Shanghai Weekday Morning

Weekday Morning

Greetings from Shanghai!  I often walk to work whie getting to my office in Shanghai.  Why?  Because I get to see and experience tons of stuff on the morning streets in the city.   You get to see a whole lot more, see people buying the groceries for the day, kids decked out in school uniforms running to school, and the whole hustle and bustle of a mega city.

Since many try to get more information on the city either before coming here or before they start exploring once they arrive, I figure I will create some postings to give you a pictorial and narrative view of what you would not see on the tourist tours and organized events….

May be that will help you understand better the city, may be not – at any rate, take a look and let me know with any questions….

Yesterday was the first day of school in China – I was in Fuzhou, (Southern China) and did not catch the view of that in Shanghai, but oh, well, today is the second day of school smiley and I did take some snaps with that in mind…

China Shanghai First Day of School

And then as I walked a bit further down the road, I encountered one of the polar pictures in Shanghai – the extreme wealth and the hard labor or some to get things done…. First, on the street next to a pile of ordinary rental and regular bicycles was parked a Rolls-Royce and a few minuted earlier I took a snap of this old guy transporting bamboo scafolding on his old bicycle…. Quite something, right…?

Shanghai, Rolls-Royce 

 

   China, Shanghai, Bike Transport

Next time, on my walk to the office and home, I will make sure to capture some of the street corner sidewalk markets – there were hardly any today – wonder if everyone was busy early in the morning getting the kids ready for school…

However, I did take a few snaps of the evening and sunset above Suzhou Creek in Zhabei district as I was crossing into Jing'An area.

China, Shanghai, Sunset

You can take a look at some earlier postings on daily life in Shanghai – take a look here and some other here

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Crowds at the Shanghai Bund – When Not to Go

Shanghai Bund

It seems like every tourist, expat, and resident or visitor likes to go visit and experience the Shanghai Bund.  Yes, it is a very popular attraction and has been one for many, many years.

Yesterday, my family and I decided to go check it out.  We had dinner and decided to head to East Nanjing street and from there walk to the Bund.

Well, it turns out, that idea was something several hundred thousand (may be million) others in Shanghai had as well.

China Shanghai The Bund

The crowds walking the streets feeding the Huangpu promenade were extremely large

Once we got to the place, we were astonished to find even larger sets of people…. Live and learn, strong recommendation – unless you really need to visit on the weekend – then just try to avoid making the trip.

Check these photos for yourself – and you will know what I mean:

Shanghai, the Bund, CrowdsAs you can see – you and "one million" people will be here – and you will have a wonderful time avoiding the elbows and shoving and eventually you will get to the edge of the promenade and be able to see some cool views – but then may be you can do that at a time when fewer people are there….

If you want to see the sites in the daylight – go early in the morning (even on the weekends) on an early Saturday morning you will have plenty of elbow room 🙂 

If you want to see the cool night lights – then try a weekday night.

Shanghai, Pudong, Oriental Pearl TowerEnjoy!

 

 

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Style in China – Different…?

Style in China

I have been amazed by the rapid pace of development in China.  Me and everyone else, I think.  But one things that continues to baffle me is the style approach taken by many developers and builders in China.   

It is very strange (at least to me) that the same country which is able to construct in no time a science fiction looking city like Pudong

China Shanghai Pudong

is having major trouble keeping up a straght line when installing wall plugs, light switches,…and in the case that we observed today – a whole array of thermostat controllers

China Thermostats

Isn't this surprising?   Why would you install these units in such an obvious disarray?   It really boggles my mind… And the second surprising thing is that I see this in many places in China…. In 5-star hotels…and other fancy places.

Can anyone explain it?  May be it is a strange kind of Feng Shui?

 

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Shanghai: Places to Eat in Puxi

Places to Eat in Puxi

Well folks, I am starting another set of postings this time about the restaurants in the Jing'An area of Puxi in Shanghai.   The reason, well, if you are in the area, you want to know what are the good places to sit down and have lunch or dinner.

