If I stand stock-still for a few seconds and just stare at the ground, then I can imagine that I’m back home. I’m back in England. I’m back on the grimy streets of London. Despite those grimy streets, I do miss it an awful lot. I’m not that homesick that I immediately want to go home right now but there is certain twinges when I read posts of friends back home on Facebook and I Skype my family on the weekends. Needless to say, when it comes to Christmas I will definitely be crossing off the days to go home.
I literally have just got back from spending two days in Shanghai. One word – crazy. I’m still figuring out whether it’s good crazy or a so-so crazy. On one hand Shanghai is a really nice city, aesthetically pleasing and all that with it’s tall buildings and luxury brand stores but then you got the hordes of tourists that flock there constantly. Before going to Shanghai, Ayo and I asked a couple of students what they thought of Shanghai and they immediately said they hated it. I can now see why.
Shanghai is really Western – as in every corner you turn there are stores Nike, Apple, American Apparel, Gap, Lacoste, all very Western brands. It’s not very Chinese at all. It’s pretty much like going to London, I think. We hardly used Mandarin when we were out there either; the only things we said in Mandarin were “Hello”, “Goodbye” and “Thank You”. It’s like people in Shanghai are forced to be able to speak English because of the amount of tourists they get.
I’m not saying Shanghai was a bad place because it was definitely an amazing shopping opportunity (two new jumpers, three pairs of tights and a scarf) to get stuff for yourself and the usual gifts for family and friends, but for me it was a bit too much like home. Not entirely but because there were many nationalities there, it was like being back in London.
The nightlife in Shanghai is amazing, however. It’s a bit annoying though when random people come up to you trying to sell you flashing light things and fake watches, but I suppose they’re just doing their jobs. We were just walking down a really long high street in Shanghai when we heard hip-hop music, so we decided to check out. We were pleasantly surprised – a Chinese man who, upon looking at looked like he couldn’t dance for shit, busted out with Michael Jackson moves; moon-walking, pop-locking, breakdancing, the whole nine yards. It was immense. I took a video on my camera but it’ll probably take a while to edit and upload, so I’ll have to show you guys another time.
I felt like a proper tourist, which irked me a little because I always take the piss out of the ones back in London with there fat cameras hanging around their necks and they have these stupid caps on, but there I was sitting away on the tour bus taking massive amounts of pictures. To be fair, the tour bus was pretty good – we got free ticket for a river cruise, which was really relaxing and then free entrance to the Jade Buddha Temple. It was so beautiful inside of the temple; there’s a little gift shop upstairs where you have to rub the Buddha’s belly for good luck. It made me laugh because the Buddha looked pregnant. There were these three Australian men on the tour who were so funny, I was holding a bag of doughnuts and they were like, “You didn’t get that here did ya? Maybe that’s why Buddha’s laughing all the time, cause of the doughnuts!”
Most the bus tour was going around Shanghai, which I noticed mainly consisted of shopping malls and designer brand shops, etc. There were three routes you could take on the bus but we didn’t get to go on the blue one because we ran out of time – but apparently there’s this tower you get to go up which is pretty high. Hopefully we’ll be giving Shanghai another visit soon, because whilst we did a lot, there was still so much more to do.