03 Feb My first thoughts on Shanghai
Now that I’ve been here for a few days, I’m starting to get a feel of what I might be in for over the next month. Here are some of my thoughts on this fabulous city so far:
• It is far too easy to get lost! Well that might just be me, but whenever I feel like I’m going in the right direction, or I think I know where I am, I’m slammed back down to reality and realise I really have no idea what I’m doing! Everyone else seems to be managing alright, so I just tag along. But to be honest I really have no clue whereabouts I am at any given time. Danii and I got horribly lost on Monday night on the way from dinner to work, even though we had spent the majority of our lunch break working out how to get there. Hopefully, my horrid navigation skills will improve by the time we leave!
• Every dog here is small and fluffy and wears a jacket and boots! So I’m kind of an animal person and when it comes to small, fluffy dogs, its love at first sight. The fact they wear little jackets to keep them warm amplifies their cuteness factor by 100%. On the topic of extreme cuteness: All Chinese toddlers where massive ski jackets making them look like little cute mini marshmallows!!
• Taxis can be an exciting/life threatening experience! Well I guess anything to do with the traffic in China can be like this; even crossing the road can be quite an adventure. It really helps if you can speak some Mandarin otherwise the taxi drivers really have no idea what’s going on and neither do you really. We had one trip where Zach and the taxi driver were cracking jokes with one another, having a splendid time speaking to each other in Mandarin, meanwhile the folks in the back had no clue what was going on! For the navigationally challenged people, like myself, you just have to trust that the taxi drivers will get you to the right place as, again, you really have no idea where you are. There’s also a significantly large percentage of the time spent on the other side of the road, but as long as you beep your horn, everything is all good! Ahhh the life of traffic in Shanghai!
• The language barrier can be rather amusing at times! Whilst I know you basic hello, goodbye and thank you, my mandarin is really very limited (and by limited I mean basically nonexistent – and if I’m being honest, by basically I mean completely)!! So I have to rely completely on English translations. Now I completely understand that English would easily be the most difficult language to master and can see some concepts are totally lost in translation, but sometimes the results are rather amusing. For example here’s a picture of a sign is in the bathroom of my office!! And all elevators that I’ve come across have had a “Notice for Safety Riding”. I have no doubt that we are going to come across some more amusing concepts in the time we spend here!
• The food here is amazing! I have a feeling I’m going to go home 100kg heavier than I came! And the variety of food is so immense! My latest obsession is birthday cake flavoured Oreos!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they are the best thing you will ever taste! Thank you Shanghai for introducing them to me! We have the loveliest French bakery at the bottom of our office building where we’ve been having our lunch recently! What’s not to love about coffee cups that look like men and cake in the shape of teddy bears!
So that’s a few of my first thoughts on Shanghai! I’m sure as I go along, all of these will flourish into everlasting memories. But so far all I can say is that I’m falling in love with this city all over again!