As a well-traveled American, I had thought myself to be immune to wide-eyed urban experiences. Shanghai is next level: so new, so enormous, so full on, that nothing short of awe is appropriate. If you want to know how dated and last century we Americans are, go here to see the future. True, the pollution is biblical, and there are a range of other complaints one can make. But this is a massive global city that has essentially been created in the last 15 years. To speak to the locals is to talk with people who have no constraints on what they think can be done. Their confidence and drive is astonishing. It is also a city with a vibrant expat community, mostly young people from around the world who sense that if they want to make something happen, this is where they should be. It’s much too full-on for me as a place to live, making Manhattan seem like a quaint village, but to visit and understand modern China, I recommend it. We got a guide, a kid from Texas who spoke the language and could show us around. You will need someone like that if you want to dig into the place. I like The Puli Hotel. The Commune Social restaurant at Neri and Hu is great.