Things that Can Kill You in Shanghai

The air – it’s terrible.

The pollution is visible most days and resembles a noxious, detectable sewer smell in the city.

Many people get the ‘Shanghai burn’ within the first few weeks of visiting or living there – an allergic reaction coming with a hybrid sore throat, runny nose, and drainage.

The water – tap water is high in both light and heavy pollutants, depending on which part of the city you are in. Even filters on the tap are ineffective.  Bottled water is the only way to go.

The food – street vendor food for the ex-pat, whose digestive system hasn’t acclimated, can be downright dangerous.

Not counting poisonous wild cards like the ‘gutter oil’ scandal that was reported earlier in 2012, when vendors were caught literally scraping the garbage slough of oily residue off the street and mixing it with other low quality cooking oil and then re-selling it to food & beverage merchants who used it for food preparation.

Scooters on the sidewalk – they are quiet, since most are battery powered, and thus it is easy to be walking along and all of a sudden have one speed by you on one side or the other.  If you had accidentally turned to look at a store window display or whatever, they would knock you 20 yards.

Cars and other vehicles that run red lights – traffic laws are treated like suggestions. Pedestrians at intersections are on their own and second-class citizens.  It’s every man for him/herself.

The trash – I walk down city sidewalks in busy, upscale areas all of the time where there are large panes of broken glass, unprotected power tools, nails, tacks, razors, open manhole covers, sharp-edged steel, and more

Celebrations – during the 2012 Chinese New Year’s celebration, ‘only’ about 150 people were killed as a result of fireworks in Shanghai alone, as compared to 2011 when more died during this annual largest holiday season.

Low hanging air conditioners, signs, entrances – they are everywhere, inside, outside, and primely positioned for delivering a wicked head injury.

The dark – scooters and cars, already dangerous during the day, often don’t use their headlights at night, making them even more lethal. Especially, since streetlights are uncommon.

Drinking – I’ve had colleagues say China is an alcohol-based business culture.  Based on personal experience, I believe it.  ‘Nuff said.

Not guns – the only people that have them in China are the police, the military …and, of course, criminals.

2 thoughts on “Things that Can Kill You in Shanghai”

    1. This was definitely a “tongue-in-cheeck” post. A similar one could be done for any big city in the world. An I definitely plan one about what we love & wouldn’t trade from our time in China for the final, in December. But, trust me, right this second, you wouldn’t want to be here. At 8:22 on a Sunday morning, I’m looking out my window and the sky is literally gray within feet, from pollution. The US Consulate air quality alert says: “Hazardous: Protection recommended – everyone may experience more serious health effects; please avoid physical exertion and outdoor activities.”

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