Thursday, July 21, 2005


I wrote this as a Livejournal comment:

I'm not a native Shanghainese, and I'll vouch for the place too.

If you like New York, you'll like Shanghai. Flashy skyscrapers, crumbling shikumen, the quaint French concession; suburbs with cheap housing, housing downtown that is still cheap, and sky-high prices if you want them; a metro system that gets you pretty much anywhere you will want to go (and is still growing), polite taxi drivers; diversity out the wazoo: Muslims? yeah, we got 'em... Christians? yeah, many churches in Shanghai... foreigners? yup, and that means you won't get stared at everywhere you go, and the locals won't worship or avoid you... Shanghainese? an ambitious, forward-looking people, and a healthy (but not dominating or overwhelmingly foreign) local dialect being put to cool uses... waidiren? Chinese from all over China are flocking to Shanghai, making it a real mixing-pot; a varied nightlife that's not (necessarily) dominated by expats: definitely the best club scene in mainland China, a healthy artist community, and a decent rock/punk/metal schedule; anime expos, beijing and zhejiang and western opera, hip-hop dance competitions, Hong Kong pop stars, pro sports teams, latin-dance classes; Fudan, Tongji, Jiaotong and Far East Normal Universities among many others, the oustanding Shanghai Museum, the giant Shanghai Opera House, the Shanghai Stock Exchange...

People may poo-poo Shanghai as an a-historical "westernized China lite (TM)", but Shanghai is really about choice: if you want the ritzy expat life, you got it; if you want to live close to the earth, you can do that too, it just takes a little more discipline than in a more boondockey Chinese city.


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