|Dragons at Yu Yuan Garden|
|Jenny at Yu Yuan Garden|
|Low tech Shanghai|
Walking down one cramped corridor I saw a sleeping baby getting his hair shaved. Nestled in his mother's arms, the infant was enjoying some relief from the heat. Nearby a fellow was urinating against a wall. I thought about snapping pictures. Shame stopped me. Here, where public and private blur, melting into each other, the alleys of Shanghai aren't just passageways; sometimes they are homes.
|Inside out in Shanghai|
|Haibaos wait for better days|
|The revolution is for sale|
|"One day, American tourists will overpay for this book!"|
Our last evening in Shanghai included a final stroll down Nanjing. We were determined to see those neon lights. Over the past two nights we discovered that many of them shut down by 10 p.m. This time we arrived early enough to catch the blinking show above the pedestrian walkway. The glowing signs were worth the wait, for me at least. Jenny preferred to watch an outdoor performance, so I began to ply the roads away from the main thoroughfare in search of hidden neon art treaures.
Some of the sidewalks were sloshy with foaming soap, a small gesture against the occasionally rancid odors of piss on the street curbs. I felt safe enough, yet I kept an increasingly vigilant focus as I passed dark alleys. An hour later I noticed that the music from the downtown performance had stopped echoing through the streets. Jenny was alone. Was she OK? I ran back to find that my wife had become popular during my neon odyssey. A number of young people had joined her, some hoping to snap photos, others wanting to practice their English with a westerner. She loved the attention. Our feet swollen and sore from the day's travels, we returned cheerfully to our hotel.