Who is Chinabounder

From today, a new name appeared in my search engine referrer log: ChinaBounder. This seems to be a hot term on the Internet today. I didn’t take close look at what the blog is about. Very briefly, I know this is a misbehaved British person in Shanghai, and made people angry by showing off his sex experience with Shanghai girls. A professor in China called for a “Hunt for ChinaBounder” and the goal of the mission is to find out this guy and get him out of China.

Recently, how foreigners should behave in China is a raising issue. During my conversation with people coming to Shanghai from other countries, I found many of them are very nice, wise, smart, and respectful, but I did meet some guys who behaves really bad in the “new land” (in their term). ChinaBounder is an English teacher in Shanghai. The debate put the role of “Foreigners as a English Teacher in China” into the center of the controversy. I don’t want to comment specifically on the ChinaBounder’s issue before I really have time to read about it. But I believe it is a very meaningful subject to explorer later.

Related resources:

The Hunt for Chinabounder | Sinosplice: Life in China

Chinese Internet users hunt author of

ChinaBounder left two comments on my blog, and that is the reason I know people are searching for this keywords these days.

7 Tips to Travel to China This Quarter

My friend MT is visiting Shanghai by the end of Sept. He is very excited about it. It is his first trip to China! He asked what is my suggestion for him to prepare the trip. I do have some tips.

Tip #1: Avoid Travel from Oct 1 to Oct 7.

October 1 to October 7 is the national holiday in China. It is also called Golden Week, because the continous 7 day holiday and good weather bring millions of people to scenaric places, hotels, also trains, airlines, and buses. In short, it is crowded everywhere. People visiting China typically don’t have the constraint of travel only in the 7 days, so avoid it. Also, if possible, avoid the two days before and after the holiday.

Tip #2: Visiting Shanghai? Strongly Suggest to Visit Beijing

For many business travellers to Shanghai, I would suggest to take a weekend to visit Beijing. Shanghai is the largest commercial city in China, but it is not a typical city that represent China. If you want to claim you’ve really been to China, plan a short trip to Beijing, and visit the Forbidden city, visit the Great Wall, and visit some Royal Gardens in Beijing. Even you don’t go to these famous places, to experience the wide streets and the narrow Hutong is a good idea. Just FYI, Beijing is 1400 KM north of Shanghai, and takes 1 and half hours to fly there. Full price ticket is 1130 RMB, and you typically can get ticket at 20% off price. (8 RMB = 1 USD)

Tip #3: Take Taxi!

Don’t bother to look at the transportation options unless you are really travelling with small budget. My point is, taxi is not as expensive as people think. From Pudong Airport to downtown is about 100 – 150 RMB (12 – 20 USD). There are much cheaper options like airport bus (18 RMB), but compared to the 100-150 USD taxi fare from SFO to Silicon Valley, it is not too high. To travel inside the city, taxi is also a handy choice, unless you want to experience Metro. (Disclaimer: I gave tips according to real situations. In this case, it is my friend Martin. You may find it not suitable for you).

Tip #4: Places to See?

Top places in Shanghai you should go are

  • The Bund. Leave it as the last place you go. Bund is much more beautiful and interesting at night (after 7:00 PM when the lights are lit).
  • Yu Garden. I don’t really enjoy Yu Garden, but my friends who visit China for the first time always enjoy themselves so much in the Yu Garden.
  • Cruise on the Huang Pu River. It worth the time and money to have a cruise on the Huang Pu River, especially at night. Typical cruise is about 1 hour.
  • Xuhui District. Spend an afternoon in the small roads in the Xuhui Area – near Hengshan Road, or Hua Shan Road, and relax yourself.

Tip #5: Learn Some Chinese

Although it is not absolutely necessary to know Chinese to visit Shanghai, if you know some very simple Chinese words, it will make you look better and more friendly to local people, so make your trip more enjoyable. My friends who visited China did survive very well without any knowledge of Chinese. I tried to teach them at least these terms:

  • Xie Xie – Thank you
  • Zai Jian – Bye Bye
  • Ni Hao – Hello

Tip #6: Bring the Right Power Adapter

The electricity in Shanghai is 220 V. You may have 110 V adapter. Most laptop, shaver, and mobile have adapter that works from 100 V to 230 V. It won’t be a problem, but the plug specification does present a problem. For example, the plug that works in U.S. typically don’t work in China. Bring a converter that works for China before your trip. I faced the challenge many times when I visit U.S.

