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.
The Shanghai Grand Theatre,located at the northern edge of People’s Square,features performances of operas, musicals,ballets, symphonies,chamber music concerts,spoken dramas and various Chinese operas. The SGT is located next to the Shanghai Municipal Government building, the center of political power in Shanghai. Traffic is restricted on the road fronting these buildings and police officers watch the few large black sedans with tinted windows parked at the curb. Seconds after taking this picture a young man walked past me, he was dressed in a casual, wrinkled style, but what set him apart from the other young men wandering around the square was the clear earpiece and wire running into his shirt collar. One rule in China: watch what you are doing, other people are.