Getting the “Scents” of the Streets in Shanghai

​As any intrepid traveler will attest, urban areas have a surfeit of sights, sounds, and scents. While the sights and sounds of Shanghai’s busy streets constantly kept my mind whirring and entertained, the scents occasionally overtook me, often when I least expected it.  Many of the olfactory delights wafted from the street vendors cooking their offerings of chicken, pork, beef, vegetables, rice, noodles, and god knows what else. These generally yummy smells frequently got mixed with exhaust fumes from buses and cars, cigarette smoke, faint whiffs of urine and the intermittent stench of raw sewerage, and the periodic putrid fragrance of piles of garbage stewing in the smoggy heat. Added to all this was the distinct aroma of the mass of humanity scurrying along in Shanghai’s constant humidity. Can you get the scents of it? Not to put too fine a point on this, but one day I empathized with an unfortunate soul who hurried to the gutter in front of me and promptly threw up. He then moved along as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened. My empathy was almost made reflexively tangible to those around me, but luckily, I held it together and continued my exploration. Whew!   See some typical street scenes below.

  

This guy is quite resourceful with his “chair cycle”!

  

My apt was on this street, Wudong Road.

  

Lots of street bike repair places .

 

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