This week’s theme from Word Press is unexpected. If you have been following this blog since the start in July 2010 you have read many stories about the unexpected events, sights and situations in Shanghai. Everything was new to us and very different from home. We often stopped and did a double take because things were so unexpected. I posted pictures and stories about different things we found unexpected like the “Chinese Family” motor bike where 2 adults and 1 or 2 kids are all on a small motor bike. No helmets, seatbelts, just hold on tight. I have also tried to get photos of the motorbikes with small trailers piled high with recycling, but can never get the camera ready fast enough. I caught a few smaller versions, but not the ones that seem miles high. They are also less common now as more road safety rules are enforced.
So how do I tempt you and interest you with something unexpected? As we are into our fourth year less and less seems to jump out at us as unexpected. Now it is all part of daily life. Such a shame since the awe and wonder of everyday street life made even the most ordinary fun. I went through the ‘archives’ and tried to find something new and unexpected that I haven’t shown you before. Something new and different and certainly not what you would expect.
When you think of staff parking, especially at a school, you think of a long paved area filled with numerous cars. Our parking area fits 3-4 cars only. On the street another 3-4 people park. Cars are expensive here and you must wait for a lottery system to get a licence plate before you can have a car. Some people wait months, maybe years for their name to be drawn so they can have the opportunity to buy a car. Getting a licence is a very long test and cars are super expensive. Other rules that restrict hours of driving or plate numbers can only drive on certain roads on alternating days are just some of the rules around cars. With pollution woes the government has stated they will restrict driving and new cars further in attempt to help with pollution levels. Now that is up for debate since really all the cars are probably not the prime cause, but I will leave that argument for another time.
If you have seen any photos of China you always notice many bikes and motorcycles on the road. Our staff parking consists of ‘bike’ parking. It was so hard to get a spot sometimes! Finally the school extended the parking area, so now there is room for bikes and electric scooters to all fit comfortably. The bike area is covered, so on rainy days your bike can stay dry. Many staff will opt for the bus on rainy days, so the bike is dry and protected allowing it to stay safe until a dry day.
Each compound has an area I thought was a play area until I looked closer. It is not a playground for kids, but an area to workout. That was totally unexpected. This outdoor gym held a variety of metal equipment similar to the fancy electric stuff you find at any gym, but needs only human power to operate. Best thing about this gym it is free, no membership and the lines are relatively small. As the east becomes more westernised younger locals are opting for the paid membership gyms with modern equipment and pools. The older residents seem to continue to use these workout areas on a regular basis. I was going everyday and really enjoying it. Having trees and flower gardens around you as you worked out was very peaceful. Now that the pollution levels are higher I have been using them. The weather is the one drawback to a gym outdoors.
Back home we have a clothesline at my parent’s house where my mom still likes to hang laundry to dry clothes outside. Our house was built before the subdivision behind us and the newer homes are not allowed to have clothes lines. The reasoning was it looks too messy and draws away from property values! Crazy right? That is not the case here in China. Even apartment dwellers hang laundry out to dry. If you have a balcony there are contraptions that raise and lower so you can hang the laundry easily. If you don’t have a balcony no worries just hang it out the window! Some buildings have folding metal clothes lines while others use long poles of bamboo or metal. The best is still just a random shirt or pair of undies hanging on a coat hanger in a tree or on a pole. We went to Tianzifian a cool area of Shanghai that have lots of interesting little shops and bars. Narrow allies twist and turn in an area that has been converted into more of a tourist haven for expats and locals alike. It would be like wandering the waterfront in Toronto. Walking down one alley it was funny and much unexpected to see someone’s laundry hanging out to dry.
Be sure to check out Word Press for more unexpected posts. What have you seen that is unexpected? Post your link to a post, or just comment below.
What I find most surprising is that clothes lines are allowed in the new homes back in Canada! Electric tumble driers use a lot of electricity -hardly environmentally sound and drying clothes indoors on airers releases spores into rooms that are unhealthy! Unless its really cold outside you can’t beat a good old washing line.