The trip around the world was more than I even expected, and I learned a lot about each city. Including the one I grew up in. A primer:
You always tempt fate shooting here. While we were rolling, a heavyset dude sitting next to us in Madison Square Park started yammering loudly on his cell to whom I assume was his imaginary friend. When we asked him to stop, like a seasoned vet he launched straight into a “DO YOU HAVE A PERMIT TO SHOOT HERE?”, trying to shake us down. He threatened to get a cop, so we got one instead, but the guy wouldn’t back down even after the policeman got in his face. So we pressed on, and of course the second we finished, fatso hung up his phone.
Happy people. Curious people, who would come right up to us and peer in while we shot. I actually kind of liked that… We arrived August 20th, which was Chinese Valentine’s Day… I grew up eating Chinese food, and Shanghai was the real deal. Lots of spicy yumminess… It’s an eclectic city that even has a French Quarter… I went for a swim in the hotel pool and A) Was humiliatingly forced to wear a swim cap and B) Had a female lifeguard who was completely asleep on duty.
Frenetic. Drivers turn three-lane roads into five-lane roads, and you risk your life crossing streets. Scooters everywhere. Honking is mandated to keep pedestrians and drivers safe – so you never go more than three seconds without hearing a horn… Lots of vendors in the streets selling food and clothing and they have no problem with you taking their pics… The area pictured above is part of a four-mile C-shaped waterside drive referred to as the Queen's Necklace, because when viewed at night, the streetlights resemble a string of pearls.
I’ve mentioned SP reminded me of New York pre-cleanup, but it actually had a strong LA vibe – several different skylines spread out over a lot of miles. And, with 25 million people in the city, possibly the worst traffic in the world. It can take four hours to get across town, prompting many folks to commute via helicopter. There are four helipads alone in the above shot… Strangely, the biggest language barrier of all the cities we shot in was here. Portuguese is just not Spanish.