Shanghai 09/09/2012

Now it was a really really long time since I wrote anything here.
I am not sure where to begin. So much has happened so it would take a long time to cover everything at once.

I can begin with my current situation, and then I will cover the rest of my time since my last post in other posts later on.

Right now, I am sitting in an apartment on the 17th floor (out of 30) at Rayfront Hotel in Shanghai.
I arrived yesterday, after a long and tiresome journey from my former home at Gold Coast, Australia.
What strikes me is the extreme difference between these two locations (which of course is not that surprising).
I have spent my last year in an area known for great surfing, long sandy beaches, sun and relaxation, and now I find myself in one of the worlds biggest cities (23 million citizens… that is 46 times more people than in Gothenburg… Just saying…), where I can’t see the sky (not sure if it is due to pollution or that it is just cloudy), and where ordering food requires me to point to different pictures to explain what I want. My knowledge of communication in Mandarin limits to Hello (Ni Hao) and Thank you (Xie Xie). This at least make me seem polite, but is not sufficient to order food at a local restaurant. The fact that McDonalds is situated 5 minutes walk from the hotel is a relief. 🙂

There is so many questions to be answered at the moment. Can I drink the water from the tap at the hotel or do I need to buy water at a shop? How do I get around in the city? How will I manage to survive without seeing the sun for the next 8 months? What am I really supposed to pay for food, drinks, coffee? Why can’t they all speak English, like normal people?!

My first impression of Shanghai is “It’s so big!!!”. This is such a difference compared to anything that I have encountered before. (Perhaps Bangkok was a similar experience). It took me about 45 minutes by cab to get from the train station to the hotel and then it wasn’t even rush hour. I am not sure about the regulations for cars, but if this would have been in Sweden, the government would make so much money handing out fines. Red lights doesn’t seem to bother most of the drivers, and crossing a road seems to be to gamble with your life, even if there is a green light for pedestrians.
The local shopping centre is bigger than probably anything back at home, and contains most of the major brands. (I still need to find an H&M store, seems like there is one 2km from here., but the local shopping centre had a Vero Moda store… that was a bit surprising)

I am feeling extremely confused and lost, and this is so different to when I went to Australia for my bachelor. If I would gotten lost in Australia, I would at least have known how to communicate with the people. Here I got nothing. I got the address to the hotel on a business card if I would get lost, so at least I got something, but since I haven’t been able to get a SIMcard with 3G included, I would not even be able to use Google maps to navigate. Most signs are in Chinese Mandarin, and since I have no knowledge about the written language, it is completely useless to me.
At the same time, I like it. I like to test my limits and expand my knowledge, and being confused, lost, and have no knowledge how basic things works in Shanghai is quite fun. There is so much to learn and get used to. I am really looking forward to my time here in Shanghai. 🙂

It is about 15 days until classes begins, and 11 days until the orientation at Hult Campus. Hopefully I will have managed to get used to the environment by then. If there is anything you want me to talk about, let me know 🙂