Flight on China Eastern from Shanghai to Tokyo / A Review of (at least one flight on) China Eastern

Several years have passed since I have flown on China Eastern on an international flight. Last time it was a business class flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles. At the time I was not impressed with the plane, the seats were too uncomfortable, the food was not good and overall the service was below any one airline I had flown.

Then over the years I have flown on multiple domestic flights operated by China Eastern, with the conclusion that it was no different than any other domestic airline…They were OK.

So this time, having to fly from Shanghai to Tokyo/Narita, I looked at various options. One of them was a JAL flight, which turned out to be operated by China Eastern. I hesitated for a moment and then I thought “how bad can it be…” Let’s go for it.

Well, it was bad…! The flight from Shanghai to Tokyo is a 3 hour one. In this day and age when airlines are competing with more and more amenities, China Eastern is way behind…and almost feels that they do not care a whole lot…

Where do I start:

* Seats – they are just bad. I get more room on an American airlines or United airlines domestic flight…you can tell the plane is packed seat wise when your standard 22inch roll-aboard suitcase has hard time going along the walkway on the plane…

* in-flight entertainment: what in-flight entertainment :-). No individual screens for economy. Really! On an international flight of 3 hours!!! Really?!?!
There were the proverbial central drop down screens. But the content that played on those was horrible for in-flight entertainment!

Let’s see – it consisted of
1. commercials/advertisements for cars – every passenger on board needs to buy a Nissan Teanna, or Huyndai,or…etc
* endless propaganda video about the Shanghai Expo! All these happy folks singing and dancing at the Expo. I have been to the Expo – and let me tell you – I did not see those dancing folks 🙂

2. then it was the high point of the entertainment – the Chinese version of American idol — with heavy promotion for www.yuepaiyuegao.com

At this point in time I was hoping I can fall asleep fast 😉

* food – well, this was also sub-par. I have had better on pretty much any of my domestic China flights

So what is left then? Safe arival at your destination…? Let’s hope so (I am writing this while on-board of the described flight);

One lesson learned here – no more China Eastern Airline flights – especially international ones. Life is too short to spend hours being uncomfortable 🙁

HongQiao Market in Beijing and a new / better choice near it

There has been a lot of discussions on various forums and among old and new China hands about the markets in Beijing. HongQiao Market is always one of the leading choices for all folks involved.
So, I wanted to add a brief summary about a new, bright shining star for the Beijing markets — TianYa market — located right behind HongQiao Market.

If you are in the mood for some serious shopping for any of the following items:
* semi-precious stones
* Glass
* Stone carvings
* All things clothing
* optics
* souveniers
* paintings (although the paintings are mostly folk art 🙂 what I mean is art which is not of the caliber of the Dashanzi area in Beijing)
* jewelry
* housewares
* cloisonet

Then TianYa market is for you! Get ready for some serious bargaining though. Most of the sellers / stalls here are of the wholesale kind so they have expectations for selling in larger volumes, but you should be able to buy in units of one as well.
The market actually opened in April of 2008, but has been low key until now — and continues to be that way. Not much crowds at Tianya…and the vendors are not aggressive – hardly anyone will tug on you to stop and / or step into their stalls. So you can enjoy a much more relaxed shopping experience at also lower prices 🙂 what more could you wish for 🙂
Happy travels….and shopping!

Photo Slideshow of Historic Places in Beijing

In the spirit of using photos as a way to provide an interesting view of the interesting (from historic perspective) places around the city of Beijing…. I know many of the readers have probably seen enough of the main sites (the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, etc.) but I bet not many have ventured to the less travelled Beijing temples….
Lets see if you can recognize them…

Did you guess which they are?

As the tags state — the images are from some of the famous sites like
* The Temple of Heaven
* The Forbidden City
* JingShan Park (located just behind the Forbidden City) — its history apparently is that the park hills were created with the dirt removed in the construction of the Forbidden City — given the size of the park, you can imagine the construction magnitude that had taken place centuries ago…
* Beijing Dongyue Miao (Taoist Temple)
* Beijing YongHeGong (Lama Temple) – located at the north eastern corner of the 2nd ring road in Beijing (You would be able to see the temple from the highway)
* The HongLuoSi (Red Snail Temple) — located north of the city (outside of Beijing)

I will keep adding photos — need to search my databases of images from all the photos I have taken in Beijing… 🙂