With Isabelle my guide not booked into assist me with my observations until Day 2 (and then Day 4 also), on Day 2 of Shanghai I decided to undertake some minimal observations alone. With Shanghai Railway Station, the largest rail/bus hub in Shanghai also accommodating a busy subway, just a five minute walk away from my hotel I felt that this was an ideal space to observe busy transient crowds of people of all ages as well as give me easy access to the subway for exploring slightly further afield.
On the way to the station two men (separate occasions) produced a casual hock and a spit. Once outside the station on the concourse/square which bounds the front of its entrance (see video) spitting occurred regularly but not incessantly.
Spitting was ever present without being so continuously. My field notes perhaps relate this more clearly:
‘2 mins, just in front of station itself looking at those walking into the building; man – hock and spit straight to the floor and not one person looked; although facing towards station could hear regular hocks from crowd behind me; 5 mins in front another man – hock and spit.’
`Went inside ticket office building – loud hock after 5 mins – man spits onto ‘abandoned’ cleaners cart and mop (that he purposely walked to) not on floor’ (see image).
Around the station square outside there are occasional large globules of phlegm/spit here and there. In case you don’t know what I mean…
‘A women, late 30s strides across the square. Hocks firmly, turns to the side and a very purposeful spitting action that is clearly very practised and nonchalant at the same time’
After Shanghai Railway Station I decided to go (via the subway) to one of the parks in the city – Zhongshan Park. Again my field notes are illustrative:
‘Going in, loud and purposeful hock and spit; then older man walking in front, casual hock and spit into the path of two oncoming young women neither of whom noticed and/or didn’t care and there was no malice involved; then park keeper or police/security (difficult to tell) spit on park walkway. Women, around 45 leans forward and dribbles out a spit;’
On my return to Shanghai Railway Station and to my hotel I passed a nearby electronics mall. This is a building (4 floors) housing stall after stall of people selling mostly mobile phone related consumables (phones; accessories; repairs offered and so on). Despite their being many people sweeping and clearing up the floor is dirty and the mall is scruffy/unclean generally. Less like a mall than an old fashioned ‘indoor market’ with floors. On entering I immediately heard a hock and a spit, then another and another after two more minutes; I saw one globule of spit on the floor separate to a spitter.
5.18pm woman spits into a tissue, another woman 5.52pm stacking boxes on the street – loud hock and spit.