No matter how many times I return to China, I will always remember that scene along the Huangpu River. Even though I was in Shanghai for only a few days, I spent hours walking through the city's streets doing nothing but having first impressions, and when I think about them now they are as vivid as photos in an album. Here are a few of those impressions:

I naively thought I could blend in with the crowd until a giggling group of uniformed schoolgirls approached me. They shoved forward one of their number who had apparently been designated their spokesgirl. She asked me if I had seen the movie Titanic. When I told her I had not, there was an instant huddle, with much more giggling and murmuring. The spokesgirl reemerged with ...

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