Beep, beep. Honk, honk. This is the majority of noises you will hear in the city of Shanghai. There is a constant high level of noise. It becomes second nature—the noise and swerving out of the way of oncoming Vespa’s and bikes. Everyone has somewhere to go and somewhere to be. My advice would be not to get in their way!
This past weekend we went to Suzhou. It was an amazing experience. We took Maglev, which is the fast speed train in China to Suzhou. This train travels over 200 mph! That is one fast train. We traveled from city to city in 30 minutes, and that included one stop. This trip reminded me that not all of China looks like a busy city. Suzhou is known as a water town, it is a nice place to retire because it is quiet and peaceful. We went to a garden which was coined as one of the four most beautiful gardens in China. We even got to go on a boat ride along the river; it was very peaceful.
Below is a picture of the houses on the river. They have door-side pickup from boats coming by.
Below you can still see traditional Chinese architecture along the river from the boat.
I have to admit, city living makes everything a lot easier. Anything you could possibly need is always just a walk away. There is a seven floor mall that is only a ten-minute walk away from my dorm. This is the largest mall in Shanghai. There is also a metro station right next to the mall which can get me everywhere in Shanghai. The large downside to living in the city is the constant traffic and the amount of people. We experienced rush hour in Suzhou and there was hardly anybody. While in Shanghai it is sometimes hard to even fit on the metro during rush hour. On my way back from my internship between 5 and 6 p.m. most nights. Sometimes I have to wait for another train to arrive since the first one is full to the point where you would get stuck between the doors if you tried to enter.
China has over 150 cities that have a population over 1 million. While the United States only has 10 cities with a population just over 1 million. This might give you just a small glimpse into how urbanized China is becoming, as well as how crowed the cities are. There are such things as mega cities where over 10 million people are living in a particular city. There are a few mega cities in China. Shanghai’s current population is over 24 million people and is still growing. That is a ton of people living in a small concentrated area. We are learning in class that China has to learn how to build their cities up and not out. If they continue to build their cities out there will be an increase in the amount of land needed. There is not enough land to meet this need.