The sounds and the sights of Shanghai waking up slowly remind me of a progressively building piece of music or a painting that is becoming clear with each brush stroke. I woke up earlier than I normally do and I pushed open the small windows of my small hotel room. I looked out onto the rooftops of greying older buildings in the process of crumbling set against a series of brand new Shanghai high rises.
The newer buildings set a futuristic skyline in the distance with rooftops shaped as the leaves of flowers and a famous tower with a circular center that could pass for a space station. There are also a series of tiled roofs set in the sloping Chinese style that share the same design with most temples. Red Chinese lanterns hang from its eaves.
As Shanghai wakes up I see the odd bicycle glide pass below me. The car horns are sporadic but are becoming more frequent. A man spits in the distance with that horking sound that always makes me cringe. A dog barks every once in a while. The air is chilled and it moves through the trees rustling the leaves making a sound that slows my breathing and makes me calm. I hear a motorbike gear up and whir off into the downtown streets. It’s a sleepy Monday morning and I realize I don’t have anywhere I am supposed to be.