It's worth noting here, before I go on, that Shanghai does benefit from a certain amount of 'freedom' compared to other cities like Beijing and Guangzhou that have far more government lead rules and restrictions and perhaps more importantly, larger, more serious, repercussions for breaking them. However, you only need to walk around for an hour or so to see the hundreds of official looking men and women keeping Shanghai on the straight and narrow or so you might think. Below, I have listed some of them for you...
This guy is very serious looking, so your thinking perhaps he watches over a major celebrity or maybe a bank. Nope, this guys stands opposite our hotel, 12 hours a day, making sure no one jumps in the small fountain outside a Louis Vuitton shop.
|Give us a smile!|
This man was extremely serious. He told Michelle not to take any photos and those of you who know Michelle can guess what happened next... Yep, she took a photo. He had a gun! Anyway, he was guarding a residential block of apartments, pretty excessive if you ask me. Perhaps that is where the future Chinese leader was hiding!
|'Hey, i'm walking here'|
There are literally thousands of men and woman doing this job in Shanghai. Any of you that struggle to cross the road by yourselves, worry no further, these Shanghainese will help you get across. They exist at every major junction and crossing and will blow whistles in your ear when it is time to cross.
Shop in safety with up to four security guards at the entrance to every shopping plaza. Admittedly we have only been here a week but I don't think they will see much action!
|Pinky and Perky|
And these two just take the biscuit, always standing around guarding the gardens outside the Gucci shop. It looks like they could do with a bit more exercise if you ask me!
So whilst these men and women appear very officious and serious, the fact is that they don't really do a lot and the locals, to a large degree, just ignore them. The police, however, are a different story and we have seen quite a few incidents where there appears to be a lot of respect, perhaps fear, of the police in Shanghai. There is, of course, quite a serious point to all this... there are over 23 million people in Shanghai and not that many jobs, so whilst the fountain warrior may well be bored out of his mind, he is likely to be very happy just having a job. The ironic thing in all this is that Shanghai feels like one of the safest cities I have travelled to.
A 'thank you' must go to Michelle for this blog as I didn't have the guts to take a lot of these photos. I certainly haven't learnt to ignore the officials yet and am much more comfortable following their rules!