Tip #7: Relax and Enjoy the Difference

There are many difference between cities in China and the western cities. You may find the traffic rule different (at least the way people follow the rules), the language is different, and many aspects of everyday life are different. Don’t worry. Just relax. It is not necessary to always figure out which way is right and which way is wrong. Just relax, and enjoy the difference. It is just because of the difference that you travel, isn’t it?

Bonus Tip #8: There is no Direct Flight from Taipei to Shanghai

This is obvious for many people, or useless tip for most people, but it does helped. Keep in mind, don’t expect to fly from Taipei to Shanghai directly after your visit to Taipei. You need to transit at Hong Kong, and it takes up to 5 hours to get to Shanghai. Plan according to it.

Happy travel, and share what you see in Shanghai with the community here.

Update August 31, 2006

Additional tips from my readers.

Tip #9: Ask a friend to buy you a prepaid mobile phone card from China Mobile/China Unicom. Bring your own GSM tri-band mobile phone (you may have to have it “unlocked” before you come), and pop the SIM chip into your phone. I find it incredibly important to have a mobile phone so you can schedule meetings, make dinner plans, etc. Everything is last-minute and fast-paced in China, you want to be reachable on your trip. (Also, if you have a Blackberry, I have found GPRS Blackberry support GREAT in China, just sign up for an international plan before you leave).

Tip #10: Ask a friend to buy a IP Phone Card. International calls are very expensive in China. It seems like IP Phone Card is the cheapest way to go. (Maybe WJS has some more tips).

Tip #11: Bring ATM cards, ideally on multiple networks. My main US bank account is on STAR/PLUS network but not on MAESTRO/CIRRUS network. I was stuck at the Hangzhou airport once with no cash and a useless ATM card…lucky I could get cash advance from my MasterCard! In my experience, Bank of China is on MAESTRO (the symbol that looks like MasterCard). Maybe someone can survey the big ATM networks and tell us travellers which ATM networks are most useful…

Tip #12: Carry more cash than you are used to. In the US, I carry very little cash because I use credit cards all the time. In China, everyone carries a ton of cash and there is a good reason for it. So get a money belt, don’t let yourself be pickpocketed, but also don’t run out of money because you assume that ATMs are everywhere and credit cards are accepted everywhere. (from elliott5)

Tip #13: Check whether the toilet paper is avialable before sit down onto a toilet. It will be very imbarrasing calling for help with your pants down. (from xge)

Why I Keep Losing Stuff

I kept losing stuff. It is wired.

One week ago, I even lost a shoe. I got onto the back seat of my car. Wendy drove the car to Xujiahui. When I left the car, I just couldn’t find one of my shoe. Till now, I have no idea about where my shoe went.

In Qingdao, I lost my glasses. I didn’t wear contact lens this time, and wore my normal glasses. The tide was strong. After one strong tide, I felt strange, and realized I didn’t have my glasses any more. It is not easy to find a glass in the sea. I gave up in 10 seconds.

I also lost some stuff, like t-shirts, grooves. That is the only explanation for why I have less and less t-shirts. I even didn’t realize when I lost them.

How strange. Is everyone the same, or just me too stupid? It is annoying.

Rujia Qingdao, Fuzhou Road

These are pictures of Rujia (Home Inn), the cheap business hotel chain in Qingao. The pictures are the Fuzhou Road hotel in Qingdao.

Rujia is one of the best cheap hotel inns in China. It provide free wireless network and cheap by clean rooms to stay. Their locations are not the best in every city, but reasonablely good. It is a hotel I turst. So recommend it to everyone – the price for a standard room is between 200 RMB to 300 RMB.

They have free Internet access.

Instruction on the network cable.

The two beds in a standard room

The pictures above are real pictures. Judge whether the hotel is the right one for you by yourself.

Qingdao (Tsingtao) Pictures

Want to take a look at what Qingdao looks like? Here are plenty of pictures.

I love Qingdao and have been there twice. I didn’t really remember what we did in Qingdao for the first time, but Qingdao gave me very good first impression.

Qingtao is at the south tip of the Shandong Peninsula. It is a famous costal tourism city. It is near Shanghai – less than a hour’s flight there (or 750 RMB’s expense)

Qingdao is also spelled as Tsingtao (postal pinyin system), and is famous for Tsingtao Beer around the world

Enough for text introduction. Check out these pictures.

