Day 111: Hotels

Looking west to Seattle from Bellevue.

Looking west to Seattle from Bellevue.

Eighteen months ago Melinda and I moved from Seattle, WA to New York City for a temporary work assignment and we’ve kinda been on the road ever since. After the NYC assignment we returned to Seattle, but Melinda’s new position had her on the road, so rather than stay at home alone I began accompanying her– NYC, Miami, Dallas, NYC, Tampa, I skipped Oklahoma City. In August we flew to Shanghai to find an a apartment and in October we relocated; our apartment wasn’t ready yet, so we lived in a Hotel for a month. Multiple week long trips to Beijing and Nanjing, a trip to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay Vietnam and a trip back to Seattle and Boise in February. We’ve racked up some frequent flyer miles and lots and lots of hotel points. Luckily, we adapt to change quickly and after the first day in a new hotel its almost like home.

Day 110: Home

Taking a rest from a bike ride and waiting for the sunset.

Taking a rest from a bike ride and waiting for the sunset.

Easter Sunday 2014 was a bonus day for us; we boarded a Delta flight in Shanghai at noon Sunday and landed in Seattle on Easter Sunday at 8:30 am, so despite spending the day flying we also got to spend it taking a nap, walking the Seattle waterfront with James and going out for dinner. We’ve made it to 11 PM PST (2PM Monday, Shanghai time), so after uploading this picture we’re going to battle jet lag by going to bed. It’s good to be home.

Day 109: Rain

Waiting in the rain.

Waiting in the rain.

Today was spent walking around in the warm rain while Melinda got her haircut; At the end of this lane is a cafe/bar/creative space/ and art gallery called New Life. It has an outdoor cafe with beer and wine, and an inside coffee bar. I love this lane, for me, it is the perfect mix of old and new Shanghai.

Day 108: Taxi!

Off-duty taxis line Pucheng Lu

Off-duty taxis line Pucheng Lu

Taxis drivers are almost as numerous as landscape workers and street sweepers, in Shanghai, and the only time you can’t find one is when it’s raining. (Why should Shanghai be different from any other city?) Cabs are inexpensive, the base rate is 14 RMB ($2.25) and I’ve never had a fare over $7.00. All four of Shanghai’s taxi companies are state-owned and the drivers lease them for a flat 24 hour rate and pay their own fuel costs. Usually, two drivers split the daily rate with each of them driving a 12 hour shift, although some do drive around the clock (when taking a cab late at night look to see that they are awake).

Day 107: Clean Sweep

Street sweeper takes a break from his broom to fix the seat on his cart.

Street sweeper takes a break from his broom to fix the seat on his bicycle cart.

I had not intended on a ‘theme’ for this week’s pictures, but on my way home, today, I walked past this man fixing his bicycle seat and took this shot which seemed to fit nicely with this week’s unintended theme of manual labor; China has an untold number of street sweepers, Using brooms made of thin branches, they are everywhere, sweeping and picking up so that the streets are spotless. As someone who grew up in NYC during the 70′s and 80′s, I am familiar with dirty streets and I was pleasantly surprised when I got to Shanghai and saw how clean the streets are kept. At first, I assumed that it was a matter of people not littering, but that’s not the case, I have watched people throw all types of trash out taxi windows and drop litter 5 feet from a trash receptacle, but the army of sweepers insures that the trash doesn’t last long. If the Chinese economy ever slows to the point that they do away with the hordes of public employees, watch for the trash to pile up quickly.

Day 106: Sprinkler Men

Watering the shrubbery along Century Boulevard.

Watering the shrubbery along Century Boulevard.

The public landscaping in Shanghai is quite extensive and very well done; luxury apartment compounds, high rise office towers, parks and Pudong’s wide boulevards are extensively planted and very well taken care of. Everyday you will see an army of workers planting, trimming, sweeping and watering. For such a modern city it is surprising, at first, to this westerner, that there is not more utilization of technology–automatic sprinklers. But China is still in the early stages of development, relatively speaking, as a modern economy and society, and there are 1.6 billion or so people to employ, so it is quite understandable that there is a reliance on manual labor. And that small Honda engine is doing wonders for the AQI.