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Old 24th May 2009, 14:01   #1
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Default Shanghai and Dalian

Time for a break from office monotony. Due to a whole load of enquiries, I managed to get a trip approved to China to visit two of our operations in Shanghai and also our new operations starting up in Dalian

Shanghai as a city is big. What looks like a hop, skip and jump on the map is actually a long taxi ride. Shanghai is well connected, it focuses on transient traffic so plenty of taxi's who get you whereever with no hassle as long as you have the instructions written down!

Shanghai is spread over two sides of the river Huang Pu. One side is the old part called Puxi and the newer area is Pudong. We have operations on both sides so I split my Shanghai trip into two parts
Plan was land on Thurs afternoon in Shanghai, go onto Dalian on Saturday and return to Shanghai on Tues before heading home on Fri

Last edited by ajmat : 25th May 2009 at 20:51.
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Old 24th May 2009, 14:29   #2
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Default Day 0-1 Getting to Shanghai

There is no ideal way to get there. It is either via Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok. Some of them involves going via Mumbai or long stays in the airport - 8 hours +

I took the Singapore route - well connected into town and the clean toilet factor! This flight is painful It reaches Singapore at 6.300 am but your body is at 3.30am, the deepest of sleep.

BIAL was efficient, except for a 20 min wait at a dhaba for the Vajra crew to get their dinner. Checked in within 10 min and passed through immigration. The processes get better each time!

Try to buy a phone card but the Crossword store there are jokers. Buying anything ends up - no change, person is not there to process the bill or the person is clueless. I walk off in a huff. The right person appears so they call me and I buy the card.

Board the flight and sleep. Web check in meant I got a good seat. Arrive in Singapore and am a bit of a zombie. First priority is to get Chinese Currency as I previously remember huge queues for ATM's and currency exchange.

Transfer and catch flight to Shanghai. Both flights were half full so plenty of space. We touch down in Pudong airport. The place is big and takes a good 15 min for the plane to reach the terminal.

We are in what is Terminal 2, a new building, it is big, plenty of ATM's etc. We are first screened for Piggie Flu. Our details like seat location are recorded. Immigration is a breeze and my bags are waiting.

Now it is time to get to town

Although i printed the hotel details in Chinese of the web. I visit the hotel counters of both the hotels so that i can get the printed cards.

I have two options- the taxi - 1 hour and approx 150 rmb or the 430km/h Maglev 50 rmb + 30 rmb taxi = 30 min

Its a no brainer. It is a bit of a walk. I buy the card and put my baggage through screening and take the escalator down,

The train approaches and passengers disembark, it moves on the returns on our track. We board!
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Train takes off. It accelerates briskly. It feels like a Merc- no excitement but making good progress. The cars seem to be going backwards. Only jerk is when another Maglev passes. It touches 430 km/h and powers down.
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30km in 7 min. Irving Wallace wrote 300 pages bout 7 min !

Enjoy the journey!

Disembark at LongShua Station and take the escalator down.
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Clear signs for taxi's are posted. We join a queue. It is supervised and the guides make sure you know and the driver knows your destination. 20 min later, I am at the Shangri La

Last edited by ajmat : 25th May 2009 at 20:52.
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Old 24th May 2009, 16:04   #3
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Default Pudong Shangri La

Attachment 139401This hotel is swanky. It is a company approved hotel . The alternative hotels were either in the middle of nowhere or too far from the factory.
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Check in is brisk and taken to my room. Grand but boring - not funky as some of the other places where I have stayed

I look out of the window

On the left is the Oriental Pearl Tower - taken at night
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On the right is the Jian Mao building and also the new Shanghai Financial centre. The two tallest buildings vying with each other!
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The Hotel is located on the other side of the Bund> It should be interesting in the evening

Settle down, am in that disorientating, what shall I do next mode!

Suddenly a knock on the door.

