I have a lot of pictures, but not so many words, from Shanghai. I’m impressed but inarticulate because after four days on the ground, I’m mostly mystified. I’m old enough to have a few regrets, and among the sharpest is that I’ve never taken the trouble to be really fluent in a language other than English. In particular, I am in awe of my colleagues who switch back and forth between Mandarin and English three times in a sentence. And everywhere I look I see stories I’ll never know, because, first of all, how could I ever get into a conversation with the woman on the back of the bicycle behind the other woman on the bicycle, both of them laughing so hard they’re in danger of swerving in front of a BMW? And if I could, I wouldn’t understand the words. And if I did, I maybe still wouldn’t get the joke. And there are twenty million people here, that’s a lot of stories.
This is somewhere around Yuyuan.