Settling in in Shanghai

It’s always a bit disorienting to wake up in a new place: this morning the sounds came from Sunday morning Shanghai traffic and shouting Chinese men. But, luckily, I could also spot some weak sunlight coming through the windows to get me outside and discover a little more of the area I’m staying in currently.

Even though I’ve been in Shanghai and China quite a few times already, it has usually been for just a short trip visiting several cities. So this time I also had a few things to sort out which I never bother with normally: registration at the local police bureau, getting a Chinese phone number and getting a VPN-connection set up.

Now that I have all of the above, I’m set to go – which meant in practice that I joined the throngs of people (with their kids) on a Sunday outing to Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art for a Yayoi Kusama exhibition. It’s a good exhibition, so go and see it – especially the different installations and mirror rooms – but: don’t go on a Sunday afternoon if you don’t want to be stuck in long queue’s for every individual installation.

The police registration mentioned was luckily quite easy to get, together with my flatmate for the month. I’m sharing an apartment while I’m here as I wanted to stay away from big hotels and hostels or some sort of serviced apartment. That also means that you need to register yourself at the local police which is something the hotels normally take care of. I’m happy I chose this type of accomodation – because now I’m also in the middle of a very Chinese neighbourhood in an old lanehouse. The picture above is our courtyard. Of course, this also means that some of the morning sounds include shouting in Chinese but I’ll take that as part of the package.

‘School’ starts tomorrow morning, so that should be interesting…

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