A lot of time when you think about Shanghai, you expect things to all be modern and new.  My last post on Pudong goes to show how far China has come in the last twenty-five years.    However, as you step away from the famous Bund and Pudong districts, you are suddenly back in the thick of real, live China.

We spent our time in Shanghai on foot and never took a cab once except for the hired driver we used to visit a nearby water village.  The hotel staff seemed aghast that we were walking everywhere and always recommended a cab wherever we were going, short or far.  But I believe to really see and experience a place, you have to do it on foot.

After a few week of walking around Beijing and Shanghai, I had the infamous “Peking knees” from the rough concrete and my lungs felt full of pollution.  It was hot, humid, loud and a bit stressful at times.  Yet I felt like I really got a taste of what urban life was like by walking the city.

Here are some of my favorite pictures on Shanghai life that I took during my walks.  Hope you enjoy.

Morning commute. 

Lunch and laundry. 

More laundry.  I was amazed to see so much laundry hanging to dry from Shanghai’s apartments.  I saw it all—from tops, slacks, jeans and dresses to underwear and sexy lingerie and mismatched socks. 

Right outside our hotel, this street led under a sea of drying laundry.  Stores below and hanging laundry on top.  I wonder if any ever falls on someone’s head? 

Mid-day commute.  Bikes, electric scooters, motorcycles…you name it, it’s there.  It was a mad dash to cross the street with my head constantly doing a 360 for oncoming traffic. 

This place even stored their garbage outside the window.  

The air-conditioners, laundry and bikes were a common scene. 

As were these dark, narrow alleyways peppered with life and claustrophobic living.  

As were the “shops on wheels”.  This one was a plant and flower cart.  

Afternoon cards were played.  But I didn’t see any tai chi like I did in Beijing.  

Plus I was constantly amused by the high heels the women wore!  I would have lasted only a second in a pair of these spike ones. 

Given the level of walking and the concrete and pavers, I really don’t think I’d be wearing anything but comfortable walking shoes.  I don’t know how these Chinese women do it!  

This look was my absolute favorite!  Short skirt with short shorts underneath, knee highs and spiky purple heels!  She walked perfectly across the street into traffic.  I was impressed. 

Stay tuned….My Chinese posts are coming to an end.  I only have a few more to write and then am thinking about revisiting a past trip to New Zealand.  It would be fun to write about and share my photos from one of my top all-time vacations.  


  1. Great pictures! The laundry everywhere is so interesting, quite the opposite of here where the stereotype is for country-dwellers only to air dry. Looking forward to stories about New Zealand!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I couldn’t get enough of the laundry hanging in such an urban city. I was fascinated by it for some odd reason. I’m going to have to dig back into my archives for NZ. Luckily I kept journals back then, before blogging days, so it should be easy. Thanks for reading!

  2. I’m always amazed by how ill at ease many of the Chinese women look when wearing heels, they clearly aren’t used to them but they’ll stagger around for hours looking like out of control drunks rather than reduce the heel length until they’re at a comfortable jump from the ground.

    Great observational post. 🙂

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