Date: August 2nd 2015
Location: en route in Shanghai
Local time: around 3PM
Shanghai looks like the city in the film Metropolis, made in 1927 by Fritz Lang. Robotic structures, ominous, glistening in the sun. Strange shapes, as if someone has scattered a box of different sized chunks of lego on the ground. It is a true metropolis. A new town towering on fresh stilettos, the sight of the skyline instils a terror and excited fear in my veins and gut. I feel like if I blinked the super storeys would collapse and regenerate into exquisite Megatron beasts, from Transformers, but very cool and sleek and streamlined. (Yes, I know Transformers is about cars but whatever.) The tallest building in Shanghai looks like a veil of silk blowing in the wind that has been captured in glass and steel. In Megatron form it would be very sexy indeed.
Looking down on the ground one can see the old rickety 2-storey houses. Laundry everywhere, the streets are the peoples homes. You will not knock us down, they shout with doubt.
Traffic lights are twice as big as the UK, but road users pay less attention. One can’t tell if turning right or left at a red light is breaking the law or a native custom. It happens too often. The roads are chaos, but I actually feel less afraid to cross the road. Cars and buses are everywhere but unlike Londoners they accommodate bicycles and scooters. Obviously some wouldn’t mind spilling some blood on the road. They are always in your face. But it’s like aggression buffered by a thin blanket.
At night we take the sleeper train to Beijing. Should be interesting.