Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


Monday, July 13, 2009

First Impressions of China

Yesterday I arrived to Shanghai - my first time on the continent of Asia. It hasn't been 24 hours yet, but I think I am going to have a love affair with it. It has surprised me in many good ways.

I must unfortunately say I pictured Shanghai to be very dirty and ugly. I'm not sure why - but it's definitely not true. The city is no dirtier than New York (with maybe a touch more smog) and very beautiful. I obviously have only barely scratched the surface, but the parks and gardens mixing with the East and the West mixing with the old and the new is incredible. All I want to do is explore every inch of this city.

The people seem friendly if not a tad impatient (like most city dwellers) and the street food makes my senses quiver. Dumplings, noodles and meat made in a wok mere footsteps from any doorway. Is that not heaven?

Last night - completely jet lagged and dead - Landon and I decided to hit up a gay bar. Taking the last train at 1030 and walking a good half mile, we still couldn't find it. Feeling a tad defeated, we had a hotel clerk write the address in Mandarin and hopped in a cab. An embarrassingly short block later we were at Eddy's. The bar was very swanky - like LA or New York - with red lighting and cool communist art on the wall. Great place for a cocktail.

Across the street we went to Shanghai Studio which looks a little sketchy from the outside as it's in an alley and basically just has steps going down. The bar was great though - incredibly friendly and we made new friends from Switzerland, China and the US. It was by far the perfect introduction to Shanghai. I really am going to love this city, I can feel it.

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