Getting around in China
Getting around in China Shanghai Reviews
Aug 08, 2007
Language Barrier: Before heading to this busy metropolis, be sure to learn a bit of Mandarin . For example, learn all the numbers, the monetary designation, and key phrases such as "How much is this?" Although Shanghai is leaps and bounds ahead of its sister cities in China in terms of westernization, the Chinese by and large do not speak English, not even in touristy destinations.
Further, most restaurants frequented by the locals (which indicates that it's good) often do not have English menus. So either take a Chinese friend who can translate for you or find a restaurant with pictures on the menu.
Safeguarding Your Possessions: pickpockets are notorious in Shanghai, and I witnessed one happen directly in front of me just the other day. The boy had his hands in the woman's handbag and matched her gait as to not alert her of what was happening. All this took seconds before he took off opposite direction. By the time I realized what happened, it was too late to notify the victim.
Taxi: Many of the taxi cabs in the city are untrustworthy. They will often take the long way to go somewhere especially if you don't know where you are. I'm sure this is a personal choice, but I've found that the blue or green cabs were honest, while the red or maroon ones often tried to cheat me. Keep in mind that if you were cheated by a driver you can always report them to the authorities. So make sure you get a receipt (Fa Piaow - in mandarin) before you exit.
Best time to visit: probably the spring or the fall. Do avoid the summer months if you can. My stay here was from mid July to mid August and I was miserably hot and sticky the entire time.
Caution: if you have weak respiratory system, Shanghai's polluted air may give you trouble. I've lived in polluted cities such as Seoul before and such air pollution can irritate already existing allergies or can jump-start a new one.
Money: it's a little confusing at first, but the Chinese currency is known as yuan, renminbi (RMB), and quay. When you shop in Shanghai, the locals will most likely say, "Wu Quay" for 5 yuan.
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