Published: August 17th 2012August 10th 2012
It really wouldn't be normal if I was able to get where I needed to go without it being a bigger ordeal that it seems like it should be. Such was was the case getting to China. With a flight delayed by 4 hours, the customs people giving me an extremely hard time because I didn't have a copy of my flight information leaving out of china (I actually hadn't booked it at that point), and then sleeping in the Shanghai airport to wait for the metro to open at 6 am left me exhausted by the time I got to my hostel. I crawled right into bed when I got there at 8am and crashed until noon.
When I woke up and finally wasn't in a daze any longer, I began to appreciate the fact that I was in China and started to really take in it all. And there is so much to take in. Shanghai itself is a very cosmopolitan city with a huge mix of people, architecture styles, and also acts as a huge port city. The city goes on forever.
The first thing that really struck me was how many
people there were. There are people everywhere and tons of them. And the Chinese are not what I would call polite and courteous... Or maybe you could just say they have different manners. Pushing and shoving are the norm (especially on the metro), lines are only made so that others can cut them, littering is how people dispose of trash, and spitting, shouting in the streets and pointing are all common occurrences as well. Not to say it is a wild mess of people, but Chinese customs and norms are definitely not "normal" by western standards.
Nevertheless, because of this, there's so much to observe and experience. Only thing that makes it difficult to experience much is that locals who speak any amount of English are few and far between. Thankfully, I had planned to meet up with my friend from high school, Tricia, who had just moved to the city to teach English. She also happens to be Chinese and speak the language. Between her and her cousin, Kevin, who was also there to teach English, they showed me a great time. The cheap black markets, great hot pot food, the bund river... We did it
Our hot pot dinner
Kevin invited his girlfriend along too who didn't speak any English.
all. I also ventured up the famous futuristic-looking Shanghai tower myself to checkout the city and went to find one of the more famous Apple stores (the glass cylinder) in the Pudong neighborhood next to the tower.
One of the things you can really notice, as well, on top of the tower is how smoggy it is. It is really disgusting! Visibility is a few miles at best and then everything gets lost in a thick brownish haze. I was told a lot of people develop coughs and also live shorter lives because of the severity of the pollution. It's really sad...
While Shanghai was a great introduction to China, I am next off to what people say is a must stop when visiting China, Xi'an to see a more traditional city and the famous Terracotta warriors.
There are more photos below