I am Moving Back to Puxi

I have lived in Shanghai for 14 years.

My first two years was spent in Minghang Campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Two years later, I moved back to the Xujiahui Campus of SJTU. That was where my current Baixing office is located – the dorm is about 200 meters from my office building.

In 1999, Wendy and I moved to a cheap apartment in Meilong.

3 years later, we very happily moved to the Vanke Waltz Garden near the Caobao Road Metro Station of Metro Line #1. That was wonderful time. The only problem is the noisy Caobao Road.

Then we sold out the apartment, and moved to Pudong in 2004. Look at the back and forth, and twist and the final process of our moving:

It was not an easy decision to move from Puxi to Pudong – they are two different cities. Although I enjoy my life in Pudong a lot, I have to find way to move to somewhere closer to my office.

Traffic is the Key Driver

This year is the toughest year in terms of transportation in Shanghai. With the development of all the metro stations, key roads, and preparing for the Shanghai Expo the next year, the whole Shanghai has never been so jammed, and crowded.

According to the news report I heard ten minutes ago on Shanghai Radio Station, there are 200+ metro stations under construction today, with most stations at the busiest cross roads. There are more than 1000 roads under construction, including the Inner Ring Pudong part, and middle ring in Pudong. There are more than 8000 construction sites in down town Shanghai. It seems unbelievable. If you count the recent collapsed 13-story residential building, the whole picture is more amazing.

It is not surprising for me to find out I have to drive along all the construction sites to work everyday. The previous 40-45 minutes drive has extended to 1 hour and 10 minutes, and sometimes 1 hour and half hour. The even more terrible thing is, since everyone try to get to work at the same time, it becomes mission impossible to get to office at 9:00 AM. No matter how early you try, you arrive at relatively the same time.

I am Moving Back

Finally, we decided to move back to Puxi – somewhere near where I work, and get back to the exciting, ever-bright, crowded, and noisy Puxi. We signed the contract today, and will move back. It takes about one month or so to move.

Puxi, we are back!

My Story, and the Shanghai Story

My story is just one of the millions of stories around where to live in Shanghai. I’d love to share just to help my friends understand what the real life in Shanghai looked like – my choices of Yifan’s school, and my choices of where to live.

Moving to the New Apartment

The decoration (or re-moduling in foreigners’ concept, even “building” for someone) almost completed. The project will be signed up tomorrow with the last equipments like the table in the kitchen will be completed. The project was “outsourced” to the B&Q decoration team and the work was wonderful. I didn’t spend much time in controlling the quality as for my Vanke Waltz Apartment, but the quality is almost the same, if not higher. I am very happy with it.

Now the apartment is of a little smell of paints and dust. I am going to place pine-apples into the room to remove the smells. Hopeful, I am able to move in very soon. There will be no furnitures in the new apartment. We started over again.

Today, we went to Yongle (yongle.com.cn) and put two air-conditions and a 29′ TV set into my shopping cart.

First Week in Pudong

One week pasted after I moved to Pudong, with a car. Here are some observations.

Pudong is Big AND Small

Pudong is much bigger than Puxi. It has wider and higher-standard of road system. There are not many cars on the road and only red lights at some major cross roads will stop your car. I didn’t experienced traffic jam in Pudong so far. (This is based on my current observation, since I never drove around during business hours – at that time, I parked my car in the underground garage in Puxi)

Because of the good road system, Pudong becomes very small – you can easily get to any place on the map by car. In contrast, you will find driving in Puxi very depressive. You get jammed everywhere. :-( One night, I drove to the OBI Building Materials in Jinqiao (the north-most places in Pudong area), and get back – it all happened in 1 hour. So the life in Pudong is pretty similar with that in west coast of U.S.

Pudong is Quiet

There is not many people in Pudong yet. High buildings rise every day, but the population does not grow as fast as the buildings. From my observation, the newly built apartments are almost empty. There are only less than 10% of the windows are lighted.

Pudong Sleeps Early

At around 9 PM, Pudong goes go bed. Lights go off and the supermarket at the gate of my residential area closes. There are even less cars on the roads. At the same time, the life in Puxi just started. Many people should just step out of their office after OT (over time work) and head to theaters. That is the difference.

No Restaurants, no entertainment

This may not be true since I am not familiar with the area yet, so they may hide inside the small streets. But generally, there is not much place to go at night, and at dinner time. Fortunately, I still have the base in Xujiahui so delicious food is not too far away.

Fresh and Natural Life

After I moved to Pudong, I can see the sun set again. I can see the redish clouds on the west before the sunset. There is a long preriod of time from sunset to completely dark. This recalls the life in my home town in Luoyang. This is so common in most places in the world, but not in downtown in Puxi. It seemed to me that in Puxi, the Sun sets and it becomes dark very soon. There is no colorful clouds after the sunset. I suspect it may because of the high buildings that blocked the view and the reflection of the remaining sunlight after sunset.

At night, stars shine on the sky. I am so moved when I see the stars in the sky again. I clearly remember, when I studied in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is located in the central part of the city, the sky is always light (redish light) even in deep night. Everbright is the best world to describe what I see from my window.

More Reports to Come

It is just the first week and I need some time to get familar with the new life, and see Pudong more clearly after the intial excitement goes off. I am still in the rented house – a very old and misarable place. All the belongs are packed into about 60 big paper boxes. I don’t want to unpackage them yet. The worst thing is, there is no telephone in the house, so after I get home, there is no way for me to update my site. I am researching two options: 1) To find a Internet bar nearby. This seems not working since you know – it is Pudong. :-) 2) To find out wireless Internet solution with my GPRS mobile. I hope it works soon.

Digitally and Physically Move

The update of my blog is not as regular as before. Sorry for that – it is because of the move – the move in both the digital worlds and the real world.

