My experiences from the great Shanghai
Have you ever wondered if a city has the characteristics of a man or the characteristics of a woman? I think Shanghai is definitely a woman. Right on the first date, she will suck you in with her appearance. Everyone is staring at Shanghai’s beauty with amazement in their face. They do not even mind the pain in the neck they are getting from watching all these skyscrapers. She will amaze everyone. Later, when you will be getting tired of watching, she will challenge you with her food. It doesn’t matter if it is a red crayfish, hairy crabs, dragon dumplings with a soup inside, or even the most favorite food of Mao Zedong himself – pork cooked on sugar, beer and quail eggs. Where her beauty is not enough, she also has a never-ending palette of colors, tastes and aromas and the dish list is never-ending. Shanghai is a huge cosmopolitan city with habitants maybe reaching even 30 million. So there are not only all kinds of Asian cuisine, but also their culinary cousins from all over the world. The more you stay here, the more you will fall in love. In time, you will find out even the hidden secrets. Like any day of the week you can find live music or a great party. If you are looking for hardcore fun, any of the world stars will come to Shanghai. Magnificent Shanghainese opera, cinema or theater…fashion shows, dance clubs, exhibitions, film festivals…there is always something happening. Once you try it, you will not want to let it go.
However, having the affair with Shanghai has its price. The multi-colored realm of the Shanghai life is expensive and there is an enormous pressure on success. Shanghai loves expensive and elegant things; she requires it from people living here. Shanghai wants to be great and beautiful, so she is surrounding herself with successful people. Here, failure is a great sin. Her flats are some of the most expensive in the world. Five star hotels, expensive clubs, luxurious brands…thousands of shops, boutiques, coffees and restaurants are a never-ending temptation. You have to be careful with Shanghai!
Winter in Shanghai
Winter has come, even to Shanghai. It is not as cold as in my home country Slovakia, but we can feel it. How is a winter in Shanghai? Terrible. The reason, surprisingly, is that it is not very cold so the local people do not have any heating. At home in Europe, we would not survive without heating so we are spoiled by it. Sometimes we turn on the heating even in October. Outside is freaking cold, but sweet home is warm as ever. Those lucky ones even have a fireplace. We are not so lucky in Shanghai. Outside it can be around 5-10 °C. In January it can get under the zero sometimes and the temperature outside and inside is always the same! The only heating is the air-conditioning and you have to have the one which can heat, of course. I do not have it in my flat, so I have few heating gadgets as most Shanghainese do. One of them is a heating slipper. It is a big slipper for both of my feet that I put under my table, connect to electricity and it becomes nicely warm. This was enough a week ago, but not today. So my second gadget is an electric heating station. Electricity bills are high, but at least it is a little bit warmer. When I was studying at the university in China, we were not allowed to have this. It would cut our electricity so we had to find out two ways of how to make ourselves warmer. One, do not take off your clothes. Two, fill glass bottles with hot water and put them around a room. Old Shanghainese apartments are even worse when it comes to winter. I have one like it. The wind is blowing through my unsealed windows and door. Also, when it is raining, it is raining in my apartment. New flats in Shanghai are expensive. In Pudong in the area where I live, which is not the city center, you can get a flat 2+1, 40m2 for 4500 000 RMB (550 000E) and it is an old building that is not even in the city center, . but probably a little better than my current flat. There are some more gadgets to fend against the winter. One of them is a special, traditional warming glove. It is like one big glove, opened from both sides, and you can put your hands inside. Modern ones even have an electric heating inside. We used to use them in Europe as well. They were called Muf, but it is more of a female gadget than a gadget for a man. The last thing I have tried was a heating blanket,but it is also a little bit inconvenient. For example, I was hit by electricity a few times every night. It was an older one; winter was really tough that year so I had no choice,but it was not a pleasant sleep. So this is why we live in a subtropical area. Right now, it is raining cats and dogs outside; with one hand I am holding my cup of black tea (which is supposed to make the body warmer, not like a green tea which is for cooling the body as the Chinese believe) and with the second hand I am writing this article.