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Reading/Writing Chinese in Windows XP

This an FAQ: How to read and write Chinese (Simplified or Traditional Chinese) in English Windows XP. Many people thought people can do it only in Chinese Windows XP/2000. It is wrong. Since I reinstalled my English Windows XP, let me show you how to enable Chinese on English Windows.

Please note: This article assumes readers have only basic knowledge about the language of Chinese

By Default, You Cannot Read Chinese

This is how http://news.sina.com.cn looks like on English Windows Xp, before Chinese language package was installed.

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Steps

  • Click Start on the task bar, and click Run…
  • Enter “intl.cpl” and click OK. This brings up the Region and Language Options.
  • Click on the Language tab.
  • Check “Install files for East Asia Languages”. Click OK when a promote box appears.
  • Click OK. You may need to put your Windows XP installation CD in your CD ROM, or locate the source in your computer.
  • Wait for several minutes until the files are installed.

Now You can Read

Going back to http://news.sina.com.cn, and it works now.

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Steps to be able to Write in Chinese

The steps above only enable people to read Chinese. These are the steps to setup Chinese IME (Input Method Editor).

  • Click Start on Windows task bar, and click Run…
  • Enter “intl.cpl” and click OK.
  • Switch to Language Tab (these are the same as the steps above).
  • Click “Details…” in Text Services and Input Language area.
  • Click “Add…”. The “Add Input Language” dialog box appears.
  • Choose “Chinese (PRC)” in the Input Language drop down.
  • Keep “Chinese (Simplified) – Microsoft Pinyin IME” in the Keyboard layout/IME field.
  • Click OK twice.

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Now you can input Chinese now. Here is a test.

Entering Chinese

  • Open a text editor, like Notepad.
  • Click on the IME icon on the right side of the taskbar of Windows. It is a [EN] icon.

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  • Choose [CH] Chinese (PRC)
  • Enter “shanghai” and a space, Chinese character 上海 will apear in the notepad.

This is the simplest usage of IME. Really input Chinese is much more harder.

Put Google Search into Inside My Site

Google is innovaite. They allow my to put Google result inside my own page. This feature was released early August, so I can take advantage of this offer.

Let me write down the parameters of this configuration. Please note: This entry is archived under “backstage ” and is intended to be read only by me and people who are interested in how this site works.

Search Type: Google WebSearch + SiteSearch

Enter up to three URLs for SiteSearch: home.wangjianshuo.com

Length of text box: 20 characters

Customize the type of search results I get to my site content: Yes

Choose a profile: articles

Site Language: English

Opening of search results page: Open results within my own site

Enter URL where search results will be displayed: http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20060120_search_this_site.htm

Your site encoding: ISO-8859-1

Search Results Style: Seaside

Use SafeSearch: Yes

Custom Channel: Search

Search Code:

<!– SiteSearch Google –>

<form method=”get” action=”http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20060120_search_this_site.htm” target=”_top”>

<table border=”0″ bgcolor=”#ffffff”>

<tr><td nowrap=”nowrap” valign=”top” align=”left” height=”32″>

<a href=”http://www.google.com/”>

<img src=”http://www.google.com/logos/Logo_25wht.gif” border=”0″ alt=”Google” align=”middle”></img></a>

</td>

<td nowrap=”nowrap”>

<input type=”hidden” name=”domains” value=”home.wangjianshuo.com”></input>

<input type=”text” name=”q” size=”20″ maxlength=”255″ value=””></input>

<input type=”submit” name=”sa” value=”Search”></input>

</td></tr>

<tr>

<td> </td>

<td nowrap=”nowrap”>

<table>

<tr>

<td>

<input type=”radio” name=”sitesearch” value=”” checked=”checked”></input>

<font size=”-1″ color=”#000000″>Web</font>

</td>

<td>

<input type=”radio” name=”sitesearch” value=”home.wangjianshuo.com”></input>

<font size=”-1″ color=”#000000″>home.wangjianshuo.com</font>

</td>

</tr>

</table>

<input type=”hidden” name=”client” value=”pub-8513779941474461″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”forid” value=”1″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”channel” value=”6801625507″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”ie” value=”ISO-8859-1″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”oe” value=”ISO-8859-1″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”safe” value=”active”></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”flav” value=”0000″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”sig” value=”NdyQdGFpJnNH_B3d”></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”cof” value=”GALT:#008000;GL:1;DIV:#336699;VLC:663399;AH:center;BGC:FFFFFF;LBGC:336699;ALC:0000FF;LC:0000FF;T:000000;GFNT:0000FF;GIMP:0000FF;FORID:11″></input>

