When I revived yesterday from my gastronomic distress, my husband and I went out for a stroll in the neighborhood, landing in one of my very favorite spots in Shanghai, Fuxing Park.
Public parks in China wake you up. I remember the first time I found myself in a park here after dark. It was full of people talking and I realized with a start that there was no reason to be afraid! And if anybody was drunk, s/he kept it under wraps.
Fuxing Park is everything you could hope for in a park. A place to meet up with your friends and have a chat in the sunshine, or make headway on the sweater you’re knitting.
To bring your kids to the amusement park rides or to invite your husband for lunch al fresco.
To tune in to an impromptu concert, or waltz with your wife on the sidewalk.
To participate in a card game, or, better yet, hold onto your kuai and stick to advising the players.
To stretch your body in a tai chi move, in a morning group
or (appearing rather ominous to western eyes) behind the bushes alone. Even, on occasion, to have your photograph made in a herd of synthetic cows.
In short, to relax just about any way that a body can think of.
You don’t see many westerners in Fuxing Park. The most important ones are there every day, overseeing the scene with an air of avuncular benevolence. Marx and Engels. A penny for your thoughts now, I’d like to say. What do you have to say about how it all turned out? At least the people’s parks are pretty nice.
Yesterday somebody was obviously feeling at least a bit wistful. Take a close look at the base of the sculpture.
Those are bouquets of flowers.