The Tallest Building in Shanghai – America’s Next Top Model Style

Shanghai is home to the second tallest building in the world and many other fascinating sky scrapers!

The famous Shanghai skyline teems with skyscrapers – each trying to outdo the other. An architect would explain how there is different terminology for skyscrapers (continuously habitable buildings over 10 floors tall) and how a supertall skyscraper (over 300 meters/984 feet) is NOT the same as a megatall skyscraper (over 600 meters/1,969 feet).

          Did I put you to sleep yet? Let me try this again…

Three beautiful buildings loom over my head but I only have one picture in my gift bag. The photo in the bag represents the tallest building in Shanghai. I will only call one name and the names that I do not call must immediately stop pretending to be the tallest building in Shanghai.

          Contestant Number One: Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower was disqualified in 2007 when a new tower surpassed it in height. But your high social media score brought you back! Fans will never forget how you took China by storm in 1994. After just 3 years of construction you made it to the top. Every hallway may be a runway but you make every night fashion week. Your fierce façade lights up the city every night!

Fans flock from all over the world and can’t get enough of your boom boom WOW. They don’t care that you’re not the tallest anymore or that it can take up to 4 hours to see the view from your observatory deck. Your beauty has even built bridges, allowing tourists to photograph you safely above the busy traffic. Shine on as a role model for every tower that doesn’t think it’s tall enough to be beautiful.

           Contestant Number Two: Shanghai World Financial Center

In 2007 you shocked China and rose as the second tallest building in the entire world! Your flawesome design offers the best view of the city and of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Your modestly only attracts those visitors who are worthy of your beauty which is why the line to the observatory only takes a mere 30 minutes.

At night you light up in a simple blue hue, your very own white tank and jeans, the perfect go-see outfit. From your 100-floor-high glass walkway to the impressive miniature of Shanghai on the ground floor – you portray elegance and poise H-2-H (head to toe). If we were doing Ty-Overs, I wouldn’t change a single LED light bulb.

          Contestant Number Three: Shanghai Tower

The youngest contestant of them all! Shanghai Tower took center stage in 2015 and gained instant fame for being the tallest of the only three adjacent supertall skyscrapers in the world. Your iconic twisted pose shows off all your best features. You know how to give just enough with your smize and your true nature* still remains a mystery to the world.

*A lot of the interior including the higher observatory deck are still closed. The building only opened to the public this summer.

The time has come. It’s time to announce who is the tallest building in Shanghai…

Wait… what is this?!? This photograph appears to be cropped! Give me another one…

Well that’s pretty. Pretty inaccurate! Was this ALSO purchased in the Shanghai World Financial Center observatory gift store? Where’s the tallest building in Shanghai? Why is everyone shrugging? Isn’t it supposed to be right next to the Shanghai World Financial Center? Are you seriously pretending that it doesn’t exist? *sigh* This is getting embarrassing… and by the way, you looks like a giant bottle opener!

This post is based on a true story. Most of the souvenirs we bought had conveniently left out the Shanghai Tower, the true tallest building in Shanghai. The staff refused to comment and just shrugged when we joked about the photos being cropped.

Some facts about the three buildings:

  • The Shanghai Tower is currently the second tallest building in the world. It is 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall, 196 meters (643 feet) shorter than the tallest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
  • The Shanghai World Financial Center is currently the fifth tallest building in the world. It is 492 meters (1,614 feet) tall. They claim that their observatory deck is the highest in the world but even this statement seems to ignore the neighboring megatall skyscraper and it’s 119 floor viewing deck
  • The Oriental Pearl TV Tower’s antenna reaches 467.9 meters (1,535 feet) but the top floor sits at 350 meters (1,148 feet). At 7PM the tower lights up in a colorful array of lights that can be viewed from the Shanghai World Financial Center – but make sure to grab a spot early on as it gets pretty packed.


Registering at the foreign police is obligatory for anyone who is staying in the Czech Republic for more than 30 days. Non-EU citizens are supposed to register within three days within arrival. EU citizens on the other hand have 30 days but still need to register.

Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!

Chinese Valentine’s Day: Tough Love or True Love?

China has it’s own Valentine’s day and plenty of other ways for singles to meet!

In a country where men outnumber women by over 33 million, finding love is not easy. The problem goes beyond numbers. According to Wang Yu, the owner of TanTan (the Chinese version of Tinder), globalization and China’s one-child policy are the main reasons for China’s single men problem.

Yu explains in an interview with Vice that shows like Sex in the City result in the naturally picky Chinese women becoming more modern, leaving millions of Chinese men forever alone.

This is great news for women who no longer feel the pressure of settling down by 27, the age when unmarried women become considered flawed spinsters. However, it passes on the unfair label “shengnu” (meaning left over) to men.

While Chinese men desperately fight the friend zone and the 10+ other men who also want the same woman, Chinese women are too busy enjoying single life to bat an eyelash. Could China be in danger of becoming the next Japan where 50% of adults are no longer having sex?

Do not fear, Qixi is here!
(I’m not even kidding, it’s actually today…)

Celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese lunar month, Qixi is the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. It’s been China’s most romantic holiday since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and was traditionally celebrated by women demonstrating their needle threading skills under the moonlight and carving intricate designs on the skins of unsuspecting melons.

Traditionally there was also worshiping of the Vega star and children hanging wild flowers on the horns of oxen. The holiday is based on the legend of Niúláng and Zhínǚ, the ox-herd married a fairy who became a weaver girl to be with him. Zhínǚ’s mother, who happened to be a powerful goddess, was unimpressed with her daughter’s decision and banished her to heaven. The goddess created a river of stars (the Milky Way) to separate the (literally) star-crossed lovers and only allowed them to meet once a year on Qixi!

You can read more cool stories about China on China Highlights – my main source for this article!  Check out a few other romantic Chinese legends here.

Today, the holiday is celebrated just like Valentine’s Day with flowers, chocolate and romantic dinner dates. It is also a popular time to organize mass blind dates for anyone still looking for their special someone. Large public dating events do happen all year long, so not falling in love on Qixi is not the end of the world. Plus, the Chinese celebrate Western Valentine’s Day too which means more flowers, chocolate and opportunities to meet “the one”.

Almost every country has their own version of Valentine’s Day. Leave a comment with your favorite V-Day alternative or feel free to tell me just how much you hate commercialized holidays 😉

Four Health Benefits of Moving to China

Squat toilets, dangerous traffic, hard mattresses and sweating all summer long has it’s health benefits!

1. Improved Bowel Movement: Squat Toilets!

I admit that squatting over a hole in the ground is extremely weird if you’ve never done it before. However studies show that the squatting position is not only more hygienic but also healthier than sitting. Humans were “designed” to squat! Sitting actually stops the flows and tenses muscles that should be relaxed for everything to go smoothly. Don’t believe me? Here’s one of countless articles on the topic.

Just imagine how much better the world would be if everyone squatted. There are even social benefits like not arguing about leaving the toilet seat up. In fact, no one would ever have to touch a toilet seat again! Not sure how to do it without making a mess? Read an article with tips on how to do it right!

2. Staying Young Forever with Adrenaline Rushes: Crossing the Road is an Adventure!

This may not be true for every city in China, but Huaqiao has some pretty unique driving norms. On my very first day here I was told to do the following:

•    Ignore traffic lights – no one respects them so relying on them is dangerous
•    Look both ways when crossing the road even if it’s one way
•    Practice constant vigilance near cars, e-bikes or tuk tuks

In just one week I’ve witnessed a car accident involving a tuk tuk and seen dozens of e-bikes driving fearlessly in the wrong direction on busy roads full of fast cars. It’s pretty easy to get that daily dose of adrenaline every time I leave the apartment, so I’m excited to discover that it can protect my body and mind from the effects of aging. I’ll just have to avoid getting run over long enough to test the theory…

3. Achieving Perfect Spine Alignment – Hard Mattresses

The health benefits of sleeping on a firm mattress have been circulating media for years now. It can be extremely uncomfortable at first but anyone can get used to sleeping on a hard surface. Plus the benefits make the adjustment period worth it. To maximize health benefits, Chinese mattresses are made extra hard. To an inexperienced foreigner like myself, lying on one can be compared to lying on the floor – and not the soft carpeted kind.

Here are some Chinese mattresses tips for fellow newbies:
•    Do your best to give sleep on a hard mattress a change, it can only make you healthier
•    Expect a few sleepless nights and grumpy mornings
•    Don’t panic if you can’t sleep on a hard mattress, you can buy a soft one in IKEA
•    Don’t jump onto a hard mattress unless you live near the ER
•    Don’t expect to find a soft mattress in a Chinese furniture store*

* If someone allegedly knows a Chinese furniture store that sells soft mattresses, don’t get overly excited and make sure to knock on some wood (or your stone-hard mattress) to avoid jinxing your good fortune.

4. Daily Toxin Cleansing – Unlimited Sweating in 40°C Weather

It may be a myth that sweating helps eliminate toxins but there are plenty of other health benefits including an endorphin boost, cold prevention and decreased risk of kidney stones just to mention a few. This year has apparently been one of the hottest summers ever and my first week had a consistent temperature of high 30s & low 40s (100+°F) that felt like 50°C (122°F). It’s great to know that I’ll be very healthy until about early October!

There is also no regular Western deodorant in my city! So I don’t have worry about potentially cancerogenic substances found in most types of deodorants. This doesn’t mean I go around smelling bad, there are plenty of natural ways to keep from smelling bad – dabbing some baking soda on your armpits works wonders!

