It's hard to believe I'm in China -
I'm in a busy restaurant almost airborne; the old building an odd remnant of European colonial times.
The old French concessions lay somewhere behind, the city dark, `The Bund' lights an esplanade 1.8km long: a west bank wall of 52 buildings. The style's unexpected; generally Eclecticist, but sometimes Romanesque, Renaissance, Gothic or Baroque. Other buildings are Neo-Classical, Beaux-Arts or Art Deco - once the banks, consulates and trading houses of Europe, the US, Russia and Japan. Ferries, tugs and cruise ships float on a black winding highway, busy barges are low and sparsely-lit, fully laden with heaps of coal.
My thoughts are broken by a man in a dark suit and a red tie; red flags flutter outside, under a full moon and spotlights. The winelist's a bible, the brews Bordeaux, Barossa, Sonoma and Tuscan. For a moment I lean towards a Zinfandel, then a Merlot or maybe Petit Syrah. But no, I am in China afterall, so I go for a 2013 Silver Heights 'Summit'; a gem I'm assured, from the urban spread of Yinchuan City, in the lee of Helan Mountain: a mix of Cabernets Sauvignon, Gernischet and Franc.
The waiter returns and I holds up the bottle. I peer at the label, the far Pudong shore aglitter with steel and glass - soaring neon towers worthy of Dubai, Doha or Tokyo.
Photo: Eastern Towers - Pudong, Shanghai, China _ Ian Cochrane