james mccabe

Shanghai Slaughterhouse

Noisy cicadas and a wet heat is what started my morning as I walked down the road to the subway station. I was headed to an old slaughterhouse built in 1933 that had been abandoned before it was renovated into commercial space and coffee shops. 

After my grueling hike in the Huangshan Mountains, my calves were killing me especially walking up and down stairs. Luckily I packed extremely light, carrying the essentials, my camera, a water bottle, and my trusty copy of Robinson Crusoe. 

The slaughterhouse was cool but way more populated than I had expected. There were various coffee shops, comic book companies, gyms, and stores inside. While the geometry of the building was fascinating and excellent for photographs, what I was really wanting was a model to photograph. Photographers wandered around, usually in pairs, taking pictures of the architecture and of each other. The way the light played with the lines of the building was fascinating and I easily could have spent hours there. 

I wandered around a bit and eventually ended up at The Bund. It's the waterfront that overlooks the city of Shanghai from across the river. The whole area felt like downtown Chicago which made me feel right at home. Everything about it felt right: the clear blue skies (which is apparently very rare), the older gothic styled buildings, and even the boats chugging away in the harbor. 

Tired and hot from an excessive amount of walking, I found my way back to the Chase's house where I was staying and began doing some editing. It's weird. Shanghai felt like a comfortable place for me. Any subway I got on, I kew I could find my way home. My insatiable need to explore had diminished and I was able to simply relax.

Francis, my gnarly bass player friend from camp, stopped by and we went to dinner. My new way of determining friendships is based on how sad I get when I have to say goodbye. Our dinner was so great, I'm glad I didn't even think of taking pictures. Deep discussion and life talks throughout. Seriously... Who do I have to bribe to get him a US Visa? Took a sweet ride on the back of his moped as he raced through Shanghai traffic.