So I had a friend post this article about how foreigners were surprised by different aspects of life in America. A funny read coming from those on the outside looking in. Of course, this was a perfect offshoot for my own “surprises” on life in the PRC.
1) It’s Cheap To Live Here.
Like the real estate in most big cities, real estate is at a premium and doesn’t come cheap. Shanghai is no exception. As for food, there is an exorbitant mark up on imported goods. So, other than services being next to nothing dirt cheap, its expensive to live here if you want, what I would consider, some basic comforts. And/or a social life.
2) The Divide Between Rich & Poor.
There are no words. The divide is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Ohhhh, so there are rules here??? You would never know it. Contracts, signs and one way streets mean little, if anything. All are treated as casual suggestions based on my experience.
4) A Higher Price Tag Equals Better Quality.
While not always the case, I have found that spending more money on food, clothing or service doesn’t necessarily mean you will receive better quality. I’ve had meals in expensive restaurants and have left unimpressed and hungry. From more than one place. I’ve purchased clothing equal to what I would spend at home thinking it would hold up and last. Not the case. Same goes for service. Whether you walk into a 5 star place or a shack, it bears little weight on the kind of service you will receive.
There are malls on ever corner. Literally. And really nice ones too. Nice to the point that I’m not sure who can really afford to shop there. Or how they stay in business considering we are in the land of copies for just about any and every designer.
Bills are paid in cash. On every corner at the local 7-11, Family Mart or Alldays. Unless they are late. Then you must go to the actual company to pay the bill. Except they don’t take cash. What?!? Help me out here. This is a developing country…who doesn’t take cash???
You can pretty much have anything and everything delivered to your door. Groceries. Food from any restaurant in the city. Concert tickets. Custom tailored clothing. Dry cleaning. You name it. You don’t have to set foot outside of your apartment in many cases. This is convenience at its best. Massage parlors & Starbucks on pretty much every corner in the city also bodes well for the convenience factor.
See #7. They are literally taking over the world. And people here are as equally addicted to Starbucks as we are back in the states.
For the most part, many people in the city know English. More so than what I anticipated coming here. This makes learning their language that much more difficult as you don’t really “need” it and could easily survive without it.
10) Business Practices.
It boggles my mind that legitimate businesses here don’t have a website. Or a phone number you can get access to online to call them. I know…this is very Gen Y of me. Is this like a throwback to simpler times?!?!?
Any surprises other expats care to share???