<input type=”hidden” name=”hl” value=”en”></input>

</td></tr></table>

</form>

<!– SiteSearch Google –>

Search Result Code

<!– Google Search Result Snippet Begins –>

<div id=”googleSearchUnitIframe”></div>

<script type=”text/javascript”>

var googleSearchIframeName = ‘googleSearchUnitIframe’;

var googleSearchFrameWidth = 650;

var googleSearchFrameHeight = 1300;

var googleSearchFrameborder = 0 ;

</script>

<script type=”text/javascript”

src=”http://www.google.com/afsonline/show_afs_search.js”>

</script>

<!– Google Search Result Snippet Ends –>

I pasted the code into a new entry: http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20060120_search_this_site.htm

Roof of the Grand Gateway and More

Look at this roof – it is taken inside the Grand Gate Way.

Above is the view from outside – from Satellite.

Xiang Yang Market

Drove by Xiang Yang Market. This is how it looks like – the building was full of restaurant before.

Shanghai Grand Theater

Outside of Tomorrow Square.

Scene in my mirror:

Three Meetups in a Day

Chen Yun

In the morning, went to Xujiahui and met Chenyun. His IT Union has been running for a long time. We met each other in early 1998, when I was still in SJTU, and was involved in the start up Hotsales.net. Time flies, and when we meet again, 8 years past. (BTW, when we are used to time in years, does it mean we are getting older?) I offered my help if I can. Old friends are always best friends.

5G Review (Shanghai)

5G Review is an event by Donews.com. I wanted to help to ramp up the event to help people in the IT field to get together. Of cause, Lao Hwa helped most, and I am not a not-so-active participant. The topic for this afternoon is “The Future of Media”. The most impressive talk is from Yang Hui. I totally agree with her point that importance of content generator is more and more important in the Internet age.

Hengge, Michael, and Elaine

Immediately after 5G, Hengge called, and I drove back home to meet them. We had wonderful dinner at the India restaurant and chatted for a long time. :-) Well. It is just impossible to record all (or even any of) the learning. Nice to know Elaine works for IKEA, my former favorite funiture store.

It is late. Go to bed.

Zzzz…

Free MagiNet Hotspot in Marriott

Location: Starbucks inside JW Marriott (Tomorrow Square), Shanghai

Network name: MagiNet@JWMarriottSH

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It is very fast – much faster than my slow FTTB+LANat home.

How to Get There

JW Marriott is the tallest building (the taller one besides it has not completed yet) in Pudxi area. You won’t miss it at the People’s Square.

Inside the lobby of JW Marriott, there is a Starbucks. Not many people know it, and I believe its major customers are people in the JW Marriott Service Apartment. They don’t have Wireless access there, sitting there, I can detect the signal from somewhere. The speed is really fast.

MagiNet?

Google told me their website: http://www.maginet.net/. It should be not free but why I can access it free of charge?

I Want to Go to India

I am seriously interested in India now. I have never been there, and I hope I have a chance to visit the wonderful country of India.

India and China share a lot of things in common, like rich history, huge population, buddhism, diversified people, different local dialect, and good food. They also face many similar problems.

When I had conference call with my friends in India, the beep and horn of buses and cars seldom stopped. I can imagine how busy the streets are, and what the big cities like New Deli and Mumbai are. Of cause my imagination will be far from the real India.

I should go to India one day. Seriously.

Real Ice in Shanghai Metro

Shanghai is hot recently (good news is, it will cool down very soon). Thanks to the good air-con in both metro stations and metro carts, it is very good experience as long as you stay inside the Metro System, but not several carts.

The air-con systems on several train carts don’t work very well. They just produce very weak cold air, so the cart is very hot. I got onto such a train today.

Before they are able to fix the air-con problem, the Metro company put a big blue box in the middle of the cart and put big block of ICE in it. The ice really worked. The cart is not hotter than other places.

The blue ice box

The note says: ICE! Don’t Litter

Ice and water

I Appreciate It

After running a company for a while, I understand even the richest company has limited resources. To workaround the constraints and get a reasonable result is the responsibility of the management team. I know in ideal world, air-con does not break, and if it does breaks, people can fix it immediately. Even if it cannot be fixed, there are spare carts to put into operation. However, the real world may not be that way.

