Snapshot: Nap Time in Shanghai

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As someone who often has trouble sleeping, I’ve always admired people who can nod off with ease. In my daily wanderings around Shanghai, I find folks napping in the most incongruous of circumstances, content to catch some shut-eye wherever and whenever possible. The city’s recyclers will park their carts next to the curb and lie down on top of the day’s haul. If a public space has chairs, it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone will be asleep in one, especially on a hot day. Motorcycles can serve as a bed in a pinch, while locals might situate a folding chair on a busy corner or stretch of sidewalk. It’s not uncommon to catch people snoozing on the job, folded over their desk or kicked back in their seat. If only I had this rare ability to tune out the world around me and surrender to the sandman! Here are some of my favorite examples of public sleeping in China:


Men waiting for their wives at a Shanghai fabric market.


When you travel with your own bed.


Anytime, anywhere.


This guy has remarkable balance.



Spotted inside a gallery at M50, Shanghai’s premier art neighborhood.




When you can’t even deal with the traffic.


 Have you ever been caught sleeping in public? 

11 thoughts on “Snapshot: Nap Time in Shanghai

    • I think it must be the same attitude they have towards hanging laundry to dry in public. It just cracks me up! I wish I could be so uninhibited!

  1. I like the fellow on the corner with one shoe off. I can sleep in a moving vehicle but no public places. I envy them!

    • I actually see that guy on the corner all the time, but the one shoe off must have been a special occasion 🙂

    • I’m with you. I have a hard time sleeping on planes because I don’t like feeling I’m on display. Though it has gotten a bit easier here since most of the other passengers are asleep before the wheels are up!

    • I fell asleep on a bench outside of Windsor Castle. It was my very first international trip and my first experience with jetlag. By that point I hadn’t slept at all in 48 hours and just couldn’t stay awake a minute longer. Luckily I was with a school group so someone made sure I got on the bus! I’m always amazed by the people who fall asleep on the train and then miraculously awake in time for their stop.

  2. Love these photos! It’s the same in Vietnam. After lunch, everyone goes to sleep where they stand. I feel bad waking up sellers but they don’t seem to mind, although it does take a few seconds to rub the grogginess out of their eyes!
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