First Person

Impressions of Shanghai, 1937

When you arrive, you fall in love with China. The first thing you see is the yellow river swept clean of all floating rubbish by the scavenger boats. It is so clean that even the seagulls leave. There is nothing, even for them. When you wake there is the rising and falling chant of the coolies unloading. Together they chant hay ho, ho hay, hay hay, ho hay. In the little Shanghai streets, there is a mixture of smells; the girls, in their long slit Manchu gowns, slide past so sleek and so slim; the cookshops concoct the most peculiar…

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