So they found innovative way (although people may think it stupid ) to solve the problem with the resource they have. I believe this is a much better approach than the approach of the City Terminal Station. I love programs with small money but made big impact.

Dong Fang Ji Bai from KFC

KFC is more successful in China than McDonald’s. In my oppinion, it is because KFC is doing a much better job in localization.

KFC’s Local Brand: Dong Fang Ji Bai 东方既白

KFC’s parent company – Yum Group’s Asia headquarter is located in the Metro City. So many KFC’s experiment happens in the Metro Tower area.

Two years ago (April 27, 2005), they have ever tried “K-Cafe”, the KFC Cafe, and it didn’t work out, and they closed it the first and the only K-Cafe in Asia.

More than one year ago, they opened another store with a Chinese brand: Dong Fang Ji Bai, meaning “The East becomes Bright” or “East Dawning” in Chinese. It is a KFC style Chinese restaurant. The food they serve is completely Chinese style.

What is in the orange cup? It is not Coke, not Pepsi, it is Doujiang (Bean milk 豆浆)

The Chinese dishes in western food style.

Location

1111 Zhaojiabang Road

It is at the opposite of the Metro Tower.

TianYao Qiao Road

||

|| [Metro Tower]

|| #########[Metro City]

|| [DFJB]

|| [Hotel]

============Zhao Jia Bang Road

Going out of #10 Exit of Metro #1 Xujiahui Station, and you can find it.

The Food

All the foods are Chinese food, and the process is the KFC process – you get your dishes when you order. The price is reasonable – very similar with KFC. It may works. They have the second store in Changli area in Pudong.

Going to Movie (Cinema) in Shanghai

Where do I go to movie in Shanghai? I have two favorite places.

#1: Stellar Cinema City

Location: 8F,168 LuJiaZui Xi Rd.

Tel: +86-21-50478022

It is located at level 8 of the Super Brand Mall (near the Oriental Pearl TV Tower).

Every night after 9:00 PM, they offer 50% off. Very good deal. When we have time for a movie, it is often after 9:00 PM already.

They have many big halls in it, and most movies can be found there. I enjoy the theater a lot. It has almost the best equipments in Shanghai.

#2: Super Cinema World in Metro City at Xujiahui

Location: 5th Floor, of Metro City, 1111 Zhaojiabang road

Tel: 6426-8181, ext 200

It is a modern theater, and offers 50% off every Tuesday. But consider how long the lines will be before you go on Tuesday:

It has maybe the best location in the city – just at Exit 10 of Xujiahui Station of Metro Line #1.

I love this place, but it is always crowded.

I love these two locations because Wendy works in Xujiahui, and I worked there for 5 years, so the Super Theater is a great choice for us. For the one in the Super Brand Mall, it seems to be one of the other two theaters in Pudong, and its location is simply the best – there are a lot to do in that area. The 10-story Super Brand Mall is offers great choices for food.

Others

There are other places that you can go to movies. They are also good. I just didn’t go there often since it is too far from where I work and live.

Golden Cinema-Friendship

5F, Friendship South Shopping Mall

7388 Humin Lu

Tel: 6412-0260

I visit this cinema often between 1999 and 2001, when I lived nearby. It is a good one. In the early years, it is often that there are only two or three persons watch movies in the theater. Now, it is much better.

Golden Cinema-Haixing

4F, Haixing Plaza

1 Ruijin Nanlu

Tel: 6412-0260

Studio City

Location: 10F, Westgate Mall, 1038 Nanjing Xilu

Tel: 6218-2173

Very nice one, and is on top of Westgate Mall. The plaza 66 and other great buildings are nearby.

Shanghai Film Arts Centre

Location: 160 Xinhua Lu, at Panyu Road cross

Tel: 6280-6088

This one is treated as the official cinema of Shanghai. Why “official”? It has the government background and the whole building was built as a cinema. It is the appointed venue for the opening ceremony of the last few Shanghai Film Festivals.

UME International Cineplex

Location: 4F, No.6, Lane 123, Xingye Lu

Tel: 6373-3333

It is at the heart of Xintiandi. The facility is so-so, not impressive at all.

