Monthly Archives: October 2010

Last Chance to Visit Expo

If you haven’t visited expo yet, you only have five days left before the event concludes on October 31. The good news is, there are relatively much fewer people visiting expo in the last few days since Monday, when the ticket price raised by 40 RMB to prevent final rush.

Wendy went there today and reported back via SMS that they didn’t need to line up for many pavilion (really hot pavilions like China pavilion excluded). That is consistent with the official number of visitor today: 390K (comparing with 1 million in peak time). The expo also successfully reached the goal of 70 million the other day (too accurately executed to believe).

So, in Shanghai, not visited expo yet and don’t mind the extra 40 RMB? it is time to go.

Baixing Classified

    Socialism vs Western Democracy

    Recently, more and more articles appear in party magazines about the topic of “Draw a clear line between Socialism vs Western Democracy” (source). That brought me to some interesting similar cases.

    My friend told me when China first started to import movies from abroad, every movie needs a very long time to get approved. She asked why it takes so long. The person in charge said: It is very hard work to draw a clear line between socialism kiss, and capitalism kiss. If a kiss scene is socialism, it can be approved; otherwise, the scene needs to be cut or the movie rejected. What a joke!

    30 years ago, the same question was asked again: drawing a clear line between socialism vs capitalism economy. It turned out that Deng Xiaoping’s “black cat, white cat” statement solved the puzzle, and pull people from meaningless discussion to do some real stuff.

    30 years later, people’s ability of asking questions is not higher than asking “Whether this case is a socialism kiss, or capitalism kiss?”

    Yifan Loves iPhone

    I continued to be amazed by how user friendly iPhone is. Yifan loves to play withy iPhone. His current favorite is to long press the icons on the home screen and rearrange it.

    If turned our that everyday, when I want toake a phone call or send an SMS, i found the icons are rearranged so I need to solve a small puzzle to find it either in another screen or hidden in another folder.

    That always put a smile on my face.

    Tell Them You are Going to Chuansha

    Every time I take ride of a taxi at Pudong airport to my home in Pudong, the taxi driver will educate me: “Next time, tell them that you are going to Chuansha”.

    By “Them”, they mean the taxi dispatcher who happily acting as the bottle neck of the long taxi lines, and the long passengers lines. Every passenger will be asked where they are going before they can get on board a taxi (effectively slows down everything). They will then dispatch the passenger according to how far or near the passenger is to their destination. That means huge difference in taxi fare for the drivers, who have waited in the dark parking lot for few hours. You can imagine how powerful the dispatcher, and why they still insists to take the power at the expense of taxi driver’s time, and the passenger’s time – something similar happened in bigger scale.

    So back to the taxi driver who was not lucky enough to have me as passenger, their only hope is by endlessly educate people like me to tell the dispatcher that I am going to Chuansha, a town just a little bit north of Pudong Airport. They are given special waiver to come back to cut into the queue again to get another passenger.

    That is an interesting common pound tragedy in gaming theory. By educating their passengers to cheat the system, they are actually not helping themselves, but to make it harder to get more long-distance passenger (when more other taxi drivers pretend to have had a short-distance passenger, like they did).

    An unfair system always cultivate dishonest people. This is an example.

    Shanghai-Hangzhou Express Train

    Breaking news. The Shanghai-Hangzhou Express Train will start operation officially on Oct 26, 2010, according to this news report. The ticket selling will start from October 22.

    The first train G7401 will start from Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station at 6:32 am, and arrive at Hangzhou at 7:32, with duration of 1 hour.

    When the operation passes the trail period, the single way will be 38 km, at 350 km/hour. The interval of trains will be 3 minutes (shorter many metro carts).

    The price range from 82 to 156 RMB single way, depending on the class of seats, and departure stations.

    Interestingly, the seating numbering follows airlines – from A to F with A as window seat, and C as aisle seats. It is said that passenger can choose their seat (well, I just feel it is over-designed feature for a trip less than one hour).

    Looking forward to take it soon.

    Timber Cove, Sonoma

    This year’s YLF (Young Leaders Forum, National Committee on US-China Relationships) took place in Timber Cove, Sonoma county, California. I have decided to make time for this great event no matter what. I am back from the three day trip, and have time to post some of the photos I took during the days. Well, the content is obviously 100 times better than the content, and I got great inspiration from the other fellows. Since that is a strictly confidential and off-record conference, I won’t disclose anything about the conference itself.

