The lucky people in town might have visited the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, or perhaps mooched about at one of the many dumpling stands while discussing the merits of the new deep water container port at Yangshan.
Those who did not know how to have such a good time came, instead, to the International Circuit for an afternoon of noisy tedium in which Fernando Alonso and Ferrari won their first race of the season.
This was a race dominated by the different demands of soft and medium tyre strategies but for the spectators the best strategy of all would have been to remain at home. Perhaps the one consolation was that boredom has seldom been as frenetic as this. There was a certain energy in the ennui. But while a lot of people were moving quickly, like wind-up toys, very little was actually happening.
Alonso will not see it quite the same way. He is many people's pick to win his third championship this year and he stamped his nonchalant authority on proceedings, winning by more than 10 seconds. Kimi Raikkonen's wonderfully consistent run continued, with second place, and there was a third for Lewis Hamilton, just as there had been in the previous race in Malaysia.
There was another heroic drive from Jenson Button, just as there has been in Kuala Lumpur, but this time it was rewarded with 10 points. McLaren, one senses, will not be happy until theirMP4-28, as originally conceived, is as perfectly dead as an expertly embalmed corpse. This was a car that needed not so much modifying as rebuilding but Button continues to keep alive their outlandish hopes of championship success.
Sebastian Vettel, like Button, based his plan on running on soft tyres at the end and finished with a charging fourth, just failing to get past Hamilton. So he still leads the championship ahead of Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton, though his advantage is only three points.
Vettel's team-mate, Mark Webber, had an unhappy afternoon to add to his wretched season. He started from the back of the grid and, after losing a wheel following a collision with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, he was penalised three grid positions for next Sunday's race in Bahrain.
But all the talk through two hours of racing was of primes and options, mediums and softs. It was a rubber-fest of a race. And people do not pay for expensive tickets in order to watch tyre changes.
It would be churlish to complain too much because F1 has provided a great deal of spectacle in the past three years. And that is partly down to Pirelli's unpredictable tyres.
"It's all tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres," a distraught Webber said at the start of the season, and on Sunday it was difficult to argue with him. Conserving rubber does not make for exciting racing.
"I suspect it was a reasonable spectacle," said Martin Whitmarsh but McLaren's team principal suspected wrong. "I didn't watch the race. Oddly you don't. You watch what's going on with your car, and you're thinking about that. You're not sat back, dispassionate."
Whitmarsh did get it right when he said: "I think the tyres are a little too fragile at the moment. And that has some impact on how all of us run our weekends. That's a shame."
Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, said: "It was degradation, rather than actual wear, that dictated the strategy." But race fans will find that as difficult to understand as the actual race.
Alonso, though, was fully able to comprehend his 31st victory that puts him level with Nigel Mansell and fourth in the list of drivers with most wins. He said: "It felt good. It has been a long time since my last victory here eight years ago. It was a nearly perfect race for us, it was clean and good. The team did a perfect job. They executed the pit stops perfectly, after the disappointment in Malaysia. It is a positive start to this championship."
Hamilton said: "It was a good race for me and I was trying to apply a bit of pressure to Kimi at the end but my tyres were shot trying to keep ahead of Sebastian."
Over the in-car radio Ross Brawn was left breathing a sigh of relief to Hamilton. "Phew! That was close," the Mercedes team principal said. "We are not quite there yet but we are not so far away so let's keep working hard."
Those who doubted the wisdom of Hamilton's move from McLaren to Mercedes are not doing so not any more. The driver who has replaced him, Sergio Pérez, has been told to toughen up by McLaren after winning only two points from the first three races of the season.
Whitmarsh said: "I think he's been very polite so far this year. He needs to toughen up. He's been generous in allowing people past him. He's still a very young guy in a big team with lots of expectations so you're under a lot more scrutiny and it's tougher. And he's got a team-mate [Button] who's doing a great job, so there's some pressure there, and this won't go down as his best weekend, of that I'm sure."
McLaren must have been relieved that Pérez showed some aggression, making life difficult for Raikkonen, who ran into him as he tried to pass.
Whitmarsh said: "Sometimes you have to be robust and have elbows. And I think he was robust." But what was needed in China was a robust defence of an expensive anticlimax.
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image: © Gregory Moine