So, what kind of place is Shanghai?
Shanghai is a place that sold itself a long time ago and has yet to recover what it gave to the highest bidder. Like some that sell themselves cheap, she has long forgotten her worth and takes on a saccharin-coated sense of self-importance.
Shanghai doesn’t really know what it wants to be, so it has a little of everything. That means that everything feels just a little like somewhere else. That’s true of all cities, but usually I can get a feel of an inner pulse of the place itself. Shanghai has an amazing veneer of very heavy makeup to hide some of the deeper emptiness.