Day 302: This is the End

A final walk through a doomed neighborhood.

A final walk through a doomed neighborhood.

I can hear a sad, old jazz melody playing in my head as I write this; 15 hours until I leave China for the final time. It has been a great 14 months, eye-opening, mind-changing, rewarding and energizing. I’m grateful to my wonderful wife for providing this opportunity and I’m looking forward to the next chapter. Zài jiàn. 再見/再见

Day 242: Hair!

A wig vendor displays colorful wares at the AP Market in Shanghai.

A wig vendor displays colorful wares at the AP Market in Shanghai.

The AP Market in Shanghai is a “fake” market where vendors offer Louis Vuitton handbags, Omega watches, Oakley sunglasses, Beats headphones, Converse sneakers, NFL & MLB jerseys, Adobe and Microsoft software and other luxury items, all of them fake, some of them good counterfeits and some really, really cheap knock-offs. As you wander through the maze-like underground complex it is easy to become disoriented, the aisles of shops curving and slashing diagonally and the stores all sell the same stuff, one bag store looks like every other bag store, one t-shirt shop looks just like the other dozen t-shirt shops. But this is the only wig vendor in the entire complex. I’ve never seen anyone buying anything here and I haven’t seen many people with purple, or yellow or blue hair walking around Shanghai, but I know where to come if I ever need some fake hair.

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 201: Hot & Sticky

Two friends beat the heat under a fine mist

Two friends beat the heat under a fine mist

The rains are gone and the summer heat and humidity have arrived in Shanghai. Sunshine, (a low AQI meant blue skies) a temperature of 95 F (35C), and humidity of 71% equaled a heat index of 109 degrees, this afternoon. I went walking the local neighborhood hoping to find a place to buy a dog leash and collar, but had no luck (I did manage to get a pair of plastic slides for 15 RMB). A small shopping center just off Century Avenue and Weifang Xi Lu had a cooling zone with a fine mist spraying out over some benches and it was pretty popular, but stepping into air conditioned stores was more effective.