Passengers disembark the HuangPu River Ferry on the Puxi side.
Shanghai is a city split by a river, the old city, The Bund and the former French Concession on the west and Lujiazui, the new Shanghai of ultra high-rise skyscrapers on the east. The ferry is my preferred transport across; I’d much rather look at the river as I’m traveling across to the other side of town than be in a tube shooting under the river.
One reason the streets of Shanghai are cleaner than the streets of New York and other major American cities is the presence of the entrepreneurial migrant worker, the ones who pile enormous loads of cardboard, plastic, wire, and metal upon their three-wheeled carts and haul it to makeshift recycling centers. It seems that there isn’t anything that can’t be stripped down and reused.
At the end of a long day riders wait for a bus home.
I have yet to ride a Shanghai bus, preferring the clear, direct route of a metro train, or a taxi, but for many of Shanghai’s residents public buses are a staple of daily life. Buses are often crowded, drivers operate their vehicles like they are embedded in Grand Theft Auto and the recent decision to added emergency hammers (to shatter bus windows for an escape) to deal with a rash of on-board arson (jilted lovers and disgruntled employees bringing flammable fluids on-board and igniting the containers in the midst of a crowded bus) has convinced me that a bus ride may be one China experience that I choose to skip.
Woman secures her load while waiting for red light to change.
What caught my eye was not so much the woman securing her load while traffic waited for the red light to change, but rather that traffic waited for the red light to change! This street corner, Pudian Road and Pucheng Road, just south of our compound, is notorious for traffic congestion; bikes, scooters, taxis, trucks and the occasional Bentley are mashing together in a chaotic ballet. She was the calm before the storm.
On the inside looking out
Egghead Bagel is one of our favorite little restaurants in Shanghai; located on the tree lined street of Shanxi Bei Lu, in the Jing’An District it is a slice of NYC- actually two slices of the “doughy, fresh-baked bread we all love” that defines, for me, New York City. The bagels here are better than any I’ve ever eaten in Seattle, or Boise, or Peoria. Small and cozy, it seats perhaps two dozen inside and, on a nice day, another half-dozen outside. I must admit that my experience with the menu is limited because whenever I go I’m drawn to the excellent omelets and other all-day-breakfast fare and the fresh-squeezed juices.
A sudden summer downpour
Shanghai’s wet summer continues. The long walk through the French Concession after brunch was abandoned and good fortune arrived in the form of an empty taxi willing to take us home to Pudong. Two blocks after we got into the taxi the street corners were virtually impassable as the storm drains were overwhelmed by the thunderstorm. By the time we got home the rain had ended, but the heat and humidity remained.
An underground parking garage near the Times Square shopping center, Pudong, Shanghai
It took my a while to get used to the fact that Shanghai has millions of cars, but virtually no parking, at least no visible parking. There is little on the street parking, although some people feel entitled to on the sidewalk parking, and virtually no large, surface parking lots. Unlike the sprawling shopping malls in the USA that feature acres upon acres of paved surface parking, Shanghai shopping centers tend to be of the high-rise variety with the parking conveniently out-of-sight underground. As someone who travels by taxi and metro I don’t ever see those lots.