- Requirements for a PRC Visa include a letter of invitation from the GE Beijing office as well as a “good guy” letter from your office and one 2x2 mugshot. Original ink is not required except on the visa application itself.
- Forget everything thing you think you know about China. What you think you know might be true for the provinces, but it does not apply to Shanghai. We won’t be running the world a few generations from now, the Chinese will.
- You are a guest here. Remember that. Act like it.
- Do NOT rent a car. You won’t survive five minutes in a Shanghai rush hour. If people drove like this in the States, gun violence would reign supreme. Those lights and signs we are accustomed to showing obeisance to back home are taken as mere suggestions here. Traffic cops are not there to stop accidents from happening they are only there to help mop up the gore afterwards. Riding in a car in Shanghai feels much like watching a friend play “Grand Theft Auto”. Your hotel will give you taxi cards like the ones pictured below which is useful as most taxi drivers are not even remotely conversant in English. Bring a business card from your contact that shows the address you need in Chinese. If you don’t have a business card yet have the concierge write the address/directions for you in Chinese. Don’t take an unlicensed cab from the airport. It is a rip-off. Be sure you have a printout from your hotel that shows it's address and a small map. Be sure to visit your hotel's website before you leave home. Best of all is taking the MagLev into town and catching a cab from there.
- Ride the MagLev before you leave Shanghai. The concierge at your hotel will give your taxi driver directions to the terminal. It is amazing just how slow 430km/hour can feel. wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Maglev_Train or ...pudong_airport_maglev_in_depth.htm or just google it.
- You look different. Nobody cares. Get over it.
- Bring your unlocked GSM phone along. SIM cards for GSM phones can be obtained at some super markets (try CarreFour) or the airport hotel information counters. I bought a China-Unicom “130/131” series card for $39 at the airport. You can’t reach DialComm from a Unicom cell, but direct dial calls to the states can be made if absolutely necessary. I don’t know all the dialing rules but have found that 8 digit dialing works within Shanghai and “00” is used for IDD calls. Refill vouchers are available at the cell phone kiosks in CarreFour supermarkets and elsewhere.
- If you travel by foot at any time remain vigilant. Those Shanghai drivers I mentioned earlier don’t give a damn to whom the right of way belongs.
- If you smoke you should quit. If you don’t plan on quitting bring your own because the local tobacco is of a very low quality. The only exception I have found is Chunghwa brand cigarettes, which are relatively smooth but very strong and quite expensive at 40RMB.
- Use of handrails for ascending and descending stairs is not advised. Don’t ask me why, but the locals refuse to use them.
- Some bars here never close. Be mindful of the time because 02:00 will come and go without warning.
- The subway system is quite well developed. A slightly out of date map can be found here: http://osamuabe.infoseek.livedoor.net/subway/mappage/shanghai.gif
- There is a 90RMB fee to depart from the Pudong Airport. You will need to purchase a ticket at the airport as it is not included in the price of the airfare.
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