1. DO Eat From the Street Vendors
Do eat food from the street vendors but use common sense. I lived in Shanghai (best destination for last minute China travel deals) for 13 months over a two year period and ate all kinds of things from the local street vendors. The only time I ever got sick in China was from a meal in a very clean looking Korean restaurant.
The street vendors have all kinds of tasty treats for very cheap prices. As mentioned above, use common sense. Foods that are served cold should be avoided. If it's deep fried or comes out of a super hot steamer, however, chances are its pretty safe. I always figured that even if it was crawling with nasty germs once it left the deep fryer it was good to go. Kind of like boiling your water when backpacking.
So, don't be afraid. Eating from the street vendors is a great way to try the local treats while spending only pennies. And remember, you can get sick anywhere. The worst food poisoning I ever got was from a Togo's sandwhich shop here in California.
2. Don't drive and stay alive !
I am fond of risky adventures and actually love driving in Italy, and Rome in particular. But I have been coming to Shanghai since 1999 and still cannot believe drivers in this city. Shanghai has the MOST AGGRESSIVE drivers I have ever witnessed. Period. End of story.
I don't know if it's that owning a vehicle is a relatively new phenomenon in China, but, even I still have not gotren the guts to drive in Shanghai.
That brings me to my DANGER TIP. Driving, in general, is something that should be completely AVOIDED unless you are a glutton for punishment. And if you do drive, beware of the local police, who stand on street corners, highways and busy intersections around the clock, blowing their whistles and motioning for you to pull over for no real reason other than to write you a ticket for something.
Take a cab everywhere you go (see picture), not that cabbies are any less aggressive - becuase they aren't. But taxi prices in Shanghai are very resonable (10 RMB,unit of China money, for a several km journey) and can be found by the seemingly thousands at any time, except when it rains.
Or even try the Metro - if you're in to MEATING new people (as in - welcome to the cattle car), but please do yourself a favor and don't even think of renting a car to see the city. And if you do, enjoy!
3. Tips At Bars
Although there is generally no tipping in Shanghai, it is wise to be careful of the tipping scam that happens in many bars.
When you go to a bar, girls in many will sit with you. They will ask you to buy them drinks. Of course, they are attractive, and you may be inclined for them to join you for a few drinks.
However, they will dance with you, rub up with you, and do their best to make sure you have a good time after popular China tours. When you are finished, they will demand a tip. Sometimes two or three hundred yuan.
Girls can make a pretty decent living from the tips of foreigners. Although these bars are technically breaking the law, they cover it up by not having a staff list and posting a sign that tips are not allowed. These are both just bogus ways to confuse the police into not shutting them down.
Be aware, if a girl sits with you at a bar, you could be in for an expensive evening. Bars (not the clubs, but the small bars) on Maoming Road, like Diablo and even more notoriously Nelly's are the highest risks. Best advice is to go there accompanied by someone and say you don't want company, or avoid these places altogether.
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