No sex please, we’re the People’s Republic

I haven’t tried surfing any porn, partly because I suspect it’s bad internet cafe etiquette but mostly because I’m scared I’ll get arrested. However, I’m cheered to see there are a few sex shops around, and a strip of girlie bars, although I think this probably means drinks served by girls in bikinis rather than the more usual drinks served by surly men while girls in bikinis get naked. Don’t worry though, I’ll go along at some point to make sure, simply in the name of investigative research, you understand.

There is also a sex museum, although the city isn’t keen to claim ownership. It started life on Nanjing Rd (the equivalent of Oxford St), and was then moved around several times before being relocated to the canal town of Tongli, two and a half hours away. Tongli is apparently something like Venice, except it sports a world heritage Ming Dynasty garden. We’re going for a day trip next week – UNESCO and five millenia of erotica, here we come.

In other news, we’ve moved from the faded glory of our first hotel, the beautiful 1920s Astor at the end of the Bund, to the stark modernity of the East Asia – a hotel in a shopping mall on the Nanjing Road. This has some pros and cons: the location is on the corner of People’s Square, akin to staying on Piccadilly Circus, and the room has a computer and free internet. However, the ‘window’ is a recess in the wall lit by UV strip lights and there’s no cupboard for our clothes. I guess you win some, you lose some…

Now some food porn. Had an amazing dinner tonight – chicken satay pancakes, prawn & crab crispy noodles and pork & tofu parcels. Also beer, plum wine and green tea. This was in quite a posh restaurant (we had to phone for a reservation in Chinese, which was slightly challenging) and the bill came to 18 quid. Another reason to love this place.

Tomorrow we climb the pearl!

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