Hello friends! Sorry for the radio silence. I'm currently typing on a broken keyboard that is devoid of the letters a c, k, q, and the period and enter keys, so I'm going to keep this post short. I've been combating jet lag from a 14-hour direct flight to Shanghai, and many mosquito bites (yes, there's still mosquitoes lingering in September-October). At this time of the year it's mildly hot during the day, but you'll need a jacket during the night. Still a nice contrast from the brisk Fall in Toronto.
Shanghai is a beautiful city, yet a weird mix of futuristic architecture in the Pudong area and European Neoclassical buildings along the Bund on the Puxi (west) side of the Huangpu River. There are the expat areas and then the local areas, which for me was the fish-smelling sewer-lard-I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-smelling part of Shanghai.
In China it's standard to drink hot water and warm water in restaurants, because the cleanliness of the tap water is questionable and not suitable for drinking. If you speak Mandarin with a broken accent, people are still forgiving here. Most people can actually speak a bit of English in contemporary, tourist restaurants and expat areas. Also, the malls here are on steroids. Take the Super Brand Mall for instance.
We caught up with my sister residing in Shanghai who showed us around Tianzefang and Xintiandi, both shopping districts but unique in their own different way. Taking a cab is an extremely cheap means of transportation in Shanghai, second to the metro which is super efficient and provides wifi and cell phone reception underground.
Crossing the streets as a pedestrian is almost suicidal because there's no such thing as right of way and traffic laws in Shanghai, so it takes a reckless driver to get around. People will run red lights at all costs and honk at you basically telling you to get out of the way, even if you're crossing a green light. Also, you don't know pro jaywalkers until you see them here.
One of the first things that really culture shocked me was the staring. In China it's normal for people to stare, especially when you wear 'Western' clothes that don't look the same as everyone else. Although in my defence I was wearing a strapless plain navy top, a pair of black shorts and polarized aviators on a scorching hot day with a high of 27 degrees (37 with humidity and on a low UV day).
Until next time,