The Whoa Factor

Shanghai, so far, for all of its daily annoyances, comes with some pretty amazing Whoa Factors. Last week, I walked along Nanjing Road by my subway station, looked up, and saw a giant Sephora. One so big that you literally think, whoaaa where did THAT come from?!
When I moved to the area just over two months ago, I vaguely remember there was a going-out-of-business sale at that corner store. Within two months, the entire building has been transformed into a huge cosmetics wonderland (very, very dangerous for my wallet…).

I was amazed. Then, I thought about all the other amazing things that this city has to offer. For a city that operates in Mandarin Chinese, somehow, there is a Seamless equivalent, Sherpa’s, here delivering food with menus in English. Since the water quality is somewhat dubious here, I invested in a mini water fountain. The guy who delivers water to my house somehow always manages to arrive within an hour of me sending him a text. When I needed broadband Internet installed, the China Telecom (a State-Owned-Enterprise) guy showed up the next day. Wouldn’t it be nice if Time-Warner can achieve the same efficiency?

Unlike New York where you need to book everything way ahead of time, here in Shanghai, I can get a massage until midnight on any day of the week, no appointment necessary. Haircut? Same. And what’s even better? You get the service for a fraction of the price you’d pay in the Big Apple. It’s 2 in the morning and you need that cup of coffee, or bubble tea? 24-hour café is around the corner somewhere.

Life is always full of series of tradeoffs. Every time someone is walking in to my face on the subway as I get off the train, I think of the cheap massages and haircuts I can get here. Or how I can very easily eat a meal for 3 USD. You win some, you lose some.

Sephora Shanghai

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