Me and Chairman Mao
  Cops and cartcycles.
We're off to Shanghai again for a week or so, this time primarily to get our work visas taken care of, which is apparently much, much simpler if you do it in the town you'll actually be working in. This being China, however, it involves going to something like four different offices, no doubt all conveniently located as far apart from each other as possible, like a story problem from a sadistic mathematician.

Anyway, going back to Shanghai reminded me of some funny pictures I took the last time we were there. I was sitting at the corner of a big intersection (Huaihai Zhonglu and Shaanxi Lu in the French Concession, for any of you with Shanghai street maps within arm's reach) in Shanghai's main shopping district waiting for Holly and the rest of the Microsoft crowd to show up, when I noticed something fairly random taking place on the corner next to me.

The intersection in question

There was a cop standing at one corner of the intersection (just to the right of the guy with the crutches in the picture above) pulling over--or, more accurately, "waving over"--every single person who happened to be riding down the street in a cartcycle. (That’s my latest new word: I use it to describe bicycles that have carts attached to the back as part of the frame. And for the record, I prefer to say it as if it rhymes with popsicles. You can say it some other way if you like, but if you do you're saying it wrong, which I can say with absolute certainty because it's my word. So there.)

Anyway, I have no idea why the popo was hanging out on a street corner doing this. Maybe it was a no cartcycle zone, maybe because he was bored, or maybe just because he could. Either way, the whole setup was the cartcycle equivalent of a speed trap: the cop waved over every cartcycle driver that rode by. In the fifteen minutes I was sitting there, I saw four different people pulled over, including this poor guy ...

Someone's having a bad day

He looks kind of resigned to it all, doesn't he? He knows he was in a no cartcycle zone, and he knows he has to pay the price. Unlike this next guy, who is not taking the bad news quite as gracefully ...

Please! I'll be sleeping on the couch for a week ...

I did feel a little sorry for him, since--despite not knowing how much your typical Shanghainese cartcycle driver makes in a day and how much your typical peddling through a no-cartcycle zone penalty is--I'm guessing the ticket represented a substantial portion of his daily, possibly weekly, income. That being said, however, it turns out that I did not feel bad enough to not use the power of my 12x zoom lens in order to get a really good close-up shot of him begging to entertain my friends with later ...

Seriously, a week!

At this point, my picture taking was interrupted by an olfactory challenging guy--needless to say, my olfactory was the one being challenged--who plopped down next to me, pointed at a pretty Chinese model in a magazine, and started asking me if I "liked." Not really knowing what exactly he wanted--and doubting that an unwashed Chinese guy in ratty clothes with a lazy eye and a not-insignificant number of teeth pointing in the wrong, but never the same, direction would be in charge of pimping out high-fashion models--I told him to go away. And amazingly enough, he did.
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