How do I describe Shanghai as a city? I’ve never been to New York…but it felt like the Asian version of where anything can happen and a place all your dreams can come true. Flying from Qingdao and getting a taxi to the hotel was very easy. Everything was arranged for the interns and a rough itinerary was written down before we came. We were a nice group of ten people.
One thing I never thought about whilst coming to China three years ago, was hairdressers. If you live here, you can never forget that 99.78 percent of Chinese people have black hair. Therefore, dying your hair very light maybe more problematic than first thought. And for those of you seeking blond highlights, YES, it is possible! And NO, you don’t need to spend 2000 RMB for it, around 900 RMB (100 Euros) is enough! FC Salon is the best hairdresser in Shanghai (Hongkou Plaza). The only thing you need to know is that nobody speaks English so you are likely to have lots of ‘blond moments’ there.
On our first day we went to Yuyuan gardens – a beautiful place near the centre with everything to offer. Overall in the city all you could see was the masses of people; people walking, people eating, tourists, families, crowds – all going somewhere, all taking in the atmosphere of Shanghai.
The buildings are so impressive and it really makes you realize why everyone says that Shanghai is the great metropolis of the East. The fake market which was close to the main centre was fantastic. Cheap bags, cheap shoes, designer watches and all at the fraction of the western price. One of the interns was the best at bargaining, not settling until she got her fake Mulberry bag at 70 RMB (7 Euros). Clubbing for me was one of the best activities to do in the city. We went to Bar Rouge which overlooked the entire night skyline, the music the atmosphere – Incredible. The other evening, we went to Myst and Seventh Floor, the most famous clubs in Shanghai! You can get anything western and anything Chinese in Shanghai and that’s what I loved about it. You can walk down a small alley road and have a traditional Chinese dish or you can walk down another and have a western salad with garlic bread.
What makes Shanghai so different to Qingdao?
– The Food. The dumplings are a lot sweeter here but there is a lot of western food and restaurants. It is almost impossible to find a really good fresh salad in Qingdao, but there is no end of them in Shanghai and certainly no end of Starbucks.
– The People. There are so many more people in Shanghai. The sheer density of people is literally unbelievable . The ethnic diversity is also very different; Most of the time when we see a foreign face in Qingdao, we recognize them immediately as a fellow ‘’InternChina friend’’, but there are hundreds of tourists and expats in Shanghai.
– The Lifestyle. I think due to the size and the city’s function, it definitely seems to have more of a luxurious, party lifestyle here.
But after all that traveling, sometimes it is just nice to go back to Qingdao, where there is no blonde hair dye (maybe paint stripper disguised in a L’Oreal bottle), and no western salad restaurants.
Explore the mini and Mega cities in China, and apply now for one of our internships.