Xintiandi is an area within the French Concession. I’m not too sure where it begins and where it ends but it straddles East and West with a wavering uncertainty. Along the wider European streets stand behemoth commercial companies but interspersed between the giants are smaller, cluttered streets.
They are littered with wonderful smells and haphazard shops that sell anything from Marilyn Munroe playing cards, street maps, hong bao, recycled paper and every kind of meat you could think of. There are no tourists or expats here, they stay on the main streets, but the culture is richer, the food tastier and the goods cheaper.
It has taken me some time but I think I am slowly beginning to fall in love with this city. It is still definitely a love/hate relationship, with a lot more hate but I have begun to appreciate my surroundings and immerse myself within all that is Shanghai. It’s crazy and it’s not home but it’s no longer alien.