There are two ways to explore a foreign country: as a tourist and as a local. Very many would by default settle for the former. Going to touristy sites, taking tour buses, guides and buying overpriced souvenirs and shopping in foreigner infested-inflated malls — for many this might be the safest way to explore an unknown ground especially if you have no idea of its language, and I should add, exploring this way is fine, you might as well stay in your country and read about what is there to see on wikipedia, or buy a guide of the country which will most likely have better pictures than those taken with your digicam and buy souvenir off ebay, you’d save money off that not to mention long flights and ticket money.
That’s out of the way. By now it’s clear that I’m choosing to explore the town as a local. I’ve already given an overview of the life in Shanghai in the previous post, for this post, I will go into details of some things skimmed over and I will effectively skip things you can read about on www.travelwiki.com or wikipedia.com, that’s why it’s there; come on, let go local in Shanghai.
Going local in Shanghai can go be, the ‘light’ side or the ‘heavy’.
The light side
It’s useful of learn some phrases that’ll make your walk on the shopping mall infested Shanghai easier. Maybe simple ones like ‘xie xie’, or the courteous ‘Ni Hao’ or how to say ‘No, I don’t want’. Forget shopping in the touristy area, ask for Nanjing Rd. or People’s Sq. and do your shopping and eating in the limitless option of shops there. Maybe you prefer to save more money for shopping on these street, skip the five/four-star hotels, find the hostels where you will not only find comparable accommodations, you will make accessible friends who are travelers as well and might just have tips to keep your head afloat. Not to forget that in hostels, the staffs have ‘street’ knowledge of the locale and are a great source of [free] information.
It’s great to travel with a companion (you’d get lonely less) and if you have no companion, it’s indispensable to be highly sociable — you save on hassle and …you never know. Chinese are very open and friendly, be the same and you’d be fine.
Chinadaily.com and Shanghai.craigslist.com.cn are websites you can find people for friends, relationships, casual encounters, or, stop by http://wikitravel.org/en/Shanghai for information the best venues around.
When the sun goes down, you might wonder what else goes down, and here comes the heavy side.
The heavy Side
If you’re a clubby person, you’d find joints in Shanghai, the ones with cover charge and the one without. I prefer the ones without and tourist free (remember I said this is the local guide), I prefer one down Nanjing rd., Windows Underground is the joint, cheap drinks (bear cost starting from approximately $2 for beer), friendly Chinese.
Come to Chinese clubs with a companion is essential. For the girls it might be obvious and if you’re a guy, you’d need a wing man and/or a cock-stopper, Chinese girls are very wary of foreigners, if you’re so inclined, learn some key Chinese phrases, or learn to understand the scanty English spoken here.
Are you desperate? Fear not, you might be willing to take the risk of the Red Lights. For $36 you’d have a cute Chinese in you. It’s called Ladies Bar.
There is Shanghai and that you. So far, I’d see what i can still discover underground.