Hong Kong – the Amazing City

I am back from Hong Kong with the late flight at 9:45 pm via Shenzhen. The Monday that just past was a busy day for me, after my absence in office for five weeks. Everyone including the Ayi, seems to have something to say to me. Now, I have left Shanghai and now I am sitting at the desk of Shangri-La Hangzhou. I will start my journey in Zhejiang from tomorrow.


Jian Shuo before Standard View of Hong Kong Island. Photographed by Wendy.

Well. Considering it is already early in the morning, I won’t talk too much about the Hong Kong trip this time, although I have so much to talk about it. Hong Kong is an exciting and attractive city. This first time visit helped me to learn that there is still a very long way for Shanghai to catch up with the standard Hong Kong built and maintained, as a friendly metropolitan, as a business central and as a tourist city.

Here is what is the key learning this time. I will find more time (maybe this weekend) to explain the trip in more details.

  1. Hong Kong is a city with great usability (as Eric said). Look at the Hong Kong metro – so effective and so clear.
  2. Hong Kong is a communication intensive city – there are 5 times more signs, signal lights, yellow lines (on the road), posters and other ways of communities than in Shanghai
  3. I like boats there – the star ferry is fantastic. I also took private boats and fasterTurboJet.
  4. I love the islands around Hong Kong – we visited Cheung Chau, and Lantau (the Sea Ranch). – Thanks for Minji to host us on her small island.
  5. Hong Kong is an ideal place for hiking – surprise? I claimed up to the maintain along Mt. Davis Path to the Jockey Club Mt. Davis International Youth Hostel. It took me 35 minute but the view was breath-taking

I took about 600 pictures there and it takes sometime to upload it to this website. I will be back.


Wendy and Jian Shuo would like to thank Minji and the German girl (we didn’t know her name yet) for hosted us on their 50-residents island, and Eric for professional tour guiding.

Digital Words in Real World

Zheng 2.0

Zheng was among the happiest blogger these days. He had a son on Aug 23. He called hsi son “Zheng 2.0” in his blog. Many people came and sent congratulations to the happy Zheng 1.0. (via IsaacMao). BTW, he said his son was “released”.

404 Error

Here is another example to use computer words in real world. The day before yesterday, we were busy working in a small lab when someone came to look for a person.

“Is Mr. Somebody here?”.

“404 Error” was the reply.

The man turned and disappeared. The rest bursted into laughter. Someone corrected: “I didn’t have the chance to tell him: 302 – Restroom on the 18F!”

This is the usage of the Status Code in HTTP Protocol in real life.

Maglev Schedule

Update: Shanghai Pudong Airport Maglev Schedule

First train: 8:30 AM

Last Train: 5:30 PM

Interval: 20 mins

Ticket Price: 40 RMB

Highest speed: 430 km/h

Trip Distance: 30 km

Single trip: 8 mins

Effective since: March 29, 2004

I created an image of the information above and put the image into my maglev related page. I hope whenever there is a change in the schedule, I can change the image so all the information on this site about Maglev become current immediately. Here is the code:

<img src=”http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/2004/08/24/screen-maglev-schedule.png” width=”640″ height=”240″ border=”0″ />

The schedule does not work for me. When I came to Beijing this Monday, the flight is 0840 and the first train to Pudong Airport is 0830. Fast as it is, it cannot help me to catch the flight.

Update May 17, 2007

The information was out of date. Please use this updated version.

See How Many Articles I Wrote

Do you have an idea of how many is 722 articles? I had no idea before I print out the screen shot of the archives page on this site. Every blue line in the picture below that is too small to read represents an article.


Screen shot of Wangjianshuo’s Blog Archive page.

That is a lot! That is the accumulation of small effort everyday (of two years).

P.S. The screen shot was captured by HyperSnap. I tried the 15 day evaluation edition. It works great.

Dan Washburn Arrived in Beijing

Dan Washburn finally arrived in Beijing after his first stage of around China trip. We met at a Hakka restaurant called Lao Hanzi.

