It's easier to write when things are fun.
Yesterday was mostly for exploring French Concession and Xintiandi, the famed reconstruction of original housing.
I stayed inside the hotel, on the internet, until the rush hour traffic died down. This has become a necessity. While Beijing's drivers may be more murderous, Shanghai's drivers are more aggressive.
Fell for two scams on the way to Xintiandi. On the first I used a public restroom. In Beijing these are usually neighborhood-oriented, unstaffed, and malodorous. In Shanghai they're more oriented to general passers-by, are staffed, and cleaner. In compensation you pay 50 jiao, half a Renminbi. Prices is posted right on the sign at the gate. In this case the guy didn't give change for my one yuan coin. I hung around and waited, but it felt like a "stupid foreigner" gaff. For six cents I didn't press it. Should have taken his picture, though.
Second scam took place outside the reconstruction. A shoeshine guy was following me around, wouldn't take "no". The security guards apparently wouldn't allow him inside the complex, only on the surrounding sidewalks, but he caught me on two different sides of the area, about twenty minutes apart. On the second one he kept pointing to one shoe, and I told him to stop touching me (in Chinese). Later I see there's some ketchup-like material on the shoe. I hadn't been near any food place all day. Later I saw the ketchup on the outside cuff of that trouser leg... couldn't have fallen straight down, would have to have been applied from the side the guy was standing on. I'm almost tempted to go back there today and watch from across the street, to see if he works the same ruse on other foreigners today.
Xintiandi was nowhere near as important as it has been painted on TV and in the guidebooks. The place has been gussied up, sure, but I saw similar architecture, more authentic, in various areas around town. I went to Ye Shanghai, a dumpling shop raved by various highbrows, and got mediocre SF-style chao mein, some regular fish dumplings and mini pork buns, and a small glass of Longjing tea (sans pot of hot water for refills). Stuff just cost four times more, that's all.
Walked back, enjoying the dilapidation of the French Concession, avoiding the fake Rolex and other hawkers on the larger streets. I'm transferring the cane between left and right hand to ease them away from shifting right in front and blocking me... not just a foreigner thing, I see them do it to residents too.
Got back to the hotel, took a nap and did internet during evening rush hour. It's just not worth it to be on the streets when their numbers are up like that... drivers here are simply too wacked.
About 7:30 went out to a neighborhood noodle joint, a Japanese chain... my go-to place when I don't want to be hassled. Then went walking, and found that two bar streets I had seen during the day -- Julu Rd and a block away on Changshu Lu -- had the clipjoint vibe for the nearby hotels. The Julu Rd joints had girls sitting waiting for customers... at one place they literally blocked my way, shifting as I did, grabbing. I checked my wallet after I got through. Cute, but hardsell is a definite turnoff. Went back to the hotel and had a beer instead.
Also had my first two incidents of cane-on-car contact. One was while I was crossing the far side of a lengthy intersection, in a crowd, and cab pushed into the crowd and tried to cut me off. Stupid -- the pedestrian countdown was ticking on me and the others behind me, and the cab was already in front of the stopped cars which were waiting at their perpendicular red. He made things dangerous for all of us, just for a little temporary and meaningless advantage of his own. I didn't strike his car, but just laid my cane down forcibly in front, staking my claim. Made a nice audible thwack on his plastic/aluminum hood and grill.
Second was at a hotel/KTV place. I was on the sidewalk. Guy pulled into parking lot and stopped, leaning over the sidewalk. I walked to the far side of the sidewalk, then he started backing up, right into me. He didn't turn around to look where he was going -- four attendents standing by, none of 'em told him to stop. I pressed my cane into the back of his car, twice -- audible, but wasn't a full-force thrust.
These guys are stupid dangerous. It's the biggest problem in China I see, and explains why the government runs roughshod over inconvenient questioners too. "I've got more might, so get out of my way." I'm sure there would be a double standard where I to thrust the canetip into an aggressive cabbie's face through his open window. Just because you don't see our might, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.