A Bike Ride to Canals and Construction in Pudong

Having only two Saturdays left in Shanghai puts a lot of pressure on a fellow to make the most of it. Since I enjoyed last weekend’s canal exploration, I sought out a canal in Pudong to explore. I left the house around 10AM, got some coffee and a scone, read for a bit, then was on my way.

City-wide tree pruning involves a team of climbers who saw off branches, a spotter who guides the falling branches to the street using a tall bamboo pole, blockers who block off the street, and collectors who pick up the droppings. This is a climber.

Mail carrier.

Half mannequin on the roof of work.

Clothes hanging in what’s left of an old neighborhood.

Old building.

A long house stands amongst the rubble of progress. If you look closely, you can see the owner in the second floor window.

Rubble and doorway.

Repaving the street.

Another shot.

A guitar in the back of a construction truck.

Boats on the foggy river as seen from a ferry.

Fire buckets.


Golden elephant sculpture.

Canal and man sitting in vacant lot.

Unfinished road.


Lady and baby stand in rubble to the left of a fence made of reclaimed wooden doors.

Baby shoes drying.

Construction worker amongst bricks.

Paint covering graffiti on a bridge.

Lady selling hats on the side of a bridge.

The highlight of the day was found after walking my bike along a concrete flood wall that a few other people seemed to be using as a makeshift walkway. I crossed a bridge at a flood control station and found myself at the edge of a secret garden contained inside two large abandoned lots. A whole little community of people was living there, farming, sorting garbage, stealing power, and using really smelly toilets. I felt too much like an outsider to venture far into the area. An old lady walked by and started chatting with me in Chinese. It’s often hard to tell if someone is angry when they speak Chinese, as the language sounds loud and angry by default. I assumed she was saying how the trail didn’t go through. Despite my best effort to tell her I didn’t understand Chinese, she went on talking. I pointed to my head and shrugged. “I’m a moron, I know.” I tried to imply. I backtracked and kept on exploring.

A scenic promenade along a canal.

House boat.

Man fishing next to a flood wall. To get keep going, I had to bike on top of the wall.

A secret garden hidden in an abandoned field and next to a building full of squatters. The area seemed accessible only from two routes.

The rest of the garden and the squatters’ house.

Collecting scrap wood.

Another garden by a plastic bottle sorting space.

Colorful door and wall combination.

The future of the canal.

Man on rickshaw.

Old factory.

Laying pipes.

Under the towering Nanpu Bridge.

Box collector’s hideout.

Another view from under the Nanpu Bridge.

One of the Nanpu Bridge towers.

Boats and apartments along the river.

Boat spits up water.

Lady cooking at the back of a barge.

Man in blue watches as a dredge hauls mud from near the ferry terminal.

Sleeping on the job.

On the way home, I finally found a Cafe 85. I got a latte and some pastries, then kicked myself when I realized that it was only a five minute bike ride from the apartment and that I could have been going the whole time.

I ate a late lunch of pasta, showered.

That evening, I had to go attend the end of some market research for work. After a long taxi ride along the highway at dusk, I found the venue: a 80s-looking, run down karaoke bar in a dark alley. The place smelled of smoke and had provocative pictures on the wall. It didn’t look like the kind of place anyone would really go to for karaoke.

The group of people in the room looked tired. In the main area, youth were filling out questionnaires about an animatic. The animatic was a hand animated approximation of a TV spot I conceived. It had rough audio and everything. One of the private rooms was being used for one on one interviews. My coworkers, the client, and some other people were there. Interviews were happening behind a cloth screen. I sat down next to an interpreter who echoed the interview in English. Prognosis: positive.

I leave for London tomorrow morning for work. I’m excited.

One Comment

damn. that vertical shot under the nanpu bridge is insane.

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December 5th, 2009. Categories / China, Shanghai

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