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What I Learned in Shanghai

by Krista

I love visiting places (domestic or international) and observing similarities and differences. Here’s what I noticed and heard on the street while I was in Shanghai:
1. A good way to make money is to wait for the government to ask to buy your apartment. They are knocking down huge swaths of the city. If you’re lucky, they’ll knock down your building and offer you three apartments to replace your one.
2. Girls are wearing shorts (usually black) with black tights. With my love of black tights, I would fit in here!!
3. Boys and girls are wearing thick soled sneakers. I kinda like this look. While I got many compliments on my purple New Balance, they don’t have the sole (pun not intended) that thick-soled trainers do.
4. The pollution is awful. But it’s all relative. The levels I experienced during my visit were considered moderate…but they were the same as Paris these last few days!! (Hope you’ve been reading the news about the smog in Paris.)
5. Soup dumplings for everyone!! All day long! All night long!
6. It’s common to leave your hometown and open a restaurant in Shanghai, but leave your small children back at home with your parents.
7. Shanghainese are not poor. I saw more Celine bags (real ones) in Shanghai than I’ve ever seen in my entire life. If you know the bag I’m talking about…the one I lust over…it’s not cheap.
8. Shanghai is YOUNG. I rode the metro each day and the average age had to be 25.
9. Apps have made it nearly impossible to hail cabs on the street, especially during rush hour. Apparently the drivers receive a premium for picking up bookings via app so none of this cancelling your ride at the last minute or anything. (Like what typically happens to me in Chicago.)
10. There are multiple Apple stores — I saw at least three — and they are HUGE.
11. Crazy manicures are popular.
12. Tons of foreigners around, especially in Xintiandi.
13. Uber is in Shanghai! The black car service that is.
14. The metro is awesome. Modern, clean, well-labeled, cheap. I loved it. The People’s Square station is intense! Huge!
15. Taxi drivers all learned a little English because of the Shanghai Expo. They can do numbers, which is awesome.
16. Starbucks is everywhere.
17. Street food still exists and it’s awesome. (Sorry, the American in me can’t stop saying awesome.)
18. Napkins are hard to come by.
19. Smaller restaurants don’t seem to sell beverages or offer tea??! Still trying to get my head around this one.
20. Did I mention the pollution?

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