So the last few days in Shanghai have been really nice because the weather has been perfect! 60 degrees with very little humidity is a lot better than the 30-40 degree weather we've gotten used to over the last few months. Before we came we heard a lot of horror stories about the unbearable humidity of Shanghai but, so far, it's been fine. In fact, the only time in the last few days that we've noticed the humid weather is at night, when the fog is heavy and thicker than a milkshake.
Throughout the time I've been writing this blog, I've tried to avoid talking about politics, mainly out of fear that I (not Tiffany) would alienate readers who are either uninterested or might not agree with certain views. But those who know me best also know that politics is one of my passions, and I often look at the world with that topic in mind.
Having said that, one of the most interesting subjects I studied in college was the case of China, so prior to coming here there were certain preconceptions I had about the country and system we would be living in. Shanghai was one of the first "Special Economic Zones" in China, which are areas designated by leadership to serve as centers for business and trade. These zones are given more latitude in an economic and regulatory sense, and this flexibility is what makes them especially interesting to me because they embody what makes China's system so unique: These zones are where the ideals of Capitalism and Communism intersect. It has been fascinating over the last five months to see first-hand the daily life of ordinary folks in a Communist system, particularly in Shanghai given it's special status. Below are some photos that I've collected while roaming the streets, and they capture what I think is the essence of Capitalism: entrepreneurial spirit. After crossing paths with these people, and many others like them, it seems to me that there is no shortage of people in China who want to start businesses, look for ways to profit off of their productivity, and, well, capitalize. Alright, I'm done boring you, please don't hold it against Tiffany!
Last week we decided to check out the Dongtai Antique Market, a well-known place to buy "antique" Chinese trinkets and other stuff. As the name suggests, it's on Dongtai Road, just north of Fuxing Road. The Dongtai Antique Market is the last flea market in Shanghai that's dedicated to selling antiques, and even though many items may be fake, there is a chance that a trained eye could get something authentically old. But for us, it's still a great place to get some things that look old, haha, so we can decorate our empty apartment with cool Chinese stuff! One downside to the market is, not surprisingly, dealing with all of the aggressive vendors, who pull you into their stores and won't leave you alone if you're looking at something interesting. It's a little difficult to enjoy browsing through things when you're constantly telling a vendor, or the traveling shoe-cleaner, "no." But if you can go into the market knowing that this is simply the way things are, and keep a smile on your face, you can have a pretty good experience. We are starting to become pros in the art of "Shopping in China", haha.
Tiffany has been watching the news a lot lately, so she wants to start talking about News in China for our blogs:
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Things To Do in Shanghai
Enjoy the Shanghai Art Scene
Maybe It's Just Me
I'm a big fan of sleep, and I'm not usually one to criticize anyone for a quick snooze. The day we arrived in Shanghai we had a big job: find an apartment as soon as possible (especially because we only had our hotel reserved for two nights). So we immediately beat the streets and looked for a place to stay. We found one building that looked pleasant, so we walked into the lobby and found the whole staff asleep -- behind the desk, sitting on chairs in the lobby, and one person slumped over on the floor. We didn't want to wake them, and we decided to look somewhere else. After all, who wants to live in a building where anyone can get in because the staff is sleeping, right?
We eventually found a great apartment with a lively staff in the building lobby. But recently, we've gotten home late from being out and noticed that a certain security guard has been making herself at home: