Fell in love with Shanghai but . . .
How time has flown – my time in Shanghai is over and soon I’ll be back at the coalface of Kapi-mana News.
Living in Shanghai has been a sensory overload – I’m bursting with descriptions of experiences I couldn’t fit into my previous columns.
So I thought for my final missive I’d list the highlights and lowlights of living in Shanghai. The exchange rate: China is kind to Western wallets, which makes a nice change from my early 20s backpacking around Europe, when I could hardly afford a coffee, let alone meals in fancy restaurants and regular foot massages.
I feel safer at 2am in Shanghai than at 10pm in Wellington. In nine weeks here I barely even worried about pickpocketers. Of course, criminals face harsh punishment if a foreigner is the victim of violent crime.
Ladies’ nights: Any night of the week you can find an expat bar offering free unlimited cocktails to the fairer sex. The only downside is the drinks are usually fluorescent pink moonshine, which doubles the severity of your hangover.
Informative street signs: It’s hard to get lost in Shanghai. Street signs tell you the name of a road in Mandarin and English, whether the road leads north, south, east or west, and what street numbers lie in each direction – genius.
Expats: While I made a couple of good Chinese friends here, the cultural and language gap means expats tend to socialise with other expats. You couldn’t wish for a better crew than Shanghai’s 1400 fun, successful and generous Kiwis – watching the Rugby World Cup here was a deeply New Zealand experience.
Street smart: Shanghai’s ingenious street signs mean you’re never lost in this huge city.