Grand Cinema

216 Nan Jing Xi Rd.6

Tel: +86-21-63274260

Pretty historical (old) cinema

Heng Shan Cinema

Location: 838 Heng Shan Rd., Near Xujiahui

Tel: +86-21-54652849

This is an old one also. The price is very cheap, but the facility is of late 1990s. Never tried it before.

International Cinema

330 Hai Ning Rd.

Tel: +86-21-63243360

Paradise Warner Cinema City

6F Gateway Plaza,1Hongqiao Rd.

Tel: +86-21-64071165

Nextage Film Art Center

10F,501 Zhang Yang Rd.

Tel: +86-21-58360850

Peace Cinema

290 XiZangZhong Rd.

Tel: +86-21-63612898

I know this one well. It is located where I work everyday. It is at Raffles City Exit of the People’s Square Station of Metro #1 and #2. Location is good, but facility is so-so. To me, it is not suitable for the great location and great building it is in. It is funny that at the same place, there was an old theater in the last 100 years, before the area was pulled down and built the current Raffles City.

Cathay Theatre

Location: 870 HuaiHaiZhong Rd.

Tel: +86-21-54042095

This is really an old theater. If you want to find out the feeling of old Shanghai, go there.

That’s it. A pretty complete cinema list in Shanghai. Did I left any cinema out? I know. Something like Tianshan Cinema. I just don’t want to bother to write about it – a normal old style cinema and old facility…

Have a great time in Shanghai and do go to one of the cinemas.

MSN Search Unavailable

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MSN Search Unavailable

From a technical person’s point of view, for serve farms like MSN Search, even to put one this temporarily unavailable page is a big challenge – how many servers need to be configured to serve this page alone?

P.S. It is a technical article again, some kind of. I do enjoy to slip away from the Shanghai focus topic, when I found something really interesting for ME (maybe only me). Hope people don’t get annoyed. Anyway, it is still my PERSONAL blog. :-D

Wangjianshuo’s Blog on Travel Times

After chatting with Chen Zhen from Travel Times, a two-full page report appeared on Shanghai Travel Times (上海旅游时报).

On the right hand of the cover.

Header of the first page.

First page of the report.

Second Page of the report.

:-)

P.S. I am trying to be low profile – so post it in a date that already past, so it is not the headline of the blog. But to keep a list of which media reported the blog is meaningful (at least meaningful for me), isn’t it?

The On Media category tracks some of the media report (even those interviews didn’t turn out to be report related to this blog). So at least a have a list like this:

Coins are Popular in Shanghai

When people outside Shanghai visit Shanghai for the first time (including me 10 years ago), they often found RMB coins are more popular in Shanghai than any other cities in China. Going out empty handed for one day and when you return, you probably have some coins in pocket.

Where the Coins Comes From

The answer is simple. It comes from everywhere.

The biggest source may be the Shanghai Metro. If you buy ticket of 4 RMB with 10 RMB paper cash, often you get your charge in 6 one-RMB coins.

The automatic ticket vending machines are the same. They sometimes give changes in coins as many as 16 one-RMB coins. Once I got 16 coins when I bought 4 RMB ticket from People’s Square to Xujiahui with 20 RMB.

The other source is taxi. Taxi drivers always keeps the coins at hand.

Since coins are so popular, the 1-RMB paper cash is not as popular, and I didn’t saw 2-RMB paper cash for a long time (BTW, did they stopped producing this kind of cash?).

Where to Use it

I believe there are two reasons why people in Shanghai loves coins better.

1. There is a Coin Manufaturing Factory in Shanghai. There are only 3 coin manufacturing companies in China (the others are in Shenyang, and Nanjing. There is another one in Shenzhen, but they don’t produce RMB coins. They produce golden coins only) (correct me if I am wrong here).

2. There are many coin-only equipments in Shanghai. For example, the ticket vending machine in Shanghai Metro, and the telephone booth, drink vending machines… You can use it in many places. The “self-serve” buses are also a good place for coins.

Shanghai is Different

In most cities I visited in China, they don’t like coins. For example, in Beijing and Luoyang, people don’t like coins, and some refuse to accept coins. To be not exact, not to refuse. They just ask you if you have paper cash instead of coins.

People say it is troublesome to carry coins, and they are easy to lose.

I am a Coin-fan

Me? I love coins. I love the feeling to have a lot of coins in pockets – “the feeling of being rich.” Just kidding. But I do know that advisers to Bill Gates suggested Bill not to carry any coins in pocket, because the sound of coins reminds people of how rich he is.