He Lost Weight

When Dan show up at the door of the Fujian style restaurant, I hesitated to say hello to him. His face became slimmer after the long trip. He left Shanghai on July 1, 2004 and this is about the fiftieth day of his trip. He told me he did lost some weight. Well. To travel with limited budget is an effective way to lose weight. Wanner have a try?

The Trip

I am happy that Dan has completed the first part of his plan of visiting some remote areas in China. He has been to small villages of less than 4 thousands population and saw the poor along with the rich, the accident side and the modern side of China.

I bet Dan, as an American, started to learn the country more complete and thorough than many people who were born here. Dan mentioned his trip mate Jason, who was born in Shanghai. Jason went to several places with Dan in about one month. It is a nice experience for Jason since he learnt a lot outside the city. I encourage everyone who live in the city to go out to see what the country really look like. I was moved when I get back to the village and to western part of the country. I started to realize how different the lives in the country are.


Dan talked about the experience he interacted with local people. “I was surprised that I never feel the Anti-American moods in any area of China, as I felt in other part of the world.”. It is true since for most people in China, they are more curious about people from outside, instead of “Anti-“. Japan is a special case though.

Dan Wants More Contacts

As Dan is moving to the northeast and to the west, he needs more contacts around China. As the “China PR Director”, as Dan has called me, I’d like to seek for help for Dan.

If you currently in any of the city/county in China where Dan has not visited, no matter how small the place is, (or how big), you can help Dan to learn more about China by being his contact in your city. Drop him an email so he may visit the place you are. You can find his contact information on his website.

Last Night in Shanghai

The last night in Shanghai. Let me keep today’s post short so I can allocate more time with my family.

China has got 20 golden medle so far in the Athens 2008. It is a great achivement. Congratulations!

Last Friday, when I was busy with my Project Server 2003 setup lab, my friend Lei called my mobile and asked “Check out whose voice is it on the radio!”. He was driving on the road and happened to tune to the China Radio International. On the radio was my the audio of my last interview. I said: “Yes. It appeared to be mine.”. Ha. I am a little bit surprised that they did broadcast the interview. Thanks Shen.

Later, Wendy told me that Daine, the reporter from BusinessWeek, has sent me a copy of BusinessWeek. It is very nice of him. Wendy finally find my name in the magzine with my help on the phone. There is no F5 key on the hardcopy of the magzine. She said she was disappointed to discover that I was not in the cover story. I know she was kidding.

Shanghai rained dogs and cats today. It washed my car effectively. There are two kinds of rains in Shanghai – one only left dirt on your car and the other washes your car.

OOB Today

I got back to Shanghai for weekend. I will go swim with Wendy and hold the update for this blog for one day.

OOB = Out Of Blogging

P.S. Shanghai is hot and my car (left there untouched for two weeks) seems a little bit strange to me and covered with dirt.

My Friend’s Apartment for Rent

Eric finally decided to move to his new role within Microsoft in Beijing. I believe it was not an easy decision but he finally has the courage to move on. He talked about it indirectly on his post on his birthday. I cannot agree with it more. After working for more than two to four years, many people are coming to the point to make some changes and it needs courage to step out. We are seeing people making choices everyday. Congrats to Eric.

He is preparing to move to Beijing. So he has to think about how to handle his apartment at Xujiahui. I will definitely do him a favor to put an advertisement for the apartment. Please check this link for more information.

He called the apartment “a house with stories”. It is true. Any apartment is a venue (or container in technical terms) for stories. His blog reveals the wonderful loving story attached to this nice room. I have been there twice (or three times?) and had great time there with close friends. It is strange, even for me, to hand it out to someone else to live in it, let alone Eric himself.

He offered 3500 RMB per month for the 80 square meter apartment. Well. I won’t say it is the cheapest apartment in that area. Some offers lower. I know it deserves it. It is clean, with good taste of design and equipped with nice electronic applicants. His contact information can be found on his Apartment for Rent page.

Disclaimer: Eric is among my best friends in GTEC (I found 59 pages in this site mentioning the name of Eric – not all meant this Eric though). The information is provided as it. Make decision with your own judgment.

