Day 51: Morning Commute

It’s only the second day of Chinese class, but I already feel the routine of commuting kicking in. And I love it.

Yes, the streets of Shanghai are quite dirty, the skies are never clear blue because of the pollution, and you can never really see the sun—only feel the warmth of it on those lucky days. But I still feel that rush and excitement while walking about 24 minutes (I’ve timed it. And this is while speed walking…) through the bustling morning streets to class.

Today’s weather was a significant improvement from yesterday—clear-for-Shanghai skies and a cool temperature, gloves unnecessary, compared to yesterday’s polluted rain and seemingly freezing temperatures that made my hands permanently cold all day.

While walking to class (even in yesterday’s rain), I can’t help but observe in detail my surroundings. Shanghai people are especially fascinating. Yesterday, I noticed a woman returning from a market, balancing an umbrella on her neck, while carrying two large jugs of oil in one hand and a large bag and umbrella in the other. Today, I saw a young, petite woman in leopard-print high-heeled booties riding a children’s bicycle. I also noticed an older woman walking with a smile on her face while holding an opened loaf of bread and eating two slices at a time. As we crossed paths, she looked like she was trying to see what brand or type of bread she was eating—it must have been delicious.

On the way back from class, it’s hard not to see many people’s laundry drying between two trees, on balconies, and even out in an open space next to the sidewalk.

Line drying clothes
Forget about drying your clothes on your balcony. How about airing your undergarments and even shoes out on the street?
Shanghai street vendor
A Shanghai street vendor makes some fragrant bread just in time for the lunchtime rush.

Like yesterday, I met up with a few friends in the program after class for lunch. Today, we tried a Korean restaurant down the street. The restaurant itself wasn’t very busy, but we all loved the banchan (love that Korean restaurants everywhere offer unlimited servings) and our bibimbap.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten bibimbap without taking a photo. Just check my Instagram (@SoniaSu_) and you’ll see.