Housekeeping greets me with a nice basket of Chaa

Last edited by ajmat : 24th May 2009 at 16:37.
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Old 24th May 2009, 16:48   #4
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After a sip of Green Tea

I am hungry - go down and have a nice pork ribs and shrimp dumpling noodle soup.Then decide to work out.

The gym is located at a vantage point overlooking the river and The Bund. While on the treadmill, the lights come on, it looks interesting so I decide to go for a walk post workout.

The hotel has a special entrance to the Riverside Walk. Plenty of people meeting out thre. Couples canooodling away without being offensive. I start taking pics and realise

1: I should have brought the tripod
2: I should have brought my zoom lens (which I did the next evening)
3: I know zero about taking pics of neon lights at night.

I walk up the promenade. (note pics from second night also included here)

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Last edited by ajmat : 25th May 2009 at 20:53.
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Old 25th May 2009, 19:54   #5
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Default Yuyuan Garden

Get up early as I need to go to our factory some miles away in a free trade zone -45 min. Rise early. Hotel instructs the taxi and 7.17 am, am on the road watching the commute. Not much as most people use public transport.

These free trade zones were agricultural fields and were acquired. Signs of things to come except that in China, the farmers are partners in the development or steps ensured they get a steady income. Area looks like Electronic City or similar. Reach the factory. Complete my work and am done by 2pm.

Plenty of taxi's outside the gate so I hop into one, flash the hotel card and back in by 3pm. The light is good so I decide to visit Yuyuan garden. The concierge puts me in a taxi, we take the tunnel under the river and arrive at a very commerical looking street.
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Am walking around looking lost. Luckily there are tourist assistants, who see that I am lost and direct me to the Zig Zag bridge
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Reach the entrance, pay the 50 RNB entrance and walk in

The 5 acre garden was reportedly first established in 1559 as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan, who spent almost 20 years building a garden to please his father Pan En, a high-ranking official in the Ming Dynasty. It fell into disrepair and was resurrected in 1956's by the government.

Has six sections

Grand Rockery - rockery made of huangshi stone (12 m high), featuring peaks, cliffs, winding caves and gorges.

Heralding Spring Hall (Dianchun) - built in 1820,

Inner Garden - rockeries, ponds, pavilions, and towers, first laid out in 1709 and more recently recreated in 1956 by combining its east and west gardens.

Jade Magnificence Hall (Yuhua) - furnished with rosewood pieces from the Ming Dynasty.

Lotus Pool - with a zigzag bridge and mid-lake pavilion.
Ten Thousand-Flower Tower (Wanhua)

Plenty of tourists and quite a few canoodling couples wanting a private moment

Last edited by ajmat : 25th May 2009 at 20:09.
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Old 25th May 2009, 20:02   #6
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I'll let the pictures do the talking

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Last edited by ajmat : 25th May 2009 at 20:06.
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Old 25th May 2009, 20:12   #7
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and some more pics

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Old 25th May 2009, 20:48   #8
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Exit the garden and look at buying a silk dress for my daughter

The selection is dire, prices similar but promises of discount. You can see no one is buying

Finally, I look very disinterested in one shop and find something suitable. It cost RMB 685 - around Rs 5000,

Suddenly the price comes down to 450, then 300. I have very little RMB, they then agree a US dollar rate 67 to the dollar - normally 70. I only have $100's. I tell them that I want to get money changed. They ask how much do you have
250 rmb


So I walk off with a deal but I wonder how much lower I could have gone

i wander around the streets fending off "Lolex" and "Plada" fake salesmen. Plenty of food but I do not have the heart to eat whole deep fried quails on a stick. The soft shell crabs look attractive but I am allergic to them.

I see a vegetarian restaurant. Walk in, they are so disinterested, I walk out.

Time to take a taxi - I see a line of taxi's. They want double, I tell them to get lost, they tell me to join a long regular queue. It's rush hour. I wait, a Honda City and a Chery SUV drive up trying to pick up passengers. I decide to go the official route and wait. 15 min later, am in a taxi and back in the hotel.

