Day 294*: I Want You

Day 294

it is 2 PM on Tuesday and a group of men sit on a bare mattress and play cards in this neighborhood south of the Bund. In the makeshift structures to the left other men sleep. The old neighborhoods are disappearing rapidly and most residents have been relocated to modern apartments with indoor kitchens and bathrooms, something lacking in these old homes. But not everyone is gone; some are elderly long-time residents who don’t want to leave the [place that is home, but many are migrants from rural China, drawn to Shanghai for work tearing down old neighborhoods and building the luxury, high-rise condos that are displacing them. Catch 44.

*There are large gaps in the 365-Photo-Project, but the exist online only. I have thousands of pictures, shot every day, but Adobe Lightroom 5 crashed disrupted my workflow.I’m unable to import and process my pictures as I have been doing. I’m trying various work arounds, none ideal. I am slowly working to process the pictures to fill the gap (between 252 and today).

Day 224: Do Not Enter

Security guard watches over  a parking garage exit.

Security guard watches over a parking garage exit.

I don’t know what the official numbers are, but based on my 10-month long, unofficial observation the two most common jobs in urban China are street sweepers and security guards, with the latter being the most plentiful. Security guards are everywhere, whether they are necessary, or not; Lilong entrances, parking lot entrances–even the ones with automatic gates–apartment compounds (our compound has three guards at each entry a doorman at each building and a desk attendant in every lobby), construction sites,fake markets, metro stations, park entries, office buildings, ferry stations, bus stations, train stations, churches and malls. Usually in pairs and often sleeping.

Day Eighty-Six: Evening Commute

Evening Commute

Workers heading home at the end of the day

Despite the great economic strides made by China, a burgeoning middle-class and the emergence of a select group of super-wealthy families, a large number of Chinese citizens still live in poverty. For every Ferrari cruising the streets of Shanghai there are untold thousands –maybe millions– of E-bikes and scooters transporting their owners to and from work, grocery shopping and picking up the children from school. These inexpensive alternatives to bicycles blanket the streets of Shanghai, rain or shine. The Shanghai government has said they will begin regulating these popular rides in an effort to enforce safety standards, but, like everything else the government says, it is most likely just window dressing and very little will likely come out of the new licensing regulations.

Day Thirty-nine: Super Brand Mall

Times Square Super Brand Mall

Times Square Super Brand Mall

Unusual from a US perspective but common in China is a “Super Brand Mall,” a multi-level, high-tech mall consisting of countless independent resellers of brand name tech products. Samsung, HP, Apple, Nokia, Asus and more are all represented many times over; not all the products are the real deal and prices are flexible, to say the least, so it is definitely buyer beware. Each counter is an independent seller, the competition is fierce and the salespeople aggressive; my go to response is “Wo shi can can.” (I’m just looking).