (and girls?) who like playing dice, pool, and drinking games with hostesses on Julu Lu might be upset at the news that the bars on the street are being shut down next month.

That was the groundbreaking news I received on the weekend from one of the girls we know who works there (it isn’t what you think). Apparently this is the last month of bars like Pretty Woman, Badlands, and others I can’t quite remember the name of on the western side of Julu Lu.

I couldn’t get a straight answer as to why these are being shut down. Maybe to clean the city up for the Expo, maybe they are illegal, or maybe they don’t adhere to the fire escape laws? Who knows. And does this mean the end for the nearby dodgier street – Tongren Lu?

And what of the pink hairdressers, five star KTV establishments, or even the seemingly ‘above board’ bars like Hooters and the Big Bamboo who make their waitresses wear skimpy gear?

It could be the beginning of the end for the Pervy McPervpants’ of the city.

I heart Shanghai taxi

Personally, I love the Shanghai taxi drivers – they almost always seem to know where to go even when a laowai like me is pronouncing the streets in the wrong tone. They even know where I’m meant to be going even when I say south instead of north. They are also pretty cheap by western standards – a trip from one end of downtown to the other on the Puxi side of town will put you back about US$3.

Oh yeah and they generally have little regard for seat belts, speed limits, pedestrians, and play whatever the fuck they want on the radio -it’s always fun stuff and never a dull moment.

Anywho, after football (soccer) on the weekend I got a driver who had his music blaring while racing through downtown and the outer suburbs, beeping away, and almost running into a few bikes and other drivers – all while it was raining outside. I don’t normally take videos with my camera but this time I thought it might have been my last Shanghai cab so I decided to capture the end moment. Apologies for the crappy quality.

Shanzhai eye: the DIY hover bike

Just when you think the engenuity of bikes in China had hit saturation point these guys grab some empty cans, a couple of planks of wood, and replace the wheels with paddles to make what I can only describe as a “hover bike” or “paddle bike”.

Potato, patoto – it’s yet another testament to Chinese innovation.

Bike Polo anyone?

With the amount of wankers wearing shirts with polo players on them you could be mistaken that Polo is a popular past time in Shanghai. However, Shanghai is a terrible place if you’re a polo player. The lack of open spaces and shortage of young fillies to hire is such a conundrum for locals and foreigners alike. Luckily, a couple of postmodern young go-getters decided to ditch the horses for bikes and create their own version of ‘Bike Polo’.

As the name suggests players use bikes instead of horses and substitute grass for concrete. Using what looks like home made sticks, the rules look pretty much the same as polo – like I have any idea what those rules are. The result: mixing sticks and bike spokes into one game is surely going cause a few bruises.

According to the video below the games kicks off, bike off, tees off, starts on Saturday afternoons at the Shanghai Indoor Football Stadium. So, stop complaining that “all there is to do in Shanghai on the weekend is shop, drink, dance, puke, repeat”, and man or woman up, fix up your bike and head on down. Everyone, including dudes with ladybikes, are said to be welcome down at Shanghai Bike Polo Club.

More info on where and when the games are on and equipment needed visit the Shanghai Fixed Gear Website.

Shanzhai Eye: Rolls Royce

See the Geely GE sedan that looked like a Rolls Royce Phantom at the Shanghai Auto Show a few months back? Well here is what looks like a direct copy of the Rolls Royce from a garage in China. Here is one of about half a dozen videos showing off their masterpiece:

For the whole playlist visit this link to

Shanghai’s 1st Pride Festival

I’ve heard and read so many conversations about this week’s anniversary (all in English, mostly by idiots) that I’m not sure adding my 2 cents – especially while living in China – is worth anyone’s useful time. So, for a moment, I’d like to talk about gay penguins.

Yes, gay penguins – hear me out. If you didn’t read the news this week here’s a quick overview: Back in 2005 male penguins were spotted trying to mate with each other and attempted to hatch offspring from stones. Back then it caused a bit of a sensation as nobody really knew penguins could be gay. The limp flippers and that one older one in leather chaps and a biker cap should have tipped off scientists earlier.