Pick up telephoto lens and go to a food court near for dinner and then a riverside stroll for more pics.

Return for a workout and a good night sleep!

Tomorrow, I fly to Dalian
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Old 25th May 2009, 23:02   #9
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Default Dalian

spend an easy Sat morning - have a steam bath followed by an ice cold jacuzzi. Then a nice buffet breakfast. Check out and take a taxi and Maglev to the airport.

Assume that flight is in Terminal 1 like all domestic flights and haul my bags over there. I am wrong, China Southern is in T2.

Another long haul. Check in and go through. I am early so read The World is Hot, Flat and Crowded. China Southern is a decnet airline -new aircraft and nice air hostess's.

I land in a very overcast Dalian. Airport resembles the old HAL one but bigger and better organised. Bussed to the terminal but before you know it, the luggage has appeared.

I walk out and I see a stunning lady in a red Chong Sa with my name on a board. Offer to take my bag, but I canot let such an elegant lady do this so we walk to the car. she calls the driver who comes running. I was expecting a standard buick, they sent this
Shanghai and Dalian-dsc00179.jpg

An Audi A6 2.8 L. The space in the back is awesome. Drive in is unremarkable suburbia. Drive past the docks and reach hotel. Surroundings look dull. am escorted to the room, which has a view of the docks.

Should i have stayed on in Shanghai?
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Old 26th May 2009, 00:29   #10
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Wowee. That was some trip, esp the seven fastest minutes. Its like flying too low!
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:27   #11
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Dalian is located in the Liaoning province. Tokyo is 600km away. Seoul approx 450km. If you swim the wrong way, you could end up in North Korea.

Dalian was occupied by the British mid 1800's. Returned to the Chinese. The Japanese occupied it till 1945 when the russians liberated it and governed the city till 1950 with full cooperation of both governments. It was handed back. The succession of mayors have worked to preserve the area without the slash and build unlike in Shanghai.

It is now a major industrial and IT centre. I decide to go for a walk. Am quite taken by the boulevards. It reminds me of Budapest. There have been various squares created so there is a feeling of space and airiness.

Another thing to note are the cars - not a sea of VW's unlike Shanghai. Here it is S class. 7 series, X5, A8's and Cayennes, nothing more , nothing less. Saw an F430 and a couple of Maserati's. There is a fondness for the w140. This town has money. People onthe street have the elegance of the Parisians and also the Hungarian's. Simple but well dressed. One can see the Russian/ Japanese features of some of the people.

Weather is a little overcast. I take some pics and walk upto Friendship Square which has a huge ball in it.

Suddenly, am nudged by a few middle aged women

"You wan ladee"


"Ladee, to make rove"



hmmm, no thanks

I spot the TV tower on the hill and decide that is my starting point for tomorrow.
I decide to return back to the hotel and check out the gym.

Some street scenes

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Boulevard, outside my hotel. Was pretty quiet for a saturday afternoon

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Nano! we got here first but w140's moved us down

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Zhongshun Square - Seat of the Muncipal Government. Bit local power judging by the number of black Audi's and Mercs parkeed nearby

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Old 26th May 2009, 13:31   #12
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Awesome stuff there Ajit. How were the binaries handling in this beautiful setting?

Last edited by theMAG : 26th May 2009 at 13:57.
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Old 26th May 2009, 13:49   #13
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I agree, thats simply Awesome stuff. Lovely pics & seems like a great trip

Keep them coming.

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Old 26th May 2009, 14:00   #14
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Awesome stuff ajmat...
You shouldnt have discounted the poor old lady and should have experienced the "massaj"
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Old 26th May 2009, 14:02   #15
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Both Shanghai and Dalian are looking quite like a city in any developed country. They have improved their infrastructure at much faster pace than we did. Hope we will catch up in some time.
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