After 2 1/2 years of living in China, I finally made it to Shanghai. I actually managed to kill about 3 birds with 1 stone with that one visit to Shanghai:
Bird 1. I crossed off an item from my bucket list (travel by myself)
Bird 2. I rented a hotel room by myself, with my own money (I felt very grown-up at that moment)
Bird 3. I finally decided to visit Shanghai [after thinking and rethinking, 再三考虑 (Zàicì kǎolǜ) as the Chinese say]
The architecture is more diverse than Beijing I think. On the way from the airport I saw the lovely pagoda style buildings, high rises, town-houses and very European looking streets, shops, restaurants and cafes.
I spent most of the time just walking around and vowing not to talk to anyone after scaring myself thoroughly by reading about all the scams they try to pull with foreigners. My vigilance made me quite paranoid and almost rude.
On my first night, a Chinese couple was calling to me and I almost ignored them, but after arguing with myself I decided to see what they wanted. Turns out they just wanted me to take their picture for them. That same night, another person (a foreigner) wanted me to take his picture too. I didn’t speak to anyone else until I met a woman who restored my faith in humanity.
On the 2nd day in Shanghai I felt a bit ill and decided to go to the doctor. Just like my luck it was raining that day and of course I got lost trying to find the hospital I was looking for. I kept walking and walking hoping that I would find another hospital somewhere on the road. I was walking for about an hour in a light downpour when I saw a lady walk past me, stop, look at me for awhile then kept walking. I ignored her since i figured she was just intrigued as usual because I was a foreigner and black (maybe she liked my hair). She eventually stopped beside me and put her umbrella over me asking where I was going. I told her I wanted to find a doctor, and she pointed me towards a large hospital. She walked with me almost the whole way chit-chatting and then when she had to go her own way, she insisted on giving me her umbrella because I didn’t have anything to cover my head with and she had a hat, so she would be at less risk of catching a cold she said. It was such a nice umbrella and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take it back to Beijing with me. After she left, I still checked to make sure nothing was missing, and nothing was, so my faith in humanity was restored. Of course some persons tried to sell me things, pretend to be friendly with me etc…But I felt their vibe from the get-go and did not like it, so they did not even get a hello.
I like Shanghai, and was contemplating whether or not I would live there. I think not, it’s still a big city like Beijing and if I were to live in another part of China, I’d prefer somewhere that has mountains and sea like Qingdao