Push, squeeze and pull yourself through the crazy glitz, glamour and hordes of Gucci-clad, cash-splashing Shanghainese in Jingan and you’ll materialise at the other end, in the grey and polluted waters of Shanghai’s Suzhou Creek. At first sight, you’ll assume you’ve turned up at this place a year too early; construction abounds and giant diggers wade their way through a concrete mess. Or maybe you’re five years too late. What once was, now falls to forgotten pieces.
It’s a universal truth that travel journalism celebrates the art of saying nothing. The travel pages are overflowing with random top 10 lists, hip lists and cool lists, yawn lists and travel porn lists. Holiday packing lists as hip-replacement lists. Where are the individual voices? Heaven forbid that the faintest political or social comment should seep into the piece. Still less that the writer should shows signs of pondering life beyond the next gastrodome.
If you’re going to have termites, they may as well be swarming in your living room. It’s easy to forget that you’re living in a swamp when the streets are so conveniently paved. But don’t worry, if you choose to spend time in New Orleans, surely there will be reminders. For us, it was the boxelder bugs. They were collecting in large piles outside and were beginning to make their way inside. Three weeks ago was the start of our delightful flea infestation.
If you’d like to share a blog with us for our best travel blogs feature, tweet @NatGeoTraveller with #NGTUKblogs
Published in the September 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)