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(all addresses can be found on http://www.smartshanghai.com)

Mr. & Mrs Bund – Contenental (and on the Bund of course.. v new)
Coconut Grove – gorgeous colonial house with great garden for eating outside. Best Thai food in Shanghai
Fu 1088 – Shanghainese food in an old villa VERY good (English menu) http://shmag.cn/place/fu_1088
Lost Heaven – Yunnan (chinese) food in lovely atmostphere
Haiku by Hatsume – creative sushi
Pinchuan – sichuan
F.C.C – Vietnamese
M1NT – fusion, high-end
Issimo – Italian
Sichuan Citizen – casual Sichuan (and next door to Dragonfly Massage so you can combine the 2)
Sun with Aqua – Japanese
Mr.Willis – feels like you’re in SF, if you’re veggie you won’t like it, but it’s one of my favorites. Have to make a reservation. They also have a great brunch.
El Willy – great tapas (need to have a reservation)
Di Shui Dong (2 locations) – cheap and cheerful Hunan food, famous for their ribs
Tian Jia – specialize in Toro (fatty tuna)
City Deli – http://www.citydeli.cn/ great sandwhichs for delivery
Pho Real – nice little vietnamese place, v casual

(all addresses can be found on http://www.smartshanghai.com)
El coctel – where the expats go who have been here a while, lively
Abbey Road – neighborhood pub, good happy hour, packed after work
Cotton’s on Anting lu – old houe converted into bar with snacks. Fireplaces, etc. Even nice to go on weekend afternoon and read.
Ci5 – tiny Japanese cocktail bar
Constellation 2 – whiskey bar, v chill
Enoteca (2 locations) – fun wine bar
Kaiba – Belgian Beer pub
Kiitos – japanese sake bar
hof – cocktail and desert bar, great for after dinner

I haven’t posted in ages and seem to have reverted to consolidating emails and sending them out on request (which is why I started this in the first place) so my belated new year’s Resolution is to get back on the travel bloggin wagon.

Definitely go to the top of the new Trade Center Building ona day that’s relatively clear
M50 galleries compound- http://www.m50.com.cn/en/
Shanghai Circus: http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/events/45063/
Duolun Lu – great for walking around, this was the epicenter of SH intellectual life in the 20’s and 30’s http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/asia/china/shanghai/32187/duolun-lu-culture-street/attraction-detail.html
Taikang lu – lots of little boutiques and a peak at life in the lanes http://slumsofshaolin.blogspot.com/2008/07/taikang-lu-stuffwhitepeoplelike.html
Walk around the “Antiques Street” – http://shanghai.unlike.net/locations/302080-Dongtai-Lu-Antique-Market
Massage – I like Green massage best (book in advance – multiple locations): http://www.greenmassage.com.cn/
Good walking map of the French Concession: http://www.toranahouse.com/FrenchCmapF.pdf
GREAT self-guided MP3 audio tour to buy online for guided walking tour: (I know the Shanghai one is great, I don’t know about the BJ and HK ones): http://www.louisvuittonsoundwalk.com/preview/?l=en

Cicerones is a non-profit that matches proud Porteños with visitors to go on 4-hour custom walking tours. You fill in a form outlining the kinds of things you are interested in (art, architecture, sports, etc), the area(s) of BA you are keen to see and they match you with a volunteer. I had a great time with my Cicerone, Ariel. He picked me up and we took the subte down to San Telmo and then continued on to La Boca and took the bus back up to Barrio Norte. Because the guides are volunteers they are not professionally trained, they are sharing ´´their´´ Buenos Aires with you. It is free, but the visitor is responsible for covering costs (transportation costs, any entrance fees and in my case, beer).

I had my first day of Spanish lessons today at Ayres de Espanol in Palermo. It´s a small school in a cute old building and but it´s main attraction for me is that it´s not a schlep away in San Telmo. Their methodology is somewhat bohemian but I´m pretty much level 0 so it´s fine for me. After working behind the scenes in language learning for 8 years and not having been an actual student in 9, it was a strange feeling to be sitting in front of a whiteboard with my new notebook cracked open. We started as 3 students in the class  but we were already down to 2 by the end of the first session (and I´m not sure how long my remaining colleague is going to stick around). I think I might need to find a school that´s a bit more structured… I want to establish a foundation so that I can really learn Spanish and I´m starting to wonder if maybe this school is more geared towards people who just want to be able to get around better. Stay tuned..

