Shanghai
Edward Reib's "Travels" Part 9


19 minutes, 5 seconds
Premiered: 14th May 2021
Filmed: September 2018

Part 9 opens with Dehradun, both the city and the George Harrison song. The Beatles' have a tight grip on certain versions of their songs, so what you hear is George's voice, and someone added the music, it's pretty obviously not the Beatles playing. It is Priyal's home town, and the pairing of song and place is a nice continuation of the vibe of the Dear Prudence and Rishikesh from the end of Part 8.

Anyhow, briefly we are in New Delhi at my early birthday party, as I state I won't be in India on my birthday. Then, I leave India, saying goodbye to Priyal and Navi, stopping briefly at the Singapore Airport. For everyone outside India, the old Bollywood sounding song you hear playing during this part, "Pardesiyon Se Na Ankhiyan Milana", literally translates as "don't look a foreigner in the face", a warning for young women of India (like Priyal) not to get swayed by player tourists feigning sincerity, only to go back where they're from in the end, breaking their hearts.

Then begins what we later learn is a kind of personal ancestor-related pilgrimage to Shanghai. We open with a montage seen through the sad Chinese music which Shazam doesn't recognize of the Bazaar around the Tea Garden, after it's closed.

Then, walking down the street, a last second decision to turn left takes us into the main shopping area in the very touristy part of Shanghai. Its music, by way of a bus and some Starbucks, takes us right into the Heart of the God of Shanghai. Oh, it's music turns out to be Imperial Prince by Derek and Brandon Fiechter. Go figure.

Then, someone plays a flute traditionally and we sit wistfully gazing at water and think about how much we miss Priyal...

Then the Jade Temple snaps us out of it, back into the moment. From there, we (meaning you the viewer and I, and He Wenjun singing "Three Songs of Naxi") celebrate my 40th birthday in style at the Hyatt on the Bund and the top floor of Shanghai Tower, just before tumbling down into a disturbing Orchestral Tubular Bells accompanied montage of Maoist propaganda, both on the street and the older stuff in a museum there.

Then, feeling hungover and overwhelmed by geo-politics, we wander into the Jing'an Temple accidently. We didn't plan it, just saw it there on the street. The healing effect of the place, as exemplified by this video, is so powerful it can lift the viewer out from the depression of contemplating the atrocities of the CCP both past and present, even though it's also a parking lot. Also present is the "don't get me wrong, I love Chinese culture... see, here's the music from the sad part of Ip Man!" level, but it really just works too darn well not to use at this point in the video.

And just before you can say, "okay, that's nice and all, but that other stuff is all still pretty depressing", the Longhua Temple is even better! Jean Michel Jarre's Shanghai concert is apropos if anachronistic here on at least two levels. Anyway, the Temple is like 1300 years old! Plus, there's a cat.

So, after 20 seconds of petting the cat (believe me, you'll need it, if you have the volume turned up) we've finally arrived in a place of neither high nor low, neither joy nor sorrow, neither capitalist nor communist, neither here nor there. It's a place called White Cloud Temple coupled with 渔舟唱晚 by Jinghua Yuefu.

Finally, there's the reveal of what the heck I'm doing in Shanghai in the first place, and what the ancestral connection is there.




Click to Watch Part 9 "Shanghai" on Youtube





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