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Old November 19th, 2015, 11:26 AM   #1
FREKI
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Freki presents Shanghai

Went to Shanghai for my birthday back in the fall - not here to tell long tales about that, but it's kinda worth noticing that while it may look like other well known Asian cities such as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong etc it has a completely different feel and it was kind of a culture shock at first to me.
( I have been to Hong Kong a couple times - and love it - but this was my first visit to the mainland and quite different )

The traffic is insane, no respect for traffic lights, lanes or pedestrians - expecially the omnipresent electrical scooters is a major risk ( apperently running red lights full speed horns blazing into crowds is the norm - I was strafed multiple times and I'm quite amazing we only saw one person seriously hurt and a few minor accidents in the week we was there. ( ye be warned! )

Other thing to be aware of is behavior that most would consider extremely rude - pushing is apperently the norm - also when it's into a crowded metro that has reached it's final station and needs to empty.
And they sure loves to stare uninibited at you ( and your gf )

Also expect no english speaking locals other than the many scam artist couples acting like tourists trying to lure you into overpriced teahouses.


Negatives aside we did have a great trip and there's certainly also positive parts - most here will likely appriciate the skyscrapers that is some of the tallest in the world - including the 2nd tallest scraper in the world 'Shanghai Tower' that reaches a whopping 632m..


This will BTW be the first thread with my new resolution standard of 1500x900.. ( times have changed and even phones and tablets have above Full HD screens, so it makes sense to use a higher resolution while still keeping people's bandwith in mind )

Anyways enough chatter it's time for the photos..











































































































































































































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Old December 29th, 2015, 11:47 PM   #2
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Old December 29th, 2015, 11:52 PM   #3
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Old December 30th, 2015, 07:14 PM   #4
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Great to see that they still have some original neighborhoods ...



Great shot.

BTW. did you try to walk alone, without travel companions, on Nanjing road ? The pedestrian area in Shanghai -
Is it still crazy? where you find yourself surrended with all sorts of people who wants to trick you, make you buy something or has sexual services to offer.
Or is china more normalized these days? Used to forreigners? I was there 8 years ago.
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Old December 31st, 2015, 03:30 AM   #5
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I got approached on Nanjing rd. Just ignored it or replied in Mandarin, that shocked them enough to leave me alone (plus my wife being with me helped).

Interesting shots and impressions.
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Old December 31st, 2015, 03:37 AM   #6
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Hi, Freki. Impressing environments you,ve been in. But i´ve wondered why most of your pics are in traditional "postcard-style", which is a bit too much light and too little contrast. Is there a special reason for that?
Regards from Jakobnguyen
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 08:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jakobnguyen View Post
i´ve wondered why most of your pics are in traditional "postcard-style", which is a bit too much light and too little contrast. Is there a special reason for that?
Regards from Jakobnguyen
Shortly put it comes from me trying to present the streetscenes and lighting as I saw them - no fancy angles or effects..

To sound a tad douchy I want to give people a window to a foreign place and what they pick up from that is up to them - I don't want to force things on people, simply deliver a scene and over time and through feedback I've found a "signature style" that people respond well to..


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Originally Posted by Coolest View Post
BTW. did you try to walk alone, without travel companions, on Nanjing road ? The pedestrian area in Shanghai -
Is it still crazy? where you find yourself surrended with all sorts of people who wants to trick you, make you buy something or has sexual services to offer.
Or is china more normalized these days? Used to forreigners? I was there 8 years ago.
I was with my gf the hole time, so hookers weren't a problem - you could see them glance, but they never bothered us..

Sellers of crap was certainly present ( they all wanted to sell us the same stupid blinking rollerscates and small drones on Nanjing road, down on the Bund they all wanted to sell selfie sticks - it got a little irritating, but not worse than so many other plces )

Then there was the teahouse scammers ( couples speaking english pretending to be tourists to lure you with them to overpriced teahouses ) they apporached us a few times, we were prewarned so I rejected them simply replying in Danish when they spoke English ( one couple did had me fooled enough for me to take a picture of them with their camera - it wasn't until they showed abnormal interest in us and our trip that warning bells started and we ended the concersation )

So all in all not terrible - certainly not enough for people to keep away - my main beef was the traffic ( was strafed several times by cars and mopeds ) that felt like a real risk and had me pissed a lot of times ( still regretting I didn't buy a selfie stick to smack the cars and mopeds with when they got too close )
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Old January 6th, 2016, 11:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FREKI View Post
Sellers of crap was certainly present ( they all wanted to sell us the same stupid blinking rollerscates and small drones on Nanjing road, down on the Bund they all wanted to sell selfie sticks - it got a little irritating, but not worse than so many other plces )
No, that could happen everywhere.

