After months of anticipation of travelling to an exotic place and seeing a different culture with my Western eyes, we are glad to be back to familiarity. How I appreciate more the pleasant family Sundays where we go out to savour an american type brunch
The Main Street corridor is becoming very upscale, sort of like a budding Robson Street back in the 70's. The area is flourishing with many eateries like this one which is decorated as if you were transported back to the 60's
with their chrome chairs and arbourite table tops, stuff that we couldn't wait to get rid of, back then as were starting out our lives as young adults.
Even the light fixtures are reminiscent of the times
even the floors have been given the retro treatment
I nearly missed the porthole windows to the kitchen
Lucy's is not a very large restaurant
but it is open 24 hours a day. Perhaps one night we will stop by again for a hamburger and milkshake (for only $10.)
nearly forgot to post my obligatory food photo of my meat loaf dinner with mashed potatoes
and before we left we had to use the facilities, nothing unusual here, just your standard North American type restroom
but such a welcome sight after being in China for the past couple of weeks where fixtures such as this are a luxury, if you can find one at all. Unlike in China where you have to bring your own toilet paper or dinner napkins, this one comes fully stocked with the usual washroom condiments
At the Shanghai World Expo 2010 you are confronted with this sign as you enter the toilet area
Hope you don't have to use the right side. You are lucky to be able to choose between a Western or Chinese type Squat toilet. Luckily I only need to do a No 1
Washrooms, or toilets as they call them are not segregated on the Expo site but the sinks are communal which we discovered is the way you usually find them. On segregated toilets where there is a separate entrance for male or female, the sinks are outside in the middle. I found it strange to be sharing sinks with other strangers of the opposite gender
outside of normal tourist areas you will only find this
if you have good muscles perhaps you can make it back to your hotel
At the more modern hotels or restaurants you may be lucky and find a place where you have a choice
sometimes the sight of something familiar is more relieving than the actual action
I am so thankful to come back to familiarity and now notice things which we take for granted are not neccessarily the norm in other places around the world, like having FREE toilet paper where you expect to find it
During our last day in Shanghai we wandered around to areas where I am sure they don't want prying tourists' eyes. One of these places was in an area known as Shanghai Historic District. Here we have the poor going about their business of living with their meager incomes. We were told that the average wage here was around 2,000 Yuan/RMB per month (approx Cdn$320.) Because labour is cheap we noticed lots of people are hired to clean the streets, stand guard in front of stores and call out to tourists to come inside to buy something. Except for the smallest stores it is the norm to have someone stationed in the washrooms to clean the floors and water splashes on the counters, and even hand you a towel when you wash your hands. In the lobby of all of the hotels we stayed there was always someone standing on the stairs, or in front to open the door for you, or to sweep the floors, pick up trash, or clean the windows. I think the uneducated have a hard life and work long hours in menial jobs.
When I first started walking in this area I started to take photos but I got a lot of stares and some people came up to me, some shouting, but I couldn't understand their language. It was obvious to me that I was the intruder and was having second doubts about recording their lives. Many families live in this area with narrow streets and laneways which led to numerous tenaments, many of which did not have running water. You will notice sinks in the street, people walking around in pajamas, people trying to make ends meet by selling their wares.
You will have to excuse the following video as I had to go into stealth mode and make it appear that I was just walking about with my camera but obviously not taking any photos as my fingers were no where near the shutter button, nor could I obviously look at the LCD screen to frame my compositions. I had no choice but to keep normal walking speeds as I turned back and forth as I walked down the block.
It was in this area where I was unfortunately "bumped" and lost a leather pouch with some high speed memory cards when I eventually noticed that my waist pouch was unzipped. Luckily I did not lose any images as I download them each night onto two separate external hard drives. It is one of the consequences of being an easily recognized tourist in an area where people whom don't belong are easily spotted.
Hope you enjoy my video, "shot from the hip"
(note: there is 2 wheeled content in the video)