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  • Writer's pictureAnya Coates

7 Weird and Wonderful Things In Shanghai

Last time I posted it was about how shit i was finding Shanghai (pardon my French!). Now, a few weeks in, I'm no longer finding it quite so difficult to navigate life in this new location. I won't lie, I'm still a while away from absolutely loving China's biggest city but the progress I've made in just over two weeks is a promising indication that I'll be kicking and screaming when it's eventually time to leave.

As this is a less of a “negative Nancy” post, I thought I'd share a few things I’ve noticed in Shanghai that are making me laugh, making me cringe or just fascinating me. It turns out China is actually pretty weird...

1) Infants have this slit in the middle of their trousers. At first, I thought an unfortunate baba just had ripped his cute little space themed pants but I later found out that this slit is so his parents can set him on top of a bin and let him do his business. 'Why?' I hear you ask? Well, the logic is you wouldn't want to be running about with your poop sitting in your pants all day so why would a toddler? Using a garbage can as a toilet basically means it'll be eventually disposed for you and the baby is also nappy free. Win win?

2) BLUE SKYS! Last post I wrote about the lack of a blue sky and how that is a dampener on my mood. Now however, there is some blue up above us in Shanghai; especially in the mornings! I’ve realised that the supposed smog and rainclouds was only rainclouds. While the downpours have not completely passed (yesterday I forgot my umbrella and was caught in a rainstorm. Anya = drowned rat) they have become a little bit more rare.

​3) The Bund is something to behold. I usually prefer views of castles, plazas, ayuntamientos and coasts and I’ve never really thought lights and buildings are so beautiful. Times Square didn’t impress me, it just hurt my eyes. But the Bund is amazing! It’s beautiful and impressive. It’s long and unlike other lit up structures around the world, it’s not so over powering.

​4) Street dancing is something I’ve seen a good bit of here. Not the cool type that makes you wish you could bust out those moves on the dance floor but rather an opposite. Around the Yu Gardens we’ve seen a group of middle aged women dancing in sync to some catchy music. I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t try to join in and honestly this was one of the most uplifting and carefree moments I've had in Shanghai. An old man joined in with us and then challenged one of the girls to do the splits with him. I may be bias but I’m pretty sure that LJMU won that battle!

​5) Our own personal paparazzi makes me giggle. We are a group of British, caucasian tourists who are doing our best to look around Shanghai and make the most of our stay. However, whenever we decide to get pictures, group ones especially, we end up with practically all of China gathered around us taking their own snaps of our equipo!

​6) The fashion here is great. I have never seen a community who dress so well all the time. To be honest it makes me feel really underdressed and a bit clueless. But the greatest Chinese trend has to be the translations into English that are used on t-shirts. Some make no sense, some are all a bit too rude (especially when they’re on children’s clothes) and some just make me wonder if they know what is written on their top. (See picture attached!) In retrospect, I wonder what all the Chinese symbols we have tattooed on our bodies or smeared all over our tops actually say...

​7) The dogs wear shoes and are all groomed to perfection. Maybe they have very little fur on their legs and then a big fluffy body. Maybe they have only a mane left uncut. Regardless, each pup seems to be making its own statement and I absolutely love it.


*photo credits: Rebecca Baird!*

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