We took a bike ride today Northwest out of Zhudi to the rice paddies. The air this fall has been exceptionally clear and the smog has been minimal, but today is was quite bad. We rode across bedi lu behind the singapore school and soon were in the rural suburbs of Shanghai. The two lane highway turned to single lane road turned to pavement wide enough for a truck and soon to a road 5 feet wide wandering through the farm villages.
Plenty of people lined the way, all staring as usual but eager to say hello with a smile. Josephine led the way for the most part and needed to find a bathroom soon enough. However, the rural public restrooms - which just appear out of nowhere and not far from the rural village, making wonder what they're doing there in the first place - are not the cleanest pieces of tile around. Thus, Josephine smiled and decided she didn't have to go bad enough.
After about a half hour, we came across a huge patch of rice paddies, maybe a few square miles, very large expanse. We followed a path the circumnavigated the watery area and arrived at a road through another village. Very soon the village ended a massive shopping mall nearly constructed appeared. The had signs above all of these store fronts, "Coffee Shop", "Grape and Vine wine store" "Good Food Grocery Store" "On-line Book Store" etc. all of these had the same design on the store front but were empty inside. Somebody's idea waiting to happen....
We turned around and headed back. This time when we passed the "public" toilet, I needed it and went in. Josephine could no longer resist, so she bravely got some kleenex from her mom and ventured in. She survived.
It is a treat to live so close to the labyrinth of paths that wind through these rice fields making for a great day's biking adventure. When I was out last week I came across a dude fishing and stopped to watch him for a while. He had a telescopic pole that extended to about 15 feet. I had heard about this in a Grand Lake fly shop this summer. Fly fisherman use them because of their length, it makes for good placement, and because of the telescopic aspect, it makes it easy to access the business end of the pole. This dude wasn't fly fishing but was using the pole in this exact manner. He kept telescoping it in to access his hook, then out - way out - and control the placement. He caught probably two dozen of these little fish that he kept in a jar and took home. Dinner.