Shanghai is an effervescent city, despite what the smog reports tell you. It's really one of the only cities in mainland China where the corners of East meets West and can live in almost complete harmony.
You don't need to know anything about the housing bubble to notice that Shanghai is packed. People move in swarms, and anyone who has been in People's Square metro at any given time of the day can tell you that. What fun would it be if it were possible to avoid the throngs of people (even though it's not)? For a lot of my fellow study abroad students, the culture shock really lied in the non-existence of this American construct of a "personal bubble." Chinese people will get. in. your. face. But you shouldn't take it to heart; they are not always used to being in close proximity with foreigners that have their own respective cultures.Yes, they will scream in your ear (hopefully non-intentionally), and they will pin you up against the wall while the subway doors are closing. They will even unabashedly stare at you. But it's probably because of your lovely blue eyes.
For me, the life of the city doesn't lie in the ultra-hip clubs like Muse on The Bund or the famous tourist spots like the former French Concession but lie in rather pedestrian places like the fish market, the hole-in-the-wall snack places, and the vendor "stalls" spread all along the sidewalk.Who is more lively than the "pancake" guy that wakes up early every morning to make you your breakfast burrito for 4.5 CNY and the chatty pair of friends on the corner that make you your oh-so-good-but-simultaneously-having-a-heart-attack noodles late at night when nothing else is open? Chinese people can be warm in their own eccentric way, as long as you let them in with an open heart.
|Graffiti by the galleries at M50|
|Koi pond at one of the city's traditional-style temples|
|Boy looking down from the glass floor of the Oriental Pearl Tower|
|Chinese painter's artwork on exhibition at M50|
|Outside of Yuyuan Gardens during Lantern Festival|
|Ice cream flavor varieties in the Shanghai's ancient water town, Qibao|
|Lotus candles during Chinese New Year|
|Glamour shots in traditional Chinese dress|
|China Art Museum|
|Rooftop view in Shanghai|
|Hanging out by one of the many highway overpasses|
|The postcard view of The Bund|