As a way of introducing you to our neighborhood, I thought it would be fun to show you the sights we see going to and returning from the boys’ bus stop. So, this morning I brought the camera and took pictures of everything (well, not everything, but the important stuff anyways).
We leave the apartment at 7:15. OK, that’s in theory. In reality it’s usually more like 7:20 due to the pokiness of certain children.
Here’s what we see as we go.
We leave the apartment complex and head down Wan Hang Du Road. It’s a pleasant road alongside the north boundary of Zhongshan Park, but always busy with a mix of vehicles any time of the day. Crossing successfully can be dicey.
There are two ways to get to the bus stop, one through the park and one along the road. We usually take the park route, because it’s more scenic. For instance, there are scenes of seniors dancing. (Who’s that blonde kid in the foreground?)
Scenes of seniors doing tai chi.
Scenes of cobalt-clad, slightly-less-senior seniors doing serious tai chi.
After going through the park, we dive down into the subway just to have a quick way of crossing busy Changning Road (more on that in a minute). When we emerge, we can look back and see the tall and stately tower of the Renaissance Hotel Building. This building is our anchor, because at its base is our closest metro stop and a giant mall called Cloud Nine, which contains just about everything an expat might need, including groceries and H&M clothing.
About 20 minutes later we reach the bus stop, around 7:40-7:45, depending on Berkley’s willingness to walk at a normal pace. The walk is just under a mile. After loading them up, I usually have a short chat with the other parent at the stop, Miyoshi from Japan. She’s very nice and comes from a neighborhood near to the apartment we stayed at in Tokyo.
Normally, I’d head back through the subway and the park, perhaps after a
mug of coffee at Starbucks (there are three locations I could hit
between the bus stop and home). But, today I took the route along the
road, just to get pictures.
The traffic is amazing. All but the smallest roads have a dedicated lane for bikes and scooters. You can see why that’s a reasonable policy.
The street signs are very helpful in Shanghai. The pinyin (Chinese in Roman letters) versions of the names are there and they nicely provide an indication of which direction is what. That latter feature has come in handy many times already. In contrast, we were always lost in Tokyo, where streets signs—and even addresses—are often mysterious or nonexistent.
More two-wheeled traffic. Notice the guy in the foreground with his feet hanging down. This is a common way to roll…
…though often it’s due to the presence of cargo in the place where one’s feet should go. Scooters burdened like this one are remarkably common.
The intersection in this and the last several pictures is the one at the Renaissance Hotel/Cloud Nine Mall. This picture conveys a nice sense of the normal frenzy here. Note the consumerist theme lurking in the background. That’s part of the frenzy, too.
There’s a little stretched noodle place on the way home. High on our list to try. In the morning you can often see the chef standing in the window working the dough into long strands.
This is a scooter repair business that just takes over the sidewalk every day, forcing the pedestrians out into the roadway. These kinds of blockages appear everywhere.
Here is the entry to our apartment complex, on Wan Hang Du Road. The recumbent man runs the bicycle repair business nearby which, again, takes up the entire sidewalk.
We have grass in Shanghai! The boys are able to play on this patch, which is just outside our apartment. In the background is the Renaissance, which gives you an idea of our walk to get there—it’s about 10-15 minutes.
And, finally, I return home. Our unit is right there on the ground floor.
The round trip takes me about 45 minutes, a good bit longer than the 10-second trip to our bus stop at the corner of our lot in Dartmouth. But, it’s actually a nice way to start the morning. I think moving early in the day increases your energy levels, as the tai chi devotees in the park understand. Maybe I’ll join them next week…I do look good in blue.