As a first timer in Shanghai and even China I am hugely impressed with everything I see in this city. Mostly I am jealous of the ease that goes with being here. You’re in China but you might as well be in Europe, the only thing that sometimes sells the city out is the Mandarin. Whenever I hear someone speak Mandarin I am brought back to reality and realize I am in China and not a modern, advanced western city. So for the rest of my life whenever I hear someone complain about expat life in Shanghai I will jealously smirk because its peanuts compared to life in India. But this post is not about comparison it’s about exploring!
It is sad to say that I don’t speak Mandarin, I did take a Mandarin class back in Argentina but apart from “ni hao”, “xie xie” and “zaixian” I can’t actually remember any of the words let alone sentences. (The class was thought in Spanish but that is not the reason why, porque mi espanol es buenisimo… Ha!) So over the past few days I’ve been using very clear hand signals to make myself understood and I’m keeping a constant smile on my face to at least appear like a friendly “I only speak English” kind of tourist.
I’ve been exploring this crazy city mostly by foot and it is one of my favorite things to do, just wander around and take it all in. (This also happens to be the reason why I am currently blogging because I have about 5 blisters on my feet and can’t really go anywhere anymore for the day.) It’s much more interesting to get a feel of the city when you are not walking where all tourists before you have walked and don’t snap pictures of buildings that have been photographed a million times before. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do those must-do’s you read about in your travel guide but I always have much more fun discovering what’s around the next corner…
Here are some pictures that I took over the past couple of days. They don’t depict the Shanghai I was talking about earlier with its crazy amount of skyscraper, impressive luxury shopping malls, beautiful parks and expensive European cars but the other parts of town where a more traditional life is in order, it’s almost like time stood still here while the skyscrapers took over the rest of the city.
I imagine a lot of you are grossed out by all the weird things the Chinese eat and don’t assume I am the ultimate foodie that will try everything because you’ll be disapointed. But I do hope that you can see the beauty in the colors, the (dis)organization, the patterns, the shapes, the tradition, the details etc.
Very little of these pictures have anything or nothing to do with the launch of the brand “Unknown Curiosity” but they do confirm what I want my brand to be at heart. This city trip is by definition build on unknown curiosity!