Brisbane, and Gold Coast

I am now in Gold Coast near Brisbane.

I saw many comments but don’t have time to check out and answer yet. Everytime I grasp an Internet kiosk, it ticks in seconds and quickly, it shows “time-up”. I also don’t want to spend too much time on Internet when the nice pacific sea shore is just on the right hand side. I will clear the back-log later.

Jian Shuo in Australia – Day II, III and IV

It is the forth day in Australia – Sydney for the first two days (blue mountains, Kangaroos, River Cruise, Darling Habor…), and now I am at Melbourne Airport, leaving the great city.

It was not easy to find Internet access in the city – for first time visitors. Internet cafe is not that popular as Sydney, and thank to the Netkiosk in the Melbourne International Airport. I can finally

update my blog after three days of OOB (Out of Blogging)

Melbourne

I took many pictures, something like 1000 to 1500 pictures in the last few days. The netkiosk does not support SD card or USB – just keyboard, screen, mouse and Internet access. I will upload some pictures later.

Melbourne is a lovely city. As Wendy put it, “Congratulations, Jian Shuo. You have setup another personal connection with a city!”

Life in Remote Places

Anyone has any idea about where this place is?

Photograph by Wendy

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Pretty late-minute decision, for a long trip like this. But National Holiday Golden Week seems to approaches much faster than I expected, I mean flight tickets…

P.S. Today, the head of Shanghai government was sentenced to be guilty by the central government – a series of high-level politics stuff. Expected, and no surprise…

You’v Got (Registered) Mail!

How important is mail (traditional mail) in our daily life? No so important. In the last few years, I didn’t receive any written mails, and all the mail in my mailbox are either “Direct Mail”, or the fly-er of commercial advertisement, or bills (telephone bills, gas bills, cable TV bills).

I totally have no incentive to open the mailbox.

Among them, there are some special mail notification. It is a small piece of paper to ask me to go to the post office in person to fetch package or registered mail.

I hate this.

China Post

Once upon a time, all major services are operated by the state-owned enterprises: banks, post offices, telephones, water, electricity…

20 years past, all these industries changed dramatically. The only industry that left unchanged seems to be China Post.

For banks, most of them are commercialized. Recently, the ICBC is going IPO, which may marks the biggest IPO deal in the history of man-kind. The service provided by banks are among the best in all these industries.

For water supply, in Pudong Area, the water supply company is a JV between Shanghai Water and a France company, and the quality of water, billing system, and maintenance is great.

For gas, and electricity, more and more services are provided. The only interface between end users and the company is the billing and payment. Now people can pay your bill at convenient stores, online, via mobile, via banks… For the quality of gas, or electricity? I have no comment. That is too technical for common people to comment.

Now let’s talk about POST OFFICE!

China Post Office

If you want to experience the “old China” before 20 years of reform, go to a post office.

For example, here is the typical process to get my “registered mail” or package.

The notification

On the notification slip (bad quality paper, and all information is hand written – low efficiency), it said “come to post office within 3 days, or we will charge you for delayed fee…”.

They don’t care about whether it is convenient for people to go to THEIR office. The office closes at 7:00 PM. That means, if the mail arrives on Monday, it is for sure that I need to pay the delayed fee.

The location

The post office on the Linyi Road – about 4 km away from my home. I drove there. The package claim area is not inside the post office. There is no sign, and you have to ask the people working there, and they tell you – go out side the post office, turn right and turn right in the first gate of a residential area. To ahead for 10 meters, and there is a small gate on the right. Enter the gate, and turn right. Do NOT go up stairs, instead, go to the left side of the stair and there is a small window…”

The person must have told people many many times – inefficient.

OK. I followed the instruction and go the small window. They need you to write down your national ID number, signature, and hand in your national ID or passport.

They person inside the window will get the small piece of notification, and start to search in the piles of letters – one by one. This typically takes about one minute or two (low efficiency), and then give the the letter… Their attitude is really bad.

