We did it! After a little bit more than a year back in the United States, we culled through the combined posts from this blog and my wife’s blog, as well as a few thousand photographs, and have published a book documenting our time living in Shanghai. It is available from Blurb as both an eBook for the iPad, or as a 6″ x 9″ softcover book.
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.
One of the things I enjoy most about Shanghai is the way they enclose many of the myriad construction sites with living walls of vegetation; these enclosures are planted with thousands of individual plants and kept alive for the duration of the project, helping to soften the impact of yet another steel and cement tower rising in this city of 24 million people. And, yes, the scooter rider is driving his vehicle on the sidewalk, a common practice in Shanghai. Pedestrians beware.
After a visit to the chiropractor I like to walk around the People’s Park area of Shanghai even on days when the temperature and humidity combine to smother most signs of life. Climbing a staircase I stumbled upon what appeared to be an encampment of homeless, young men napping, washing in a bucket, drying clothes on a fence and burning a foul, toxic smelling fire in a tree ring (the odor of burning plastic, complete with black smoke). Homelessness is not visible in Shanghai, like it is in Seattle, or NYC, but in a city of 24 million it obviously exists. A recent article in the Shanghai Daily said that there are 5.5 million migrants living in the city without proper, legal paperwork (think undocumented migrant) thus denying them schooling, medical care and legal employment.