Unlike NYC where sudden rainstorms sprout umbrella hawkers outside every subway station and hotel, Shanghai’s parasol vendors are brought out by the summer sunshine. Light skin is a “Chinese obsession” according to a number of local Shanghainese; migrants from rural areas, many with darker, rougher complexions, are looked down upon. One television commercial even makes the claim that a certain skin lotion will make you “three shades lighter.” And despite the hot, humid weather, many women wear long sleeves, hats and pants. ““A woman should always have fair skin,” a Chinese lady was quoted as saying in a NY Times article. “Otherwise people will think you’re a peasant.”
Bund Beach on the Huangpu River in Shanghai is a small spot adjacent to the Cool Docks, complete with a sand volleyball court, basketball court, sand-filled play area for children, lounge chairs and a tiki-bar. Admission is 50CNY ($8.00) and you can reserve the volleyball court for up to 2 hours (8 people) for 300CNY. I live directly across the river, a short ferry ride away, and I can see myself catching rays here whenever the sun can burn through the Chinese haze.