Real Vegans Eat Insects: True or False?

The growing trend of edible insects has started many debates among foodies. It’s gaining popularity because It’s a great alternative source of protein because farming insects requires fewer resources and it can be done in ways that don’t harm the environment.

Some Google definitions:

  • Vegetarian: a person who does not eat meat or fish, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.
  • Vegan: a person who does not eat or use any animal products.

Antoine Doré, who created the image above, captures how most vegetarians see eating insects.

By definition neither vegetarians nor vegans should even consider eating insects because they are animals. Whether or not they are sentient is another question that is currently being researched.

However research does show that insects don’t have nociceptors which inhibit them from feeling the same type of pain that humans feel. This does not mean they can’t feel pain though, you can read more about this here.

How are insects prepared for eating?

Since over 2 billion people in the world eat insects as part of their daily diet, even this question has many answers. But the most humane way to prepare insects, for example mealworms, is to place them in the fridge which makes them hibernate. Once they are hibernating they are thrown into boiling water so they die immediately. This is believed to be painless although, as previously mentioned, there is no data yet to back this up.

Mealworm example and comparison to cattle:

Mealworms live an average of 3 months and if they are hibernating in the fridge, they can live up to 5 months. When people eat mealworms, they eat the insect at the larva stage (where it looks like a worm instead of a black beetle). An adult beetle lays up to 500 eggs in their lifetime. These eggs hatch in 1 – 4 weeks and they become pupas (cocoons) in 7 – 10 weeks. You can see a video of their life cycle here.

The quick maturity rate of mealworms (and other insects) is another benefit of eating insects. It takes very few resources for them to become mature and it takes little time to repopulate them. With cattle, for example, it takes 2 years for a cow to reach maturity and be able to breed.

Here is an infographic from Six Foods showing the comparison of resources needed for cow and crickets. Did you know that only 40% of a cow is actually edible as opposed to 80% of a cricket?

cowcricket (4)

Why SHOULDN’T vegetarians and vegans eat insects?

Disclaimer: Just because they don’t want to eat insects is a perfectly reasonable answer! No one has a right to force others to do something just because they believe it is right. But for the sake of answering the question…

The vegetarian and vegan belief is that animals should not be harmed for the survival of humans. Insects are animals too so they should not be eaten. Research does show that there are sufficient amounts of alternative protein sources for humans to survive without eating meat.

Recently there was a great answer on Quora explaining what would happen if everyone in the world stopped eating meat. Although human beings are born omnivores, there has been plenty of evidence to suggest that we can be healthy without eating meat.

Can humans really get all necessary nutrition without meat-based protein?

Again debatable, but research shows that the biggest problem with veganism and vegetarianism is the possibility of developing iron deficiencies, not lack of protein. This is because plant-based iron doesn’t absorb as easily into the human body.

Insects can play an important role here for those who are willing to eat them. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): “… many edible insects provide satisfactory amounts of energy and protein, meet amino acid requirements for humans, are high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids, and are rich in micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc, as well as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin and, in some cases, folic acid.”

There is also evidence of certain enzymes that could play a role in curing Alzheimer’s disease – although this, like everything insect related, still needs a lot of research.

Why SHOULD vegetarians and vegans eat insects?

Disclaimer: Again, no one is trying to force anyone to do anything! But here’s a few reasons why eating insects is something to consider!

There have been various articles about how eating insects will cause animals less harm. Some go as far as saying that replacing plants with insects can help the environment. Here’s one that the Huffington Post did a while back.

There are many reasons to become vegetarian and many do it to harm fewer animals. There are also vegetarians who choose to make exceptions and not follow all the strict rules: like many ideologies in life, it’s not always possible to follow 100%. (Is it even possible to live in a house, shop in a supermarket, use chemical beauty products and wear factory-produced clothing without harming animals? Don’t forget that most medicines are tested on animals.)

What is the purpose of veganism (and vegetarianism)?

If the ultimate goal is to help animals and there is proof that eating insects helps them, wouldn’t it make sense to give it a try? Imagine saving an intelligent animal that could live up to 15 years (a cow) by eating an insect that has a lifespan that’s measured in weeks and can be farmed without feeling the stress or pain that a mammal would. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Since my opinion is clearly biased, I decided to ask about this on Quora to see what other people thought. Most of the responses were clear: vegans don’t eat insects because they don’t eat any animals. This is totally understandable and a fair answer, however my favorite response was from ex-vegetarian Pavel Georgiev:

“Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.

Not all animals are equal in their ability to experience pain and desires. Ending the life of an insect is not equivalent to ending the life of a human in many respects.

Some vegans may argue that oysters can be eaten, despite their status as an animal, because they lack the biological systems that give rise to the sensation of pain and desire. Some people stick to a strict definition and don’t consider those “self-appointed vegans” to be vegans.

