This summer has been one of the hottest on record in Shanghai. Taking a walk outside is akin to being skewered on a spit and basting in one’s own oil on slow rotation .
Luckily, I was in Ethiopia for most of July and missed the worst of it. While I did endure two days in the Dallol region of Northern Ethiopia- known as the hottest and most lifeless place on earth- my friends here are unimpressed, “Well you didn’t have to leave Shanghai for that”.
The only window of respite is in the wee hours before seven in the morning, when the streets are most peaceful. Before the sound of blaring horns fill the air and a thick blanket of humidity descends, the elderly are out on their morning walks, exercising in the park and picking up breakfast for loved ones still sleeping.
It used to be that at the entrance of every longtang, a small alley of traditional shikumen houses, there was at least one stall serving traditional Shanghai breakfast of…