Friday, November 27, 2015

Morning Walk in Shanghai, Part 3

As I walk through Shanghai, I dodge the scooters and bicycles on the streets and on the sidewalks.  It's a great way to get around, but parking does take up space and when a scooter comes down the sidewalk toward you, getting out of the way is the safest approach.

 Bicycle and scooter parking on the sidewalk

Propane delivery by scooter

Metro stations are everywhere, the Shanghai system is still under construction, but will get me (and about 8 million other people every day, with a peak of 10.3 million riders on September 25, 2015) just about anywhere in the city.  The Shanghai Metro is the longest metro system in the world, with 14 lines and 337 stations.

Metro Station on Line 9

And, next to the metro station and the high-rise construction is another old Shanghai neighborhood.

More old mixed in with the new

I wander down a side street along Lujiabang Road and spot the bird vendor reading his paper

 Quiet side street off Lujiabang Road

 Bird vendor on the side street

Getting to the end of Lujiabang Road, I approach the Nanpu Bridge and the Huangpu River.  In the park just before the bridge, people are at their morning activities, playing badminton, exercising, and just enjoying the day.

 Planting and sculpture in the park at the ramp to the Nanpu bridge

Playing badminton, with and without net, in the park near the Nanpu bridge

Walking up toward the Bund, along the Huangpu River bank, I look back at the Nanpu Bridge.  It is impressive, but too big to get in one picture.

 Nanpu Bridge

 Further up the river, I run into more construction along the river.  More old neighborhoods are disappearing and reemerging as modern buildings.

Construction along the Nanpu River, just below the Bund

Approaching the Bund, the construction winds down, floral plantings increase and I start to spot the tourists taking picture of the classic Shanghai sites in Pudong, across the river.  I'll share some of the sculpture and gardens along the Bund in future postings..

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Morning Walk in Shanghai, Part 2

As I walk past the Four Seasons construction site and continue south, I cross under the Jing'An Elevated Road, one of the elevated highways that weave their way through Shanghai.  The crosswalk itself is raised up, crossing over the city street and under the elevated highway.

 Crossing under the elevated road

View of Pudong in the distance

Continuing down Shimen 1st Road, I pass an another Shanghai contrast, this time both from old Shanghai.  On one side of the street is the Intercontinental Hotel on a 100-acre historic garden estate.  On the other side are traditional Shangai alleys ("longtang") the tightly-packed Shanghai alleyways with lines of houses.

Shanghai Ruijin Intercontinental Hotel

 Shanghai longtang residential alleyways across the street

All along the road are parks, tiny oases of calm scattered around the city.  In the morning people are walking, exercising and just meeting with friends.

 Shanghai city park

A block or two after the park, I pass a Shanghai hospital.  It's early and the crowds are light.  Later in the day, the sidewalk will be filled with people waiting.  To see a doctor in China, most people go to the hospital, take a number and wait all day for a few minutes with the doctor.  A doctor in China will typically see about 200 patients a day.  It's been reported that the children of doctors do not want to be doctors - it's too hard a job.  Also, acts of violence against doctors in China are increasing as patients become more frustrated.

Hospital across the street

I continue on past more longtang and corner bun shops, which are doing a lively early-morning business.

More alleyways all along the way

Corner bun shop

Eventually, I reach Lujiabang Road, where I turn left toward the Nanpu Bridee, after which I'll walk up the Huangpu River to the Bund in the next posting.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Morning Walk in Shanghai

After arriving in Shanghai around 7pm and getting to the hotel around 8:30pm, it's time for a glass of wine and some sleep.  But, something odd is going on at the hotel.  Every time I call the elevator, the door opens and the elevator is full of young Spanish women in bathrobes.  Eventually, I remember that the person who checked me in mentioned that there was a big convention at the hotel.  It must be spa night for the group!

In the morning, I head out for a walk through Shanghai and see that the people in the convention group are all lined up outside, waiting for a tour.  And, around the corner are buses, waiting for them.