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Originally Posted by FREKI View Post
Then there was the teahouse scammers ( couples speaking english pretending to be tourists to lure you with them to overpriced teahouses ) they apporached us a few times, we were prewarned so I rejected them simply replying in Danish when they spoke English ( one couple did had me fooled enough for me to take a picture of them with their camera - it wasn't until they showed abnormal interest in us and our trip that warning bells started and we ended the concersation )

So all in all not terrible - certainly not enough for people to keep away -
A bit more tricky. I had a lot of trouble getting out of a small tea serving place, but did put up a convincing story about having no money - so they let me go (I had been tricked by a "student", who wanted to know more about Europe, but I luckily picked the teahouse, where I wanted to go, and he just tagged along - I realize that this could have ended pretty bad). I have heard that people have been known to be held against their will, and couldn't escape until they had pay 100 - 200 dollars or more for a cup of tea.

Wonder if anyone knows what the penalties are for those who commit these frauds in case that they are caught?
8 years ago there didn't didn't seem to be any tourist police on Nanjing road .. It should have been very easy to pick up all the tricksters ..

About the couple that want you to take their picture .. I would have jumped into that one as well - with both feet. You want to be helpful - and it immediately creates a bond where you lower your guards ... And what is an "abnormal" interest ...? "how much is on your bank account" ? It must be more than just asking you where you are from ? Everyone does that ?

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Old January 7th, 2016, 02:28 AM   #9
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I don't know about 8 years ago, but they had posters warning about tea house scams in hostels in both Beijing and Shanghai.
I was approached by a group of 4 who wanted me to take their picture. Several things put me off, one of the persons didn't bother to look at the camera as I was taking the picture; they were insisting that the museum I was headed for had long lines even though it was before 10AM and when they started talking about tea I ended the conversation quite fast.
Keeping your guard up against strangers in neighborhoods popular to tourists is quite a wise rule anywhere you go, and I didn't find Shanghai/Nanjing road to be much worse than other cities in South-East Asia.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 05:38 PM   #10
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http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/...nd-my-revenge/

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceCheese View Post
but they had posters warning about tea house scams in hostels in both Beijing and Shanghai.


Quote:
There were no posters in my hotel. But I am sure that there were warnings, you just need to take them seriously.
, and I didn't find Shanghai/Nanjing road to be much worse than other cities in South-East Asia.
I think the problem is that some of these tea scams are not so obvious.
People approach you - and want to talk with you, and they appear very friendly
- and then finally, after a long time, a hour perhaps, a big investment in their end
- up comes the idea to go for a cup of tea ..
It is both logical, and sounds very innocent ... and then the problems starts.

Laurens story below is probbaly typical.
And I imagine it can be far worse.

It could perhaps be argued that it is only a fair exchange of time and money
- and not really a scam. But as Lauren explains
- if you feel like hitting someone afterwards - it is because you feel betrayed in some sense.
And that is probably the unique thing with these tea scams -

Other places in asia it is not as subtle..
I guess that the thing that hurts is that you genuinely wants to meet a chinese person
and have a cup of tea and a chat - and then boom .... then you are cheated.

Which is quite bad - if it makes you very careful with the next people you meet.
After all you go there to experience the culture and the people.


Shanghai Tea Scam.




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Lauren is a twenty-something physics graduate, who has decided upon graduation to leave behind everyone and everything she knows and travel solo around the world for the forseeable future. This blog is a record of her travels, photos, experiences a

Quote:
After spending several hours walking around Shanghai and finding nothing but hassle, I was pleased to run into two friendly Chinese girls who were around the same age as me. They began by excitedly asking to have their photo taken with me, something that I had got used to very quickly since arriving in China.

Whilst I like to believe that these people are actually adoring fans of my site, the reality is that Chinese people seem to like collecting photos of themselves with small girls who look like they’ve shoved their fingers into a light socket. I was only too happy to oblige
You can see a picture of Lauren and the chinese girls here:
http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/...5-1024x682.jpg

Quote:
The girls translated every word and taught me about the different types of teas and their benefits.

