Shanghai Lane Houses and Fuxing Park
I have been wanting to go out into the city by foot for a couple weeks now to take photos of every day stuff, and today I finally did. The weather was perfect. Clear skies and about 70ËšF. I did cheat a little bit by riding my bike to Fuxing Park, but I figured it was best that I save my energy for the real walking rather than the “getting there” walking.
I decided on Fuxing Park because it is THE bench park in the city. Everywhere you turn, there is a bench. This meant there would certainly be a place to rest and people watch, but I also wore a dress today because of the summer-like weather, so benches meant I didn’t have to do the awkward fold-the-skirt-to-sit-on-the-ground maneuvers. And one more thing about the benches….the locals only sit in the shade. I would really like to see the statistics for skin cancer in China because it seems like everyone here shades themselves quite well. Go figure that the only sun-sitters I found were pasty-white turning lobster-red foreigners like me!
Fuxing Park also has beautiful gardens. Right now rhododendrons are blooming in full force, but I am most excited to see what the rose gardens offer in May and June.
After the park, I made my way down Huahai and into a little group of lane houses. The lane houses in Shanghai scare me a little bit because I feel like I’m intruding, but today I was brave. I quietly made my way down each alley of doorways and was rewarded with amazing little things. I spoke with one of the occupants for a couple minutes, but I didn’t understand a word she said, so we didn’t get very far. I think she mentioned something about my blue eyes, and I asked her if she rode a bicycle…but that’s about it. No one seemed to mind that I was there, so I’ll probably go back!
**Update: Thanks to John, I now know that these are milk delivery boxes, and they are everywhere in these little lanes. If only I could read Chinese….so many of my questions about this city could be answered. I would love to see the delivery guy winding his way through and opening each and every box. I’ll let you know if I do.
After walking through this neighborhood today, I think the thing that is really fantastic about these houses is that they use every inch of space. They don’t have the immaculate front stoops just for show, and a second floor window is the perfect place to hang your laundry. Everything is functional and I’m sure most of it is the result of perfect logic even though it can look like chaos sometimes.