These are simply things that I noticed in my first 72 hours in Shanghai last week and should not be taken into any type of context except for my thoughts on each topic. This entry is not meant to offend or criticize the Asian culture and community in Shanghai. Ok, maybe poke fun a bit…
I will not be touching on the cliché foreigner experiences of describing in detail how awful the toilet hygiene here is OR how people are always coughing without a hand over their mouths OR the initial shock of being surrounded constantly with thousands of Asians.
The following 5 observations have never really been mentioned to me by anyone, and I am sure there are logical explanations for all of them. That can be another post for another time.
Let’s start :
1. Push and/or Pull doors – China Doors go both way :
Why in the world would you label a door “Push” or “Pull” if it does both? At that point, what is the purpose of the label? Decoration perhaps? I have seen countless times where a door is labeled one or the other, and yet I find that you can do both in most cases. Check this out :
Why only swing one way, if you can swing both ways? What is China’s real stance on accepting homosexuality? All joking aside, I personally find this very convenient, yet funny that they went through the labeling process for these ambidextrous doors.
2. Why is it freezing everywhere?
Coming from Canada, I feel as if I am entitled to speak on the topic of when it is appropriate to label outside “cold” or just brisk. It has been “cold” the last few days and it has only been 3-10 degrees C. This is the type of cold that your internal body temperature lowers when you enter a NEW room without heating…which is every room! It is almost as if they dislike using a heater OR they have not discovered the pleasures of central heating for buildings. I know we will complain when it is disturbingly humid outside during the summer months, but until then, I will find comfort wearing my winter jacket to bed.
3. Movies on the metro
Now, I am all for watching interesting shows and movies at inappropriate moments in life, but what is with the fact that people are watching full length films on their tablets or cell phones during their commute. I am talking about plot development, character development, fights scenes, love scenes etc… Perhaps it is cool to watch 1/3 of a 3 hour film, and you can finish the movie in 3 commutes. Perhaps they just have VERY LONG commutes (2+ hours) and it makes sense. Maybe, I have too much criteria for binging or watching a TV show. (Ex: preferably in my room where no one can judge me for wasting a day or a few days…) It does beg the question though : how good are these movies and shows? (Ex: House of Cards < random Chinese show) If that was the case, I might be very inclined to follow suit. Here are a few examples : (Clearly, I am awesome with an Iphone camera)
4. Running in the rain:
My school has 2 complete tracks, which I find refreshing considering my last university did not even have one close by. Over the last decade that I have been running on tracks, I usually assume that when you make the conscious decision that you will run in the rain, you are going to get wet. It is just how it goes down. Every time, same result. Until, I saw this :
Now, it was not just him. I saw another fellow doing the same thing. Innovative, logically makes sense, and completely ridiculous. Perhaps it stabilizes your arm muscles and increase hand grip while you do sprints in the rain. Perhaps they are butlers-in-training for extremely wealthy Chinese businessmen that enjoy the occasional jog/track workout. A must try for my next run…OR my next round of butler auditions.
5. They have service underground:
If you are successful in getting any type of data plan, you will realize that you will have service everywhere you go. Taking the subway, no problem! Perhaps this explains my third observation… On one hand, I find this ingenious because you can address a variety of errands during your commute. (Ex : work emails, family emails, Skype with a friend, catching up on shows etc…) On the other, it made me realize that people here do not have an opportunity to unplug…ever! Unless intentionally, they always have the option of being online or in front of some type of media. This can easily transition into a “technology has made everything in the world faster and better, and yet meaningful communication is almost nonexistent in today’s world” type of argument, but I am going to cut it short here.
Perhaps life is better with your senses being distracted at all times. Perhaps, sometimes we just need a reminder to look up, take in what is really going on around us, for us to truly appreciate each moment.