You could say that it’s one of the most colorful public toilets in Shanghai. That is if you can spot it amidst a long trail of graffiti winding along the curve of the road.
Located along Moganshan Lu (莫干山) by Shanghai’s art district, there is always a car or two pulled over on the side. A man will emerge in mid-zip before climbing into his car.
It’s a popular spot for taxi drivers, even if the toilet shed may seem obscure to the careless passerby.
That afternoon, I found one of Shanghai’s latest fleet of Expo taxis, the Volkswagen Touran, parked by curb. Mr Xu was naturally puzzled to find me waiting for him when he emerged. Mid-zip, of course.
Tuns out, he has been driving this taxi for a few weeks and was proud of his new vehicle. “They pick drivers with the least complaints and the longest driving record,” he boasted.
On my first ride in the Touran, I learned that business was indeed much better than when he was driving his old Volkswagen Santana.
“Initially, nobody flagged me down. They didn’t realize I was actually a taxi!” he said, “But customers feel more secure in this car, and now everyone wants to ride in it!”
As I alighted to a cheery farewell and reminder to check all my belongings, I thought to myself that if the city had more new taxis, it would lift the spirits and inevitably improve the overall service of Shanghai’s taxi drivers.
Just then another taxi honked deafeningly as it swerved past me on a pedestrian crossing.