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The Chap Travels

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The Chap Travels

Old Shanghai

Paul French, author of City of Devils, takes us on a walking tour of Old Shanghai, recounting the tales of decadence, opium and freebooting of the 1930s and what remains of that era in modern Shanghai In its heyday, Shanghai was the real deal when it came to anonymity – a chap could walk down the gangplank from his ocean liner, step onto the majestic sweeping Bund waterfront, stroll nonchalantly over to the disinterested customs man and proffer any name he cared to. No-one in Shanghai wished to see a passport, nor did they require a visa, nor could they… Keep Reading

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The Chap Travels/The Chap Travels

Two Fingers of Red Eye and a Buck on the Derby – Kentucky

Kentucky is regarded as the first of the Southern states, sitting south of the Ohio River on the eastern side of the United States. It is a green and pleasant land, literally. There are miles of gently rolling hills, clean air and plentiful amounts of fine pure mineral water. All these elements play a large part in the success of the state’s principal assets. This ‘porch of the south’, as it is known locally, has many things going for it, not least its hospitality. Everywhere I went in the state, whether it was the ‘metropolis’ of Louisville or the quaint… Keep Reading

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Quito, Ecuador

One of the fourteen countries that straddle the Equator, Ecuador took its name from that imaginary line and offers an engaging place for the traveller to explore with much historical interest, museums and art galleries but, more significantly, it’s the best place in the world to buy a Panama hat. I took a trip out to the far-flung continent of South America to find out what a chap really needs to know about the intoxicating capital of Quito. This is a country where avocados grow all year round and there are only two seasons: wet and dry, although it might… Keep Reading

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The Chap Travels

Disneyland Dapper Day

Why am I writing about Disneyland in The Chap, you ask? Because, for the past four years, Disneyland in Anaheim California been the epicentre (not Epcot Center – that one’s in Florida,) of Dapper Day, and Rose Callahan and I had been invited by the event’s organizer to give a presentation about our book I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman. Dapper Day is the inspired invention of Justin Jorgensen, an L.A.-based artist and designer. Jorgensen was a theatre-loving kid, obsessed with the diorama-like qualities of cutout flat scenery and coloured lights. But when he moved to L.A.… Keep Reading

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Miami, Florida

Miami greets the arriving driver with a glittering cluster of skyscrapers flanked by bright blue sea. As soon as the heart of the city has caught your attention, you’re in it, cruising through mid-town Miami with the buildings getting taller and taller and the sea coming nearer, like the opening scene of a disaster movie but with the only impending calamity being: where on earth will we park? Our first hotel was on an island across a bridge at the very tip of Downtown Miami, reached over a narrow two-lane bridge over the sea. The Mandarin Oriental dominates Brickell Key,… Keep Reading

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The Chap Travels

Havana, Cuba

There are a few cities in the world that carry so much weight of expectation and legend that you get goose bumps down your spine when you come in to land, but nothing had prepared me for the thrill of the pilot’s announcement on this Iberia flight: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to descend into Jose Marti International Airport, Havana.” Even before you land, revolution is in the air – or rather in the airport, named after the revolutionary who led the war for Cuba’s independence from the Spanish in 1895. Customs in Cuba, unlike its neighbour the United… Keep Reading

The Chap Travels

Portofino

Portofino – diminutive and sublime – has long been on the summer trail of the terminally chic. It is, after all, the perfect expression of the Ligurian coast, its soft multi-hued building facades guarding, sentry-like, the sunlight-accented azure waters upon which a collection of yachts bob up and down, their unhurried skippers lounging upon spotless decks, G&Ts in hand, Gatsbyian elegance made flesh. In short, a stay at the Italian Riviera is the closest you can ever come to inhabiting a 1930s travel poster; all breezy, effortless style. This is, amici, the blithe and unbothered la dolce vita. Portofino is,… Keep Reading

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Miami Beach

As soon as you cross the narrow causeway to the large island that is Miami Beach, you depart from a world of hi-rise wealth, power and keep-fit fanatics to a world of wealth, power and sun worshippers. The tans on display are unlike any of the lobster-hued disasters you see in Southern Europe – a Miami Beach tan is sleek, smooth, healthy and perfect. Suntan lotion is squirted free from dispensers all over the beach provided by the Miami Medical Centre. To reach the beach itself, you dart off any side street on the main strip, where super-luxury hotels are… Keep Reading

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The Chap Travels

Barcelona

When you arrive at the ultra-stylish boutique hotel Miramar, regularly voted one of Barcelona’s finest places to stay, you might be expecting a traditionally Spanish inn. Situated as it is above the city in the stylish Montjuic area, nearby many of the major museums, it combines stunning views of both the sea and the buildings beyond with the sort of cool yet comfortable rooms that seem de rigueur at this sort of level of luxury. Yet, at the same time, you’re only a twenty-minute funicular ride and saunter from the city’s most famous street, La Rambla, where Catalan style and… Keep Reading

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