I post regularly on Trip Advisor – but the postings there are more and more often about restaurants that are in the big shopping malls or centrally located.  Nothing wrong with those…But what if you are not in that area?  What if you happened to be walking from your apartment to an appointment or just want to go out and grab some dinner?   Going to the mall may not be that convenient in that case.

So, let's start aggregating the potential restaurants off Nanjing Road in the central area of Shanghai.

The first restaurant I will add in the list is the Silk Road Feast.   The restaurant is located on Beijing West Road (Beijing Xi Lu) about 50 meters before you reach the intersection with Xi Kang Road (as you are walking West on Beijing Road).   In Chinese if you reach the Intersection of 西康路 and 北京西路 then you may have passed the restaurant

The food is Xinjiang cousine.  No pork – great lamb scewers, very good cabbage with beef, very good fried dry green beans.

One suggestion:  if you plan to drink beer / alcohol – you can bring your own.  The restaurant does not sell any.   Soft drinks and juices and teas are available.

Well, enjoy your meal!

We did…

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Shanghai Blue Sky – Sunset

Blue Sky

Earlier this morning I was amazed to see the Shanghai blue sky – rare occurrence – and this late afternoon, I had the pleasure of seeing that blue sky in the sunset as well.

Well, it is good to see that!

You can take a look at the photos below and decide for yourself – cool, right?

China Shanghai Zhabei

[caption id="attachment_8856" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]China Shanghai Puxi Sunset And Another Panorama Photo of Sunset in Shanghai, Puxi

What do you think?   Cool stuff, right?  Enjoy!

 

 

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Shanghai Blue Sky

Blue Sky

These days it seems to be the norm to be talking about the levels of pollution in China.  Some cities here seems like never get blue sky, so it is exciting to see a bright and sunny day happen.

Today is such a day in Shanghai….This morning the sky was clear and eventhough it is still pretty hot and humid – it was nice to see the clouds moving along and big swaths of blue sky everywhere 🙂

China Shanghai Puxi

Surprisingly also, the Air Quality Intdex – AQI – for Shanghai today at 9am was at 21…. For comparison, Austin, TX – which has very good air quality was at 37!

Good to see the progress the city of Shanghai is making!

 

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Puxi Views – at Night and in the Storm

Puxi Views

This weekend, in Shanghai, I had the good opportunity to experience an awesome thunder and lightning storm while at the 19th floor of our high-rise.  It was pretty impressive

Right before the stort, the night was quiet and relatively clear – so I was able to take a few shots (without a tripod) of the view from West Beijing Road towards the Bund.

China Shanghai Puxi

And another photo of this view but this time with a zoom…. Interesting skyline

China, Shanghai, Puxi China Shanghai Puxi

The storm came later that Saturday evening – with howling wind and tons of lightning strikes.  I managed to capture one of them with my camera – wish it was less blurry – but again – taken without a tripod…Manual controls, 4-second exposure….I am amazed I even captured this one.

 

 

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Visiting Venice: ATVO Bus Company – What a Great Experience!

ATVO Bus Company saves the day!

I had a very positive experience with the ATVO bus company in Italy / Treviso.  Last week, I arrived on a Ryanair flight from Sofia (Bulgaria) at Treviso.  Our objective was to get to Venice.  We had been traveling since 5:30am that day – first driving for 2.5 hours to the Sofia airport (from the mountains in Bulgaria) and then waiting and flying to Treviso. Perhaps the sequence of events that followed can be blamed partly on a lack of sleep, but personally, I think the blame lies primarily with the dangerous lure of the seat back pocket.

Italy  Venice

Once we boarded the bus (with luggage in the storage area of the bus) I had taken my laptop out of a backpack to make sure it did not get damaged.  For convenience, I had put it in the mesh pocket of the seat in front of me…..and somehow, I ended up leaving it there when we arrived in Venice and disembarked the bus. Note to self–never put anything in the seat back pocket that you don't want to lose!

