A week in China part II
More on my week in China. While most of the time was spent living with a local and thus living like a local (KTV, happy hour martinis, expat trivia night), the one touristy thing I made time for was to go to the zoo. How could I set foot in Shanghai and leave without seeing a Giant Panda? Before we went our friend joked that going to the zoo is very much an insight into the local culture and that more is done to keep the locals from harming the animals than the other way round. This statement definitely rang true for much of the day. While the zoo was incredible and had some fantastic exhibits, it was sad to see so many people throwing rubbish around, banging on glass and trying to feed the animals – the saddest of which included locals feeding chocolate biscuits to an exotic parrot. Apart from the anger I felt to careless patrons though, the zoo was a great place to spend a day. And yes, I got to see a giant panda – albeit just one slightly sad looking panda.
Our day at the zoo was also a day spent swamped by tiny school kids. It was interesting to learn about the culture of children in China. Due to the one child policy, children are very much a valued part of society. So much so that adults will happily give up their seat for a child on the train or bus as I witnessed with my friend’s son on the metro – something that just would never happen in most places of the world. Needless to say there are many spoilt children in China as well. But with being spoilt also comes the huge responsibility of parent’s expectations. Such a culture will no doubt hold an interesting social impact in the future.
By staying with a local I was also able to experience a taste of Shanghai luxury, where foot massages take place at midnight (or literally whatever hour your desire), blinged out Louis Vuitton stores are easily found (as are Lanvin stores – amazing!) and penthouse living is really all that it’s cracked up to be. With such a champagne taste of the city, I could definitely see myself living in Shanghai. Minus a penthouse and midnight massages though? I’m not so sure.