Saying Shanghai is not real China is like saying New York City isn't really America. No, there aren't cows and white picket fences on every corner, but any New Yorker will be quick to tell you that they are just as American as someone from rural Oklahoma. It's just a different type of lifestyle, a different type of China which I am experiencing. But I promise, it is just as authentic an experience.
Monday, September 2, 2013
I have been fortunate to experience a fair amount of travel in China over the last year. During these travels, people inevitably ask me where I live. When I tell them Shanghai, they smile and dramatically gesture at the landscape surrounding us while telling me, "Now you are seeing real China".
Sure, there are over 300 million farmers in this country who may never see a skyscraper or step foot in a shopping mall, but what makes their experience any more authentic than those living in Shanghai or Beijing? Is it the extreme poverty that those communities experience? Surely, that cannot be the case when 25 percent of households in Shanghai still do not have indoor plumbing. I'm going to let that sink in for a moment. In 2013, there are over 5 million people living in this modern city who still use chamber pots at night.