Today is a typical day. I started with 10 RMB, bought ticket at vending machine at 4 RMB (the Public Transportation card happened to have no money in it), and spent 4 out of the 6 changed coins tonight. Now I have two left. The picture below is one of them… :-)

My 1-RMB coin

Shanghai Airport City Terminal

pass-by asked about the Shanghai Airport City Terminal. Your guess about what the terminal is “supposed” to use is right, but it does not works that way.

The Terminal

Besides Hongqiao and Pudong airport, the Shanghai Airport Authority built an Airport City Terminal near Jing An Temple. The tall building was designed to allow passengers to check-in baggage in the downtown, and go to airport without large luggage.

It was not Fully Used

The terminal started operation on Sept 9, 2002. Three years past, only one airline moved into the terminal – Shanghai Airlines. All the other airlines have started move yet. The recent news said the China Eastern Airlines have plan to move into the terminal building within 5 years. What 5 Years? They said they are consider to move in before 2010. Other airlines still don’t issued any announcement of any plans yet. Now only 2 out of the 18 counters of the terminal were used, by Shanghai Airlines.

Why

If you look at what you need to do with the only airline – Shanghai Airlines, and you will know the reason why this terminal is not popular.

1. Passengers need to check-in 2 and half hours before departure time. That is 2 hours more than required in Pudong Airport. 2 Hours are long enough to get to Pudong airport using the slowest transportation – bus.

2. Passengers have to double check-in their package at gate 44 in Pudong Airport, 40 minutes before departure.

This is ridiculous. It seems the only service the City Terminal provides is to help you to move your luggage from the terminal to the airport, and you still need to get the baggage at the airport again.

3. Only flight after 11:30 AM can be checked-in in the Terminal Building.

4. Only flight at Pudong Airport is served. Most of flight of Shanghai Airlines is domestic and depart at Hongqiao. No wonder there is only 4 passenger per day used the terminal, according to a local newspaper.

5. Transportation to the Pudong Airport by your own. Since there is no train directly connect the City Terminal and the Pudong Airport, passengers need to use the Metro Line #2 and transit to the Maglev at Long Yang Road Station. About one hour is needed. Passengers can also take Pudong Airport Shuttle Bus #2 (there is a stop right at the City Terminal).

Do Not Recommend to Use it

So my conclusion is, don’t use the terminal (even if you take Shanghai Airlines flight), and directly go to Pudong Airport – unless your luggage is big enough that you can not even take with a taxi (chances are, they cannot be taken by aircraft).

Hope the City Keeps Learning

This is an example of huge investment (300 million RMB) and little (or zero) return. Since many things are the first in the country, including this terminal building, there are a lot to learn. I hope with more and more 1st mover project going on, Shanghai doesn’t make too much mistakes like this.

P.S. Of cause, it needs time for the City Terminal to be fully unitlized, and for the city to learn… Just be patient.

Suzhou Airport

Suzhou Airport? When people ask me about Suzhou airport, my first impression was, does Suzhou has an airport?

Yangtze-Delta area has too Many Airports

This is a fact that you may not know. The Yangtze-Delta has one of the highest airport density in the world. There are 0.8 airport per 10,000 sq. km in the area. The average of U.S. is 0.6.

The airports I know are:

Some reports said there are 8 in the area. Maybe they counted Suzhou Airport. Does Suzhou Airport really exist?

Ticket Reservation System Says Yes

I checked CTRIP and eLONG, and they have Suzhou listed in the airport list. However, I didn’t find any flight to or from this airport. Strange. This page also suggested Suzhou has an airport with code SZV.

People in Suzhou Uses Shanghai Airport

Suzhou is the nearest city to Shanghai. From Shanghai to Suzou is sometimes quicker to go to some places in Shanghai. Seriously. I have friends who has company in Suzhou and goes there to work every day – just 1 hour or less of ride on Highway.

Suzhou is only 88 km away from Hongqiao Airport or 130 KM from Pudong Airport. The government of Suzhou said in 2004 that Suzhou will not construct a new international airport in the next 5 years. So if you are going to Suzhou, the best choice is to go to Hongqiao Airport or Pudnog airport and take buses there.

Buses from Shanghai Airport to Suzhou

Shanghai Pudong Airport to Suzhou

From Hongqiao Airport to Suzhou, there are also direct buses to Suzhou. Please refer to this page: Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Long Distance Buses