I was having one of the best days since I began travelling, four months ago. I couldn’t have been happier, and the girls couldn’t have been lovelier.

Quote:
The prices, scrawled out grey pencil, told me my share of the price, including their gifts for their family, came to 750 yuan…

I sat there in shock for a while before suddenly remembering the signs plastered all over my hostel. The signs which I had been joking about with friends just the day before.

The signs which read: “Caution: You may be approached by several young student-type locals with very good English who will offer to take you to a tea ceremony. Do not go with them. This is part of an elaborate scam to trick westerners into paying extortionate amounts of money”

Shit.

How could I have been so stupid?

Quote:
My guard had been up all day while I’d been exploring — I had been so cautious. And yet, the fact that these two girls had invested over 30 minutes of their day in getting to know me had left me completely at ease. That this could possibly be a scam had been the last thing on my mind.


It was at this point that I lost it.

With adrenaline pumping through my veins I pulled back my fist and with all my strength (which, admittedly, is very little), I flung it forward and hit her somewhere near her face. She stumbled backwards, stuttering, staring at me in horror as I began to realise what I’d just done.
Quote:
China I wouldn’t react and would make an effort ignore them. Whilst that therefore prevented me from being scammed, it was also upsetting to feel that I could no longer trust anyone else.



Quote:
Its good that you recognize how naive you were. I’ve been to 45 countries, mostly with my wife, and we are approached constantly for “things”. Things to sell, buy, tea scams, pickpockets, you name it.

The best thing to do at all times is never to believe ANYBODY while on a Tour to a foreign country. Sorry, but I am a skeptic and 34 years in the military have taught me that. But you don’t have to be in the military, mind you. JUST DON’T believe anyone who approaches you who is not a personal referral from the tour guide, etc.
Probably very wise - but you such a sad way to travel and be in the world.

Quote:
Old travelers learn that there actually is NO “traditional” Chinese tea ceremony (it is Japanese and you’ll never be invited.) You learn to wear expansion bracelet cheap watches, carry your own bags, never believe tuk-tuk drivers and consider that it it is too good to be true, it damn well it.
Found that very funny ... There might not be such a thing as a chinese traditional tea ceremony ...
Well, then that should be a warning ..

Last edited by Coolest; January 7th, 2016 at 06:24 PM.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 05:57 PM   #11
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And here is another one:

