Foreword. For China, Shanghai only gained importance during the Opium War. Getting the Chinese hooked on opium was the main objective of the British in the Opium War. Eventually, because of their military inexperience, the Chinese were quickly defeated and had to give up their land, pay large contributions, and open their ports for drug imports in to China. The Qing Empire was weakened, which led to the enslavement of the country by European powers and the gigantic spread of drug addiction and the degradation and mass extinction of the population. China allowed Chinese people to be used as slaves in the colonies of Britain and France. Later, Britain was joined by France, America and some others.

“Shanghai is heaven for the rich, hell for the poor.”


Part 1 — Heaven.

Not far from the Nanjing Road, the British and their allies opened Shanghai trading ports. Today it is the most developed, hectic, business street in the city. Nanjing Road is also considered to be the busiest street in the world.
Hi-rise buildings skyline.
Look over the business district.
British hydrant.
British hydrant.
Nanjing Road at night.
Nanjing Road at night.
Chinese girl running down the embankment.

The street leads to the river, on the other side of which is Pudong District. It used to be countryside, until pretty recently, now it has become the envy of every world business centre megalopolis.

Morning exercise at the Bund.

Early morning and the embankment is full of people doing their morning exercises.

Woman in white clothes with red hand fans.

The embankment is full of beauty.

Chinese sky lanterns.
Old harbour.
Residential blocks.
Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge.
The Chinese people brew their tea in a thermos.
The Chinese people brew their tea in a thermos.
View from the tele tower.
View from the tele tower.

It felt that Chinese people are very bad with the navigation. When they look at a map, they do not understand what’s where.


Area where white people hang out, drinking coffee and eating pizza.

Roads and pavements are washed with high-pressure cleaners.

There are a serious lack of garbage bins here, personal garbage sometimes has to be carried a couple of kilometres before it can be thrown out. Nevertheless, the new part of the city is spotlessly clean.

Janitor on scooter.

At Chinese train stations there are security bag checks. The whole procedure causes hour long queues.

Getting in to the metro.

China has a very big social problem – the density of the population, due to which the country is hugely competitive. This applies to everything from food supplies to getting somewhere on the metro. Pushing on the metro in China is normal etiquette. People on platforms rush in to the cars like mad to get an empty seat before letting people alight first. Everyone is pushing, and so should you if you do not want to be seen as an ‘uncivilised foreigner’.

“He who kennels with wolves, must howl.”

Chinese with their phones.
Endless train.

Chinese smokers see no shame.

Smoking man.

The ironic thing in China, where people smoke in metro, push in crowds, spit and pee on the street, burp and fart in restaurants, is that from time to time you come across people with cloth face masks. In China it’s common for people to wear these masks if they think they’re getting sick or even have a slight cold. They do this as a courtesy to prevent spreading their own infection to others. Which is what I wrote in “Why Asian people wear face mask?” post. Contrary to widespread belief, these masks are worn not to protect the wearer – they are worn to protect others. One common example is the masks worn by surgeons during an operation, to stop their own bacteria from entering the open body.

People on platform are about to get on train.
Chinese old lady walking in the train station.

As in Beijing scooters here are electric.


Locals eating on the street.
Locals eating kebab.

Tall residential buildings in Shanghai are very similar to the ones Soviets used to build.

Residential blocks.

The majority of houses are a long way from what the Soviets managed to build.

Residential blocks in central Shanghai.

Facades are decorated with varied designs.

In China couple also holding hands. Can you imagine?

Chinese, compared to Russians, who put make up on and dress up in heels just to get some milk, sometimes go out pyjamas.

Man in piyamas.
Bamboo scaffolding.
Bamboo scaffolding.

Street cables are rolled up and just left hanging.



Where was I when people spoke about the need to be cautious about friendly ‘local’ strangers, one from Canton another from Harbin, who dress well, were studying English at the international school, and look like innocent students?

They will ask you to take a picture of them acting like a couple, but never actually kissed-kind-a-couple, they will walk miles and discover the city with you. They will laugh at your jokes and only ask things about you, you, you, you. Then later when it is time for them to go, they will invite you to a tea ceremony, and will leave you to foot a large bill. Where was I then?

Glass of tea.

Look at the face and remember it well.

Face of the scammer.

Moving on to financial district of Shanghai — Pudong. Skyscrapers are striking.


Narcissistic girl with a self-absorption monopod.
Narcissistic girl with a self-absorption monopod.
Child crawling on all fours on the glass.
Skyscrapers of Pudong at night.
Bus stop.
Shanghai tower at night.

The network of fast food outlets in China is localised and nationalised. In addition to the traditional McDonalds and Pizza Hut there is a tonne of local networks, where they serve dumplings, soups, bones, rice and noodles. In KFC you can order soup with fish paste.



At night, Heaven shines and glitters.

Nanjing Road at night.