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.
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.