    Below: Some times, this type of post card scene (I mean the scene, not my photo using iPhone 4) appears in dreams, and I completely enjoyed watching sunset, and talk with maybe the smarted young group I know. The fire was hot, and the ocean was cold, and the wine from Sonoma county was great.

    timber.cove-fire-before.ocean

    The scene outside the hotel room is splendid. The sound of wave washing the coast rocks is just like music.

    timber.cove-cove-best

    The ocean waves.

    IMG_1318

    This is the small inn, original owned, and designed by Mr. Richard Clement, the father of one of YLFer attending this event, and friend of Ansel Adams.

    timber.cove-inn-on.top.of.hill

    This is, not surprisingly, me.

    timber.cove-jianshuo-before.sea

    The scene along the CA-1 is compariable with the Great Ocean Road of Australia.

    timber.cove-most.dangerous.beach

    The room and platform I spent the days and nights.

    timber.cove-platform-innb

    The road leading to the sea at Fort Ross.

    timber.cove-road-fort.ross

    The mouth of Russia River, where I kayaked with Stacy.

    timber.cove-russian.river.mouth

    The cost line near the glass house in the middle the sea.

    timber.cove-seashore-glasshouse

    Here is the location.

    Map picture

    Happy Birthday to Me

    It turned out today is my birthday today.

    I didn’t realize it is already October 18, well, Beijing time.

    It is the first birthday spanning on both sides of the Ocean. Although I haven’t enter Oct 18 at this side of the Pacific, when I am there, the day will end.

    PS. Based on the boarding information I have, when I arrive at PVG, I will conveniently skip the day and will be 2 am the second day.

    Anyway, as always, I am always delighted to say Happy Birthday to myself first.

    International Financial Center Opens

    Heard the news that International Financial Center opens at Lujiazui (many weeks ago), and it offers free parking, we detoured there on our way to the post office to check out.

    Location: It has many the best location in Lujiazui, just between Jinmao tower, and the Super Brand Mall, as shown in the map below (it was not completed yet in the satellite image).

    Map picture

    shanghai-roof-ifc

    After IFC opens, Shanghai has another top shopping center with the first line brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci… I just feel I entered the world of "The Devil Wears Prada". Interestingly, I am the dummy who don’t understand the brand. I just cannot keep asking the question, why a bag worth 20K RMB? What is the value the branded product? My guess is, maybe the reason is just like people buying iPhone (I can certainly understand why iPhone justifies its 3x to 4x higher price than average phones).

    shanghai-lv.store-ifc

    Look at the list of brands you can find in the building.

    shanghai-brand.list-ifc

    I didn’t took a phone of the complex in the International Financial Center. It includes the HSBC Tower, Ritz Carlton, and office towers. Standing from there, you can see the Lujiazui skyscraper area.

    shanghai-buildings-outside.ifc

    Shanghai is very difference in the last few years. 10 years ago, when I walk on the Orchard Road of Singapore, I was completely overwhelmed by the magnificence of the road. Few weeks ago, when I go there, I saw the Orchard Road, and started to wonder if it is the same road as I saw 10 years ago. It turned out that Shanghai changed faster than Singapore’s Orchard road. In the last ten years, Nanjing road completely upgraded in the Nanjing West Road section, and the Huaihai Road also changed its face quietly. New places like the IFC, World Financial Center raised…. I am not actually too happy about the fact that Shanghai turning into a bigger metropolitan with luxurious brands covering the city faster than McDonald’s. It is just a matter of fact…

    I provided the information for the people who loves shopping, although I am a confused speculator in this strange place.

    Qingdao Area Geography

    The best way to understand geography of an area is by moving around. In a city, the best way is to walk, with biking as the second choice. For an area, driving is best.

    After driving to Qingdao, I understand the area better, and can explain it to you – mainly from the expressway system perspective.

    G15

    Thanks to the G15 National Expressway, the driving from Shanghai to Qingdao is pretty straight forward – get to G15 by any of the many east-west expressways (G40 to Xi’an, G50 to Chongqing, G60 to Chengdu, or S5 to Jiading District, S32, S4 to Jinshan).

