3am Tattoo in Shanghai.

So, China is in the news oh so much lately, with the Wuhan Coronavirus flu pandemic and what not, so I thought it be nice to share another needle based story that ends a bit happier.

A couple of years ago I found myself in Shanghai, one of my favorite cities on a shoot, and after we wrapped I found myself out with some of the crew enjoying the finer delights this jewel of a city provides. As a bit of a running joke while finishing what should have been the last drink of the night around 3am I said “let’s get tattoos!” to which our local producer quickly said “Sure! I know a place. Above a bar!”

Intrigued isn’t really the word … as a die hard traveller I was obligated to check this place out, warmly named “Tattoo Family“. So very glad I did, as I not only found a tattoo parlor, literally above a bar (as in above the actual bar, not in a studio on an upper floor) but also to a “drink” I’m not sure I will need to try again.

I have had snake whiskey in Cambodia, and fermented goat blood in Turkey, but this, which I’m not really sure has a name, was the daddy of them all. Basically grain alcohol preserving a snake, a starfish, perhaps a plumb, and a bag of ants. Not sure why these animals were chosen, perhaps for their beautiful floral notes, but it was rough, and probably both gave and cured me of all sorts of ailments.

In any-case, I was very primed for the main event, so, with a moderate bit of discussion, and a quick jump onto Chinese Photoshop (used so often I remember where the tools are in the menu system) I was ready to have a dark cloaked wide brimmed chapeau’d man throw some ink in me.

All in all one of my favorite nights out with some of my dearest friends, now bonded in time with this shared moment, as permanent to the heart as ink in the skin. While deciding to get a tattoo sauced can lead to some regrettable decisions, this is one of my favorites by far, and have to say the line work is delicate and precise, which, for 3am anywhere, is a grand feat. Bravo.


PS. If you are wondering what the script is below, it’s Da Vinci’s “Once tasted flight, forever your eyes skyward.” Backwards, of course;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑



All my cameras

My collection of (mostly) vintage cameras

Vintage Camera Quest

Living the hipster dream & using vintage cameras.

Come Join My Journey

Travel Stories and Guides


enjoy NYC on a budget

Cristian Mihai

launches a project every month

just bad timing

this is not a love story.

Natalie Breuer

Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.

Phillip Stearns

An artist working with electronics and electronic media, based in Brooklyn, NY

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.


photography and other things

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography


Le Bonnet voyageur • The travelling Winter Hat

Just Visit Siena !

My Siena Guide


Food, Photography & Joie de Vivre

%d bloggers like this: