Sunday, October 22, 2006


Shanghai from Jinmao Tower

From the 88th floor of the Jinmao Tower. I have a panoramic view of smog. I could probably see the whole of Shanghai from up here if it weren’t smothered in a brown blanket.

Des res, Shanghai

The chaotic, hornhonking, whirling mass of cars, buses, trucks and scooters is responsible. The streets are insane, much better to be whisked around in a taxi than to try to walk across. The crossings are patrolled by traffic assistants, who try vainly to prevent the Shanghainese from running in front of cars, or the cars from considering the red lights advisory. There seems to be a law that cars have right of way if they are turning through a crossing, although I suspect it is only the law of the jungle.

Fangbang Lu

If you dodge the cars, you must contend with the scooter¬–bike cavalcade, which rushes across the crossing about two seconds before a green light. Bikes often ignore traffic signals altogether, and you’ll only get a mass of them where they think someone in authority might be looking or at busy junctions where even the intrepid Shanghai bicyclist fears to pedal.