All in a bike ride

If there’s ever a post-apocalyptic world, I think it’ll look like the outskirts of Shanghai’s Pudong district. On my ride, I see fishers, goats, highrises, and empty playgrounds. One access road to the river bank is barricaded, another is under construction. Buildings are rusting away or are slowly being taken back by nature. The area […]

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If only hugs and sunshine could be stored in boxes

Fearing potential lockdowns, some areas in Shanghai, as well as the US Embassy, instructed people to stock supplies for at least sixty days. The fear and stress are quite telling of Shanghai in 2022, and I wonder. I can get fruit and vegetables in a tin, but do I meet more with friends now because […]

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The new place in Pudong

So I just moved across the river in Shanghai, from Yangpu to the edge of Zhangjiang in Pudong. Leaving the compound & apartment with our stuff in the van was a big relief — to leave behind this place where we spend the 60-day Shanghai lockdown. Every time I entered the apartment I still got […]

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Flashbacks of the lockdown

The whole of the months of April & May were spent in lockdown, as were two days in July, and now this week I was locked down again for two days, because of a positive case in our compound. On Tuesday morning the gate was flooded with people bringing reasons to leave — work, school, […]

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Autumn in Zhangjiagang

Autumn in the Jiangsu city of Zhangjiagang (张家港). Because of the rain we have the park (香山) almost for ourselves. Still, there’s a sign warning against PDA. First time I’ve ever seen one and it almost reads like a joke? The second part of the translation should be: “Refuse intimate contact.” In the Buddhist temple, […]

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Old, new, and rainclouds

The visitors are outnumbered by staff, who are busy swiping Douyin. But of course, it’s only a rainy Thursday in Zhenjiang (镇江). What made me go here is Xinjindu (西津渡), an old navy harbor named after where the ferry would cross the Yangtze river, a long long time ago, connecting the southern Wu kingdom with […]

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Post-Double Eleven delivery piles

These days, the annual post-Double Eleven piles of deliveries can be seen on the streets again, although they’re less high as previous years. For the first time, Alibaba is not disclosing full sales results for the event. Before, each year a new sales record was boasted — which always felt political; the message to the […]

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The value of photographs

I think the value of photos changes as you age. In your twenties, a decade in the future is off the horizon, but in your thirties you can look ten years in both directions. The younger me saw life as an all-or-nothing state, but now I see it as a slow process. Time slowly consumes […]

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Moving across the river

I’m moving to Zhangjiang (张江) in Pudong soon, across the river — so I’m looking for a new apartment. Loads of different options but I’ll share three very different ones. The first apartment I looked at is also the cheapest. You also see a lot of these self-built (自建) houses in rural areas in Shanghai and […]

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White Forest Temple

Bit of a Twitter crossroad today, a walk with Dan to 白林寺 in Yangpu after a tip from Ash. The place has an interesting name, because “White Forest Temple” isn’t a temple, but rather a remnant of the Japanese textile industry in Yangpu, Shanghai. Built in the 1920s, it was probably named after a temple […]

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