One of the local customs that I am getting used to in Shanghai (and I would assume elsewhere within China) is the display of fully plucked geese (or ducks) outside of shops as seen in the picture to your left.
I still haven't figured out why the birds are outside on a clothesline where pollution, insects, and other elements can take their toll. Nevertheless, like clothes hanging outside in the middle of the winter (or any time of the year) the hanging of geese is definitely classified as a local custom in Shanghai.
When you are approached by street solicitors and don’t want something .. the magic phrase is “Pooh Yo”
"Pooh" as in Winnie the Pooh, and "Yo" as in ‘Yo mamma is so ugly..”
One of our Chinese tour guides told us to say it so I assume that means it’s an appropriate phrase and not rude.
I think it means “I don’t want it, stop touching me and go away” Saying Pooh Yo works much better than saying No Thank You in English.
Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles... they were everywhere! Sometimes I just stopped to look at them, wondering if I could capture a moment without seeing one. I couldn't! While walking around in Shanghai or any other Chinese city, it's better to be careful because it's quite easy to be run over. Auch! ;)
Westerners have an unspoken and sacred aura around them that they expect to never be invaded. In line, westerners will stand at least a foot apart, and when talking to friends, they will equally do so, even after knowing each other for years.
In China, however, I suppose as a result of adapting to such a populous nation, they concept of personal space does not exist. People will fall asleep on the bus and rest their head on your shoulder, and get annoyed if you push their head away. If you are standing in line and allow 1 foot space between you and the person in front of you, others will assume you are not waiting in line and jump in. Pushing and shoving is the norm. The concept of waiting in line is also largely unheard of, and everything works on pretty much a first come, first serve basis.
I can say that observing local people in Shanghai was definitely one of my favorite things. It was my first city to see in China and thus, I was taken by many cultural differences. I couldn't stop looking (OK, I wasn't staring!!) at different costumes they wore. And the hairstyles were unbeatable!
... are common in Shanghai. In the midtown, traffic is heavy and the amount of bycicles up and down makes it almost impossible to even cross the streets.
Well, this could be also filed in the section "Warnings or Dangers", but anyway this is what China is.
One annoyance you ll quickly experience in Shanghai (and most big Chinese cities) is that the locals don t seem to know the concept of waiting their turn, lining up properly, or respect for personal space. I was cut at KFC, at the subway ticket booth, at the hotel checkout, the airport line, you name it...it is the survival of the pushiest!!
Too bad I didn't have my camera at the time but the crowd getting onto the city bus was like a crazed mob. No doubt this leads
to a lot of traffic accidents.
If that's not bad enough, you'll hear and see plenty of spitting, clearing throats, and cleaning noses. Well, this is just the way things are for now.
This isn't isolated to Shanghai or China but it was disturbing to see the large number of homeless, largely rural migrants, especially those begging with children in their arms, the police do pester them to not loiter around for too long.
On a more positive note, Shanghai tries to be foreigner/tourist friendly...maybe its because they are willing to spend and not insist on discounts! Anyway, it is demonstrated by the sign in the picture. Ladies and foreigner's free.
The super long electric buses seemed to be the People Mover of Shanghai. They were always packed with people. I rode them quite a bit myself. The bus system is very extensive and cheap. If you get yourself a good bus map it's also fairly easy to use...the tricky part is knowing when to get out!! hahaa I missed several stops but I was never to far from my intended destination.
Almost every back alley that I walked through had laundry hanging everywhere. It was interesting to see laundry even hanging at street level in the big city. So that showed me that the people of the area most not have a petty theft problem. Nobody wants to steal their neighbors underwear!! hahaha
I love sugar cane juice. I saw it quite often in China. A couple of problems with buying it in the street is What kind of water did the glass get rinsed out in? Who was the last person that drank from that glass? Luckily I didn't have any problems!! KNOCK on Wood!! LOL
You can have a big glass for just pennies....I would recommend bringing your own cup if you have sanitation concerns.
Peddlars selling food items and trinklets can be found easily on some of the major bridges in Shanghai, especially the bridges near large shopping malls, tapping into the large flow of human traffic. Many of these illegal peddlars are from other poorer provinces, so sometimes you may find some interesting ethnic gems among the pile of crap they sell. Open your eyes, be ready to bargain and get out of their way when the Police comes catching.
It is a Chinese belief that when phlegm builds up in your throat or mouth, it is "bad" for your body, and thus it is better to spit it out than swallow it. Consequently, you'll witness a lot of locals spitting *constantly* as you walk by. Watch your feet-- not only do you risk stepping into a ball of spit, you might have one actually shooting at your legs if you are not careful!
This represents a unique life experience. At least for me !!!
On my first trip to China I wanted to try some Snake !!. I must confess it was not a easy decision of mine but, as a cultural experience, I wanted to do so.
I was told that Snake is not something that Chinese people do eat regularly at home since it requires a lot of work when prepare it for cooking.
For our dining experience our group chose a fine Chinese restaurant in Shanghai. The Snake was ordered by the size and it seems that about 2 kilos a piece, being not too big and also not too small, is a good sizable specimen.
I learned that those Snakes are grown and fed for the sole purpose of being eaten by humans. Therefore I guess there's a whole industry behind that business. The specimens are then kept alive in cages located at the restaurants until a customer asks for it.
That was our case. A specimen of about 2 kilos was chosen and by our requirement it was then brought alive to our table (as pictured on this tip) since we wanted to check it alive too. After some additional time it was then brought fried cooked and ready to be eaten.
One has to wear a plastic glove in one hand since the sole use of chop sticks makes it impossible to reach the snake's meat.
I found out that snakes contain dozens of small bones. Therefore, would the Snake had been a smaller specimen, it would also have been more difficult to reach the meat between those smaller bones.
It tasted good. I liked it. Maybe because it was fried and cooked with some spices. Somehow it tasted like cooked rabbit the way my mother used to cook for me long ago. As a curiosity, some people I spoke with afterwards told me that snake's flavour reminds them grilled Chicken.
Anyway, overall, it tasted good to me and it is a gastronomic & cultural experience I do not regret.
Here, banners attract locals to buy the traditional Moon Festival cakes for the Mid Autumn Festival due on 12 September, when full moon hangs bright in the night sky in the Chinese Lunar Calendar of August 15. Confectionary shops are busy when people queue up to buy all flavours and sizes of moon cakes, which are literally sold fast like hot cakes.
new law decreed!!!! arrgghhhh....
requires that you show your passport at Internet Bar's/Cafe's, etc.... to protect against I don't know what... so you can check your email...
that's if you go to a place outside your hotel/hostel...
in my opinion, annoying, not safe for us to be carrying passport around to check email...
had interesting experiences at different locations.....
just a heads up!!