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.