Shanghai–one day left here

Shanghai has the global bustle of NY or London, but with quirks that seem unique–hordes of Chinese on bicycles, packs of them, taking up half the road, and with their own lanes on the thoroughfares. Racks of clothes hanging everywhere, on telephone wire, balcony railings, fences outside of street side yards–even the fanciest high-rises have masses of drying clothes fluttering outside.
On a street filled with chic boutiques and glittering shop windows, a man walks balancing a bamboo pole that holds two heavy rattan baskets filled with small melons–he is selling them on the street, and people are stopping to buy.
This morning, I went for a walk and explored the wet market–a cavernous garage where merchants display plucked chickens (head and feet on), little yellow squabs, hunks of pork, all sorts of dead fish and some live ones), buckets of pickled cabbages, radishes, and heaps of yellow tofu, all alongside beautiful arranged masses of plums, peaches, cherries, fresh lychees, long beans, radishes, greens, lotus root and so on, all for pennies.
After that, I stopped at a corner stall where people were standing around eating–as I’d hoped, it was a place that made fresh dumplings and crullers–breakfast food. I pointed at the basket of long narrow crullers, miniature baseball bats(cricket for the Brits) and asked for one by holding up one finger, and the handing over 1 yuan (about 10 cents). I then asked for jook or congee–rice porridge–and they stared blankly. I gestured at an old woman with a bowl of something and said I wanted that–it was hot soybean milk and it cost another yuan. So I had my glass of soy milk and my cruller and I stood there with the Chinese and started to eat. Everyone burst out laughing watching me—apparently they did not expect me to manage the food so deftly or to enjoy it so much (I’ve eaten similar things in California and New York…and wanted to try them here) But it was a friendly sort of laughter, and afterwards they agreed I could photograph them and the shop and now I have nice photos of the place.
Eventually, I walked about 2 miles, using the map to head toward the knock off market, where I allowed myself to be suckered into buying a fake Cartier watch before escaping from the offers of DVDs, Prada bags, Coach, and so on, all fake of course.
The rest of the day was just as interesting, but more focused on hanging with my friends who live here, meeting some interesting entrepreneurs and visiting the Shanghai Museum.
I am also conducting a delightful love affair with my friends’ 4 year old, who is beyond charming and feels the same about me (this entails playing puppets before bed time, telling silly stories, and taking photos of our feet with the digital camera).
I go back to Korea on Wednesday and fly to California on Thursday, managing to land 14 hours earlier than I took off, in the middle of the day I left.
This has been a great holiday…first one alone in many years and surviving just fine.
Tomorrow is my last day in Shanghai, and I want to make the most of it.
Once I get to where I can go online with my own computer, I will upload all the photos.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Looks like you have been around.

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