My wife arrived in Shanghai this week after a leisurely time in Japan, courtesy of Diners Club. Mine of course. She was a little horrified to view the state of our new apartment. The first shock was that it was clean. Well, that's why I employed an ayi (cleaning lady) of course - a little perk of the ex-pat abroad. The second shock was the lack of decoration, or should I say, 'female' decoration. If you're a male of the species, which I am judging by my last appearance in the shower, your tastes tend to be much more 'minimalist'.
I incline toward the notion that achieving maximum decorative ambience is quite simple. First you fling open the display cabinet. You put your bottle of duty-free tequila on one side, your duty-free bottle of Bacardi on the other side, then your books, CD's, and the magazines you nicked from the plane in the middle. You stick up a calendar from the local butcher back home on the rear of the toilet door and, hey ho, you're done. Of course if you want to show real class you whip down the local markets and come back with a Chinese parasol and painting that you have picked up for a pittance. At least you think it's a pittance till you see them for at least half that price in another market the next weekend.
Naturally this is not how females do it. There must be endless shopping trips to endless arcades and endless little back street markets. Instead of Star Sports Channnel on Saturdays it's standing around being asked by my wife whether we should buy the blue bath mat or the one with flowers. The one advantage I hold here is that they don't generally accept Amex in lots of these little Shanghai markets. Ah, the joys of a cash economy.
Nonetheless I come home to a warmer and friendlier place than I could ever aspire to. Despite my grumbles, my wife, and the fairer sex in general, have far more class in this regard than we mere males could ever hope for (excluding Greg who lives in #401). At least Shanghai is a shoppers paradise and probably one of the best places in the world for indulging in such dectorial delights - if such a phrase exists.Till next time....
This article is part of a series relating to our lives abroad. For more articles click here
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