My lovely sister is currently visiting Shanghai and was kind enough to share her experience with us this week. I hope you enjoy it!
I am walking around a place where no one knows my name and where I do not understand what is being said in the world around me. I am falling in love – with its architecture, its sculptures, and its way of life.
Shanghai is an amazing place. The old and the new exist peacefully alongside each other. Ultramodern highways stretch across old streets and an even older culture.
Above expensive shops people’s laundry flap in the wind and if you are curious and persistent you can find the hidden alleyways where street food is sold to passers-by and where people live the way they did 50 years or more ago.
Calligraphy is part of everyday life and one can find the most beautiful brush sets and painting tools everywhere. Stamps feature prominently and I now have one of my own – hand-carved with my Chinese name.
The street food is abundant, good to eat and seemingly healthy. My South African palate though craves more spices and stronger flavours. Yes, the Chinese know how to braai and their method is pretty much the same as ours, but their meat is different. Pork, poultry (does not always look or taste like chicken, but have wings) and seafood dominate, and they are egg crazy. You will find rows of fridges in the supermarket with frozen eggs of all shapes, colours and sizes (chicken eggs seem to be last on the list).
When you arrive early at the main shopping street in the city centre, Nanjing road, you witness another life far different from the one you will find after 10:00 when all the shops open. At this hour, the streets belong to the dancers and those who do tai chi and all other sorts of traditional exercises. The biggest city in the world surprised me with its sense of community.
My time here is coming to a swift end. May I walk these roads again.
by Madelein Meier