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I am not going to do a comparison between Shanghai and St. Louis here. I don’t think it’s fair to compare these two great cities. Here I’m going to put down a few observations I made in past few days.

I went to see doctor today for my sleep problem. I went to Shanghai No. 6 hospital. Get access to a doctor in China is easier than in the States, as long as you have the money or insurance. I believe many danwei in China offers some sort of insurance. On the other hand, seeing a doctor in the US is not that easy, if you are not in the emergency situation. Normally one would make appointment with the doctor’s office well in advance. Another difference is in China’s hospital the patient also pick up the medcine; while in the US he/she need to go to Walgreen or CVS to pick up the drugs. From my personal experience, I like the easy access to the doctor in China, but I also like the personal attention/time US doctor give to one patient. Because in US a doctor see fewer patients per day.

This one caught me off guard initially. I arrived at Shanghai on New Year’s eve. And I went to the bars at Heng Shan Rd at 11 PM. The firework is on. It’s the crackers. I remember in Shanghai the goverment used to forbid the firework inside the city limit (inside Zhong Shan Lu Circle). Not any more. Maybe they want to give people something to burn off the steam. It’s funny to see in St. Louis the police department forbid people shooting the gun at the sky during new year, while the firework is loosened in Shanghai. Being back for the Chinese New Year first time in 8 years, I felt very unease with the crackers. Although I have not seen anybody hurt at the scene, I still think its’a very dangerous thing. On the fourth day of New Year, it’s the tradition of welcome “God of Fortune” in Shanghai (I don’t remember it in Ningbo). Another round of firework. And crackers.

This is a very practical topic. I found it’s frustrating to find a public restroom in some old neighbourhood (Li Nong/Long, sorry for my Pin Yin). It’s like find a restroom in the old China town in Chicago. Another thing keep in mind is you need to carry some change for using the restroom.

The service industry is growing very rapidly and the service standard has been raisen in the same time. When I got up and walk through the motel hallway, motel people will greet me with “Happy New Year” or “Welcome”. Samething when I go to motel cafeteria. Samething when I go to Starbucks. I felt welcomed initially but after a while I felt unconfortable. Maybe I have been in the States for too long. There are also greetings, but it’s not being taught and standardrized, people will say “Good morning”, “How are you”, “What’s up”,…depend on the situation and their own preference. Personally I like the nonstandard and spontanous thing better. I remember a security check guy at STL Airport’s joke very clearly. There were two lines for security check. He refer to people in his line as “Pittsburgh Steelers” fan, while the other line as “Seattle Seahawks”. These are two football teams will fight for superbowl this Sunday Feb 5 in Detroit.

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