Buses lined up by the hotel in the morning

Across from the buses, school is starting and, like everywhere else, parents are dropping off their children.

Dropping off at school in the morning

Around the corner, I pass the entrance to People's Park, but don't go in today.  I'll save that for another time.  It's a great park, but we're on a walk through the city today.

Entrance to People's Park

At the end of People's Park, there is a good example of Old Shanghai and new Shanghai, the old clock tower in the former Shanghai Art Museum (moved to the Shanghai Expo 2010 China Pavilion in 2012) and the JW Marriott tower.

Old and new towers

Nanjing Road, alongside People's Park, is, like many main streets, decorated with flowers in planters.  This really helps brighten up the city.

Flowers on Nanjing Road alongside People's Park

A little further down Nanjing Road, I come across a sign showing some of the restaurants in the building behind.  Many of the buildings are full of restaurants, one can wander in and choose from a wide variety of styles and cuisines.  The malls all have floors of restaurants, ranging from fast food to high cuisine.  Something for everybody.

Food available inside

As I leaving Nanjing Road and head south, I start to pass construction.  Shanghai is still building, tearing down the older structures and putting up newer, higher ones.  The site on the right is the new Four Seasons Hotel.

 Construction sites in Shanghai

And, still much is done by hand.

Sorting and removing the rubble

While, across the street, someone practices his flute in the corner of a building, where he won't bother the neighbors.

Practicing in the morning

I'll keep walking and share some more in the next posting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I'm hanging out at the Hong Kong International Airport, waiting for the flight back - 19.5 hours late coming to Hong Kong and they think it'll only be 4.5 hours late leaving - that's airline magic.  Well, I've got all day and I think it's actually better to arrive home in the afternoon than in the early morning, after which I then have to stay awake all day.  So, this may work

Arriving in Shenzhen, China, near Hong Kong, last Sunday, the baggage claim carousels all showed the following:

Shenzhen baggage claim carousel sign

The terrorist events of the last week in Paris make me more determined than ever to get back soon and enjoy what Paris has to offer.  As attributed to Thomas Jefferson, "Every man has two countries:  his own and France."  Gertrude Stein said, "America is my country and Paris is my hometown."  And, Thomas Jefferson, once again, "A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life."

Paris has always been welcoming, invigorating, refreshing, and uniquely exciting to me.  Here are a few of our favorite things to do.

First, on arrival, walk, usually to and then through the Tuileries.

 The Tuileries, looking toward the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysees,
then toward the Louvre

Next walk along the Seine, either toward the left bank and Place St. Michel or toward Place de la Concorde and on to the Champs Elysees, past the Grand Palais, noting the current exhibition and considering whether to visit it later or not.

 Grand Palais

If toward Place St. Michel, cut through the Louvre and cross the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge, looking where we placed our love lock on the bridge many years ago.  The lock is now gone, after the collapse last year of part of the bridge under the weight of all the locks, but we were among the first!

 Placing our love lock on the bridge

Coming back a few years later and trying to find it

Then, it 's time for a glass of wine at a cafe, sitting and watching the world go by.

Sharing a carafe of wine 

As the sun sets over another great day in Paris, it's time to start thinking about dinner - so many choices, all of them great! We wander the area where we end up and search for what appeals to us tonight.

 Crossing the Seine on the way to dinner as the sun sets

After another fabulous meal in Paris, we walk back and stop a group on rollerblades and ask them to take our picture.

Crossing the Seine on the way back from dinner

We'll be back soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Heading Back to China, Trying to Stay Healthy

It’s hard to avoid sick people on long flights.  The flight to Shanghai is about 13 hours (or, as I like to think about it, 6 movies) and there are a lot of cranky and/or sick people on the plane in both directions.

Two trips ago, the person across the aisle from me had come down with something that he just had to share with all of us (yes, 23H, you know who you are).  He was coughing and sneezing and I'm sure most of us got it.  I sure did and it took several months to fully get that bug out of my system.