It wasn't until the next morning that we discovered the laptop's absence, and needless to say, I was horrified!  We rushed to the hotel front desk to see if they could help us call the company and look for it.  The front desk could not reach anyone based on the phone numbers from ATVO's web site, but I eventually managed to find a number with a live person on the other end, and I passed the phone over to the front desk clerk, who subsequently relayed the information that we would need to call back later that day and see if anything found.

Too keyed up to simply wait until later, we decided to go to the main bus station in Venice and try our luck there.  Once we arrived, we spoke with an Italian clerk guy who really did not speak much English and who also told us to come back in the afternoon….at an undetermined time 🙂

Luckily, my wife found a number for the Treviso airport ATVO office where we had originally boarded the bus…and sadly the number was not correct.   But then the Venice clerk gave us a brochure that had a similar number but with one more zero – that worked!

Now came the very pleasant surprise. I called and spoke with 'Alicia', and shockingly, a laptop matching my description had been turned in!!!!  After several minutes of back and forth – mostly me trying to explain what a laptop was – Alicia, who was extremely helpful, concluded that this laptop was indeed mine and offered to send it to Venice on the next bus.   She was very eager to do so, and when I told her, "No I will come over to Treviso", she was somewhat surprised.  However, I just couldn't wait, so I jumped on the bus and an hour later I had my laptop in my hands…!

What an experience!   Once again, I must commend the ATVO Bus company, Alicia and the kind stranger who found and turned in the laptop to ATVO. There is so much negative news in the world that you sometimes forget the important fact that most people are kind and decent. This experience really brought that into focus for me.

Venice is a beautiful place – you can see it in my photo book available on Amazon.   But the people at ATVO made it even nicer.  Thank you!

 

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Venice – Sneak Preview

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Venice Through My Viewfinder  

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American Airlines International Business Class – Disappointment

American Airlines International Business Class

Do you have any experience with American Airlines International Business Class?

I have been a loyal AA and OneWorld frequent flyer since 1998!  You can imagine the miles I have accumulated over that time.  Let me put it this way – I have been at Executive Platinum for the last 10 years or so, and have a life time Platinum due to the number of miles flown.

So, when my family decided to take a vacation to Europe this summer, I decided that we will fly on American  – of course – and use some of my system wide upgrades to have us in international business class across the Atlantic between the US and Heathrow.

All of us were excited…Lie-flat seats, Entertainment, Premium dining….!

This is what we expected:  

American Airlines International Business Class

This is what American Airlines advertises on their Web page

Well, turns out our experience was less than great.  On the flight to Heathrow, our meals were inedible!  I kid you not. I had a wedge salad and roast beer.   Please see the pictures below and you will know what I am about to say:

American Airlines Premium Dining International Business Class

Premium Dining? Really?

American Airlines Premium Dining International Business Class

Would you consider this Premium Dining..? I do not

American Airlines Premium Dining International Business Class

How does one cut this Wedge salad with a butter knife? I could not

The wedge salad was impassible to eat – it was a hunk of lettuce which I had to slide with a butter knife… .How?!?!  Others on the plane could not either….

Then, the main course – Beef sounds exciting — well, it was NOT!   It was shoe leather like, no taste, and please see the dish with sauce – it was spilled all over the place.

All in all – the dishes went back to where they came from.  I barely touched them…

The flight attendant noticed (I think others were in the same boat) – and asked me with an apology – “Should I bring you something else?”   I thanked her and did not take her up on the offer… I could not imagine the rest was any better.   

Our flight back from Heathrow, 9 days later, was not much better.  There was no wedge salad.. Thanks for small mercy!

The entertainment system was another story – on the flight from Heathrow to DFW, most of the business class passengers had the same experience – the system was not working properly… Oh, well – it is a premium experience 🙂

Needless to say – American, your service has SLIPPED big time!  I would not call our experience – all of my family flew business – anything to write home about!

 

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