I can Swim Now

Easy access to free (so called free) swimming pool is a big advantage to stay in a hotel. I have stayed in hotel for about one month. The biggest progress in the last month is that I can swim now.

I started to learn swim from Oct 26, 2002 (ops. That is almost two years ago). During the first year, I didn’t learn much and the swimming pool was almost a big bathtub for me. :-D The first breakthrough happened in Sanya. The nice sea water (with more salt and more floating power) helped me a lot. I started to be able to keep my head above the water. Wendy and I spent a lot o time in water during the three-day stay in the Holiday Inn. I’d like to show you the nice swimming pool there:

First used in this article: Sanya Travelogue – The Holiday Inn Resort

First used in this article: Sanya Travelogue – The Holiday Inn Resort

Why the nice swimming has to be built near the wonderful beach? I spent most of time in the sea and missed this nice swimming pool.

I can Swim Now

Today is another breakthrough. I found myself suddenly get used to the water and be able to swim along the longer edge of the swimming pool – about 25 meters back and forth. I guess I have continuously swam about 10 round, with is about 500 meters already. I couldn’t believe it because I can hardly complete the 25 meter track along the last time. It is called magic.

I love swim now and I can put swimming to my favorite sports list now. This is the keep takeaway I got in August 2004.

Interviewed by China Radio International

Just after I returned to hotel around 9:15 pm from the hospital of my college, the telephone in my room started to ring. I rushed to pick it up and it was Mr. Shen from China Radio International. We made appointment about the interview, on this blog. I guess the program will be online (should be on air) very soon. I’d like to thank him and Hailey, and Le who made it happen. I am very relaxed to talk with these nice people.

Hailey and Allen already put online a report at the headline of Real Estate Channel days before, titled Guanxi and Big Money Get the Homes in a Seller’s Market. It was about my story to buy a house in Shanghai, with my big silly picture there. I have to point out that the hot real estate market may have ended. The N-N-N policy (“No Price. No Reception. No Apartment”) was true in October 2003, but not now. Anyway, I’d like to thank them to make it online. It is said another article about my blog will go online (the web version) in another channel. I am not sure though.

P.S. China Radio International was founded in 1941. CRI broadcasts 290 hours everyday in 43 languages. It is the most powerful radio station for overseas audience in China.

Eric’s Birthday

Today is Eric‘s birthday. Happy Birthday to Eric

I seem Elegant?

Stephen commented:

One major deficiency is Mr. Wong so reluctant to reply to the enquiries you received some how made people think you are so elegant.

This reminded me that I didn’t reply comments as frequently as I did before. This is due to the pressure of my current project. I noticed I should try harder to keep participating in the wonderful discussion. Just let you know that I did read all comments but didn’t have time to reply – not because of elegant. :-D. Thanks Stephen for pointing it out.

Shanghai Taxi Colors

Want to see real colors of the taxis, as I mentioned in this article? Here you are.





Taxi Queue

The left most taxi with only a tail is the Indian Red I mentioned. The dark blue taxi between the Dazhong (Turquoise) and the Qiangsheng (yellow) taxi is from Blue Union.

More Pictures to Come

I am not in Shanghai so I cannot take more pictures of the other colors, especially the France Red taxis. But I will post them here.

Starbucks Tour in Beijing

Yesterday, I spent 5 hours (from 3:15 pm to 8:15 pm) to visit 13 Starbucks alone the Chang An Street. I took about 3 pictures for each store. That is a long march – from the Fuxing street on the west side of the city to the Guomao street on the east.


Yellow line is about the route I visited the stores

Along the way, I visited the Jianguo Gate, the Parkson Store, the Financial Street and the headquarters of major banks in China, and then visited the west commercial area Xidan, and long the street to the National Theater, and Qian Men. I even visited the south most Starbucks at the New World center – that trip was not pleasant at all. Although it is very near the heart of the city (Tian An Men Square), the south part of the city is far behind the north part.

I visited many stores, including the new Oriental Plaza, and then to Dongdan, Friendship Store and finally arrived at the China World Trade Center. It was a long trip and I will definitely find sometime to record the buildings I saw and the people I met during the trip.