Nothing bugs me more than negative experiences that could have so EASILY been avoided…

I was sitting at this outdoor cafe in a trendy area with TONS of people around reading when this guy asked me (in Spanish) for directions, I was distracted for 1 MINUTE and his partner must have come and nipped my bag 😦 Camera, phone, (new) wallet – todos gone. Thankfully I always keep my keys in my pocket, my passport was at home and I had just uploaded all my pictures from the trip so far. The people at the cafe were lovely (will need to go back and pay them..) I went to the police station and they were GREAT! They insisted I try maté, we had a little language exchange, they wrote a list of wines for me to try and restaurants (they were v upset I hadn´t had Asado yet). I must have been the most excitement they have had all weekend, we hung out for a while. The Commandant (or whatever) joked he would call his wife and tell her he was taking me out on the town tonight. He asked if it was true that the head of the FBI gets paid 7 Million a year and did his impression of an American cop. Overall it was as pleasant an experience as can be.

This is still a WIP (consider it v1.0)

Toptable is your friend – check here before you venture to anywhere upmarket, they have great deals (like 25% off if you are out the door by 7)

$ Borough Market – if you´re a foodie, this is heaven. GO EARLY (get there by 10) you can eat there or buy food and make a picnic (weather permitting)

$$ Levant – beautiful restaurant, good Middle Eastern food. Skip the seafood platter and get the meat.

$-$$ Lots Road Pub – good for lunch, brunch or dinner. What a gastropub should be. Make reservations.

$$$ Bluebird Cafe – it´s an institution but I still like it. They do a good brunch.

$$$ Nobu – the best deal is to go at lunch and have the Binto box. OR get snacks in the bar, not really worth the money for a full dinner.

$$ Electric Bar and Brasserie Notting Hill – Great people watching on Notting Hill (and good food). Excellent for brunhc/lunch

$$$ Arbutus – A reasonable Michelin Star restaurant. Worth the splurge. They do wine by carafe/half carafe as well which is cool. Book well in advance

$$ Tsunami – Excellent (reasonably priced) Japanese fusion food.

$$ The Bombay Brasserie – I had been told it was the best indian food in London and I have to say, I think I agree. It´s pricey but they do a good lunch special (14 GBP)

$$ Admiral Codrington – another good Gastrobpub. They specialize in Seafood (yum crabcakes)

$ Beirut Express – Maroush has Lebanese restaurants all over London but I usually go to the one at South Ken. The Hummus Beiruty is rocking. We generally get the shwarma sandwichs.

$ Bagels on Bricklane – 24 hours real bagels..the best thing at the end of a long night. Or a shopping break snack.

$$-$$$ Hunan – my favorite restaurant in London. There´s no menu but you will be asked for any dietary restrictions you have then then you will eat some of the best Chinese food you ever had (ask for the pork with prunes). Let Mikey pick the wine for you.

$ Dim Sum place in Bayswater – the most authentic Dim Sum we found in London.. They don´t take reservations so get there early. (I need to confirm the name with Ann)

$-$$ Jakob´s – Organic predominantly vegetarian Armenian deli/cafe (try the falafel sandwich)

Hummingbird Bakery – REALLY good cupcakes (my fav is the red velvet).

Bars:

Janet´s bar

Bohemian Kitchen on Old whatever street (need to check this one again)

Misc:

Upstart Market (Sundays only) – an indoor market for emerging clothing and accesarry designers. Some cool ethnic food stalls as well.

If you like markets, this is a good listing: http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/markets.htm

My Peruvian friend´s comment is starting to make sense to me: ¨You´re going to learn Spanish in Argentina? But then you will talk like them!¨ Imagine the limited English you spoke had been learned by watching American sitcoms and then you wound up in Scotland…. This is how I feel about trying to understand people here. Since I speak German like a Berlin adolescent and Chinese like a Shanghainese taxi driver I think it´s fitting I learn to speak Spanish like a Porteña.

Peruuvy

I wanted to give a big Xie Xie to Angeline for inviting me to Peru, Augusto for hosting us in both Lima and Asia and showing us an awesome time in both, Alonso for babysitting us and Manuel for making sure we got fed.

Peruvian Potatoes

  • Lima looks similar to Sao Paulo, but safer, cleaner, nicer and with fewer bars on the windows
  • Peruvians really like salt, I mean REALLY like salt
  • Almost every restaurant we have been to serves the same style of (tasty) Chicken Soup
  • Peru is exceptionally clean, unlike in tourist towns in SEA there´s almost no garbage around
  • There are about 2000 types of potatoes and Peruanos aren´t afraid to use them
  • Being on the road is as scary, if not scarier than in China
  • All food is red, yellow, orange or white
  • There are almost no straight [single] men in Lima
  • Peruvians are pretty old school, no PDA and girls still live at home until they are married (even in the more progressive families)

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