I always get many different reactions when I’ve been telling people I live in China, although the most occurring one is the omg, gosh really? response. Others are gobsmacked, as if living in China would be impossible – it’s across the world, too far away, too different, too crazy. And from what we all imagine when we think of China, everything must surely be super different from what we’re used to, right?
A fact that’s probably not that known is that Shanghai is more or less the Asian version of New York City – we have skyscrapers (some of the tallest in the world actually), billboards and a city that never sleeps. Shanghai is not a big apple… more like a big dumpling, if you catch my drift? And life here is just like home. Well, almost. It’s at least more normal then what people imagine when they think of life in China!
Yes, there’s a lot of people here – about 27 million actually. Yes, the food is cheap and you can buy dumplings at every streetcorner… But what do we not know about Shanghai? Do people know that everyone eats baozi for breakfast? Do people know that 7 million take the metro every morning, and that there are people working at the metro for one sole purpose; to push you inside the metro? (Check out That’s Shanghai or Smart Shanghai for more info) Do people know that we have some crazy awesome rooftop bars and penthouse clubs? Or that we have an entire district solely focused on art?
No one told me before I moved that almost every lunch I ate would be at some hippie café (and there are many of those here), or that every Thursday meant ladies’ nights – meaning free drinks and entrance to almost any club in Shanghai. Furthermore, no one told me that the city would be so modern, or that the history of Shanghai would be so rich – I mean, the city has over 70 museums for Pete’s sake!
As shocking as it may seem, Shanghai is not as crazy different as most people think. Yes, some things may be slightly altered, but Chinese culture put aside, Shanghai can remind you of any big city in the world. Still, the heart and soul of the city is typical Shanghai and China – you won’t find that anywhere else in the world. There is only one Shanghai, and that city is awesome.
WELCOME TO SHANGHAI!
For more posts about Shanghai, check out the “Shanghai” category 🙂