Friday, April 1, 2016

Blog: Shanghai: Short Taxi Ride Between Airports

I have mixed feelings about my time in Shanghai.  Though I know I can't really judge the whole city based off of a few hours, this is my first impression.

We found out that we had to switch airports in Shanghai when we checked in at JFK, so we weren't originally expecting to actually get to leave the airport.  I was a bit excited to see a little peak of China, but also worried we would get lost and stranded.  Luckily we ran into another couple who had the same flights as us, and seemed to be a bit more prepared than we were.  When we got off the plane and through security, we were trying to figure out how to change over some money, and where to find a taxi, and this guy in broken English came over to us and was trying to stop us from using the ATM machine and to use his cab AND money changing services.  He said the cab would cost the equivalent of  like $100 or $200, I don't remember which, and he brought Takeru over to like a sort of official looking booth area and tried to get him to change his money over.  We decided to follow our instincts and the giant sign that read "TAXI" in like four different languages, and go outside to the line of taxis, and this guy followed us almost all the way to the taxi desperately trying to convince us to use his services, even though we told him no, and that it was too expensive.  The actual taxi we took was the equivalent of only $30, split between us, only $15.

Our friend who came to NY with us JUST told us about his experience with a person like this in an airport in China before.  I was surprised how official he looked and sounded, and no one was stopping him.  Like, this is a common known thing to happen there, scams like these.  That is not at all a great first impression that you should want to give newcomers to a country that they've never been to before, and it makes me sad that this is a thing.

I wouldn't mind visiting and actually getting a good taste and sense of the city someday, I just don't think I could live in a place that so easily tries to deceit it's naive newcomers fresh off the plane (and apparently all around the city too, according to a few warnings of other scams I read online).  It's just not something I can ignore and accept.

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Anyway, the taxi driver we ended up with was nice and played a mixture of Chinese and American pop music, and we tried grape Minute Maid in the airport, and it had bits of grape in it, and was amazing!

These are the very few pictures I was able to take.  The smog in the sky was very interesting to see.  It kind of cast a pastel, right before sunset glow on everything.  Also, I knew that Chinese people drank hot/warm water instead of cold, but it was still super interesting seeing it on the actual water machine thing.

A little bit of familiarity in a strange country

Sorry there's so much negativity in my writing part of this post, but I wanted to say my experience as true to my thoughts as possible, and make sure if anyone else ends up in my situation, they can be prepared.  I hope that next time I'm in Shanghai, I will have better things to say about my time there, and get to see some more of it!

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