An educational weekend in Shanghai with SAS Alumni and Duke Kunshan GLS faculty

I just returned to Kunshan from a busy weekend in Shanghai. On Saturday morning, as a new member of the Board of Trustees for Shanghai American School I had the pleasure to attend an event at the Westin Hotel, where three alumni from the class of 1949--Betty Barr Wang, Carl Scovel and



gave fascinating talks about their memories of Shanghai in the 1940s.

These including Betty's 2.5 year stint in the infamous

Lunghua prison camp

and Carl's stay in another camp--and imparted much wisdom to the audience of mostly parents and students of SAS based on their own life experiences. 

This wonderful session was then followed by a conversation between deputy head of school Marcel Gauthier and Laura Harder, the daughter of our BOT Chair York-chi Harder, who talked about her experiences at Princeton and her current job in New York city. 

Following that, as part of our orientation program for incoming faculty I had the pleasure to lead a tour of Shanghai for faculty coming to Kunshan from Duke and elsewhere who are teaching for our

GLS program

. Here is a brief recap of our tour:

Saturday (French Concession tour): 

We started at the Joffre Terrace (淮海坊) on corner of Maoming (Route Cardinal Mercier) and Nanchang roads where we toured an old 




neighborhood that was once the residence to several famous people from the 1920s-40s including 

Xu Guangping


Lu Xun

’s wife), writer 

Ba Jin

, and artist 

Xu Beihong

. We then walked down Nanchang Road (Route Vallon) to Sinan Road (

Rue Massenet

) where we visited the former home of 

Sun Yat-sen


Soong Ching-ling

 (Song Qingling) and toured the museum. We then walked over to the 

Ruijin Guesthouse

 (formerly the Morriss Estate) and walked through the estate and back to Maoming Road, then headed to Shaoxing Road and had tea at the 

Old China Hand Reading Room

 where we saw the books by owner 

Deke Erh (Er Dongqiang) and Tess Johnston

. We then walked over to the 


area off of Taikang Road to have dinner at an Indian restaurant named Lotus Land.

Saturday evening jazz/nightlife tour:

We visited the 

JZ Club

, Shanghai’s top jazz club, where we caught a performance by Toby Mak, 

Alec Haavik

(with whom we chatted) 

and their band 



We also sampled the fine cocktails at 

El Coctel

, a bar around the corner from JZ on Yongfu Road owned by Spanish restaurant entrepreneur Willy Trullas Moreno. This is the same bar that James Farrer and I took Frank Langfitt, the NPR correspondent, who later made

this report for NPR

from a nighttime tour based on our book

Shanghai Nightscapes


Sunday (Huangpu River tour):

We started at Old Docks (lao matou) and took the ferry across the river to Pudong, where we walked along the riverside. One of the interesting sites we saw there was a group of Buddhists who were releasing birds from cages, while up the river a bit others were paying to have fish released into the water only to be caught by fishermen with nets to sell once again for the same purpose.

We then visited the


 tower and went up to the 88th floor to catch the stunning views of the city on the fine clear-sky day (at least, clear by Shanghai standards).

We then returned to the Bund via another ferry across the Huangpu River.

Back on the Puxi side, we took this shot in front of the Gutzlaff Signal Tower on the Bund. We had lunch at

Lost Heaven

, a Yunnanese restaurant on Yan'an Road near the Bund. I then rejoined my own family for a viewing of the new film

The Jungle Book

, which was quite a thrill. Well done, John Favreau and cast!