Well folks, we are continuing on exploring and adding (somewhat) new destinations to our Shanghai living experiences – working out various day trips from Shanghai.
In this posting we will cover the trip to Sheshan (佘山) Hill.
How to get there? Take the number 9 metro line headed to the south part of the city – in the direction of Songjiang (松江). Once you reach the Sheshan stop – disembark and look for a taxi just outside of the metro station. Ask the driver to take you to any of the Sheshan Hill entrance gates. We had a ride to the North gate as it was easier to get to according to our driver — the others apparently were more congested. Admittedly, we visited during the Chinese New Year (the day after) hence the crowds were large …
Once you get to the gate – proceed to enter — there are no tickets. Here is a gallery of some photos from walking through the park. There are a lot more of these – I will publish them in an Amazon eBook shortly and will add a link on this blog. It was very interesting to do some people watching while at Sheshan Hill – the day after Chinese New Year was sunny and relatively warm, which helped.
There were tons of kids chasing soap bubbles and overall having fun
Shanghai is one of the best places in the world to experience Chinese New Year… Why you may ask? Because here, in this city, you have the opportunity to see both the old and the new traditions associated with this holiday.
As I mentioned in my earlier posting, Shanghai becomes relatively empty during the New Year holiday. As a result you have to “fight” with significantly fewer people when going out to check out the various happenings.
Here is one of the good options for experiencing the celebration in a traditional local way – pay a visit to the Longhua Temple in Southwest Shanghai. The temple is located at Long Hua Road – in Chinese characters it is 龙华路853
How do you get there? Obviously, taking a cab to the address listed above is one – easier- way, but I would suggest to get on the number 9 line and just head to the Long Hua Road metro stop.
Going to this temple will allow you to see the Shanghai people in action – payers are in full swing, tons of special prayer envelopes and banners are being handled and of course you get to see and hear the sounds of the festival.
The temple bell is also omnipresent – striking it is a symbol of the new year, and also a method for chasing away the evil spirits. As a result we heard the bell multiple times while at the temple on the 16th of February – New Year’s Day – in 2018;
Here are some of the photos we took from visiting the temple on the first day of the New Year of the Dog
Well, in the future, if you are planning to be in Shanghai for Chinese New Year, and have some time on your hands, you should plan to explore the Longhua Temple…!
I started earlier in 2017 to capture some ideas for visitors and residents for day trips from Shanghai. Since then, I posted on Fengjing, Nanjing, Nanxiang,
Next, let’s go to Shaoxing. The city is located about 230 km mostly south (and somewhat west) of Shanghai. It is on the high-speed train path to multiple cities in the region, thus relatively easily accessible – even during Chinese New Year – which is when we visited.
Included below are some photos from the trip to Luxun’s native place. Upon arrival at the train station – Shaoxing North Station – look for the signs for taxi and take one – the bus takes over 1 hour and 10-15 minutes so the taxi is a better choice if you are on a limited time schedule. The fare to Luxun’s place with the cab should be 55-60RMB.
The entrance to the Luxun compound is from the ZhongXing Zhong Lu. In the first photo below you can see how that entrance is decked out for Chinese New Year — all in red lanterns… pretty cute.
Hopefully the images above gave you some idea on the place and what you could see in Shaoxing. The place is often referred to as the “museum without walls” – there is a reason for that – a lot to see…
Well, I think most of you who read about Shanghai or live here and are familiar with the Chinese New Year, know that it represents the largest migration in the world. As a result it the major cities in the country essentially empty out.
If you want to see what I mean and you are not in Shanghai these days, then take a look at the photos below. I took them when I left the office earlier this afternoon.
Then there was the metro station — Hanzhong Lu is usually busy as it gets – with multiple lines changing there….Well, not today – the place looked rather like a ghost town. Take a look yourself:
There you have it – millions of Shanghai residents have moved out – as Chinese New Year is the biggest family holiday in the country, people have gone home to see their families, parents, grandparents — so the city is kind of empty – which is also nice. Time to explore…!
Today is another challenging day for the Shanghai air quality index….and our lungs. While Sunday was OK and almost at the edge of not being dangerous, today the situation changed quite a bit. Not the first time (or the 5th ..)this is happening, but still each time causes a thought…
Pictures say a thousand words, right… So here it is:
The Starbucks Loyalty Program has been under a lot of criticism (in my understanding) from customers for many reasons. Articles in several media outlets talk to the issues there. What I discovered just this week is something very nonsensical and strange in this day and age.
