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Day Three: Shanghai Towers

Posted on Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Dave!Today was a very full day with lots to share, so I will probably be breaking the time into multiple entries.

This morning I decided to stop Pudong-side and go up the tallest building in China, Jin Mao Tower. It is a beautiful building with breathtaking views of the city from the 88th floor observation deck. This is looking towards Central Shanghai, with Pearl Tower foremost in the shot...

Jin Mao Tower

They have a window inside the tower so you can look all the way down to the reception lobby below. Everything is bathed with a golden light, so it is quite beautiful...

Jin Mao Tower

From Jin Mao Tower, it is only a short walk to Pearl Tower. This is a mighty cool structure, and you can go all the way up to the tiny third "ball," which they call the "Space Module"...

Pearl Tower

This is looking back toward Jin Mao Tower...

Pearl Tower

And then the opposite side, toward Central Shanghai...

Pearl Tower

The Chinese people are very hard working and kind, and their friendly demeanor is what makes Shanghai such a great place to visit.

Until it's time to queue.

Once it's time to form a line, the exceedingly warm and gentle Chinese will turn into a dragon. They will push, shove, weasel, cut, squirm, mangle, cheat, and no doubt kill to get ahead of you in the queue. Men, women, young, old... it makes no difference. I have had old women with canes, use their stick like a wedge to push me out of the way so they can get in front of me. There was one man who couldn't squirm past me so he SQUATTED DOWN AND CRAWLED PAST ME!! It is truly shocking to see this kind of behavior, because it is so unexpected. You really have to see it to believe it, and even then you may not trust your eyes.

There was a group of British tourists ahead of me in line for the Pearl Tower elevator. If you've ever been to Great Britain, you know that they have a natural talent for queueing... almost as if it were in their DNA or something. Every line in the country is orderly and very proper. Because of this, even more amusing than watching the Chinese do everything in their power to get ahead in line, was the horrified reaction of the British tourists watching it happen. They were mortified, and could not stop talking about what they were witnessing. Listening to their conversation was worth the price of admission!

This is not true of ALL Chinese, of course, but it is a high enough percentage that you grow tired of it very quickly. It's almost so bad that you don't want to visit any attraction with a queue. Oh well. After a while I developed some meager abilities to combat the line-cutters (usually making myself as wide as I can, holding on to rails, and using my backpack as a shield), so I imagine it gets better with practice.

Categories: Travel 2005Click To It: Permalink


  1. JoeBruin88 says:

    It is truly shocking to see this kind of behavior, because it is so unexpected. You really have to see it to believe it, and even then you may not trust your eyes.

    I believe you because I’ve experienced it myself while waiting in line to pay for soemthing in a market in Hong Kong. An old lady just shoved her way in front of me. So then I did the same thing to the old lady behind me.

  2. SJ says:

    There was an article about Chinese manners in the LA Times recently. Seems the Chinese government has launched a massive campaign to improve the people’s manners in time for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Chief among their concerns is line-cutting.

    Pearl Tower is very scifi-looking.

  3. Dave2 says:

    Interesting… with the exception of the line-cutting (which I’ve not experienced in Hong Kong) and occasional spitting (which is a custom that I’m certain is hard to break when you’ve done it all your life), I’ve seen none of the other “mis-manners” they’ve listed. I can’t bring myself to act in kind, because not everybody is so aggressive.

    I have to admire China for addressing the issue though. I wish that the USA would do something similar! I have seen the most rude behavior imaginable from Americans abroad, and they don’t seem to care that this is not the way for a guest to act. We have such a poor reputation as international travelers, and I can never decide if it is arrogance or ignorance… though, in this case they are probably one in the same.

    How hard is it to read up on local customs and traditions before visiting a foreign land? I may not be perfect, but at least I try.

  4. Kevin says:

    I’m 6’0″ and 255 lbs. I can play linebacker in any Chinese queue and whoop some ass. I’ve done it before when necessary. Dave, I’ll not only defend you from people trying to cut in front of you, but I will manage to move you ahead in the queue.


  5. Dave2 says:

    Oh well there you go then… next time I’m called to China, you’ll just have to come with. 🙂

  6. kfu says:

    LOL im glad you saw the humor in the lining up situations. personally i was appalled and i got chinafied. as a 2nd generation chinese, i got in touch with my chinese baser instincts and shoved along with the crowds.

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