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Shanghai (上海), which means 'by the sea,' is China's financial center and currently the place I call home. The center of the city is divided into two areas by the Huangpu River. Puxi (where I live), literally "west of the river", continues to expand as the original business center. Pudong, to the east, is a new business district, and is growing rapidly with the construction of business offices, residential complexes and manufacturing buildings.

Contrary to what Wintersweet is saying, Shanghai is anything but grey and ugly (sorry :p). Yes it is loud and crowded, but only because it is a large city and all of them are like that. There are over 14 million people packed into that small place. There are many areas in Shanghai that are anything but grey and dull, such as downtown (Nanjing Lu, The Bund, French Concession, and the new Hongqiao area where my house is). Those places are often full of life and color.

Shanghainese is a wacky dialect, but having learned it, I still use Mandarin in Shanghai because it is easier for me. If they are rude to me for using Mandarin (a rare thing these days) then I walk away. I think rudeness all over the world might be related to living in big cities.

It is a big metropolitan city, but once you start talking to people they are often a lot nicer. Having lived there for 5 years, I have to say it isn't a bad place. BTW, the Hard Rock Cafe in Shanghai sucks. You should eat at Tony Roma's upstairs instead. :)