Anyhow, a German zoo decided to give one male couple, “Z” and “Vielpunkt”, a rejected egg. According to the zoo “since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do. The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring.”

And there you have it – those poofter penguins can raise perfectly healthy babies.

So, I’m not going to talk about China. I’m not going to talk about being straight, gay, bi, lesbian, or transgender people. Why? Because it takes just one couple of happily gay penguins to show how ridiculous people are worldwide. And when I say worldwide, I mean my own country – Australia – because I don’t like to tell other people from other countries how to live.

Which brings me to the point of why I’m posting this here – Shanghai is hosting its first gay pride festival starting this Sunday. Promising to be a mix of events and partying the organisers say they “want this to be an entertaining and fun way to get to know people in our community and celebrate the diversity and talent of the people who make up the ShanghaiLGBT scene.”

Events will include documentary screenings, an open mic night, panel discussions, queer olympiad, and of course – celebrations.

As the first of its kind (that I’m aware of) it’ll be interesting to see how this goes. I mean, history shows the gays know how to put on a great party, but what about the impact outside the foreigner community? The feeling in some circles in Sydney and San Francisco is disappointment on the overly party nature of their respective pride events – that the original message gets lost amongst the good times.

So I wish the community and organisers much luck this next week. For more info on getting your gay on in Shanghai visit

Top 10 Annoying Tweets (you won’t read in China)

It seems the procrastination will not be Twitterized on June 4 or anytime soon in China – Twitter along with other sites have been blocked this week.

While the Twitterverse (mostly expats) will go into a spin about this I thought I’d post up some of those regular posts you’ll be missing out on in the near future:

10 “Man, I’m soooooo busy.” Really? So why are you tweeting this again?

9 “I’m having an awesome time at *insert club/pub*” So awesome that you’re tweeting it. By yourself. In the corner.

8 RT the popular kids “OMFG, Guy Kawasaki just Tweeted something! Quick! Seth Goddin just posted a new blog. Link. Link. Link. RT. RT RT.”

7 “It’s hump day. Only 2 more days till the weekend!!!!” Wednesdays: they happen every week. Man your life is boring.

6 “I have so many emails to answer” Right, so I’ve noticed you tweet a lot but haven’t answered my F*&cking email from last week

5 All day public Twitter conversations. There’s better technology for this (IM,DM, email…) or did you just want everyone to see?

4 “Hey everyone, I have THIS MANY followers” So what? That guy. In that movie. Yeah, he still has a bigger thingy.

3 “Re-Tweet ME! Digg My Link!” We get it, you did something on the Internet. You’re a big boy/girl now.

2 Follow Friday. It’s like one giant… circle thingy.

1 Spamming your friends with an internal monologue of what you’re thinking all day. Like aggregating a top 10 list.

So there you have it. Maybe there are more specific expat Twitter posts which are just as annoying – feel free to add them below and I’ll put them in the article.

*Yes, I originally wrote this on Twitter and has been republished with permission elsewhere but all seem blocked at the moment.

Q&A: Cosmetic Surgery in Shanghai

On any given day in Shanghai it’s not unusual to see and hear people originating from all corners of the globe. With such a mash-up of different cultures, languages, races, and influence I’ve been curious to know what the ideals of beauty are here. I mean, other than ginger folks who quite obviously sit at the epitome of cross-cultural envy.

Dr Sheena BurnellDo Chinese women want to look more western? Do western women want to look more like Chinese women? And what about the guys? We know both local and foreign men spend too much time on their hair but what sort of physical enhancements do they seek? And is it really true that in these economic times cosmetic surgery is being used to land jobs?

Well to help answer those questions and more I asked Shanghai East Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic’s Director of Clinical Liaison, Dr Sheena Burnell, an Australian trained Doctor and ex-pat in Shanghai. As a professional with experience in both Australia and China Dr Burnell brings an insightful look into the world of cross-cultural beauty, cosmetic surgery in Shanghai, and the people who seek cosmetic enhancements.
Continue reading