Caught the nostalgia bug today while visiting Hong Kong. It has been 2 years since I’ve officially left Shanghai! Those 8 crazy years in Mordor (locals called it ‘modu’ 魔都). Shanghai was glitsy, cosmopolitan and pure madness. Funny enough, I only miss 8 things about Shanghai. None of them are particularly glamourous.
1) Blindman massage
We’re talking about USD12~15 per hour PROFESSIONAL massage here. These massage pallours hire blind people. Most of them can’t even see the light, but some of them can see some flickers. The point is that they are GOOD. Extraordinary fingers that will just spot pressure points that you never knew you had and cause intense pain through the massage session. I feel like I’m walking on clouds afterwards every time. The place is simple and doesn’t have incense or other fancy ambiance stuff, but I’m really just there for their excellent massage. The ambiance / furniture is irrelevant to how good they are.
NB: It is very important to ask for as blind as possible masseurs for the best experience possible.
My fave branch? Yilin Blindman massage 100 Nandan Dong Road, Xuhui district
Instruction to the taxi driver? Nandan Lu near Tianyaoqiao Lu
2) Knife point pedicure
Alright, when I first arrived back in 2007 I was SOOOO scared. I asked for a pedicure and the guy came in with a knife. (1) it was performed by a guy 90% of the time (2) it is done with a knife. Over the years, I have come to LOVE Chinese pedicure. It is effective and feels WAY cleaner than the western varieties.
The below videos are super old. I filmed them on my first week in Shanghai 2007.
3) Cheap hair salon
We’re talking about USD2 for a ladies hair cut here. I reckon, since these guys/gals have cut way more hair in their lives than any hair dressers due to population density (23 million in town), they’re probably way more ‘safe’ than the more expensive salons (USD50+). Well, that and the fact that my hair is naturally curly and I don’t care that much about it.
How can anyone not miss that?
4) Xiaolongbao that are DELICIOUS and cheap
5) Delivery systems
Their system is basic but SOOOO effective! We’re talking about deliveries that cost as low as USD1, but the delivery man will call SMS you in the morning or night before to let you know the estimated delivery time. Plus the online tracking system is pretty standard.
Delivery man were not the most polite, but at least he’s making sure that you’re there for the delivery.
Taobao, ebay/amazon of China, is THE BEST! The site literately links the delivery tracking system as well. Very smooth indeed. There’s also a saying in China. If you cannot find that item on Taobao, it does not exist 😛
6) 24 hours KTV
All night partying normally result in drunken KTV *LOL* I just love singing. Depending on the day / time, KTV can be very affordable. Way cheaper than Europe anyways.
7) Safe nightlife
Girls can wear skirts as short as their underwear and never fear in the middle of night. Thanks to the SCARY communist party. Honestly, who wants to mess with the police or the party while in China? I came from South Africa. I don’t go to parties without at least a pepper spray if not a stun gun as well.
China is safe in general. However, pick pockets and scams are very prevalent. It has something to do with their laws. Basically, you may get death sentence or hard labour treatment if you do any crimes beyond these 2. These type of crimes you can get away with jail time and fines. **I learnt this from a cabbie conversation, please correct me if I am wrong
No need to explain, right?
Honourary mention… domestic grade firework in Chinese New Year
No kidding, the firework that I lite up shot up to 25th floor.
Featured photo: Qipu road, it’s the place where vendors wholesale/sell merchandise. This is still very local today. Can bargain via calculators if you cannot speak Chinese. It’s only cheap if you know how to bargain 😉 Pick pockets are prevalent in this area. Please keep a tight eye on your wallet and phone.
Below video is not made by me. It is a professional representation of Shanghai, in the BEST light. I highly doubt that the locals see Shanghai the same way.