asian adventure: 10 things I have learnt so far about shanghai

   1. this is a bipolar city
it has the power to make you fall in love with it and at the same time hate it. that it is why when someone asks me how is shanghai treating me, i reply: today I...

   2. crazy traffic
I am preparing a post on this as I am totally fascinated about the traffic in here. it is a complete chaos and sometimes very stressful just to cross the road but it seems that it is an organized chaos, everyone knows what to do, where to go without respecting any traffic laws. like i said, very interesting
photo from http://www.afar.com/places/shanghai-shanghai-7

   3. metro in rush hour   
I must confess that most of the times that I say that I hate this city is when I have to ride the metro in a rush hour. the metro goes by every 1 or 2 minutes but it seems that there wasn't a metro for the past half an hour. it is absurdly packed. and when you think that there is no space even for a needle 10 more people squeeze in. it is for lack of a better word....amazing :p

   4. personal space
forget about personal space, specially in situations like the above. unfortunately it doesn't happen only in rush hour. every time you are to enter the metro you know that you have to wait for others to get out so that there is space for you to get in, right?? simple maths. although it doesn't seem that simple to the shanghainese. it seems like there is some sort of a competition to see who is the first to get in without the others having left the metro. very amusing sometimes, specially when I decide to let everyone else out and the people behind me get all upset :p

   5. queues
queues? what do you mean? i don't think there is a chinese word for queue. people just conglomerate around the place they need to get in and that's it. best of all, nobody cares if someone got in front of you, they just think you were clever than them...this time at least. it's like you earn their respect
photo from http://www.slideshare.net/wsyoong/cfakepathwesterners-vs-asians

   6. bargains
omg! this is incredible! there are shops that you can bargain as well for a better price. in fact some shops (not all though) they don't have the prices in display so as soon as they see a foreigner you rest assure that the price has gone up. so you have to bargain for a better price. in fact it is very common to see chinese people bargain for everything everywhere.
they are always looking for a bargain and for freelancers like me, it is very difficult to convince them that I can not work for free, even it they offer to exchange my services with free chinese classes :))

   7. fashion
this is a very interesting topic. fashion as a totally different meaning over here compare to the west culture. i'm even thinking in expanding this into a full post, however as a teaser let me tell you what i found so far:
apparently people like to wear glasses without lenses for fashion purposes, other times on the metro I have seen some very odd choices for mens socks.....

   8. groceries shopping

when I first came to shanghai I had no expectations which means that I knew nothing about this amazing city. and i got very surprise to see that all the major brands in europe have a representation here. you can find tesco, starbucks, costa, h&m, and all the famous designers brands. when it comes to food shopping we were very pleased to know that there were a tesco and a carrefour very close to our home. but how innocents we were thinking that we could go shopping without a dictionary. obviously everything is in chinese, all the packaging. it was very difficult to know what was a shampoo from a conditioner for example. can you really tell by the photo if it is a shampoo, a conditioner or even a shower gel??

   9. smog/air pollution
the first impact I had as soon as I left the airplane was....hum, i feel like i can't breath properly!
after some weeks in here I just got used to it. although it is advisable that you install an app on your smartphone to let you know the quality of the air regarding that specific time of the day. more often than not, you will see it red.
this is something that for any western it is very easy to spot, you will feel it in your nose and throat, although I have meet a couple of chinese people that were very surprise when I said that the air pollution was one the one thing that I disliked about shanghai. they were like: what air pollution? it is just fog. I assumed that everyone knew about this. however I don't think these people represent the majority it was still a humble experience to realize that although I try my best not to assume anything, sometimes I still do it. 

   10. wechat
last but not least, in fact the most important thing you can ever learn from this post.....wechat.
if you don't have wechat, you wont have a social life and you not even have access to some information from shops and organizations. wechat is like facebook where you can post photos and posts. it is like whatsapp where you can send free messages and make calls, and apart from this it still has a function where you can scan qr code so you can join organizations groups to know the last news, events, and bargains, or even for services.
you use this code to scan your friends qr code on your phone and add them on wechat, which means that you don't have to give them your phone number and they will never know it just by the code.
this is my QR Code so you can have an idea

with love,

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