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My Trip to China (Page 3)

Studying abroad through SIUE for an approximately 16,000 mile round-trip

Alan, 8/20/2018

This roundabout was huge and had a lot of traffic.

I had assignments that involved going to places and seeing differences and similarities between places (and prices) in the US. Malls seemed to be bigger here in Shanghai than in America. A lot of American malls are dying due to online shopping like Amazon, but there were still many thriving malls in China. And unlike America, these ones were huge, featuring many floors and an open center.

Everything gets lit up at night.

Even boats had a lot of lights.

Some buildings even had animated lights.

It was nice to see trees in a relatively built-up area.

Some places went all out with lighting at night.

Many medians had a lot of flowers.

I felt a little creeped out by all the cameras everywhere. I suppose it's for safety, but it was also slightly unsettling. Cameras are expected in many places. But Shanghai has so many cameras compared to other places I've been.

I mostly used the subways to get around. They had many different destinations, going to pretty much every place I needed to go to. They were also very packed, and you had to go through a body and bag scanners before proceeding. Most lines only cost a couple RMB, or less than 50 cents.

There were so many lines that it was a little confusing, but I got used to it. But I guess it means you could get by living here without owning a car. Not all American cities are like that.

Shanghai is so huge that many of the streets have way more lanes than you usually see. Traffic in China is very different than in America.

West Nanjing Road looks much more impressive at night, though my old iPhone's camera wasn't very good at doing night scenes, so the colors from the neon signs look bad.

VPN disconnecting was a constant problem. This probably had less to do with my VPN and more to do with the slow and unreliable China Mobile connection.

A lot of the power cables in China were very messy. I wonder how safe it is.

One day, I walked from The Bund to Xintiandi, but my group made some navigation errors and we ended up going in the wrong direction, but it's okay because we saw some very cool streets anyway. It seemed like an older and possibly poorer area, with more low-rise buildings. It felt cramped, and people were walking on the street because there were too many people walking on the sidewalk.

I guess it felt more authentic than the shiny new areas. It felt more real, as opposed to touristy places like the Shanghai Tower. There was a lot of hustle and bustle here, and you had to dodge people, bikes, and cars. To the other people who live there, this is just a daily routine. But to me, it was very different. I am used to how packed Chicago is, but this was on another level.

In St. Louis, public transportation is sparse and not very good, but the public transportation in Shanghai seems really good. Compared to Madison, there was a similarity in the sense that many people use bikes to commute, but Madison has dedicated bike lanes and I don't know if Shanghai does. Traffic here seems like more of a chaotic free-for-all, but somehow it seems like everyone knows what they're doing.

Every now and then, someone would stare at me. I think one person even took a picture of me. I think this is because I look different.

I later went to a coworking space called Naked Hub, which is owned by WeWork. It reminded me of T-Rex in St. Louis, only more upscale. It seemed like a very modern business model. My group was given a presentation about the company and the concept of coworking in general.

I think the concepts of work and companies are changing, so it makes sense for offices to change too. Instead of meeting in person, people can meet in Skype or Slack. A lot of people work remotely. I've done tech support and other work remotely, and I can see that it's just not the same anymore. With phones and laptops, people can get things done pretty much anywhere, especially if it's related to things like business or software development, as opposed to something like being a chef, which requires your physical presence.