As summer arrives in Shanghai, the weather has taken a sharp turn towards hot and humid. Today it’s 32 degrees celsius outside, and you’re sweating pretty much from the moment you leave the house. Thankfully, Shanghai is well equipped to deal with the May heat: any shop, restaurant or indoor market worth its salt will have industrial strength air conditioning units throughout – a very welcome break from the sticky, smoggy outside world.
However, with China being such an inventive nation (as well as slightly shameless), there’s a common solution for the outdoors heat which I’ve come to describe as “Chinese air conditioning” – and it’s no more complex than a simple roll of the shirt. This is clearly much more acceptable than taking your shirt off entirely, and it’s totally commonplace to see men, young or old, with their shirts rolled up as they walk around, eat in restaurants, or stand on street corners smoking and chatting with friends.
While wandering around Shanghai in the heat, there are fewer sights more common than men adopting this traditional makeshift outdoor air conditioning, allowing the gentle breeze to cool their bellies as they walk around, and thanks to the magic of the internet I am now able to share this wonderful sight with you.