Hanging laundry out to dry is an everyday chore around the world. The practice is especially common in Asia, where the cost of electricity can be astronomical. Having an electric clothes dryer in Tokyo would be the height of luxury. I was expecting to see clothes fluttering in the breeze when we moved to Shanghai, though not quite in the manner I found. Instead of neat rows of laundry in front of windows, Shanghainese take a more creative approach.
Clotheslines are strung up between telephone poles, tree trunks and across sidewalks with little regard for pedestrian safety. Laundry will be hung from street signs, tree branches and electrical wires. Modesty is also not a concern, with underpants proudly displayed for all the neighbors to see. Unsurprisingly, shoes need washing from time to time, and these get arranged on a variety of flat surfaces and left unattended while they dry. I’m astounded these items don’t get stolen!