cold city, part 1

Shanghai has not felt warm since we arrived, in any sense of the word. It was 5° C last night, and I woke up to a bomb blast.

Well, not literally.

Just before I went to sleep last night, I was flipping through the TV channels. On one of them was some kind of hotel announcement, which I ignored. Except that the word “blasting” caught my eye. I switched back to the channel, and read that the construction site across the street would be doing some blasting at 6:30am, on each of the next four mornings.

Even with the warning, it scared the #@$*! out of me the next morning. I jerked awake, heart pounding, and my brain went through a succession of “thunderstorm… no, bomb… oh right… blasting.”

At least it got me moving early.

Today, Tracy and I visited the Shanghai Museum, a windowless and somewhat gloomy modern structure housing an amazing collection of Chinese bronze and ceramics, as well as a decent collection of jade, calligraphy, painting and textiles.

After the museum, we hailed a taxi to Frenchtown in search of good shopping and the fascinating mix of architectural styles described in the Lonely Planet book. Getting there proved to be the first bit of trouble. We showed the taxi driver our map and pointed to the neighborhood, but taxi drivers in Asia seem to have a lot of trouble with the concept of depositing you at a general location or even a specific street corner or block (as opposed to an actual building).

Eventually, he agreed to take us to a hotel in the neighborhood we were seeking, and we set off on foot from there.

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