Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Travel: Shanghai in the Summer






Although I spent my third year out of university in Shanghai, I experienced only three seasons in that first visit: autumn, winter and spring. I had given the prospect of a summer in Shanghai limited thought, taking comfort in and relying on my experience of the long dry Spanish summers I have been accustomed to throughout my childhood. 

Shanghai's take on summer was a shock to my unprepared self. The hot air hits you in waves as you walk along the street, the beauty and calm of the tree lined streets providing only the most minimal of respite. Wet hair takes seconds to dry, clothes stick to wet trails on your back and every step is a movement you must consciously coax your body into. It's going to take some adapting. 

On the other hand, Shanghai's ludicrously hot weather has provided a breeding ground for crickets. The cacophony heard at all times round our compound is not in the least bit diminished by our nineteenth floor location. In fact, the sound seems to lift us even higher creating an invisible natural barrier between us above and the world carrying on below. Sometimes if you're particularly attentive to it, you can hear a passer by whistle or a child babbling loudly to its parent despite the crickets’ song. The distance the sounds create between you and the ground below serve only to bring further into focus the image of travelling on a cloud, separated from below by cricket song and the tree canopy around our compound. If you closed your eyes and used a little imagination you might even convince yourself you're in a little farm in the countryside, not in one of the most populous cities on earth. At once comforting and disorientating, it's nevertheless the only season I have felt that nature has any sign of competing with the urban sprawl of Shanghai's skyscrapers. 

Last night, my second night and the end of my first full day, a cricket actually lost its way and flew into the apartment. How the comparatively tiny creature of 10cm in length mustered the strength in its wings to climb to the nineteenth floor is a mystery to me but must also be acknowledged as a testimony to its determination. Having tried peacefully to guide it towards our wide open French doors, it died a somewhat anticlimactic death in the air conditioning vent. Nature is both generous and cruel at times. 

Photos taken on an iPhone 6
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3 comments

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  3. I love the weather in Shanghai even though it is a bit cruel :)

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