One of the wonderful phenomena to watch in Shanghai parks and on its riverside in the early morning, is the congregation of retired men sending their well cared for and brilliantly crafted kites high into the city sky. They do this for long hours watching the extensions of their souls soar into worlds unknown, higher and higher above the noise of the city where all is calm and harmonious, into a state of freedom where they too one day wish to be…
We count our time with seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, with repetitive numbers. Repetition seems to make us feel settled, to let us know where we stand and where we are going. We put numbers on everything in an attempt to clothe the unknown with tangible references. We capture time with numbers, but time is elastic, and is is known to slip away…
All humans on this planet are created with the same basic design, spirit, soul, mind, brain, body, emotions, senses… all are born and all will eventually pass on.
Thoughts like these make me see people differently while traveling in strange places. The knowledge that we are all human, that we all get sad, we get happy, we are curious, we are suspicious, we dream, we wish, we love, we dislike, we eat, we sleep, we procreate, we create, and we share this beautiful planet under the great big blue sky. These are the wonders that make me love traveling, discovery and meeting other humans.
photo taken: In the courtyard of the old mosque in Kashgar, a gathering of Uyghur men.
Have you noticed how married couples begin to look alike after some years, and how people end up resembling their pets? Spend a long time with someone and you start to borrow their laugh, facial ticks, gestures, walks, and accents; you become so close, like family. Hence the saying, “be careful with whom you mix”, as you will become like them.
I found this so endearing when I spotted these two men in a Shanghai street with their daily newspapers, totally in rhythm.
On an afternoon stroll in today’s very windy and cold streets of Shanghai with my friend Sabrina, we met these really sweet Shanghainese young men who most certainly have a story to tell. They loved the attention and the camera pointed at them and they carried on to pose, straighten their matching jackets, and smile shyly as I clicked away. Tufic later thought they reminded him of a Chinese version of the “Beatles” on their way to furnish their first set before a concert… Whatever their story is, they were totally charming in their shy giggly way.
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.
One more photo: