Our new place – street to front door

I gotta say, our new place is pretty cute … It’s located on the northern edge of the French Concession of Shanghai, within 10 minutes walk of 3 Metro lines, 4 vegetarian restaurants, a wet market and loads of other great stuff.  More on the neighbourhood in future posts…

It’s on the second level of a small Art Deco building that overlooks the street.  I guess officially it’s a complex, as it has a gatehouse and security wall, but the former is manned by a very friendly couple and their baby (they actually live in the tiny gatehouse) and the latter shrouded by landscape and punctuated by a number of shops including a tailor and dry cleaner.  It’s also much smaller the typical modern complex and feels part of the neighbourhood, not trying desperately to shield itself from the outside world.

Through the gate and along the driveway, we turn right and enter our building from the rear.

I’d guess that the building is about 80 years old, and I think some of our neighbours are about the same.  The rest of the building is full of older locals, who live a pretty traditional existence – riding rattly bicycles, waking up at 5am, stinking up the whole building by cooking odd foodtsuffs with all their doors open.  We really are the freaky ones, with our funny shaped faces and newly refurbished apartment.

This is the door to the stairwell.  I like the window a lot.

These are electricity meters in the stairwell.  I must check these regularly, as I hear that sometimes, the locals meddle with the system and trick the Westerners into paying for the whole building’s power usage.

The stairwell is very much a public place – more an extension of one’s living space than somewhere to rush through on your way home.  Thus, it appears, that it is not unusual to find items there that one might usually consider ‘private’.  In our first week here, we encountered two items carefully hung in the stairwell by one of our downstairs neighbours.  Freshly washed underpants I can handle.  But a chicken, washed and gutted, splayed open and hung to dry, I am not so sure …

After running the gauntlet, we are home.  Our doorbell demonstrates that indeed it is a place for Westerners, or at least those with a Western “style”. 

I am really liking this new place (pickled chooks aside) – it’s in a great location and has heaps of character.

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3 Responses to Our new place – street to front door

  1. luKe says:

    A Shanghai interpretation of “budgie smugglers”, perhaps?
    Very Michael Leunig.
    (Although he probably would’ve drawn a cock rather than a chicken).

    The apartment is a gem.

  2. Justin says:

    Good find guys. But wow the undies and chicken combo is a bit freaky.

  3. Pingback: My first year in Shangers | That Look Crayzy!

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