do I look local to you? (day 3 of 9)

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China Trip – Day 3 of 9

Today was full of activities of visiting and hanging out with relatives, with great food and drinks, and even some games of Mahjongg. But I still made time to visit MOCA Shanghai. Honestly, it was a huge disappointment. I guess with contemporary art it is usually a hit and miss, as every installation is different. The guide-book was a few years old, and it had pictures taken from x exhibits ago and looked great. The current installation was not nearly as interesting.

I looked like what you would expect from a typical tourist, carrying my bag on one shoulder across my body, with a huge Canon 5D and heavy professional-grade zoom lens in one hand, and a map in the other. So why did all these people come and ask me for directions? Strangers might have done so because they saw I have maps and assumed (wrongly) that I was already familiar with the content of the map and was ready to give out consultations freely. But my local friends did the same! When I asked them where to go and showed them my guide-book of “The Secret Shanghai”, they said that being local prevented them from knowing the new and hot places, as they only frequent their usual spots. In fact, they said, they’d love to go to some new places where a tourist might find interesting, and they would like to accompany me, but could I please set the itinerary?

I now have requests for itinerary for next Monday to Wednesday, that’s like my whole rest of the trip in Shanghai. And I don’t want to visit a place more than once on such a short trip. Ahhh, what should I do? I have to lean heavily on my expat friends for advice, as they must know where to go and what to do. I can’t believe I got myself into such a predicament!

Author’s Note: The picture above is based on inside view of MOCA Shanghai.

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