The trip before that, a child in the row ahead of me cried for about 12 hours, giving us all one free hour for a quick nap at the end.  That’s the kind of flight from which you arrive to the question at immigration, “Business or pleasure?” and you can’t remember, thus subjecting yourself to a little extra scrutiny.

In China, I ride the Metro to all my meetings.  The Shanghai Metro system is new, modern, efficient, easy-to-use, inexpensive, and has stations within a block or two of just about everywhere I want to go.  A 1-1/2 hour ride in from the airport in Shanghai (and also, Shenzhen) costs 7RMB or about $1.10 USD.  A ½ hour ride in the city from my hotel to a meeting typically costs 3RMB or 47 cents.  That’s a good deal!  However, there are a lot of people on the Metro and some of them are sick. I'm sure I’ve picked up a bug or two there.

One trip last year, I was in Shanghai long enough for a cold to start to appear.  Then, I was the sick person on the plane as, after spending the week in Shanghai, I flew down to Taipei on Sunday for a Monday meeting, then back to Shenzhen, China (next to Hong Kong) in the evening.

After my meeting in Taipei, my colleagues were kind enough to give me some cold medicine and a ride to the Taoyuan Airport.  My short flight back to China was uneventful, but as the Eva Air 747 emptied out and I walked into the new Shenzhen terminal (beautiful, but really big) in the middle of the crowd, a Chinese official walked directly up to me, “Please give me your passport and come with me sir,” and escorted me to the Quarantine Bureau clinic.

They had detected that I had a fever as I walked down the corridor in that large crowd.  That is impressive technology!

At the clinic, a nurse took my temperature while another person read through my passport to see where I had been recently.  I kept saying, "I was here, I was in Shanghai last week,” but they wanted to see for themselves.  They then took a sample of my blood, difficult because I was dehydrated and they couldn’t get to a vein in my arm and ended up taking the sample out of a vein on the back of my hand.

Satisfied that it was unlikely that I was a danger to China, they gave me a face mask and a card that would give me priority in any Chinese hospital for the next 2 weeks and sent me on my way.

 China entry health warning

Two days later, I took a van to Hong Kong and they took the temperature of each of us as we crossed the border.  I must have been doing better then as they let me into Hong Kong and I didn't need to tell the story of my China blood sample.  And, luckily, I was much better before getting on the long flight back to the U.S.

Taking a quick look at the Shanghai Real-Time Air Quality Index, I see that it is showing Unhealthy air for the last two days, with a reading today of 168.  Shenzhen is doing better, with a reading of 81 or Moderate.

The scale is based on US EPA standards, which focus on "fine" air particles (less that 2.5mm) that generally come from combustion activities or industrial processes.  These <2.5mm fine air particles pose the greatest risk because their small size allows them to lodge deeply in the lungs.  The World Health Organization recommends a safe level of 25, based on the following scale:

0-50         Good
51-100     Moderate
101-150   Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
151-200   Unhealthy
201-301  Very Unhealthy
301+       Hazardous

We all have heard of the poor air quality in Beijing, but Shanghai was generally not too bad.  Then in the winter of 2013/2014, all of a sudden the air quality in many other Chinese cities took a turn for the worse.  In November 2013, Shanghai reported an air quality level of 228 and on December 6, it briefly surged to an average of 482, over 500 in the Xuhui District, severely polluted.  Schools were closed; children, elderly, and sick were were told to close their windows and stay indoors; construction was halted and public activities were cancelled.  At the same time, at least 16 other cities in Eastern China were reporting hazardous levels.

Last winter was better and my last few trips this year, the Shanghai air quality was generally Moderate, I guess I'm hitting it at the wrong time this trip and hope the air quality this winter matches last winter, not 2013/2014!

The blog will be in recess for a week as it is not accessible in China, either to post or to read.