Just days after The New York Times gave us its take on budget travel in Shanghai, AskMen.com offers up its own tips for those without such limited funds. The concept here is interesting: what is a good way to spend US$10,000 in a weekend in Shanghai? And why not? According to writer Scott Mills:
Gone are the “made in China” days when tourists felt uncomfortable about spending large sums of money in a city where poverty was as rife on the main streets as it was in the back alleys.
Shanghaiist was on board! Lead the way, Scott! And so we followed, and unsurprisingly to most readers, we were disappointed.
While we took issue with Matt Gross and his concept of frugality, Mr. Mills seems not to know much about … Shanghai. The article is rife with errors, some typographical and some factual. A sampling, because we like to nitpick:
- China’s President is listed as “Hu Kintao”.
- Apparently Scott thinks travel (in a limousine) from Pudong Airport to the “city” takes “about 20 minutes.” It’s not possible to drive to outpost Longyang Station in less than 30 without testing the speed limit, not to mention with traffic. He later refers to the business district of “Pudgong.”
- He advises readers to shop at the Xiangyang market, which closed six months ago. Doesn’t he read Shanghaiist?
- He claimed to spend US$50 on a salad and smoothie at Element Fresh. Total cost of the most expensive salad and smoothie combination: RMB 135/US$17. Padding the expense account much?
We could go on, but we’re falling asleep. The article itself is too mundane to really recommend. It’s full of the kind of stuff a lonely middle-aged guy with too much money might like to do with a weekend to kill in an unfamiliar city. Out of a three day visit, most of one is spent hanging out at the Shangri-La in Lujiazui. The rest, while “decadent” by some standards is nothing anyone couldn’t figure out on their own without speaking a word of Mandarin or Shanghainese. There are many more creative and interesting expensive things one could do in this town.
But our problem is not with this particular article so much as it is with the prevalence of this kind of stuff out there. What is it with these travel guides written by people who don’t know much about Shanghai, or who possibly haven’t been here, as we suspect of Mr. Mills? Don’t even get us started on other “introductions to Shanghai.”
Shanghaiist personally offers to take Mr. Mills on a weekend tour of Shanghai, on AskMen.com’s kuai of course. Matt Gross and Deb Fallows are welcome to join, as are their spouses.