On Saturday, J. and I ran a variety of errands in the morning before setting out on a magical dusk/night bike ride.
Our first stop was coffee and scones. Then, we biked to a photographic equipment center at the corner of Lu Ban Lu and Xie Tu Lu. Named Xing Guang Photographic Equipment City, the four-story building had a wide variety of new and used camera equipment and wedding dresses. I browsed through a variety of stores, eventually deciding on buying a new Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime lens for around $100. Apparently the lens would be faster and sharper than the two zoom lenses I had already. Verdict: true.
Our next stop was the Shanghai South Bund Spinning Materials Market (a.k.a “The Fabric Market”) located south of The Bund and the Old City, on 399 Lujiabang Lu. My reluctant goal was to get a custom-tailored wool suit for wedding purposes. We checked out a lot of vendors before deciding on a sharp looking style made in a unique brown wool/cashmere blend. My measurements were taken, and my first fitting should be in a week. Total cost, un-bargained: 600RMB($90). Not to shabby for a tailor made suit. I’ll be getting a nice winter coat in another visit too.
Old lady versus new bus.
Streetside key maker.
Yellow scooter, in bad shape.
Man sprays water to keep dust down.
Oranges and bananas for sale.
Taxi driver puts his feet up.
Toilet and shoe.
Fowl for sale.
Greens and mushrooms on the street.
Man and bike crossing an intersection.
Woman killing and cleaning chickens on the street.
Construction worker looking through wall.
Girl in the shadows of an old building.
Chipped paint and pattered window decal.
Lady in red plays with army men.
Worker on a pile driver.
Hairy crabs season is upon us.
Shanghai Material Market sign.
Bolts of cloth inside.
Bird drawing in stairwell.
Two sleeping blokes in the hallway.
Cactus on windowsill.
Foam laden cart.
Construction worker looks over a building being demolished.
Me in a restaurant.
Eggplant and green beans.
Chicken, chilies, and peanuts.
After a late lunch, we met up with a friend and started biking towards the construction near the river. Dust was in the air and people stared at us with curiosity as we biked into the thick of construction and derelict buildings. The area was really neat. Despite it’s sad fate of being demolished in the near future, everyone wandering around seemed happy. Construction workers were everywhere. At dusk, most construction had stopped, and people were eating dinner at dingy restaurants on the street and tucked into corners. Our bike ride took us down narrow alleys that few “old foreigners” had likely been on. One alley looked like it dead ended, but we decided to follow it since a lot of construction workers seemed to be biking down it. But it was a dead end. All of the workers were going to an enormous, bee-hive feeling barracks built inside an old warehouse. A few seemed surprised to see us, others yelled enthusiastic hellos.
As night arrived, we found ourselves biking through massive, dusty construction sites near the river. These were places that would be off-limits in any Western country. We saw dirt roads, freshly poured lanes, deep foundation pits for new housing towers. The area wasn’t well lit. Construction workers walked around in the darkness like zombies. I kicked myself for not having a tripod. I had to use the shelf on the back of my bike instead, but it was a sorry substitute.
A new road under construction at sunset.
Door, shirt, rail.
Old neighborhood by the river.
Casual restaurant on a dusty road.
New buildings tower above nothing.
New road looking towards the river.
Warm lighting over a construction pit.
Buildings bathed in green light.
The open foundation to a new tower.
Lupu Bridge at night with dredge boats in foreground.
Weird kiosk in the middle of falling apart buildings.
At the end of the ride, J. had to have her back tire patched twice. The second time, the mechanic didn’t mountain the tire properly and the whole tube popped. After a third fix, we were on our way to a snack of pastries and coffee before meeting another friend for dinner.
It was a dusty, tiring, and wonderful day. I stayed up until 2 in the morning looking at photos, watching movies on youku and playing guitar.