Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shanghai!
The rumors and my truths!

I start work tomorrow and as I get into the swing of things I’ll return to game related posts, but for now I hope you find my Shanghai observations entertaining. =)

So, obviously, I made it to Shanghai. It wasn’t easy… I had a flight delay cause me to miss the connector to Beijing so I was stuck in San Fran for a day, but I was fortunate enough to have a very very kind friend let me stay with her for a night. Thank you Super Power Up! =D

So, I wanted to go into some of the stuff I was told would happen to me when I got to Shanghai, and what has actually happened to me so far.

1. You will be pickpocketed.

I have yet to be pickpocketed or even have someone attempt it. I’m being safe and keeping everything important on inside jacket pockets, but having walked around the busy streets on a Sunday, I haven’t even seen someone who looks like they would want to.

2. The taxi drivers will either drive you to a remote location where you will be mugged, or they will overcharge you.

Nope, after exiting the airport there’s a clear designated Taxi line where legitimate licensed taxis will pick you up. The guy used a meter and did not attempt to overcharge me, so I gave him the change as tip which he was very grateful for. No one even attempted to coax me into a shady taxi or anything like that.

3. Women will accost you cause you’re white and try to sleep with you to get you to give them a better life.

Nope, not yet anyways. I just don’t see that happening though. I think that’s primarily an “english teacher” thing, or a predatory white guy thing.

4. The tap water will kill you and is full of bacteria.

Yeah, it’s pretty bad. It smells like river water or something. I’m definitely not going to drink it and I try to keep it out of my mouth and eyes when I shower, but I think it’s chlorinated to say the least, so bacteria likely isn’t the problem. I’m told there are heavy metals in it though.

5. Everyone is rude.

This one is no more true for Shanghai than it is for New York. Some people can be rude, but the majority of people I’ve talked to have been at least decent, if not incredibly nice to me. Of course, the majority of people I talk to are providing me a service so they kind of have to be nice, right? =P

6. Everyone is short.

No, there are some tall Chinese here. Some are taller than me. I’d say on average they’re a little shorter than Americans, but not by much.

I think that’s about it as far as stuff I was told about Shanghai.

While I’ve only been here for less than 24 hours, I have noticed some interesting stuff. Like the traffic lights seem to cover every situation. There are U-Turn lights and Bike Lights. Many of them have countdown timers to let you know when you’re about to be screwed or when you’re about to get a green light. Traffic is a little crazy as people sort of wander around the lanes. It’s not as bad as I was lead to believe and I think I could probably drive here if I were so inclined.

The city seems to be divided into themed areas. For instance, when I walked down one street from the hotel, there was a lot of clothing and mall type stores that sold watches and bags and other stuff I don’t care about. When I walked down a different street it was primarily food. A third street seemed to be homes. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or just happened to get layed out that way, but it’s interesting.

The police are not as threatening as I thought they would be. Their primary purpose seems to be to warn people when they’re about to do something really stupid. Like today I was waiting to cross the street and someone decided they were just going to wander into the oncoming traffic. The cop blew their whistle and got them to get back out of the way of death’s headlights. Another interesting thing about police here is that they seem to have their own show. I think it’s a gameshow where the cops demonstrate good cop qualities and win prizes or something. I wish I could understand what they were saying because it seems fascinating. It’ a little awkward to watch because the two hosts are extremely upbeat and happy, but the audience (which seems to consist entirely of police are VERY somber.

There are random points on the highways where your photo will be taken. I don’t know why or what is done with them, but you’ll see periodic bulb flashes while you’re on any of the major highways if you drive down them long enough. There’s a predominance of cameras in the shopping districts, but I guess that’s just part of security.

Some tips if you’re planning on coming to Shanghai from America.
1. Keep your boarding pass with your passport and DO NOT LOSE THEM. When you get to Beijing they will be checked four times before you can get on the plane to Shanghai. FOUR TIMES!

2. If you’re traveling around this time of year, dress for VERY cold weather. It was 0 degrees Celsius when I exited the plane in Beijing, and they make you wait on the tarmac for a bus. I was lucky I had my jeans on and a warm jacket, otherwise I would probably have gotten hypothermia. Keep gloves in the jacket of your pocket along with a scarf, just in case.

3. If you have electronics you want to bring with you, check the plug. If one of the prongs is slightly wider than the other, you might as well throw it away. There isn’t a converter that I can find that will work with it. If it’s the three pronged type (grounded) or has two prongs of the same exact size, bring it. There are power converters for it that you can get at Best Buy or Gome.

posted by CommanderHate at 2:51 am  

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