When foreigners move to Shanghai, most of them are naturally attracted to living in the centre. In fact, just west of the very centre of the city, there’s an area densely populated with Britons, Americans and the French. The number of western-run restaurants and cafés is higher than anywhere else in Shanghai (and I would say the highest in the whole of China), and even though it is far from difficult to find Chinese people living in the district, it is equally impossible not to bump into groups of foreigners on every corner.
The district I’m living in is very different. It’s actually the very opposite – and that is both fortunate and unfortunate. I must admit I am not fond of running into Westerners everywhere I go in Shanghai so I see the extreme “Chineseness” of my area as quite pleasant. However, I also find it very dull – it is far from anywhere (though in terms of the whole city it’s in fact really central!), there are no good places to eat, and no parks to walk in. But then – I kinda expected all this of China so I can’t really complain!