In every country, I love different part of a day. In China, it is definitely mornings. And those rainy mornings are my absolute favorite. With small rain, taste of nostalgia together with beautiful colors fall down on Shanghai. Already during an early spring the heat is hitting streets of Shanghai. Every opportunity to escape from it is a rarity. When it starts to rain, people smile and go out to enjoy the breeze.
Sunday morning we took to the streets of Shanghai with a bunch of other photographers to catch a glance of old Shanghai, which is slowly disappearing. Streets were full of morning rush. People were buying breakfast, some were already shopping for vegetables, fish and meat for lunch. The streets were covered with smell of Chinese dumplings, noodle soups, pancakes and other delicacies. With those scents, there was also a noise of Shanghainese dialect traveling through the streets.
It is so different from from Chinese, I do not understand a word. Its a shame after 8 years in Shanghai, and I was publicly criticized for it this morning. Each time the rain stopped for a moment and the sun turned, in a second the heat was back. I went to buy an ice cream, and the lady selling it just through it to my face:
Everybody is speaking Chinese now, learn Shanghainese! That is the skill.
Well, now I will have to…
Shanghai was once a city of bicycles. All of China was a country of bicycles. Then everybody started to use electric scooters. With the arrival of bike-sharing, it turned back. No matter in what weather. Some people are armed with raincoats, others with umbrellas. Some just put a plastic bag over a head… Some do not care at all, if it starts to rain really strong, they hide under the nearest roof.
In the old town of Shanghai, everybody is a neighbor.
For every such a photowalk we have one thing in common with other photographers. We are trying to get in close contact with people and make intimate portraits. It’s nice to be in a group of people who love people and their faces. Even when we are busy in conversation, we do not keep eye contact a lot. We are constantly looking around for “The Photo”. When someone catches a glance, conversation is suddenly interrupted and he runs for the picture. This time I am not the only one sharing stories I caught.
Chad is from South Africa, his photos are still to be published on Instagram, but do follow him as well
My stories, and my Instagram :)
The last photograph has one interesting thing. Have you noticed the bag of water that hangs over the door with coins inside? Me too. And not only me, nor did my wife know what it means. None of my friends either. So I had to go searching (since I did not ask when there).
First I thought it had something to do with Chinese traditions, that they do not want evil spirits to enter home. But that is done with a mirror on the door, not with a plastic bag full of water.
After all I found out it is flies that are not welcome. According to Chinese, when a fly flies into the room, and there is a sack of water with coins inside, reflections and shadows from it scares the fly, it turns around and won't fly inside. If you have flies at home, try it and let me know if it works!
I like these photowalks, I always learn something new.