Digital World

Due to the continous server outage of my old hosting, I switched my server to iPowerWeb. It was a painful experience for the migration but now, it seems everything back to normal. I checked the disclosure policy so I can share the email communication with iPowerWeb support, but this case was not responsed after they esclated three days ago. Anyway, the website goes back to normal and it may take some longer time (one week at least) for me to migrate the old applications to the new server.

Real World

I am physically moved my home from Puxi to Pudong. The following three month will be very tough period for me since the newly bought house is still in the decoration stage. The workers are busy installing the basic infrastructure into the house – the washroom, the kitchen… This sounds strange to my friends from outside China. Actually, most of the apartments in Shanghai are sold as bare (raw) houses. There are only walls (not well painted) in the house when the owners get the key. One has to hire decoration (or remodeling/re-construction) vender to paint the wall, install the water pipes, even the electronic power lines into the house. This typically cost two to three months. My journey of the remodeling just started.

Now I rented a house near the new house so I can easily take care of the new house in Pudong. There is no telephone line (OMG!) yet so I cannot update my blog easily at night as before. So you may found the new entries come in early morning (local time) other than late night as before.

I will post some pictures later, when the garden of the new house is not in a mass. :-D

Life in Pudong Started

I have moved to Pudong last weekend and now drive to work at Xujiahui every day. The 16 KM distance costs about 40 minutes in the busy traffic in the morning. It is still not bad since I didn’t experience traffic jam so far.

Limited by the foreign plate (non-Shanghai plate), I cannot use the elevated highway in the morning, but it is not a big matter. I am convinced that the time I am not allowed to use the elevated highway is the time the policy don’t recommend people to use it. I have tried to get to the elevated road soon after the ban for me is lifted (7:30 AM to 9:30 AM, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM), the elevated highway is still in a mass. It is something like a large parking lot, while the ground roads are still working. Thanks to the wide Zhao Jia Bang road connecting Nanpu bridge and Xujiahui, there are only red lights but no traffic jam. I believe after the Fuxing Rd. Tunnel between the Nanpu Bridge and the Yan’An East Road. Tunnel is completed, the road will be more easier to get through.

Continue to Seek for an Apartment

After I decided not to move to Pudong, I continued to seek for an apartment near the Hua Shan road. I cycled around the decent area of nice old houses today (taking annual leave). The more apartments I saw, the more hopeless I were. There is almost no chance for me to move into this dream area.


The area within the red line is among the best areas in the Xujianhui

There are many old houses (built in early 1900’s) alone the quiet roads. I have to say, the architecture of that times are wonderful. They have large gardens, nice design, and perfect decoration. Each house will have its own history back to the beginning of the last centaury. Their price is typically 20,000,000 RMB or higher. (Yes. I am not wrong with the zeros).

At the same time, there are some very badly designed, old, dirty, and crowded apartments among them. They are the legacy buildings of the 1970’s. Even these houses are more than 10,000 RMB per sq. meters. Although there is no doubt that their locations were perfect, I cannot be convinced to relate it to high quality life. The stairs have been full occupied by residents so one have to struggle to find his way to home. Not to mention to the typical bad habit of old Shanghai style (the major reason why Shanghainese has bad reputation in other places of China). For example, I found myself monitored by everyone in that area and some old ladies gathered and talked about my visit to an apartment. I only heard they mentioned that I was the forth person to see the apartment – if they want, they will know all the details of your life. :-(

Good luck for me. I still have a dream to enjoy the decent life Shanghai has to offer.

Bye Bye, Pudong

There is something that I didn’t disclose in this blog. At the end of last year, we planned seriously to move to Pudong — the green land. We bought a new house with very big garden in Pudong and planned a car. However, in the recent weeks, I was convinced that Pudong is not the place for me. I decided to say “Bye bye, Pudong”.

I can assure you that it was not an easy decision. It is the choice of the two distinct different styles.

Actually, I never lived in the best areas of the city. My previous two houses (including the one I rented in Meilong) was both out of the inner-ring. During my journey to seek for an apartment in the quite and beautiful Hua Shan Road (华山路), Xin Hua Lu (新华路) in Changning District, I found so many good places that we never thought of before. Think about the trees, the beautiful 1930’s houses, and the nearby universities, even the names of the roads! Everything there represents a romantic, convenient, and culture-rich life of Shanghai.

I started to ask myself: Why to spend my best time in Pudong to experience the fresh air and green land instead of what a fantastic city has to offer? Why I need to spend my young life to see the boring nights in Pudong just for investment? Pudong is not Shanghai in terms of cultural relationship. I’d rather to have a high quality of life, not money.

It is not easy to develop any place from nothing to a rich and decent place. We talked with the real estate agent in Pudong seeking to sell the house. The woman agent (with very bad mandarin) maybe grew up in the former village in that area and found the job. She actually knows nothing about the real estate and even doesn’t know the rate of a bank mortgage. She even got very angry when I challenged her on that: “I am an agent. It is not my business. You need to talk to the bank.” It is something I can never imagine in Puxi. It takes one generation or more to change this.

P.S. If you are new to this site, here is some simple Chinese words. Dong 东 means east. Xi 西 means west. Pu is the abbr. of Huang Pu River. Pudong is the area east of Huang Pu River and Puxi is the area in the west.

My Previous House at Meilong

I suddenly missed my previous house at Meilong badly. It was on the forth floor of a 6-floor apartment building, which is 15-minute-walk away from Lianhua Road Metro Station. The 64 sq meter apartment with two bed rooms, one guest room, one kitch, one rest room only cost me 600 RMB per month. That was a great deal and currently, I cannot image any apartment with less than 600 RMB, let along the two-bed room apartment.


© Jian Shuo Wang

Look at the nice and romatic bed room. I lived there for three years.