13. Two worlds

19th January. Thursday morning. 6 o’clock. This is the last day in Shanghai before I leave the city for a month as the Winter Holiday is coming this weekend. I go out to have a walk. At first I go to eat breakfast. Then I follow the side streets to walk around Caolu Town, which is as big as an average European City, but it’s only township in Pudong District.

I walk and think about a kind of summary of my stay in China, as the first semester ends soon. I’ve made such a summation in the last Sunday while standing upon the skyscrapers at Lujiazui. I analyze these five months: my feelings about the country itself and about people here. In spite of that Shanghai is like Chinese version of New York City; it’s a little bit outstanding city among other in China; the mentality and the way people behave or used to do something is the same like in the other parts of China.

I have this “good luck” to live in Shanghai’s suburbans, where Caolu Town is one of the closest parts of suburbans; you’ve “just” 22 kilometers to People’s Square, the central point in Shanghai. However, here I can experience this mentality of people from far provinces as Chinese government locate villagers at cities suburban… These people are living in new constructed estates, they have 19-35 floors and they are quite dense located, creating the vission of town. Among these estates and next to them are side streets along which are placed smaller rural areas and Chinese cottage-house and which leads to deeper and deeper country-side. Here – in Suburbans – people are using Shanghainese, Xinjiang language, or other regional languages/dialects, often despite Mandarin language. For curiousity: Shanghainese sounds a little bit like Japanese mixed with Chinese.


I walk along Dongjing Road, I’m heading in direction to Gaoqiao Town. I observe these people whom I’m passing through. I watch how do they live their life often in “poverty” as it would seems to us, nevertheless, it’s standard to see “slums” where people have “normal” life. I contrasted this picture of this area with Shanghai City Center and contrasted living standard what I have here, being a part of this suburban, how it looks like in eg.: French Concession or other parts of Shanghai Downtown; and this all I contrasted with what is in Poland, in Europe! I figured out 20 points: 10 positive and 10 negative from living in China, in Shanghai, and it includes – almost – everything with which I have everyday contact or I have it quite often.

Positives:

– Street Food and night life in China is well developed. Here every night people are doing activities like: running, street dance practice, yoga, etc. By night, if you only have a walk or you are out of house, you may have a meal as street food lasts often all night long.

– People are homely in this way, they have some commons with Polish, East European way to host people, to make friends, etc. However, it’s not that easy and nice as in Europe because of cultural barrier; nevertheless, some people are really amiable over all

– Life standard is quite cheap

– People smiles truly

– Shanghai itself is very safety! Even if there are around 35 million people, you don’t have to worry about yourself, eg.: in Night Time, when you walk the side streets, also those in the city center.

– I like that Shanghai – and China in general – is developing so fast, that places, infrastructure are changing daily, weekly!

– Here are apps they simplify life, for instance: Alipay, WeChat, MObike, etc.

– There are a lot of minorities of people from other countries, including Polish minorities

– Shanghai and China in general are rich in attractions. The city itself let me discover the new and new places all the time (even now, when I rewrite this writing, I can state it!)

Negatives:

– Problems with visa extention

– Some behaviors like: spitting, loud burping, grunting, etc.

– Starring at you as you’d be an alien

– Taxists, they may often cheat on you, if they discover you don’t speak Chinese

– A small number of people speaks English

– People are sometimes too narrow-minded or/and too procedural in some ation or/and to passive in actions

– Some apps are ONLY in Chinese, even if this app is commonly used as by Chinese so by foreigners

– Aviability of the Internet is sometimes limited, the government is blocking VPN from time to time

– People’s behavior in public transportation during the rush hour

– You need passport to go from Shanghai to another province

As I’m thinking about these positive and negative sides of living in China; I guess maybe I’d live here. Nonetheless, I get used to live in the European environment, where are some rules, are some common behaviors. These are two worlds: the Inner and Outer city area of Shanghai; as well as two world are China and Europe/Poland!

I walked around 10 kilometers. In meantime of thoughts through I listened to playlist “KM Fm”. Now “The Earth Prelude” is playing on. It’s nice that I passed through some side streets where I could take a picture. Now I can create layout of these pictures with picture/pictures I want to take in the city center. I approached Dongjing Road Station. Using the free time I have, I’m going directly to Lujiazui to have a rest after a walk and to wonder the last time upon the skyscrapers, before I leave Shanghai for a Winter holiday.

___________________________________________________________

“The Earth Prelude” by Ludovico Einaudi

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