Without venturing out too much (between getting back from the airport, jet lag, and just being clueless still), here are my first impressions of Shanghai:
- The traffic is kind of crazy, and it wasn’t even busy when I arrived. People abruptly switch lanes and will get literally six inches away from hitting a pedestrian, and it doesn’t seem to phase anyone! That will probably be one of the hardest things for me to get used to considering I’ve actually been hit by a car before and still have pretty bad anxiety about it. It really just seems like a free-for-all so there’s a lot of honking that goes on. It’s almost as if they honk to say “I’m about to get in your way, so get out of mine!” Hahaha.
- From a visual standpoint, there is a lot of pollution (obviously) but all of the buildings look pretty cool. Just imagine your regular old big city, except all the signs are in a different language. The airport is nice and almost has a futuristic feel; the exit from the airport is elevated and actually feels like it since the area surrounding is fairly open. I felt like I was in The Jetsons for a minute!
- Everyone I’ve talked to has been very nice. I have heard that Americans are treated very well in Shanghai so maybe that has something to do with it. It seems like people are eager to use their English skills as well, but that won’t stop me from trying to learn Chinese!
- It’s humid, very. I’m kind of a baby when it comes to heat though, so maybe I’m not the best person to talk to about this. On the bright side, it gets dark around 6:30 pm which really helps with the heat.
- And as I just said, it gets dark so early! The sun rises early too, like 5 am. I think I’ll need to adjust my sleep schedule accordingly (or just make sure I have light blocking curtains). When I left dinner last night, it was around 7:30 pm and it was dark, like midnight dark. Every still walks around like it’s nothing! The streets are well lit though, which is nice.
- My dinner was good but a friend of mine from China told me I probably went to a Chinese restaurant for foreigners. They didn’t speak any English but for the most part it was similar to what we’d eat in the States. The noodles were a little different and the beer we had reminded me of any light beer back in the USA. Chinese food is really cheap too!
- My hotel room is super nice! Actually, the entire hotel is really nice. The only thing that’s different is that there’s a giant window in my bathroom that looks out to my bed, and vice versa. I don’t have a roommate so it’s not a big deal, but it’s the same in the double rooms! What?! Ha.
So far, I like it. I’ve never lived in a big city so this will be a cool experience, especially because it’s in a different country! Stay tuned for more Shanghai stories 🙂