The Matchbook Diaries

Mornings in Shanghai June 5, 2024

Every morning I take a walk around the block – I think it’s like a five block radius I walk, but it’s all urban, though, as Shanghai is literally laced with wonderful canals, a whole lot of what I see is water.  Our compound is surrounded on three sides by the canal network.  You often see huge barges lumbering slowly up and down the big canals.

Yesterday a woman pedaled past me on a non-motorized bike wearing a tiny pair of white shorts over her very, very long, thin legs. She wore a white and navy blue striped long sleeve sailor shirt that fluttered slightly.  On her head was a fabulous straw hat and her whole look was topped off by a gigantic pair of very narrow, white cat eye sunglasses.  The walk allows me to scavenge all kinds of paper tidbits (taxi receipts! Chinese cigarette boxes! pull tabs!) but also those images which stay with me for days.

Fairly regularly I run into a man walking his tiny, tiny chocolate poodle still wearing his pajamas.  The poodle walks off leash and always greets me with kisses.

It’s so China – the scavenger’s bike parked in front of this Maserati owned
by a guy in our building.

Today in my own compound a grandma was walking with her grandson who was in a wee pair of sweat pants and a floppy hat to guard against the sun.  They were stopping at each car – they mostly back into spaces here, and the baby was touching all the numbers on the license plates and his grandma was teaching him the words for each number.