Wednesday, June 27, 2012


In the heat of the  Shanghai summer it is not unusual to find people asleep in the street all over the city. It seems to me that when the heat of the day gets to much for them they think nothing of closing their eyes for a few minutes, or longer, and catching up on their sleep. When the good people of Shanghai want to sleep, they sleep, wherever they are. Ikea is a good place to catch them. They just lie down on beds and sofas and sleep. No one bats an eye. Can you imagine doing this in Ikea near you?

Any resting place does, it doesn't need to be too comfortable either, they seem to be able to drop off at the drop of a hat. It amazes me that even with the traffic roaring by, the honking of horns and the general noise a big city brings it doesn't stop them from catching a quick shut eye. I can't imagine being able to sleep as easily as they do. Don't they hear the noise, or can they just shut it out? And if this is so, how do they do it? I'd love to know the secret. Not that I want to sleep in the street, I would just love to know the secret of shutting out the noise of a city. A city is never quiet.


The guy above seems to be having sweet dreams as his other half continues cooking food for the lunch time customers. Sleep obviously trumps even the lunchtime rush. Can you imagine going for a quick bite only to find the proprietor asleep on the job? No one seems to mind here. They walk on without a backward glance, whereas I am sneakily trying to get a photo:
 a) without walking them, and  b) without being too intrusive.
 Thankfully never woken anyone up so far.

So next time sleep overcomes you maybe you could take a leaf out of the Chinese book and simply check yourself out for a bit. Take the time to relax, shut out the noise and chaos going on around you, and simply lie down wherever you are and close those weary eyelids. Can you imagine the reaction of people in the West were this to happen? I wonder how long it would take before you were asked to move along by a policeman, or someone reported a drunk, or worse lying in the street. Don't think we are chilled enough to sleep when the urge takes us, irrespective of where we are. Maybe we should give it a go. 

A wall, a bench, a food counter, a deckchair even a ladder will do. Whatever you have serves the purpose. Perhaps we are too hung up on sleeping in a nice comfortable bed, and at night. Although none of these places seem to me to look like a particularly comfortable place to rest a weary head, the ladder does seem to be the most uncomfortable one. Also the sun beating down on you can't be good for promoting good sleep.

I have so many of these photos I think as well as a "dish of the week" I might blog a "napper of the week" too. I have so much material here, and love collecting more. 

This Shanghai experience is proving a wonderful one. I am enjoying the differences and celebrating the diversity. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same. 

So as you nod off tonight in your comfy bed, sleep well and hopefully you will make it through tomorrow without the need for an unscheduled nap.


  1. I love it. Hilarious! My little boy and I noticed someone asleep along our road in Istanbul this morning. He was stretched across the bench at a bus stop. He was smartly dressed but out for the count. I wonder if its a phenomenon that's spread over here too? Will let you know!

  2. That's unreal! I can't imagine just nodding off like that :)

  3. I just love the thought of you sneaking around taking photos of people sleeping! I can see that it could become quite a addictive hobby! Perhaps there's even a book in it? Of course if we see anyone lying down in the street here we know that they are just p....d!

  4. It's the same here!!! Everywhere you go...on any surface, at any time!! X

  5. Same in manila!! Always asleep all over the place .. under trucks or wherever really!! There is always one old lady asleep when I am on the way to school.. same place, same time every day.. must be her spot lol!!