Saturday, October 30, 2010

Au revoir

This seems to have been a particularly bad year for departures amongst my friends.

Is it some kind of seven-year itch (or eight-year...) phenomenon, I wonder?  Or are there more specific causes starting to drive people away: a mounting sense of oppression, the ludicrous difficulty of obtaining visas, the horrendous traffic and pollution, the steepening cost of living, or the general Shanghai-ification of the once charmingly shabby and downmarket city we used to love?

It's not just the Anglophone expat community that's being decimated, either; some of my favourite Frenchies have been quitting too.  Just last week, I learned that the lovely Cecile - a regular among the Salud/Ginkgo/Café de la Poste crowd, and a rather fine singer on the rare occasions when she could be enticed behind a microphone - was about to leave us.  Then, only a couple of days later, the devastating double-whammy: Clément, the ineffably laidback barman from Salud, was off too.  He's been the main draw at that bar for two years now, and will be sorely missed.  His Chinese sidekick Justin is a top man too... but I'm not sure if he'll be quite so amenable in modifying the music playlist according to my preferences, or quite so dangerously over-generous in his free pours of whisky.

Bon voyage, Clément and Cecile.  Best of luck with whatever you're up to next.  And I hope we'll see you back for a visit some day.

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