A walk through the People’s Park yesterday morning was highlighted by the address of an intricately metal-mouthed mid-70s Shanghainese man who seemed to be telling me that the U.S., beautiful country, at present is in step with the CPC’s pollutive plan of empty skyscraping icon proliferation but that the U.S. of the 19th-century knew better, evidenced in that writer, born 1802, died 1883, Nature, great book, Emerson!, called by Lincoln the American Confucius.
The first concession of the fashions of this city is to comfort. I’m learning a lot about body-possibility especially in the posture of Shanghai’s retirees. Deliberate movement in clothes that flatter without restriction.
Shanghai feels peculiarly uncrowded at street level. It is easy to sense social, political, economic arrangements alien to me but very difficult to describe them. When I said shop after shop of industrial spare parts I really meant it–imagine 30 10 x 15 storefronts all in a row lining an avenue. Each attended by a shopkeeper or three on a laptop. Seemingly none ever patronized. Many streets are carefully canopied by plane trees lining the sidewalks. Great joy for me to see ginkgo and tree-of-heaven on their native continent. Have yet to see the sun.
Internet too feeble at present to upload photos. The density of Shanghai makes itself known through its really astonishing number of ~30 story apartment buildings, large complexes of which are scattered throughout the city in arrangements the pattern of whose development again escapes me. Yesterday I met up with Brian, who’s been living in Shanghai since graduating from Princeton a year ago. He took me to an arts district and we wandered around some galleries. There was some good art. Perhaps on new Wifi I’ll post some. The night ended with a long, circuitous walk home, the best part of which was accompanied by a man blaring wonderfully saccharine Chinese music from his pink boombox-satchel. Today I’ll cross the river to wherever.