My book setting: Shanghai Surprise

The Escapades

by Ainslie Paton

I’ve never felt so in danger of losing my eyes. Having them poked clear out of my head with the blunt end of a steel spoke.

It was 1987. It was cold, wet and the entire population of Shanghai, all 14 million of them, which was the entire Australian population at that point, was on Nanjing Road, wielding a black brolly.

There were two relatively safe places: The Bund, which was crowded with these enormous Mongolian sailors who weren’t scared of the rain, and the Friendship Store.

So you know, there was nothing friendly about a Friendship Store.

This was early days of tourism in China. It was tightly restricted, highly controlled and incredibly disorganised at the same time. Just boarding a China Airways Flight was an exercise in faith and stupidity. Think open luggage racks like on a bus; during take-off and landing it was not…

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