It snowed today, a rare event for a city that shares the same latitude as Jerusalem and Austin.
I took a short time-lapse video this morning with the sun poking through the clouds; the light playing games with the February dullness.
This evening, we ate in the Langyifang Restaurant. It’s situated in a gigantic modern mall close to the hotels. We sampled a large mix of local foods, mostly similar to what might be found back home.
My impression of the city so far is much less of a culture shock than I would have expected. Shanghai is brash, modern and unquestionably upmarket. Most items on display cost the same as what might be paid in Europe. Many of the big brands are here, including Haagen Dazs, KFC and TGI Fridays. Clearly, if we want an authentic Chinese experience, we are in the wrong place.
One of my colleagues, an American, has mastered Mandarin Chinese, both oral and written. My Chinese colleagues tell me it is word perfect without much of a trace of an accent. Knowing how to read the Chinese characters is especially impressive, as this is a much bigger challenge for Chinese children compared to western kids. Mastery involves familiarity with several thousand symbols, many of which vary in meaning depending on the context in which they are written. On top of being masters in Chinese, many of my colleges speak English perfectly. Truly, I feel humbled here.