    When you get to the long G15, just drive to the north, and pass Nantong, Yancheng, Lianyungang, Rizhao, before you enter Qingdao.

    The Jiaozhou Bay

    Although I visited Qingdao many times, I didn’t get a clear understanding of the bay it sits at. It is just like the San Francisco Bay to the bay area, it is a natural harbor. The problem for traffic from the south like us is, I have to detour 61 km around the bay to arrive at Qingdao.

    Look at the small gap between Qingdao and Huangdao! People should build a bridge there.

    The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, and Qinghuang Tunnel

    It turned out that people are really building it. They built a bridge inside the bay (strangely, that they chose the longest possible path along the bay to build that bridge). It was not that surprising when I found out another 10km tunnel is under construction (although more expensive, it does not block the big ships, which are the blood line for a port city like Qingdao.

    I draw a map below to illustrate the G15 expressway (in red), the future Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (in black), and the Qinghuang Tunnel (in orange).

    Hope this help people who haven’t travel to Qingdao, or people like me who travel frequently but still didn’t get the idea to know more about the beautiful city.

    map-g15-shanghai.to.qingdao.png

    Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, Qinghuang Tunnel, and G15

    Intersections

    The Bay Bridge will be part of the future G22 National Expressway, from Qingdao to Lanzhou (the horizontal line connecting the bridge in the map). On the south side, there are G1511, from Rizhao to Lankao of Kaifeng, Henan, and then G30, from Lianyungang to Huoshan (passing my hometown Luoyang), and finally, near Nantong, merge with G40 (Shanghai to Xi’an), and then enter Shanghai.

    On a car, and running on looooooooooooooooooooong road gives people the feeling of freedom, but the expressway are special district separated by toll gates just make people to feel we are in the zoo, and need to pay to get out. Even the person travel, we are still bound tight to the land where the Hukou is. That is still not free.

    My Contact Management Tips

    In the current world with most applications like iPhone contact manager, and Gmail contact designed around English names, it is a little bit challenging for Chinese users. Here are my tips:

    1. Design a consistent naming system for yourself. Here is mine.

    2. Whenever someone has a Chinese name, record it in contact manager using the correct Chinese name.

    3. Always input Chinese name as a whole into the Last Name section. It is strange to enter two Chinese characters into the First Name columns, and one character into the Last Name. The worst is when it is displayed, like in iPhone, that last name is in bold font, and there is a space between the first and the last. Not necessary at all.

    4. When enter English name, no matter for native American/English, or English name for Chinese, follow the tradition to input last name and first name into their columns.

    5. For frequently used Chinese name, enter the phonetic first name, and phonetic last name (both iPhone, and Google contact manager support it), so it is sorted correctly as they were native English names. (Update I found out that I only need to change the International setting, and set the language to Chinese Simplified, it will enable iPhone to automatically sort by Pinyin of the corresponding Chinese. No need to input by ourselves).

    6. When possible, enter company names – for family members, enter “Family”, and for classmates, enter the class name into company columns.

    7. For certain people, enter “journalist” or similar into Title field, so it can be easily sorted out by search (in both iPhone, and Google Gmail contacts).

    8. If I cannot recall who the person is from the contact information, I will delete it (well, with backup somewhere).

    9. From time to time, ensure the contact information is up to date.

    Tips: from time to time, backup your contact information into some secure places.

    Running on G15

    Wendy is driving.

    Yifan is sleeping.

    The car is running on the long north to south national expressway G15 (a.k.a Shenyang-Haikou Expressway).

    Inspired by the 2200 km travel across the western US, the family drove to Qingdao and back during the holiday.

    The G15 is generally empty with just one or two cars ahead in sight for many sections except in Shanghai.

    Car traveling is a feasible option for Chinese now.

    Using iPhone to Blog

    With the help of iMT plugin, I am using iPhone to publish this entry now. Although the iPhone keyboard is more suitable for 140 character of twitter, at least I have some decent tool to blog on the go. I still don’t have any idea how it changes the way I blog. The most possible outcome of this tool is, I simply forget about it soon. The other possibility is, it may turn my blog into a mini blog, or twitter (if you want to use the more popular name for that kind of thing). It will be both good and bad – good to capture the inspiration on the go, but the other side of the coin is, maybe it is not as worthy as before.

    BTW, I am still at Qingdao. The city is too charming to leave.