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I decided to visit the Yuyuan garden in Shanghai. I had just exited from the Yuyuan garden metro station and wasn’t sure which way to go but started walking in what I thought could be the right direction. As I was walking along the busy main road I was stopped by two young women who asked me to take a photograph of them with the famous radio tower visible in the background. I remember thinking to myself at the time, looking back, that they would have been much better going down to the Bund river and getting a great photo from there. They asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Shanghai. It transpired, supposedly, that they were students having travelled down from a city near to Beijing. I explained that I was heading toward the gardens. They told me they were headed in that direction so would show me how to get there.
In the course of the conversation I asked them where they were headed and they explained that as China was in the midst of the spring tea festival they were going to see a tea ceremony. With no need of being asked, I asked if I could go along with them. In my head I think I was imagining some sort of open air tea market with a live FREE demonstration taking place. Clueless and ripe for the picking doesn’t even cut it really does it?
I was surprised to discover us all going indoors to watch a ceremony conducted in the same way as some of the earlier comments mention. One of the women was explaining everything to me in English and I had a really enjoyable time and found it all very interesting. I also decided to buy some tea as well. Now the prices of the tea were shown to me beforehand and I could see clearly that they were priced at about 350 RMB each. I remember thinking that that seemed ridiculous at about the equivalent of £35. Having only been there for a day and in my naivete I assumed that I must have confused myself with the exchange rate, it wasn’t £35 it was £3.50 of course. That sounded about right for a bag of tea. So of course when the bill for the ceremony was presented as 1000 RMB, I assumed it to be £10 (I could kick myself now) How did I get this so wrong? It was my first trip to China, I was only there for 2 nights so this was really my only day to go out and explore and use the currency for the first time. I had been to Japan a couple of times where 1000 JPY is actually about £10. So when the total bill came of 1773 RMB I naturally thought it was going to cost me about £17 – £18, perfectly reasonable for a local insight in to Chinese tea culture.
I was so grateful to the girls for letting me tag along as I had asked and they’d welcomed me and been so kind that I offered to pay for the tea ceremony after all it was only a tenner. There had not been any acts of astonishment on there part of the prices as I had not at any point questioned them as I thought it was all legit. They then told me that they wanted to buy me a gift along with their own tea purchases and asked me if I would like one of the small tea pots with two tea cups that came in a presentable box. At this point we exchanged email addresses. They then walked with me to the Yuyuan market area and showed me where the entrance to the gardens where. They said they were then going to meet their friend but were planning to go in to the garden later so might possibly see me in there otherwise wished me well for the rest of the trip.
It was only when I was leaving the hotel the next day and chatting to the rest of my crew about my amazing cheap 1 hour massage that cost just 89 RMB I realised just how much I had actually paid for the tea and ceremony. I must admit that even then it didn’t occur to me that Id been scammed. I obviously don’t operate in a cynical way and put my trust in people far too easily. It was only when I came home and tried to research the cost of such ceremonies that I was lead to this thread and it all became clear.
I fell for this one good and proper and they really didn’t have to work hard to get what they wanted out of me. I had invited myself along before they even asked. Was this all down to my own curiosity or had I been coerced? They showed me the prices and I agreed to pay without hesitation due to my unfortunate conversion skills. They even bought me the small tea set as a gift. Why did they do this? Was it because they felt sorry for me?
I’m not feeling too annoyed about it because there’s obviously no point, I can’t do anything about it it’s happened. I’ll obviously become much more vigilant about it the next time I’m there and I’ll personally make sure that any crew I travel with who haven’t been there before get a little warning about it.
Quote:
They don’t crack down on the scams, because the police get a cut. Basically, in countries like China or, to a much larger degree India and Thailand, if anyone comes up and talks to you, assume they’re trying to scam you. There are plenty of people who will come up to you out of curiosity in China, but if you can’t tell the difference, err on the side of caution. In Thailand and India, there is no such ambiguity–if someone approaches you, get rid of them–preferably rudely.
Quote:
I tip my hat to you, Lauren. My tea scam happened just yesterday with three kind Chinese girls. My naivety looked past the extremely high bill of $150. As I thought about it more and more and started to realize how strange it was that so many people were asking me to take picture of/with them. I started to think about how I would get back at them (note that I don’t have the most conniving personality, I just HATE getting scammed/ripped off). So, today I chose to go back to the same metro station where I had been asked before (Yu Yuan Garden) I saw the same people who had asked me the day before. In frustration, I chose to “take them in for questioning”. Getting no where talking to them, I decided to reverse the scam and walk off with the camera of the next group to ask me. Getting about 3 blocks away with their camera gave me enough pleasure while at the same time teaching them a lesson. They ran after me after a 5 minute “what the **** just happened” moment. It felt sooo good! Tomorrow, I might just keep walking.
Quote:
A couple of girls with lovely personalities asked to walk with me because it made them “feel safer” they said. From out of town they were in Shanghai for the weekend. Come for a cup of tea they said. Now, having been ripped off in another way two days previously I was already very much on my guard but not sure whether it was right to distrust everyone because of my previous stupidity. I was in need of a coffee and they seemed so nice, taking such an interest in me, where I was from, what I do etc and even offered to pay their own way. I was thinking oh well, go for a cuppa, what’s the harm in that? They suggested a couple of places but I was being cautious and suggested that we go to a more public area – a hotel lounge where we were able to relax in soft chairs. What a lovely couple of girls I thought. You know what?…I’ll happily buy them a drink because I earn good money and hey what’s wrong with being generous to those who appear less fortunate. All that said my gut was saying “something doesn’t compute” – especially when not just tea but whisky arrives on the table then a plate of fruit and more and in fact more things that no one could have ordered in such a short sentence. . Given my experience a few days before I immediately thought “oh no – I’m being stupid. I asked for the bill which showed 180RMB – I thought I was getting off lightly when they explained – “no its 1800!!!!”. I tried to leave whilst being hit and pulled by these girls. I realized immediately what was going on and didn’t react and cutting a long story short got out of there paying just 300. You have to be careful as its not just the people on the street but the supposed businesses and establishments that are in on it too.
The list just goes on and on...
A lot of people must be in on this ...
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