Arriving in China

Imagine a city with the population of the State of Ohio. Forget it. You can’t imagine it. Even when you see it, you can’t imagine it. Now that I am home, I have trouble believing all that I saw. But you know what came through amazingly clear? The people are not all angry. I’m sure some are, human nature being what it is. But Shanghai is not like it’s little brother New York where all the cabbies are swearing at each other and people are pounding their fists on car hoods. Shanghai just flows in and out of itself like water sloshing in a mason jar, one incoming wave moving aside when pushed by the next.

On our first day in Shanghai we were taken on a mini tour by Shanghai American School parent Cyndy O. In four short hours we visited one of the tallest buildings in the world (out of the top ten Shanghai has at least 5), the fabric market where vendors in small, open air booths custom make everything from suits to cashmere coats to silk dresses and bridal gowns. From there we went to the knock off market home of rolex watches and all kinds of impressive brand names attached to copied merchandise. And then we went to a temple surrounded by (you guessed it) more shopping. Shanghai has really taken to this free commerce thing in a big way.

I picked up one good habit I would highly recommend for anyone visiting there — do NOT watch the traffic. Put yourself in the hands of a reliable driver, look at the buildings, the people on bicycles, the hand pushed garbage trucks, the lush vegetable markets — but DO NOT look into traffic. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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