Day 244: The Road Less Traveled

Day 244 The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but the most interesting journeys are comprised of meandering side trips and random tangents. I rarely travel in a straight line. My walks around Shanghai tend to be guided by the four compass points, but little else. On this particular day I decided to walk home the 8 km from my chiropractor’s office rather than take a taxi, or jump on the metro. After all, the temperature was not oppressive and the air quality was not disabling. Strike while the iron is hot. I walked from Tomorrow Square, through People’s Park and then cut up a side street in order to avoid the tourist crowds and street hustlers of East Nanjing Pedestrian Street– think Times Square, New York without the annoying costumed characters. Away from that famous part of Shanghai is where the people conduct their everyday lives, cooking, cleaning, shopping and socializing. I get the occasional stare as I am often the sole laowai to be seen wandering around the narrow streets lines with shops that sell door hinges and nuts & bolts and light bulbs and toilet plungers. It is on these streets where the security guard gets his foot massage and eats dinner, where the ayi buys her live fish and fresh vegetables for the evening meal. This is the China you miss if you stay on the main roads and travel in straight lines.

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