I have been living in Shanghai (again) for a while now. This week I ended up buying a large number of Starbucks coffees on multiple occasions due to some project work. So, I decided “Oh, let me use my loyalty card and gets some points in my account…”
I pulled up the Starbucks APP on my phone and proudly offered it to the counter employee….only to be told with a very nice smile – Oh, this is not a Chinese Starbucks card – we cannot use it here in China….The US cards are not used here – you need to have a Chinese loyalty card….
I found that very surprising so I looked on the bottom of my receipt and saw the statement “contact customercareCN@starbucks.cn with any questions..”
Well, I certainly had a question 🙂 So three emails later – I still do not understand why I have to have 2 different accounts in order to get loyalty points in the US and in China….
The very cheerful statements from Starbucks customer care was “…We also hope to create a culture of warmth and belonging…” – Yes, true – just do not cross borders….(My interpretation…)
Then this evening I listened to an interview with the CEO of the company – Kevin Johnson – who made the statements “…Starbucks innovates on digital mobile connections with our customers…” and given my email exchanges with the company’s customer care department I decided it is time to write about my experiences and the fact that eventhough
Starbucks is focused on innovation in digital…
and the customer care organization is focused on creating culture of warmth and belonging
I had to have two different IDs to collect a few loyalty points….
Then I decided “Eh…not worth it….” I will just drink some other coffee…! If a company that is focused on digital innovation and warmth is having difficulty with linking their OWN IT systems in two huge consumer markets — may be their coffee machines are also NOT that great….Technology is hard … for some….
Hong Kong is expensive ! How do I give you an idea about what that means? Well, think of it in relative terms: Last weekend my wife and I took a trip to this city. We wanted to spend some time there and see how the city has changed and grown. What we determined was actually rather surprising. There were quote a few aspects that made us think of how this part of the world — Hong Kong and Shanghai — is changing.
The price of the flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong and back was US$500 for two people…. The price of a descent hotel room in the intercontinental in Kowloon was $480 per night….Hm….! This is pretty wild. Makes me thing about the economic competitiveness of the city. If it is relatively cheap to get to Hong Kong (we bought the tickets with a 3-day advanced purchase) but the cost of getting hotel accommodations is so high, how can Hong Kong be competitive and attract talent and be a good (cost wise) place to do business…?
We came here with the experience from more than 10 years ago and the inputs from friends of ours – who believed Hong Kong is well organized, efficient, offering great food – but expensive.
The city has become VERY overcrowded. You do not want to be on the MTR in rush hour; Queen’s Road Central and Wellington Road in Central are a ZOO – on a Friday night we had hard time walking together….two of us…
We decided to eat in one of the local small restaurants – on Wellington road – Mak’s Noodle (Mak Un Kee) 77 Wellington Street, Central; While the food was not bad – it was not great either. We spent about HK$180 for a couple small of noodle dishes and a bowl of shuijiao (soup dumplings)….I.e. the proverbial Hong Kong fast food. Not low cost and not a complete meal either….
Signage was pretty bad – relatively non-existent. Not sure why? For a city that prides itself on having tons of tourists come and visit, the degree to which various landmarks were easy to find was very bad!
We were shocked at the line of people waiting to get to Victoria peak. 12 years ago my family and I had visited so this time we decided to recreate the trip… Well, not so fast! We saw the line waiting for The Peak Tram – asked about the wait time – and when we were told ~1.5-2 hours we lost the desire to go. Afterwards I thought, may be we came at a busy time…? Turns out the wait was normal…. So, another question then – why if you are so tourist friendly, would you create the infrastructure to have a massive crowd of people waiting for 1.5 hours to get on a tram and spend another hour getting to the Peak? Beats me….
This brings me to the overall assessment – is Hong Kong losing its competitive edge and attractiveness as a regional mega hub?
I think it is…! Don’t get me wrong – Hong Kong still looks and feels very cosmopolitan, with great architecture, and its skyline is still interesting and making a solid impression on tourists
We live in Shanghai, and this Chinese city is doing all possible to be residents and tourists friendly. The subways are bright and relatively uncrowded, the streets are well signed and clean…the list can continue longer and longer…