I travelled to China a bit – lately haven’t been.. I had work in Shanghai and got to know Hen Shan Lu pretty well as well as Urumqui Lu and beyond out to Cao Bao Lu.
Shanghai Sunday was a good chance to see how people are, in the park, they do dancing in groups, or Tai Chi, or exercises or in peoples park, they sit and watch other people walking by, or peg up scrap paper notices with texta writing on lines in peoples park, looking for and interviewing prospective spouses for their kids.
A catholic mass was held in the Cathedral in Shanghai each Sunday, you could hear it in mandarin or russian. I used to choose mandarin mass, cos they had the words up in Chinese on overhead projectors, and I used to try to at least read some of the characters. I got to know the one for Lord at least. The beauty really is that regardless of the language, the catholic mass is the same worldwide, so you really feel at home no matter where you end up. I get the feeling having been to probably hundreds of churches worldwide that it’s the same for many travelers. I would meet people from everywhere, everyone praying but without a common earthly language. The weird part was that the music was often the same old hymn tunes from colonial times, but different words. How God and people of all languages get together on Sunday. You can pray when you realise its not about the words, when all the words are different for all the people sitting there.
There was a coffee shop in Shanghai, called May Coffee, run by May, and I liked going there. It’s no longer there, and who knows where May went. It was good coffee, and a place to relax on the way back to the hotel. May and her friends used to meet and chat in Shanghainese. I really had no idea what was being said, but it was quiet and peaceful there on Henshan Lu on a sunday morning.