Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Shanghai Expat Show 2012

Expatriate (n.): someone who lives outside of their native country. 

Photo Credit: chronicle.com

Hello and welcome back to another installment of my time in Shanghai! I know I've neglected this blog a bit, but I'm pleased to announce that I've settled into a residence as well as, a somewhat solid work routine; thus; life in Shanghai is getting better.  Now that I've given you the quick update, I will now share with you my experience at the annual Expat Show Shanghai!

During the mad dash weeks of looking for an apartment, I went with a couple of friends to look at a potential residence (which they ended up committing to), followed by dinner afterwards.  Once we entered the lobby and headed to the elevators, my eyes noticed flyers with English writing on it. I picked one up and I saw it was for the annual Expat Show Shanghai and to my delight, it was going to be held that weekend. The flyer advertised hundreds of booths that would range from living and housing, education, social, and trip planning matters.  Lastly, there would be many different booths serving cuisines from around the world (I love food)!!  I tucked the flyer away into a safe place in my purse and told several others about. I managed to find a few people who were given the weekend off and we agreed to meet that Saturday. 

I quickly got myself dressed and ready that Saturday and found the venue for the expat show which was the beautiful Shanghai Exhibition Hall.  

I was asked to fill out a card and then a name tag and upon entering the hall, I was greeted by a local who welcomed me in perfect unaccented English with a goodie bag of freebies!

Upon entering the hall, I was greeted by a French expat who awarded me a box and enclosed inside was a discount card and booklet which contained information regarding expat life in Shanghai. I said my "merci"and did a tour of several booths. I collected information on things that ranged from English language publications geared to expat life, to graduate schools offering English language instruction, right on down to dental information.

The Perfect Smiles Dental Booth: Care for the Expat Community

I visited several Mandarin Language school booths that lured me by their goodies and other wares.  These ended up being the most annoying booths since they harassed me to sign up for lessons and they would not take a polite no (or five) for an answer. I found myself avoiding these booths at all cost for the remainder of the day.

One of the Offenders

After visiting and speaking with several companies/individuals and upon feeling the weight of my goody bag, I decided I had worked up enough of an appetite and it was time to visit the food hall. I was excited to try some samples and a good western meal followed by a chocolate dessert since I read on the internet that there would be a chocolate maker on the premises. By the time I made it to the food hall, I was severely disappointed (hence why there's no pictures).  Pickings were slim and pretty much every other booth sold croissants and other french pastries (there are loads of French expats in Shanghai and French was the second most spoken language I heard, hence the gratuitous amount of booths selling French pastries) which were incredibly over priced.  I almost got an Indian dish but decided to cancel my order at the last minute since the food looked like it had been sitting there since that morning (which it very well could have been).  I ended up getting a French pastry (go figure), followed by some cheap ($1.30), yet delicious chocolate chip gelatto.  After a disappointing lunch, I walked around some of the travel booths and I was delighted by the "Go Philippines" booth.

The Winner for 'Best Booth' of the Expat Show

The booth had a live band as well as, patient and attentive representatives who explained the ease of traveling to the Philippines from China.  The representatives talked about different tour packages one could take and they bestowed me with more free goodies. After speaking with the representatives for several minutes (they really piqued my interest), and after picking up some duct tape from a shipping company, I decided to call it a day.

All in all, the Expat Show Shanghai was interesting, fun and something I would return to next year. I can only hope they improve the food hall with more diverse choices and the chocolate maker for next year!

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