“Insects” include many different animals. Some people that call themselves vegans might find it okay to eat certain insects despite their ability to experience pain or desire because it may be a very limited ability.

Eating insects instead of plants could reduce the net suffering of animals since it is possible for many animals to suffer (that have a greater ability to suffer) from agricultural processes. The definition of veganism can be limiting for some because “animal” is a broad term and it ignores more complex ethical issues.”

Would you eat an insect if it could save a cow?

Financial Benefits of Eating Insects

Edible Insects offer clear financial benefits. It costs a lot less investment to produce edible insects in terms of input feed, but the ratio of feed to meat is far greater. Insects are biologically cold-blooded, so they use a lot less energy than poultry and beef herds to keep warm. As a result, a larger percentage of their output of food goes towards the growth process (generating proteins that are edible) than warm blooded animals.

The Kreca Ento-Food Company is a prominent insect farming facility authorized and regulated by the NVWA (The Netherlands Food and Safety Authority) to produce four varieties of insects suitable for human consumption. The company has been farming edible insects for almost 40 years and has been regularly fine tuning processes of production to ensure premium standard and insect produce. All organically farmed insects are free from hormones, preservatives, antibiotics and harmful pesticides.

Evidence based research shows that insects can play a preeminent role in offering solutions to many of Earth’s principle challenges like as security of food supply and damage to the environment. For example, it takes 10 kg of cattle feed to produce an output of 1 kg of beef, with less than half of it actually edible. In contrast 10 kg of feed will generate an output of 9 kilos worth of insects, with over 95% is edible!

Krecafood offers products like whole edible insects and protein powders which are usable as high nutrition ingredients in a diversity of foodstuffs.

Insect (Lesser Mealworm) Production at Kreca Ento-FoodEntomoFood

Shrimp vs. Crickets: How Can Eating Insects Save the World?

Shrimp are a popular food source all over the world. They are healthy due to their high calcium, omega-3, protein and they are deliciously easy to prepare. Shrimp has been America’s most popular seafood for many years; in 2014 the average amount of shrimp eaten per person annually was 1.8 kilos! Despite being one of the most common allergens, shrimp are considered a delicacy and are very much in demand worldwide.

So why do people love eating many-legged, large-eyed, trash-eating sea creatures but think crickets are disgusting?


Shrimp have more legs than insects: 5 pairs of walking legs, 5 pairs of swimming legs and 3 pairs of “arms” that they use to feed. They have hard exoskeleton and soft bodies just like insects. They also eat plankton and other ocean waste. While it is lobsters that are considered the cockroaches of the sea, shrimp can easily be compared to a variety of insects including crickets.


Research has shown that people who are allergic to shrimp/shellfish are also allergic to crickets and other insects. Crickets are an even better sources of protein and omega-3 than shrimp. They also have countless of other health benefits including being rich in iron, calcium (a great non-dairy source of calcium!), they are low in fat but have dietary fiber which is not common in the other animals eaten in the west.

The main difference:

Harvesting enough shrimp to feed our shrimp-crazed world has some devastating consequences on the planet. While eating insects is considered ecologically friendly, shrimp are either caught in the wild or farmed and both methods have their setbacks.

Farmed shrimp are often kept in coast side pools so that the tide can carry away the waste and refresh the water. This means that chemicals such as superphosphate, diesel, pesticides and antibiotics pollute the fresh water in the area. In addition to this, a 2014 estimate shows that 38% of the world’s mangroves were destroyed by shrimp farmers to create the ponds.

Catching wild shrimp on the other hand kills between 5 and 18 kilos of “bycatch” for every kilo of shrimp. Bycatch is basically unwanted species that get caught accidentally and includes sharks, sea turtles, star fish, rays and many more. Wild shrimp is also not inspected by the FDA, so the 162 varieties of bacteria (resistant to 10 different antibiotics) can end up on your plate.

This information was taken from a Tree Hugger article. You can read it here.

How is farming or catching crickets better?

According to the Edible Bug Farm, “Insect farming uses a tiny fraction of the feed, water and land needed to raise traditional livestock such as cattle or pigs. Since bugs are not mammals, they are also much less likely to transfer diseases to us.”

Not only does farming crickets require few resources, but it also requires very little space. It is even possible to purchase desktop farms that are fed on kitchen scraps. Livin Farms has created a Hive that produces up to 500 grams of mealworms every week.

Plus, insects reproduce at incredible rates and reach adulthood quickly, so it is easy to grow many insects in a short amount of time and keep repopulating it. Farming and catching insects can even have socio-cultural benefits in developing countries including providing jobs for women and the elderly.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let these three infographics summarize the benefits of cricket farming and conclude why crickets are better than shrimp (and cows, pigs, chickens, etc.)

QA0815-pg18 - CopyWhy-you-should-eat-cricket - Copyinfographic_bon_appetit_can_insects_feed