Why Shanghai’s Taxi is Good

There are 42000 taxis in Shanghai. Generally speaking, they are offering very nice service. Here are some of my old entries on Shanghai taxi.

Taking taxis in Shanghai

Shanghai Taxi Tickets

Typical Taxi Fares in Shanghai

Taxi Services at Shanghai Pudong Airport

Benz Taxi in Shanghai

More Shanghai Taxi information.

Why Shanghai’s Taxi Service is Good?

A taxi driver told me about the secret of management when I was in Shanghai.

People know there are several different color of taxis in Shanghai. If you observe carefully, you will find there will be only 8 colors of taxi in Shanghai.

Unique Color-ed Taxi

There are may taxi companies in Shanghai, and not every company are allowed to create its own branding color. Only taxi companies with more than 1000 taxis can select its own color for their taxi.

There are only 5 taxi companies reached the bar:

  1. Dazhong (Turquoise)
  2. Qiangsheng (Yellow)
  3. Jinjiang (White)
  4. Bashi (Light Green)
  5. Nonggongshang

Check the Background story – Why lot of taxi in Shanghai are red? section in this article.

All these companies care their branding very much and are competing with each other. They have highest quality standards.

Blue Taxi

All taxi companies with less than 1000 but more than 200 forms a union called “Blue Union”, and all of them are pained blue. All these companies are strictly monitored by the Blue Union for service quality.

Indian Red Taxi

For other smaller companies, like those with 40 – 100 taxis, they are all painted red – or to be more specific, the Indian Red. The service quality is generally lower than the big companies or Blue Union. It backed the general practice in Shanghai “Avoid Red taxis”.

France Red Taxi

To be fare to the good taxi drivers in smaller companies (less than 200 taxis), a new brand is introduced. It is called France Red Taxis. They are selected from 30 taxi companies (out of the 300 “Indian Red” taxi companies) with prove good service qualities. The France Red Operation Team monitors the quality of this type of taxi and they sometimes provide even better service than the big names.

Well. As you can see, the 8 colors represent the service standard in Shanghai. I would rate them in the following order

  1. Turquoise taxi ( Da Zhong)
  2. France Red
  3. Yellow taxi (Qiangsheng)
  4. Light Green Taxi (Bashi)
  5. White Taxi (Jinjiang)
  6. Blue (Blue Union)
  7. Indian Red (Others)

Beijing should learn from Shanghai on the management of taxis.

Athens 2004 Olympic Opening


Now I am here in waiting for the opening of the Olympic game. China is 5 hours earlier than Athens. When the Opening Ceremony of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games starts at 20:30 on August 13, 2004, it is already 1:30 AM in the morning of August 14. I just called Wendy. Wendy will not watch it since she will continue to learn to drive tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM.


Image in courtesy of Google.com

It is exactly 4 years before the Olympic comes to Beijing in 2008. The city is preparing itself for the coming game. I am now on the 8th floor of Shangri-La Beijing. Beside this newly decorated old building (from 1980s) is a planned second tower – which is higher and bigger than the current one. It will be completed by 2006. It is obviously Shangri-La is betting a good revenue stream during the Olympic Games (and after it).

As what Shangri-La does, other hotels are moving to Beijing. Ritz Carlton will open at Financial Street in 2006. JW Marriott will open a new hotel in Beijing at 2007. The hotels are helping build Beijing as a better place.

But at the same time, the full pause of all major Olympic stadium hits the headlines of major media today. People in this city or in this country started to calm down from the cult for Olympic and recalculated the cost and decide to change designers of the stadiums. The Beijing Olympic Committee also delayed the construction to 2007 from previously planned 2006. This is nice move, isn’t it?


Athans 2008 Olympic Game in Greek

Doorplate not Used in Beijing

Shanghai is unique in China, although it is more similar with western cities.

In Beijing, it is rare to use doorplates to locate a place. Instead, they use landmarks.

Even though some land marks have a door plate, but almost no taxi drivers can easily find the place when I only tell them the address like “29 Zizhuyuan Road”. Instead, people use “near …. bridge”, or “opposite to … building” to describe a place.

