Day 235:Cleaning Up

Day 235 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.

Day 234: Take Me Home

At the end of a long day riders wait for a bus home.

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.

Day 233: Be Calm and Pedal On

Woman secures her load while waiting for red light to change.

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.

Day 232: Egghead

On the inside looking out

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.

Day 231: Downpour

A sudden summer downpour

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.

Day 230: Car Park

An underground parking garage near the Times Square shopping center, Pudong, Shanghai

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.

Day 229: Wrong Turn?

Day 229 Traffic rules are different in China, you might say, almost non-existent. People park and, yes, drive on the sidewalk, driving straight yields to left-turns, passing on the right, as well as left, is common, a three lane highway often has 4, or 5 cars travelling abreast, and drivers accelerate prior right turn on red, they don’t stop. Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way even in a crosswalk with a green light. A van on the sidewalk, in between two fences?  Sure, just be careful walking behind him, he won’t look back when he’s in reverse.