Taking Detours in Life & Travels - Gauthereau Group

12 Things I Learned During My 12 Hours in Shanghai

On my long way to Kolkata, India, I decided to take the “longest” flight possible (72 hours including two layovers of 12 and 6 hours) in order to discover a few additional cities.

So let’s see what I experienced during this extra travel time:

  1. I discovered you can stay in China for less than 48 hours without the need of any visa. A convenient way to quickly discover Shanghai during a layover.
  2. I was able to meet some of my fellow entrepreneur friends. Shanghai is not a financial city like New York or London. The city has a high concentration of people working in the wine & food industries.
  3. I had dinner in a typical Yunnan cuisine restaurant. Very large meals with many plates for less than $25.
  4. I sampled a local Chinese beer. There were lots of European beers on the menu too.
  5. I saw Shanghai’s very polluted sky. In fact, you can’t even see the sky and can barely see half of the tall skyscrapers.
  6. I learned we could not drink tap water as it’s too contaminated by heavy metals.
  7. I had breakfast in a French bakery – a croissant for $5.
  8. I took a local bus to go to the airport. It was 10 times less expensive than the cab from the airport and was the same journey time!
  9. I learned that most Chinese do not speak English.
  10. I discovered the old French Concession area (photo below) where the streets are bordered with old French Platane (Plane Tree in English) brought over from Paris.

Shanghai French Concession District

Often when we want to get somewhere – or reach a goal – we forget that the journey is as important, if not more so, than the destination. We often forget to enjoy the ride as we are so trapped in our minds with the goal or destination we want to reach. You’ve probably experienced this before – how many of us become impatient when our subway stops for too long, our car gets stuck in traffic, our plane gets delayed, or a project we wanted to finish is postponed?

What if we were to look at those moments differently? What if we saw those as great opportunities: a GIFT of free time in our busy schedule, an unexpected but blissful pause in our life?

The best surprises in life may happen when we take a detour. Has this happened to you?