This is an incredibly belated and brief post about my trip to Shanghai.
Beijing may have the history and culture (and if you can only visit one city in China, I’d probably suggest Beijing) but Shanghai is the city I’d rather live in. It’s easier to get around with limited or no mandarin, I’m stared at a little less, and (as you can see from the picture) its new and shiny.
There may be limited tourist attractions in Shanghai itself but don’t let that put you off. The city is a brilliant base from which to explore the surrounding area. There is a bullet train that can take you to Suzhou in about 25min (approx 40RMB/ £4). This city is full of culture and the historic gardens offer a serene get away, making it a lovely and hassle free day trip from Shanghai. There are also numerous ancient water towns within an hours bus ride from Shanghai, marketed as Venice’s of the east (not so sure about that..). We visited Zhujiajio which was the highlight of my trip, and I would highly recommend it. Slightly further afield, you can also include a trip to Hangzhou from Shanghai or take the overnight train, as we did, to Huangshan for a bit of mountain scenery (or not, if it’s foggy).
The picture below depicts one very surprising thing we encountered in a Shanghai park. It was basically the low-tech equivalent of internet dating. There were hundred and hundreds of profiles listing individuals details and the type of partner they were interested in. From the few that were in English, the details given, and list of requirements, were rather materialistic. There was more focus on education and salary than shared interests and personality. In some cases it appeared to be dating agencies exhibiting the profiles, in others it appeared as if it might be mothers trying to find wives for their sons. I don’t know if anyone has encountered this elsewhere in the world?