|The Shanghai waterfront in the 1930s|
Nowadays, Hong Kong is generally viewed as the capitalist bastion in China; the place most friendly to Western interests and economic sensibilities. Back in the day—meaning the period stretching from the 1840s to the early 1940s—that distinction was reserved for Shanghai. The city that would become, for a time, the glamourous and decadent “Paris of the East”. A unique gateway between China and the rest of the world. A turbulent metropolis where East not only met West, but veritably merged with it. Where an old world almost seamlessly transitioned into a new one. More than any other Chinese metropole, Shanghai during this turbulent century drew in businessmen, outlaws, expatriates and adventurers from all over the world. Needless to say, that time and place continue to hold the fond interest of all true romantics.