I am glad that I read up on Shanghai before visiting, and learned of the existence of Shanghainese, a dialect of Chinese with lots of similarities but some crucial differences.
For example, the normal greeting throughout most of China is “ni hao”, where in Shanghai it sounds more like “Hello! You want lady massage? Sexy girls!”
And that’s the last joke I’ll make on the topic, because as funny as call girl jokes CAN be in theory, being solicited by a seemingly unending sea of pimps in the Bund ( Shanghai’s touristy upscale neighborhood) was just flat out depressing. The first one was “hah! That was a pimp! A real pimp!”, the second was “huh, maybe they’re working together?”, and the tenth was enough to just make me want to burn the place down and start over. Beijing is terrible in its own way, of course, but at least the sidewalk hawkers there are mostly trying to get you into their terribly overpriced taxi or onto their all-day tour of the Great Wall (and also many fine shopping establishments).
The nadir came in the form of a gentleman who offered me “lady massage? SERVICE massage? Verrrrry young!”
I am known for comments like “oh, <country name here>, don’t ever change!” but in this case I will come down on the side of saying that change would be a good thing indeed.