10 things people in Shanghai complain about but really shouldn't

Pudong? Might as well ask us to go to Mordor...

Photograph: Ralf Leineweber via Unsplash
People in Shanghai and complaining go together like North Xuhui and pricey apartments. But not everything in the city is worth whining about. From having to go east of the river to not being able to get a seat on the Kartel roof terrace, these are ten things that every Shanghai ren should really stop lamenting.


Not being able to cycle or walk somewhere

If it isn't Mobikable or Ofo appropriate, is it really worth going? Do you really want to get on the metro or flag down a taxi? Is anything worth travelling more than 15 minutes for? Do you ever actually want to leave your apartment? Do you ever genuinely want to go anywhere or do anything? We think this is an issue you need to resolve with yourself, to be honest...

A full roof terrace

We've all been there: sheepishly walking around Kartel or The Captain, unsuccessfully trying to find a seat. It's nature's saddest dance – a dejected, wounded (wounded ego at least) animal struggling to find space at the watering hole. *David Attenborough voice*: 'With all the prime spots taken, the beta male will have to wait to drink another day.'

Having to wait ten minutes for a Didi

How inconvenient it is to use your phone to contact one of an army of drivers available around the clock to take you to your desired destination. And how dare they have the audacity to make you wait a small amount of time for the privilege!? Sure, it'd be nice to hop into the first car you see, but this isn't Grand Theft Auto – not that a Shanghai version of that wouldn't be cool.

Having to go to Pudong


Much like the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry in America in the '90s, there is a discourse between the east and west here in Shanghai – well, minus the violence. Pudong usually comes out worse, with many people preferring the west due to its wider range of restaurants, nightlife options and foreigner frequented haunts. Although, #TeamDong will argue that with Lujiazui, Disney and the Mercedes-Benz Arena on their turf, the east ain't so bad. Not that the mere mention of Pudong still doesn't send a shiver down many a person's spine.

Going to a tourist attraction on a weekend

Your parents are in town and they really want to go to 'that Bund' they've heard so much about. An old university friend wants to go to 'a proper Chinese temple'. Basically, whatever they want to do, you probably won't want to. However, you should be grateful to live in a city with so many cool places to visit. Although, we'll admit there isn't really any reason to go to The Pearl Tower twice.

Turning up to a restaurant in soft opening and it being closed

WHY DID YOU OPEN IF YOU'RE NOT REALLY OPEN? WHAT IS GOING ON? WE DON'T UNDERSTAND! Still, perfection takes time and there are plenty of other places to eat in this city.

Going to the airport


Whether it's PVG or Hongqiao, getting to the airport here always feels like an epic quest. Do you take a taxi? the metro? Have you ever turned up at the wrong one by mistake? Hell on earth. Absolute hell on earth. And if you're taking the Maglev, you have to snap a picture of the speedometer, or the trip doesn't count, right? So much stress, but you're probably going somewhere nice.

Not having any indoor heating

You can use your phone to source, order and pay for your dinner. You can go to a bar where a robot makes your drinks, but your bedroom still gets super cold in the winter, doesn't it? Sure. you've got the heat setting on your air conditioning, but you still find yourself sleeping in the winter wearing a hoodie, two sweaters and a jumper. Like that episode of Friends where Joey puts on all of Chandler's clothes.

Going to Found 158...AGAIN

It's Friday night and you're at Café des Stagiaires again. Your weekends are becoming very Groundhog Day – same people, same bars, same drinks. However, it's partly your fault. Yes, you go to Found all the time, but you haven't even been to all the bars yet. JZ Club? Blackstone Magic Bar? DEUS? Broaden your horizons a little. And don't act like you aren't in your happy place when you're a little bit tipsy chowing down on some Homeslice.

Getting stuck behind people trying to scan onto the metro


Now that you can use WeChat, Alipay, Apple Pay and all that jazz to pay to get onto the metro, every man, woman, child and sentient being is using their phone to scan at the metro turnstiles. However, this supposedly more convenient way of paying for travel seems to be causing more queues, especially during rush hour. Sometimes it's because the machines can't read the QR code; sometimes it's because the app freezes; sometimes it's because people don't get their phone out until they're at the front of the queue. Whatever the reason, at least we don't have to deal with losing our metro cards all the time now.

More somewhat relatable irreverence