China

12 Things I Learned During My 12 Hours in Shanghai

On my long way to Kolkata, India, I decided to take the “longest” flight possible (72 hours including two layovers of 12 and 6 hours) in order to discover a few additional cities. So let’s see what I experienced during this extra travel time:
  1. I discovered you can stay in China for less than 48 hours without the need of any visa. A convenient way to quickly discover Shanghai during a layover.
  2. I was able to meet some of my fellow entrepreneur friends. Shanghai is not a financial city like New York or London. The city has a high concentration of people working in the wine & food industries.
  3. I had dinner in a typical Yunnan cuisine restaurant. Very large meals with many plates for less than $25.
  4. I sampled a local Chinese beer. There were lots of European beers on the menu too.
  5. I saw Shanghai’s very polluted sky. In fact, you can’t even see the sky and can barely see half of the tall skyscrapers.
  6. I learned we could not drink tap water as it’s too contaminated by heavy metals.
  7. I had breakfast in a French bakery – a croissant for $5.
  8. I took a local bus to go to the airport. It was 10 times less expensive than the cab from the airport and was the same journey time!
  9. I learned that most Chinese do not speak English.
  10. I discovered the old French Concession area (photo below) where the streets are bordered with old French Platane (Plane Tree in English) brought over from Paris.