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In Transit in Shanghai

When in Shanghai this past weekend, I documented the city from the back seat of a taxi.  This is what I found.

Because of the Expo, security measures have been increased noticeably since the last time I was in Shanghai.  There are "guards" in uniform standing at almost all bank entrances and other higher security risk areas.  Inside the subways entrances, there are guards standing at certain corners on top of raised blocks to ensure safety and maintain order.  Luckily the guards are on blocks or foreigners would TOWER over them (ehh huum, definitely not me though...).  Most of these alleged guards appear to be unarmed, but I wouldn't challenge them!


Cool side street off the main road:


Hey guys!  What's going on down there?


Here is a street cleaner.  Notice the face mask covering her nose and mouth.  The masks are extremely common and sold in most small stores, but instead of the surgeon one modeled here, you can buy fashionable colors and designs.  Anybody want one??


In the following picture, you can see four types of traffic: cars, bikes, electronic bikes, and bicycle carts. 


I really like this next picture because I think it says a lot about China.  The building in the background is very old and decrepit looking; look closely and you can see a lot of broken windows as a sure sign.  The fence-looking apparatus in front of the building is a series of obviously new signs advertsing/promoting Shanghai as a "better city".  The signs are high enough that pedestrians are unable to see what is behind them, but people in cars on the roads have view of what rubble lays behind.  I would be willing to bet that directly behind these nice, new signs are piles of garbage, clothes hanging outside to dry, and general urban decay of a Chinese city. 

Is it ugly? Hey!! Just put a sign around it! OR paint over it!! Nobody will even know!!




To me, this picture screams China.  This is the picture I have in my mind, from a pedestrian angle, of a stereotypical Chinese city.



The next picture is a weak attempt to show how crazy traffic is.  Look at how many lanes there are: at least four on the right side of the fenced median and although you can only see two on the other side, there are also four.  That's eight lanes of traffic going ONE way.   


In this next photo, we were about to hit a major tourist spot which is obvious by the "ancient-style" architecture.  Most arhces like the one photographed were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but have since been rebuilt to attracted foreigners.   


Inside this building are five floors of jewelry shopping: pearls, jade, silver, etc.


Outdoor kiosks, great for souvenirs!


More outdoor kiosk shopping!



The next picture is another weak attempt to try and show something in one photo that is too big to be captured.  These buildings are all apartment buildings.  On the left side, there are three visible buildings one behind the other.  In the middle there are another three (only two visible), and on the right, there are yet another three.  That's six HUGE apartment buildings all within a block on each other.  There are complexes similar to this one all over Shanghai.  These apartments are never shown as the norm of Shanghai living because the apartments marketed to foreigners are luxury, but these are the real deal! 


The building under construction in the middle of this picture is a scene which can be found on almost every block in most Chinese cities.  Everyone talks about how China is developing and its economic prosperity.  Well, I guess this is what development and economic prosperity look like:  
Construction in the city:


More construction:



When I was headed back to Nantong, the bus station was completely PACKED -- I had to walk around the huge waiting area for a few minutes before finding a seat.  

The waiting area:

A few minutes after I found a seat, the man sitting directly next to me got up and walked away.  Within seconds, a nice woman began leisurely walking towards the newly vacant chair.  (She was walking slowly, but her intent to sit in the chair next to me was obvious.)  However, in a stunning turn of events, this other crazed woman with frizzy hair, eating sun flower seeds also noticed the new chair and intercepted the first woman who, at this point, was probably within two feet of the seat.  My mouth dropped in shock when the frizzy lady scooped in front and took the chair!!  The other woman didn't seem phased at all but just kept walking to find a new chair.  Citizen's arrest! Oh no she just did not!!

When I loaded the bus, I discovered that my ticketed seat was one of three middle seats in the five-seater row across the back.  Here is my view: 


Guy to my right:


Sillies to my left:


I got the giggles thinking about what a picture would have looked like aimed straight at us.  Three Chinese sleepers on the left, one on the right, and me (awake!) smiling really big in the middle.  Alas, this was the best I could do without any help:

Over and Out,
An American Girl in China


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