|Pretty much the ONLY family picture we took in Shanghai|
When people have asked me what our China trip was like, have told them the difference between Beijing and Shanghai is this: Beijing was way cooler from a tourist perspective, but I wouldn't want to live there, while Shanghai wasn't so great as a tourist (with children), but I could totally see myself living there. And since we really didn't go anywhere or see a whole lot in Shanghai (I'm not joking when I say that from the perspective a touring family it wasn't that great), I'll use the contrast with Beijing to highlight two of the more notable aspects of Chinese culture from my point-of-view.
Expectorating: The major difference between Shanghai and Beijing was the notable absence of human saliva on Shanghai sidewalks (remember, this comes from the perspective of a guy who likes to tool around barefoot). Everybody in Beijing spits; men, women, and children. I kid you not, I saw a lady walking down the street, dressed to the nines, who then snorted and hocked a loogie the proportions of which would make a Major League ballplayer blush. I'll give Beijing the benefit of the doubt on this one, and say that maybe we just happened to stay in a part of the city that just wasn't as clean, while the section of Shanghai we stayed in was ridiculously immaculate. I will end this section by saying that Shanghai is one of my favorite running cities--wide clean streets with minimal foot and bicycle traffic to interfere with a leisurely jog around the neighborhood.
|The only playground we could find...and that's it.|
But nothing, NOTHING in Shanghai compared to what happened every time we sat down to eat at McDonalds in Beijing, especially at breakfast time. It seems that every morning at that particular McDonalds about half of the people in the restaurant are not actually there to eat. They are there to stay out of the cold until 08:50, at which point they all dutifully file out of the restaurant and go to work. Just never-you-mind the family of seven--with four kids under the age of 10, no less--that just came in and is looking for a place to sit together to eat breakfast. Don't bother moving to let them sit down. No, seriously, you should really just sit and stare at them like they are animals in a petting zoo. Just please don't spit at them.
|Thank goodness for the ball-crawl...there are five in there, I counted|