Last weekend in Shanghai was a dusty mixture of bike adventure and doing nothing at all.
Saturday was D.’s birthday. After J and I met he and A. for a the tail end of a noontime brunch, the group set off on a long bike ride. Rather than bike aimlessly, I persuaded everyone to make a Fuxing Island our goal.
If the word “island” conjures us greenery and clear water lapping against isolated shores, be warned that this island was nothing of the sort. All the water around Shanghai is filthy and surrounded by industry. Fuxing island lies at a crook of the Huangpu River as it wraps around the northern edge of Pudong. It’s a small island with one major street that runs down the middle and connects it to the mainland via two small bridges. We expected the island to be industrial, and we were right.
The ride was one of the dustiest yet. Stagnant summer air combined with dusts and smells of rampant construction and greater disrepair of that part of town. The roads were horrible. The buildings were either derelict or abandoned. People looked poorer. Gated industrial compounds had long, cracked roads leading to the river. Chicken were on the street. Everything seemed grimier.
On the plus side, it felt like a part of town foreigners rarely went, especially on bikes. The four of us got a lot of curious looks.
Ah, the beautiful garbage pile at our hotel.
Before the trip got going, D. and I needed to get some minor bike repairs. We found a bike store and a patient man patched and straightened my rear wheel and tightened D. and my brakes. Total cost for a patch kit and forty minutes of labor: 10 RMB ($1.4).
While we were waiting, a smiling old lady walked off my feather kicking toy. I had left it on the ground when my bike was inverted, and she must of thought it fair game. I wasn’t going to chase after her.
Electric scooter battery being dismantled. It appears to be a battery of twelve colt batteries.
Some taking a break tea.
Orang shirt in the bike lane.
A worker named Ichibod.
Two studs and a hot chick wait for the light to change. In the background is the Fuxing ferry building (unrelated to Fuxing Island).
Green pedestrian bridge.
Building by the river.
Potted plant delivery.
Open gate to abandoned industrial area.
We took a quick detour to the enormous Brand Mall in Pudong so that D. could buy Jenga and Uno at a toy store. A few of us got some fast food lunch. I mistakenly ordered a spicy fish sandwich from KFC. Kraft had a large and confusing walled-off promotional area in the middle of the mall.
Searching for Jenga inside the Brand Mall.*
Dominic takes a photo.
Tiled tanks of a Texaco color scheme.
Cleat and rope on an abandoned dock.
Three shirtless men bringing some coal downstream.
Man watches the water.*
Tug boat and futuristic haze skyline.
Boats anchored in the middle of the river.
Temporary construction office built from a shipping container.
Intentional cloud mosaic wall?
Cart and flowers.
Roof tiles arranged as paving stones.
Verdant walkway with unnecessary bamboo supports.
Street chickens and shirtless watermelon man.
Snakes for sale.
Shanties with a big overhead pipe. Shirtless man.
Boats seen from the bridge to Fuxing Island.
D. climbs the bridge for a better shot.*
Power plant, coal style.
Rusty pipes and turquoise wall.
An even huger crane!
The only main road on Fuxing Island. It looks green, but both sides were industrial.
Gravel storage area.
Lady watching the gravel boats.
Shirtless man stairs at boat.
Shirtless man stairs at gravel.
Man on small wooden boat washes his hands.
J. and the gang.
Me, A., and a dump truck.*
J. on the dustiest road in Shanghai.
Bus and highway.
The spigot of the Shanghai Intellectual Property Park. What the?
Scooter puppy guards the abandoned industrial area.
We made it back into town around 7:30. It was just enough time for a shower before heading to The Flying Elephant for a Russian birthday dinner.
Sunday was a day of rest and MINECRAFT.