Shanghai Symphony

Honk, honk, beep, HONK, vroom.

It didn’t take long to hear the Shanghai symphony: honking horns. I have never heard so many in my life. Mind you I live 16 floors up and the sound is still blaring. It took a few restless nights to get used to the noise. Obviously, my last city of a mere one million people had cars with horns, but now with 23 million in my world – it’s a little louder.

It wasn’t just the orchestra from the cars though. It was also the mopeds, motorcycles and bicycles. Horn or no horn, there would be some kind of ringing – whether it was a bell or a yell. And there’s one thing that cyclists have never heard of WD-40. Wow, it would make a killing out here with all these rusty bikes from the Shanghai rain.

But there’s an octave I haven’t gotten used to, just yet. The noises of burping in public and blowing your noise (without tissue). I remember riding in a taxi one day, observing my surroundings and thinking:

Now, that’s a cute older fella walking arm-in-arm with his wife. Then he stopped, and blew two snot rockets. Holding back my dry heave – the two continued their conversation without even skipping a beat. What?!?

Then there’s the burping. I mean tiny, 90-pound Asian women really get after it. It’s like they are releasing demons. It’s deep, not petite like their frame. I didn’t realize someone so tiny could make that loud of a sound.

The tunes carry on – and despite those belches, the excessive honking – there are those instances of prettier music.

I was walking down the street at the local antique market and there was a man singing opera at his cart. He was just belting it out. It just made me smile and say – wow, I wish I could sing like that. I listened and carried on.

Even though the symphony is of strange music – it has character. What I’ve learned is that people just don’t care, and although I’d like them to have more manners – I understand that sometimes you just have to let go. Although, just because they’re burping and snotting in public doesn’t mean I will.


3 thoughts on “Shanghai Symphony

  1. Kathy,
    Love it! I do hope you are keeping a journal with enoough material to write that great novel one day. Everyone should have the experience of learning first hand info on that part of China and what it is like to a Westerner to live it.
    Lots of Love and Hugs to you and Adam….Aunt Jeanette

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