It’s late afternoon, all are a bit too sluggish to go fast, slow moving people, dragging their feet, pushing their bikes uphill over the bridge and the woman too tired to walk, sits on top of her bike load letting her husband pull the tricycle; it has been a long day. Even the shadows are unable to catch up. I watched it all and marveled at the beauty of life and the wonderful world of contradictions that is Shanghai today.
There is a great magic to seeing a place at sunrise, before the rush of day clouds it. Early in the morning, there is a bliss that relaxes the faces of early risers, as though they are reminded that there is still magic in life, how can there not be? Light colors the sky as stars give way to the great sun, and stillness can still be heard over the water.
Eighty five and exploding with stamina~ the bund~ Shanghai
Every once in a while I meet an incredible human, and they remind me that aging is a natural process that only claims our physical body. The spirit is always effervescent if we allow it to be, the soul is only more experienced and our mind can only grow richer if we feed it in the right way. This lady I met this morning, early at sunrise was giggling while doing her morning exercise and very proudly telling my friends and I that she is 85 years old and still feels young and full of energy. She was infectious in her enthusiasm and bright spirit, light as a feather and innocent as a small child. She renewed my hope in life and its beauty and easily added herself to my list of unforgettable people.
A few days ago, we entered the sixth year of our expatriate life in Shanghai and I so wish I was doing a 365 project for every day of those years. Living here is in every way a thrilling adventure, looking daily at the strange canvas of what this culture of contrasts has to offer. And some things never change. Amongst the new buildings, the fancy high rises, the dozens of emerging 5 star hotels and glitzy malls, the workers continue to sleep in their stalls, they still ride their run down bikes carrying load of odd baggage, and they are always sweet, innocent and grounded in old tradition. Yes, I value every day I spend here and for that I will continue to drag my camera around daily into the streets of this amazing city.
photo taken: man asleep in his stall at the fabric market near the Bund, Shanghai
Shanghai saw another glorious golden sunset today with the rare clear skies and fresh air that come with such a day, so I found myself drawn to witness the last moments of the golden show. I often see young Chinese people looking with such awe at the fast emergence of their largest and most popular city as if they cannot believe how fast their country is changing right in front of their young eyes. I can only imagine the amount of pressure exerted on the young generation of Chinese from their first school day until the time they take their place as columns in the People’s Republic of the future.
photo: Young man watching the sunset on the river promenade in Pudong (literally east of the river), overlooking the bund on the Puxi (west of the river) side across the river ‘Huang Pu”.
Sunrise on the bund is an experience I have been wanting to have for as long as I lived in Shanghai. This morning it all worked out : clear day, not freezing, day off, a friend joined me, and it was meant to be. As the first light of the day started appearing at 5:45 AM, the first kite runners started to show up unrolling their threaded kites and getting ready to practice a life long tradition in the most beautiful and open part of Shanghai. It was amazing to watch them getting into their practice that obviously gave them so much joy. I chatted with them about their kites, basically asking which one is theirs, as I could not at all make them out, there were so many! They were so friendly and playful, I am so grateful for this special experience . I am sure I will go back.