October 29, 2004
I'm in Shanghai
I remember the first time I came to Shanghai three years ago, I didn't think much of it. Then perhaps because the idea of Shanghai generates such enthusiasm everywhere, I, too, became quite enthralled with it on my following visits.
Yet, having just spent the previous 5+ weeks in some of Asia's other great cities (Tokyo, Taipei and Seoul), I find myself having a very poor initial reaction to Shanghai this time around. Somehow all the things that didn't bother me the last two times are bothering the hell out of me. The constant honking. Bicycles everywhere. Dirty little cabs. Poor little 5-year-old girls made to sell flowers on the street. The phlegm, oh the phlegm. The horrible Internet access (a lot of sites that I read just aren't reachable from China for some reason ~ including my own figure-ground.com ~ damn you communist censor bureau or whatever hell else agency is responsible for this). Etc, etc.
But mostly, it's the lack of manners of the mainlanders that really put me off.
It's only been a few hours, maybe I'll get over my initial repulsion and get back to appreciating the positives of this city.