Totes randomz in the streets

I’ll tell you one thing I really love about Shanghai, and China in general … it’s the ability to just stumble upon totally weird stuff.  But I can’t tell you what makes it seem so weird … perhaps it’s just the cultural divide.  Or, maybe as the country has opened to the world so quickly, there is no sense of judgement or control over strange things.  Or perhaps within a nation of 1.4 billion, you just have to be extra weird to be noticed.  Too often, I find myself in a situation where I want to grab the person beside me and ask “Is it just me, or are you finding this totally-get-out outrageous?!”

Recently, I happened upon this sport car which had been driven onto the footpath, its doors then flung open to disgorge hundreds of pairs of sports shoes onto the pavement (not to mention ear-splitting techno beats into the air).


The people were loving it, stopping their usual Friday night routine (dinner then karaoke, I bet) to fumble through the stacks of fluorescent trainers.  The stench of cheap plastic and sweatshop labour was overpowering.  The lady trying to offload a huge bag of steamed corn cobs was totally neglected by her normally loyal fanbase, and probably left wondering why she had limited herself to what was obviously last year’s best-selling street product.  God damn!  Corn is soooo 2011.


The sports shoe sports car reminded somewhat of the big wicker chair trolleys that frequent my neighbourhood.  This is a relatively small version … these things can grow to monumental proportions.  The guys that pull them around must get really tired, because every time I see one, they are slumped in one of the chairs (liberated from the huge tangle), fast asleep.

I saw a few of these in Beijing.  Which is weirder: the missing wheel or the obvious attempt to turn the front into a face?


This is a small shop in Xintiandi, in the centre of the city, where instead of hocking cheap souvenirs to tourists, someone decided to fill the space with a bunch of plastic leaves.  There no explanation and no-one around to ask what it all meant.


Around the same time, an art show was being held in Times Square, one of Shanghai’s more exclusive shopping centres.  Alongside Louis Vuitton and Cartier, this “digital painting art” show did seem odd.  Not to mention that it was full of all sorts of confusing and confronting, if not contradictory, symbolism.  I am surprised that some government official didn’t personally dismantle the whole thing.


These paintings seem to show (horror!) two women and two men in a state of kissingness.  Supposedly the catchcry of officialdom in these matters is the “three nos” – no approval, no disapproval, no promotion.  But despite contravening at least one of these restrictions, I’m sure these painting would have ruffled very few feathers.

This on the other hand, maybe not.  I have tried to feed the Chinese characters into my smartphone (via a handy character-writing app) for translation, and I THINK this artwork suggests a new product for the hard-working man – a pad that you can apply to your backside so that you need not leave your desk when you require Number Twos (although, the man in the diagram has already Number Twoed before application , suggesting that the pad is actually a response to, rather than a pre-emptive strike against, pants-based toileting).  And, while the whole is terrible, I do want to take issue with one detail – the choice of red, rather than brown, as one half of the duotone.  No approval, definite disapproval, and hopefully no promotion.

This dog spent a long time standing on a bench outside our neighbourhood pet store, for no apparent reason.  It didn’t move an inch as I stopped, took out camera, framed shot and clicked away.

I don’t know whether it’s being weird.  Maybe its just cute or scared or something.  After enduring so many months of abuse, my weirdness filter tends to play up a bit.



4 Responses to Totes randomz in the streets

  1. Nancy Lewis says:

    You find the coolest scenes!

  2. natalie says:

    Your weirdness filter is on fire. AMAZING The wicker chairs are way crazy – where are they going? I would def go corn rather than fluro shoes.

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