Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Day Holiday

May Day (1 May) in China this year is slightly different than what it has been in the recent past. It is slightly shorter, due to the addition of the recent Qing Ming holiday. This year, most people will enjoy a 3-day holiday, starting tomorrow (Thursday), and heading back to work on Sunday.

Tonight, the streets are lively with the holiday feeling. I was riding my bicycle home a few minutes ago, at nearly midnight, and had to weave in and out of the pedestrians walking on the road — and I mean literally on the road, not the sidewalk or even on the side of the road, but right down the middle of the street. The street was full of lazily strolling holiday-makers, with a few of us on bikes. The cars were fewer than what you normally see on the streets of Shanghai.

I did catch sight of something that made me smile. A family was right in front of me, on two bikes. The father was riding one, and on the other was the mother with her sleeping child (probably about 5 years old) perched behind her. She had her arm wrapped around the child behind her, in a somewhat awkward position, but obviously holding tight. They cycled slowly home, seeming quite pleased after a night out with the family. Even the child seemed to be pleasantly dozing on the back of the bicycle (though seeing her there made me a little concerned for her safety).

The time I've spent in Shanghai on this trip, the first really extended stay I've made here, has run roughly from Yuan Xiao Jie to the Labour Day, right about 3 months. It's winding down in the next couple of weeks, and I will be heading back to Singapore then. Overall, I have to say that this is a good time to spend in Shanghai, with lots of fun things to see. The holiday seasons here always seem to have a special feeling of alive-ness. It's good to have been around for two of the big days on the calendar this year.

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