The Result

After all the suffer, you know what I got?

It is a bill from China Telecom.

Jinjiang Hotel

Wendy and I went to Jinjiang Hotel to attend her friends’ wedding. Jinjiang Hotel is a nice and old hotel in Shanghai. The area of the Jin jiang Hotel has one of the best architectures of Shanghai. What a co-incident. Our wedding was held three years ago on the same Saturday in the hotel nearby.

I would recommend people to stay in this hotel – it is not fancy, but comfortable. It is of the best locations in Shanghai ,and is along the charming Huaihai Road.

Don’t get fooled by its three star status – it is a very nice hotel.

Jinjiang Hotel

59 South Maoming Rd

Shanghai

200020

Tel: +86 (21) 6258 2582

Fax: +86 (21) 6472 5588

Metro: South Shaanxi Rd

Their price is very reasonable for meal. The dining rooms on the 14th floor are good.

Google Satellite Map

Maglev Accident in Germany

What happened in the Maglev in Germany? Why two trains can possibility hit each other? On the advertisement of Maglev in Shanghai, they use the tag line “Experience almost 900 km/hour speed when two Maglev passes each other…”.

I can imagine it is definitely not funny if they do not pass each other, but hit head to head.

I am so sorry for people who lose their lives. As the Germany president put it “It is completely unacceptable for their family or friends to say by to them in the morning but found out they never go back home again….” I share the pain of the families.

screen-germany.maglev.jpg

Image in courtesy of cbs news

There was fire on Shanghai Maglev before. This makes the future of Maglev not so clear…

Centuary Ave Station Opens on Oct 28

Shanghai Metro Centuary Ave Station will reopen on October 28, 2006. It was named Dong Fang Road Station before, and is the transition station for Metro Line #2 (already in operation), #4 (already in operation), #6 (will be completed soon) and #9.

The 4 lines will be arranged on three layers.

This is the first 4 line hub for Shanghai Metro. In 2010, there are other 15 3-line hubs in Shanghai Metro. I am an engering kind of person, and I will do some research to find out how the lines get connected together.

The station was closed about one year ago. It is nice that it finally completes. I am eager to go and have a look on the day it opens.

Here is a diagram I draw according to the text description of news report. It shows how the four lines transit with each other. Please note: This is just my own imagination, and may be totally wrong.

screen-centuary.ave-metro.png

© Jian Shuo Wang

Future of Shanghai Metro

Now, there are 168 metro stations under construction concurrently in Shanghai, and there will be 300 metro stations in Shanghai. When I arrived in Shanghai 10 years ago, there were only 12. The subway lines will extend from 100+ km to around 400 km. In 2010, in urban area of Shanghai, on average there will be metro station within 600 meters of walking distance.

Then the density of Metro station will be the same as Tokyo and Paris.

Map of the Centuary Ave Station

Guide for Bike Riders in Shanghai

Shuan’s question on riding bike in Shanghai:

Hello again,

First I would like to acknowledge your warm welcome,

second.. how do I ask a question.. is there any special place where I ask, or do I send you an email or what?

Any way, I’ll post my question here considering you can edit posts and what not (the above is a question in it self :P ^_^)

I just got a bycicle, a standard $500 rmb one.. today I rid to work and back! The thing is I don’t know the laws with the bycicle or in shanghai.. Every body just seems to do what ever.. ie., some people (well alot..) go through red lights, some people go through any light.. most people ride on what looks to be the wrong side of the road (with cars comming towards them, etc.) as a foreigner.. what do I do?

Every body just seems to ride any where on the road! I find this quite frightening coming from New Zealand.

A side note: One thing I dont get is the lights.. if it says you can walk.. why do cars still drive thru? I heard about some thing to do with “right way” or some thing but am not too sure..

