One thing I had forgotten about Shanghai...

...,  before visiting last week, is how many women carry umbrellas to keep the sun from darkening their skin. OK, in this context I should call them "parasols." By whatever name, when women hold these devices over their heads, the difference in our relative heights is such that the metal or bamboo tines are usually right at my eye level. So as I walk down a crowded sidewalk on a sunny day I have my hands up as if to shield my eyes from the glare. I'm really trying to keep them from being poked out from the sides.

What I need is some kind of protective blinder system, like this:


Or, as customized for Western middle-aged man use:


(Image from here, via Flickr)

Really, I think I'd shell out for this if I could. No one in Shanghai gives a second glance to  people wearing pajamas outside at 4pm, or the older gents who on hottest days wear boxer underwear, flipflops, and nothing else. I bet they'd take this in stride too.

Why not the same problem in Beijing? Maybe the broader streets and sidewalks, so I can keep a safe distance?  Women less fastidious on this point? Comparative rarity of direct sun? Don't know but I'll see if I notice them, as the skies clear in the Olympic era.