December 6, 2013
About halfway through my trip, I started taking notes on my phone of observations of people and the places I was visiting. Several of these items I was aware of prior to my visit, but a few came as a bit of a surprise. Below are these recounts which aren't meant to imply any type of stereotype or that all individuals within China are representative of any or all of these observations.
Overall, in Beijing it was very cold for this time of year, but the skies were VERY clear of smog or haze.
While riding the subway/metro I noticed that everyone is very quiet on subway almost as if being watched. Which leads to …
There are cameras everywhere, even in seemingly non-tourist areas.
Not sure if it's related to the current issues between the US and China, but there is a larger police presence than originally expected. For some reason, it doesn't bother me and I kind of like it.
While I'd heard that Shanghai was more modern and western, but it might be the genesis or the future of hippsters as they're all over The Bund. I suppose it maybe be considered cosmopolitan.
Initially, it appeared Coca-Cola might maintain the dominant presence in the north in Beijing and Pepsi to the south in Shanghai, but after walking past the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, it's obvious Coca-Cola has invested in this tourist attraction within this city.
While I actually saw a smaller amount of Shanghai than Beijing and fewer tourist destinations/spots, there are far more westerners in Shanghai.
Twice, I was propositioned for drugs in French Concession in Shanghai. Earlier in the day, I'd had a conversation with several others in our tour group about the very subject as we'd smelled the scent of marijuana while walking the streets of Shanghai, but weren't sure how prevalent drug use was in this city and country.
I was VERY clearly profiled for bag screening at metro station. Every station in both cities has x-ray machines for bags. However, three Chinese individuals with backpacks were able to walk past the machine without having their bags scanned; I was gestured by the police officer to place my bag into the machine, which I was already doing. I didn't mind, but I did notice almost immediately.
The habits of the locals is started to get on my nerves. The slurping of food is dismissible when it's a few tables over in a restaurant, but it's not so easy when it's in the seat next to you on a plane. As is spitting which is gross in any context, but tolerable outdoors and not on the floor of the airport. I witnessed/experienced both.
Again, these are just some general societal and personal experiences I encountered on my trip. It was an amazing experience and
Beijing, China, Shanghai, Vacation,