However, it is not difficult to use this convention in Beijing. Beijing’s street is either north-south or west-east, and there are always big buildings/bridges/gates at the intersection of major roads. By pointing these landmarks at the intersection, they basically specify a latitude and a longitude on the map. Buildings in Bejiing are larger in size and easily to find.

Pause for One Night

The left-most finger of my left hand started to feel pain. I suspect I am using keyboard too much these days and I have the bad habit to use the left SHIFT key only, for capital keys on both left hand and right hand. I pause the blog tonight to rest my left hand – or to be more accurate, the left-most finger.

Shangri-La Beijing

I moved into Shangri-La Beijing. At the same time, I started to miss the small hotel named Renaissance. I miss the clean swimming pool at the top of the hotel and glass roof – you can swim under the blue sky.

Shangri-La is featured with its nice service. The lady at the receiption who helped us check-in led us to the room on the 8th floor and shown us the facilities in the room. This is quite impressive. They also keep nice customer database of all my stay in the hotel.

Although this is the third or forth time I visited this hotel, I am not a Golden Circle member yet. I signed up today and get my ID 503 041029 980.

In the room, I get a nice envelop with my name “Mr. Wang Jian Shuo” on it. In it is a hand-written welcome letter signed by George Wee, the General Manager. I am certainly very delighted to get it. The last time I got mail (not email) addressed to me is in Garden Hotel, after our wedding. It was the first time I saw Wendy was addressed as Mrs. Wang. :-D That letter and this one gave me very deep impression. Small things like this takes very little effort but made great difference. Just like blogging, it is the personal connection between the GM and the guest and let the guest feel they are taken care of.

Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing

29 Zizhuyuan Road, Beijing 100089, China

Tel: (86-10) 6841 2211

Fax: (86-10) 6841 8002/3

The renovation of the old building (as the first five star hotel in Beijing) has almost completed. It quickly catch up with other new hotels in the city. It has very nice interior decoration.

What is better here in Shangri-La than Renaissance is the free wireless Internet access in guest room.

About Starbucks Tour in Beijing

I planned Starbucks in a Day – Beijing Version. People suggested not to go to Starbucks because I cannot see “real” local people there and suggested me to visit tea house instead.

Well. I still think it a great plan. I didn’t mean to visit Starbucks stores only. As I stated in my plan, the distribution of the store in this city forms a route. It is the route that is interesting. I won’t enter each store and have a cup of coffee there. I will generally take pictures of the outside and take pictures along the road.

What I am really interested is the city itself. It is just a game. It forces me to visit more places. If there is no Starbucks store near IKEA at North 3rd Ring, I won’t visit that area. Chances are, I will never visit that area during any of my stay, or my entire life.


Hand drawing by Jian Shuo Wang, with the help of Starbucks Map which is available in many Starbucks shops in Beijing. First quoted here

If you look at the distribution of the stores, you will find more about the city. For example, just as this map shows, most Starbucks stores are along the Chang An Street (the central axis of the city), and there are more stores north of the street. If you count the numbers, 17 of the 28 Starbucks shore (more than 50% of all stores) are located at the quadrant I in the map (northeast part of the city). What does this imply? You don’t need me to tell you where the CBD of Beijing is located. This is definitely not a complete answer to the question, but you can find some hints behind the map, which is more vivid and solid than any market reports.

I planned to start from the northeast most Starbucks (the Air China Tower store) and walk to the Liang Ma stores, and then borrow a bike at Grand Dragon International Youth Hotel and end the rest of the journey with a bike. I will visit the stores along the Chang An Street (the thick horizontal street in the middle) till I reach the east most store near Parkson store. Then turning north until I visit all the stores in the north area and get back to where I borrowed the bike, then go back to hotel.

However, this plan has to be modified since I have moved to the northwest corner of the map. It will continue to be modified since I don’t see any opportunity for me to spend a whole day in Beijing. Chances are, I cannot find a chance at weekend in the following month. I hope the plan can be completed within 180 days from the plan..