Shanghai Shake and the Beijing Boogie
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
35Trip End Mar 28, 2010
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- Shanghai is more dog eat dog, and Beijing is more bumper cars.
For whatever reason, I saw a lot more tension there. In just a few days, I observed:
2. A taxi (that I was in) cutting off another driver which led that driver to come out and swear in Shanghai-nese banging on the trunk.
3. Taxis swarming like vultures in a post-New Year's party refusing to use the meters. Little did I know, that you can threaten back to write down their license places and report them to their company.
4. Adolescent arguing with a store owner demanding money back for fake cigarettes which he claimed to have purchased.
5. Woman waiting in the cold for a taxi, then another woman mercilessly fighting her way in before her and ignoring the accusations of having no class or respect whatsoever.
Incidentally, I have seen none of the above in Beijing over the 3 months that I have been here. Yes, Beijing has the infamous black taxis, yes people still get in fights (even physical)... but one has to admit, it was a bit shocking for the 3 days that I was there! Street smarts seem to be more essential there.
- Shanghai is more compact than Beijing.
Although equally (if not more) congested in terms of traffic, Shanghai is easier to walk around. Once you are in an area, you do not need a taxi. Over the course of 20 min, I was able to walk across 3 metro stops along Nanjing. This is not feasible in Beijing. Three metro stops could easily be over an hour.
- Shanghai is definitely more Westernized than Beijing.
Overall I am glad that I picked Beijing. Even though it may not have Western comforts (food, culture) or quick public transportation, it is a fair trade-off to be around people who won't erupt if you step on their foot. =P On the other hand, Shanghai is worth another visit and I hope to get a better picture of it in the future (i.e. food and nice sights). And at least, the city did not get pummeled with snow to the point where planes could not fly!