I think you should write a cycling guide for tourists in shanghai.. Do I need to get a bike lisence? What places can I park my bike at.. etc. Do I have to pay for parking? Should I lock my bike up? Should I get lights? Bells to honk at people in the way? Do you need a helmet? What happens if I get a flat tire and get stranded some where? Do I have to ride in designated areas? If so.. where are these areas? Can I ride on the walkways.. is it allowed? What are some ways to be fined from the police? etc.

This would help alot of expats/foreigners who consider using a bike to get around shanghai or china in general.. As I don’t think there is an extension guide for this.. just little pieces of info.

Posted by: Shaun on September 6, 2006 08:37 PM

This is a very good topic to discuss. Here is my Personal Guide for Bike Riders in Shanghai.

What You Need to Ride a Bike in Shanghai?

To ride a bike in Shanghai, you do NOT need a license (or a certificate to demonstrate you can ride a bike). You can ride at any roads that allows riding (both foreigners and local residents). There is no classification the skill of your riding.

Typically, little boys and little girls learn to ride bikes when they are young – for me, I learn cylcing when I was 14. When their parents feel they can safely ride a bike, they go to the road, and then they keep riding on the “real road”. Unlike driving a car, riding a bike does not any license.

The bike does need a license. You get it after you buy your bike. They have a steel stamp that put a unique ID onto your bike on three major parts of the bike, and give you a certificate. You pay for this service, and most bike dealers provide this service.

This was mainly for the safety of the bike in case someone steal it. However, due to more and more bike stealing cases, and cheaper and cheaper a bike is (compared to people’s income), many people don’t have that number on the bike. For example, my second bike is still brand new – with no numbers. This is not allowed, but no one in this city really checks the number.

Tax?

Two years ago, bike owners need to pay for 8 RMB (I remember, correct me if it is wrong) annual tax for the government. They will give a stamp to the bike owner’s booklet and a badge to you so you can put it to your key rings. Every year, some people will randomly stop people and check for the round badge. if you don’t have the badge, they ask you to pay the 7 RMB tax, and give you the badge.

This tax was canceled about two years ago, since the tax collected do not cover the cost of the 4000 people team to collect the tax. In 2004, 7 out of 12 provinces with bike tax canceled this kind of tax.

So relax! There is no bike tax in Shanghai.

Lights

People get confused about whether bikes should follow the traffic lights.

Obviously, you should. In many cross road, there are special sign designed for bicycles (so they have standard lights for cars, for pedestrians, and for bikes).

Since everyone can ride a bike without receiving the right training and education, many people still believes that red lights are still for cars only, and bikes don’t need to follow traffic lights. This is dangerous misunderstanding, but when you look at the current traffic situation, you will feel that the saying is reasonable since many people keep riding at red lights.

Green Lights for Pedestrians or Bike?

The other confusing situation for bike riders and pedestrians are, when there are green lights for bikes or pedestrians, cars still go across.

This is because in China, cars are still allowed to make right turn when it is red light (unless there are special red arrow pointing right). Although the traffic rule is, cars need to stop to yield for pedestrians, and pass when it is safe to do so, the general practice is, cars have the right to turn, and pedestrians need to yield for cars. Keep this in mind if you are new to ride in Shanghai.

Where to Park

Along the road, there are bike parking lots – you will see a lot of bikes there. Some places have bike parking sign, but no sign does not mean you cannot park. Follow your common sense and don’t park your bike in the middle of pedestrian.

Helmet?

It is important to have helmet to ride bike, but in Shanghai, helmet is not something related to bike. People never take helmet. This does not mean you don’t need to do that.

Need Help?

What happens if you get a flat tire and get stranded somewhere? There are some bike shops along the road. Just walk the bike. Typically, along the road with many bikes, chances are there will be some shops.

Area to ride

Some streets do not allow bike. Follow the sign – they have a forbidden sign – a circle with a bike stroked. For other areas, it is OK to ride. It is not OK to ride on walkways, unless with special sign, but unfortunately, it is a general practice. To violate this rule, you will be fined by policeman.

Happy and Safe Riding in Shanghai!