First Week in Shanghai

One week has already flown by and we still have a long way to go before we are settled in. However, we had a big win today; we nailed down a studio apartment in the French Concession area of central Shanghai. Our move-in day is set for Monday, which means our time in our temporary shared apartment for 7 will come to an end soon.

Celebrating at a cafe close to our new apartment!

Celebrating at a cafe close to our new apartment!

It looks likes we are finally over our jet lag from the 13-hour time difference and can process what a crazy week it’s been (even though most days we are extremely tempted to take an afternoon nap).

Anyway, here are some pros and cons about China that we have come across in these first 7 days. This should be a fun list to look back on and we will compile a new list in 2017 for comparison.


  • Shanghai is great for English speakers (sort of… see the cons for more on this). If you are in the main areas, restaurants offer translated menus, ATM’s offer an English translation, and the metro lists all names in English too.
  • If you do it right, you can eat, travel and have fun for almost nothing. A local showed us around Shanghai and took us to “the hole in the wall” which isn’t its real name, but who cares. We had a dinner for 6 with 5 main dishes, rice and beers for a whopping 125 RMB. Which equates to $20 back home. Most mornings, we have eaten a Chinese breakfast of Jian Bing (a Chinese breakfast burrito), or a giant pork-filled dumpling for less than $1. Getting around the metro system is really inexpensive and simple to use with each ride costing around 4 RMB.
  • There are some gorgeous parks spread throughout the city. If you need to escape from the urban sprawl, you can hide out in tree-filled spaces with nice fountains and birds chirping. There are always fun activities going on in the parks. We will GoPro a park stroll for you soon and post it!


  • Not speaking Chinese. Learning how to communicate without words has been fun but equally frustrating. Ordering food from street vendors without English menus is extremely complicated. We have also been denied rides by multiple taxis when they don’t understand where we want to go. Many foreigners (including us) get taken advantage of on pricing for most items because we don’t speak fluently.
  • The traffic here is terrifying. There are really great roads with clearly marked lanes and crosswalks, but they are hardly paid attention too. When the green man says it’s time to cross a street, there are typically also scooters, motorcycles, cars and buses turning onto the street you are crossing. Everyone driving uses there horns to signify to others that they are approaching, so it’s loud and busy on all of the main roads.

Talk to you soon! Let us know what you would like to learn more about in the comment section below.

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