Shanghai streets: where life is lived.
In the tranquil quiet of a restaurant between serving times, a chef sits at a table slowly sipping from his flask of tea. He looks out at the crowds under bright lights in a flourishing city. The streets of Shanghai are alive, and it’s on its streets that so much life is lived.
Made famous in the smoke-filled casinos of 1920s Shanghai, banned for decades and then reinstated, Mahjong endures as a popular game in China and Chinese-speaking communities. Small tiles with Chinese symbols and characters on them serve in much the same way as cards do in a card game – along with a lot of skill and a little luck. Groups of friends pull fold-up tables onto neighbourhood streets, drinking copious servings of tea and eating sunflower seeds as they roll dice and pick up tiles.
On Shanghai’s streets, despite laundrettes and tumble dryers, clothes are still hung out to dry, on lines crafted from bamboo poles. In the mornings and in the evenings, people sit outside their homes with large straw brooms to sweep and socialise, taking pride in their homes and responsibility for the pavements.
We watch an elderly man pull his wooden stool out onto the pavement. He makes himself comfortable, lost in his own thoughts, quiet, tranquil. From corners to alleys, Shanghai’s streets are made for living, not for passing by.