Though the Shanghai subway is largely useless as a form of transportation (two lines only, takes ages to work to and from the station to most places worth going to, always crowded) is does make a great place to watch the massive pool of migrant workers going about their business. China has tens of millions of migrant workers, who move from town to town as the demand for labour shifts. At the moment there is plenty of construction in Shanghai, and so the city is alive with middle aged men from rural areas trudging around to and from days on the job.
The migrant workers look greatly out of place in cosmopolitan Shanghai. Most of them sport a look that is best described as 'Country Bumpkin (with a Chinese twist)' and have a permanent vague stare in their eyes. They also seem to carry around massive amounts of stuff with them, usually in simple cloth bags which are bursting at the seams, and presumably full of every worldly possession owned by the carrier. One has to feel for these men, who work desperately hard and have so little to show for it. And at the end of it all, to be looked down upon by worldly Shanghaiese and arrogant foreigners like myself mustn't be a lot of fun.