A city that lights up at night in neon and fluorescence. During the day, Shanghai isn't much to see--especially on days where there's heavy smog in the air and skyscrapers seem to disappear into the vague haze. But at night, they are outlined in illuminated squares of offices and apartments.
During summer evenings, whole families sit outside to cool off. They bring their lawn chairs onto the sidewalk, some even eat their dinners out in the open. The streets are lined with vendors leaning over bright green tarps selling anything from watermelons to phone trinkets that light up when you receive a call.
The very poor, the very rich, they're all jammed together here. Children begging on the street outside of a western cafe featuring a live jazz band nightly. The police come by every so often to shoo them away. A woman folding dumplings inside of a restaurant window. A chef kneading dough with a cigarette behind one ear. Men smoking on stoops while playing cards. A yellow Ferrari lurches bumper to bumper down Hua Hai Road's French Concession. Occasional rain that makes the concrete pavement reflect the storefronts selling floral dresses. Warm. Humid. A new mosquito bite on the back of your calf. Little bursts of cool air as you walk past sliding glass doors. People shouting about prices.
Then a rush of air conditioning when you step into one of the karaoke bars on Nanjing Road. Muffled music overhead, video games, flashing lights like the inside of a pinball machine. The air smells like cigarettes and fried tofu. A beautiful waitress bows to you at the door and ushers you to your private room. It has black leather couches, a big screen TV, and a glowing tile floor that alternates in pink and purple. Full menu service 24 hours. Buckets of ice, liters of Coca Cola, sweetened chrysanthemum tea, and a bottle of 104-proof baiju. Shanghai is open all night long.
Bits & Pieces
A place for experimentation, a place for pieces unpolished and unpublished, a place to work out thoughts and ideas for larger collections. Typos aplenty. Enjoy (or not).