When East Meets West

October 18, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Chloe Tea SetI am such a bad chocolate eater. I blame it entirely on my mother. I always bite into every single piece of delicate chocolate, anticipating the surprising flavor that lies beneath. My assorted box typically comes with a handy guide but I have to bite into every little square in order to figure out which one tastes the best. No guide can ever explain that to me, no guide can ever describe the magnificent melting sensation that occurs on your tongue when heaven melts away. I look at my little ritual like a wine tasting, you bite, you chew, and you either finish the piece or you set it down for a later discovery.

My dear friend Andrew has crossed the mighty Pacific and entered the Holy Grail that is Shanghai. Upon his arrival he surprised me with a small box of heaven from La Maison Du Chocolat and truly shown me the magnificent ness of a chocolate sensation.

Having lived here for almost 11 months now, there aren’t many first that I experience. I’ve become accustomed to the spitting, yelling, horn honking, and fabulous fashion choices of the people here but now that Andrew is here, I feel as though I am experiencing so many things for the first time. The shock value that had worn off is suddenly back and giving me whiplash! It’s so exhausting.

You know what else is exhausting, the exploring Andrew and I have done. Foot massages, back massages, launch parties, Nip Tuck on DVD, manicures, pedicures, shopping trips and Chloe cups… it just never ends. How is a girl supposed to maintain such an active social calendar?

One of the things that Andrew and I did was wait in line. That’s right, as fabulous as we are; we did our fare share of line waiting. And no, it wasn’t to get into the posh parties or hot clubs, we never waited to get into those places. Our line waiting was for something much more… limited.

A limited edition I Heart Chloe Coffee Mug, that is.

A local westaurant (western restaurant in Shanghai) had a special promotion in partnership with the Chloe brand. So everyday, for one week, at 2pm they distributed 15 limited edition mugs with the Chloe name sprawled across them. Now these mugs weren’t free! For 78 RMB (about 12 dollars) you got a ceramic mug (which probably cost them 15 cents to make) filled with coffee, three teeny tiny desserts, and an annoyed smile from the cashier ringing you up!

The first day Andrew and I waited for our chance at ceramic gold we got there too late. We were numbers 16 and 17 in line but we were convinced we could possibly still get the chance to swindle a mug any way, so we stayed and waited. We waited forty-five long minutes only to be turned away.

Having been rejected so easily Andrew and I were determined to get a mug. On nothing but principle, of course. So the next day Andrew and I got there over an hour early and planned on grabbing lunch and then grabbing a spot in line. So we arrived and walked down the glossy white hallway only to find a line had already formed. Andrew and I would be numbers 3 and 4 this time around! Even with our early arrival we were still not the first!

Insane what people will do for fashion!

I’m no stranger to lines though, in my heyday I braved many a cold nights to gain front row access to Backstreet Boy shows.

So we waited, again. Andrew occupied his time playing Tetris on his IPhone; I stared at the passersby and slowly starved to death. Andrew and I hadn’t had lunch and so I couldn’t wait for the time to go by. All I wanted to do was eat!

Finally 2pm came and Andrew and I grabbed some lunch, our Chloe Tea Set (that’s what they called it), and a seat. As we sat there and snapped pictures of our adventure Andrew and I noticed the first person in line, a wannabe fashionista with a sloppy outfit, sitting all alone. A little sympathy went out to her, having to have endured this adventure on her own. Until of course I saw her pull out her cell phone, hold her hand above her head and snap away. Just what we need, another bad MySpace photo.

I was thinking of offering to take her photo when I notice her ask a passing waitress. The waitress grabbed the phone, listened to Lonely Girl explain how to use it and then snapped a photo. Lonely Girl reviewed it and quickly asked her to take another, and another and another. She posed in different positions, in different areas and slowly stared in her own Chloe Mug montage.

I was never more thankful to have Andrew to snap my photos.

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