Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nanpu Bridge, Shanghai, China

I thought I’d gotten away with it, the old cheerful trespassing thing. Right up to the moment I saw the fat girl in the mini skirt.
I’d just brazened my way past a bored security guard downstairs, hopped an elevator to the 22nd floor and then scurried up a darkened stairwell onto the roof with whatever stealth I could muster carrying a tripod, backpack of gear on creaking knees. But now we stared at each other across the abandoned and not open-to-the-general-public rooftop.
I’m not sure who was more surprised, but I just smiled by biggest, dumbest smile, pointed out at the view and chirped “photo…okay?” and went about my business like I owned the place. She had just finished a cigarette and in her imagined privacy, was beginning to hawk up something that seemed to start from down around her pelvis.
Our mutually exclusive language skills kept any unpleasantness to a minimum. She unhappily swallowed, blinked, and went back inside. I gave a cheerful wave before crawling out onto the building’s ledge.
My second grade teacher wrote all the way back in 1967 that “Paul thinks rules are for others.” I often think of her at times like this, wondering if she had any idea how right she was.  Below me, a view of the double-helix Nanpu Bridge, scenically clogged with traffic, lay swirling and aglow in all it’s engineering glory across the Huangpu River 25 floors below.
Since I was here, I might as well take a picture or two.
Shanghai, China: October 30, 2013

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