On my last evening in Shanghai, I went to one of the better Shanghainese restaurants in town.
Called Jade Garden, this particular location used to be a supper club so there is a small stage at the back of the dining room and a balcony area upstairs.
And in one corner of the room near the stage is a grand piano and a pianist tinkling on the ivories while diners tucked into their meals.
However, all the tables on the bottom floor are big round ones so the diners are more concerned about food and conversation than listening to the poor pianist trying to play some classical pieces.
At one point a young boy wandered next to the musician who basically babysat him through a good part of the evening.
It's too bad because the tables upstairs are smaller and would probably stop and applaud the pianist if given a chance to hear the piano in the more intimate space. But there's no way a grand piano can fit up in the narrow area.
And then so many people -- mostly men -- were smoking up a storm as well. The clouds of smoke created a gray haze in the air which was hardly appetizing.
All that smoking made me wonder if the staff and other customers realized the chances of contracting lung cancer through second-hand smoke.
But everyone was more concerned about Spring Festival and wishing each other good fortune and good health. One wonders when the Chinese will wake up and realize no amount of money can buy a long and healthy life.