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.

By Elena Garcia

It’s official… I am sooo cool!


Much has occurred in the last weeks, which has made me appreciate Shanghai.

In San Francisco I had a certain standard of living in which I had become accustomed too. People knew me at my favorite stores, restaurants and nightlife locations. I was a force to be reckoned with! Since moving to Shanghai, I haven’t had the “fame” that I was accustomed too.

Until now. On Friday the 13th (figures =/), someone thought I was famous!! You heard me! ME! Famous!!

I was working late on Friday, to help with the run through for the Chinese National Spelling Bee, which my company was sponsoring. The host of the event is a pretty famous girl here in Shangahi (I’d never heard of her, but I don’t watch Chinese TV so… figures) who hosts some shows on CCTV here. A girl who was also helping in the set up approached the TV host and asked if she could take a photo with her. (Not surprising, seeing how this chick is apparently famous.) But much to my surprise after taking the photo with her, she asked me!! Watch out Paris, Elena is coming through!

I’m ready for my close up Mr. DeVil.

I nearly laughed in her face but I kept it together and posed for a few snap shots with my number one  (only) fan.

On top of my new claim to fame, Garrett and I have discovered some culinary masterpieces here in Shanghai and they are just steps from our house.

First there is Wagas and Bistrow by Wagas. Wagas is a small cafe that serves western food at incredibly reasonable prices and it’s DELICIOUS!!! For Dinner I got a HUGE bowl of chicken pesto pasta loaded with feta cheese and it comes with a small house salad for just 40RMB… that’s like 5 bucks!

Bistrow by Wagas is a little bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. Garrett and I had brunch there on a Saturday morning and it was sooo good. I had the best tuna I’ve ever eaten and Garrett had these amazing berry pancakes. (Well they looked amazing, and seeing how he didn’t share!! I assume they were.) And again, it wasn’t expensive at all; the total came to about 30 US dollars.

We also had dinner at Colobro, which was ALSO amazing. It’s a small delicatessen with such good food! The manager was uber friendly too; he told us about the restaurant and gave us vouchers for free things from the Deli next time we came.

Now I mention all these places because for while Garrett and I were going to the same three places; we had no other real options. I was beginning to really get tired of the same old same old. Plus the look and feel of these newly discovered culinary treasures is so much like home! Fantastic!

Now the final thing that has changed my life!!


I am producing a fashion show. YES ME!! I am telling girls they’re too fat (no, but I would love to be one of those snotty ladies with the dark framed glasses who totally could. But alas, I am too self-conscious to even begin to care about what other girls look like!), I am talking to fashion houses; I am putting soundtracks and music together for people to walk down a giant catwalk.

I am very excited.

It’s a charity event that is being put together by my work. And part of it has… a fashion show!! So obviously they asked me to help put it together. It’s very exciting and I have an amazing bright yellow Anna Sui dress that I will wear the day of the event. Because frankly, I don’t care how the models look… I just care how I look! =D