Best Buy Opens Store in Xujiahui

Best Buy opens a store in Xujiahui, many weeks ago. After had three long meetings in three different locations for the whole day, I finally get back to Xujiahui, and visited the store – since there is no taxi in rush hour, why not take a look. I am very curious about how much market share Best Buy can take in the $100 billion market (according to Best Buy)

It seems to me it is the electronic appliance version of IKEA. I mean the color and environment.

Will Best Buy Fail, or Succeed

IKEA is an example of huge success in China. Wal-Mart is not yet, and many other U.S. players, especially in Internet segment are not.

In price-sensitive market like China, whether the service advantage over-comes price disadvantage (if it is its disadvantage) is the key question.

Four Seasons Hotel

I visited Four Seasons Hotels to meet someone I have known by name for long time. It is the second time I actually visit the hotel. As a local residence, who can I complain for not saying in any of the good hotels in Shanghai?

Till now, I still connect relate the Four Season Hotel with the luxury hotel chain I read in newspaper and investment newsletter. To be more direct, I don’t think it looks to be a good hotel. (BTW, the other hotel that gave me the same feeling is the Le Meridien in People’s Square)

Pictures of the Four Seasons Hotel

Here are some pictures I took today outside the hotel, then I tell you why I don’t think it does not match the luxurious hotel standard.

Image in courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels

Location? Not good

The hotel is not in a good location. As you can see from Google Map, it is not in business district, and not in commercial center. It is just in the middle of a residential area. Maybe it is the modest tradition after the first Four Seasons opened in Toronto in 1961.

Too Many People Smoking

The lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel is the first five star hotel with so many people smoking. There are one table (4 persons) who all smoke right of my table, and one person smoke on the left. There were no table free of smoke…. I don’t like smoke. The waitress apologized for the unavailability of a non-smoking area.

A Late Player?

Maybe because it is a late player in the hotel industry in Shanghai. I still remember when Ritz Carlton was just a so-so brand, before people realize its service quality (or before its service quality really reach its standard). It takes time.

Also, the hotel areas like where the Hilton/Regal, Ritz Carlton, and the Hyatt are, were relatively remote and after 10 years, they became the commercial or business center. I guess it is also so for late hotels like Four Seasons.

Google Satellite Map

So Many Red Lights!

I took this picture today at the intersection of Yan-An Road, and the Huashan Road.

Photography by Jian Shuo Wang

Photography by Jian Shuo Wang

If you count carefully enough, you will see 14 red lights in the picture. There are 7 lanes for single direction. Isn’t look funny?

Here are the Google Map of the area.

A Stolen Bicycle

Look at this stolen bicycle!

© Jian Shuo Wang

I took this picture at Xiang Yang North Road (襄阳北路) this afternoon. When I was parking there, I noticed this bicycle wheel.

It is seems the person have locked his bicycle on the pole, hoping that no one can take his bike, but some one may have taken away the rest of the bike. It is so funny.

Stolen Bike

This scene is funny, but losing bike is not. Stolen bike is a big problem in Shanghai and all around China.

I even cannot imagine anyone who hadn’t lost a bike. I lost many. Jia lost his bike few days ago.

Anyone who lived in Shanghai but never lost a bike (If you had one)? Please let me know.

PVG: From PVG to Ningbo

We get in to PVG at 3:25 pm and need to get to Ningbo. Can we take the bus directly from Pudong Airport to Ningbo? I have seen answers on the blog that say yes and others that say go to town and get bus or train. The train schedule does not look good if I am reading it right. (No train until 19:15) If there is a direct bus, does one leave around 4:30 or 5:00pm?

Is a bus from PVG to the bus station in Shanghai to get a bus to Ningbo a better idea, i.e. faster or cheaper?

There is direct bus from Pudong Airport to Ningbo. You have transit to train or long distance bus.

The best way is like this:

Pudong Airport to Ning Bo via Shanghai Railway Station

1. Take Airport Bus #5 to Shanghai Railway Station.

2. Buy train ticket from Shanghai to Ningbo.

Here is the train schedule:

Train # Shanghai -> Ningbo Duration Distance (km)
N537/N540   0517 1050< 5:50 372
T741 >0630 1000< 4:00 372
5081   0848 1419< 6:19 372
T739   1104 1508< 4:08 372
T745 >1440 1831< 4:31 372
N507 >2218 0321< 5:21 372

There are also lots of bus at the Train station to Ningbo.

Hope this helps.

My Drawings in Hong Kong

Alan de Botton suggested people to draw picture when they travel. Drawing picture helps people to focus on beauty and learn why it is so, and discover the unique beauty in the scene, then, try to explain it with drawing.

In the character named “Procession of Beauty”, he quoted Ruskin’s saying:

“I believe that the sight is a more important thing than the drawing ; and I would rather teach drawing that my pupils may learn to love nature, than teach the looking at nature that they may learn to draw.”

So, encouraged by Ruskin, and Alan, I started to draw with a hard-to-use ball pen on the back of the hotel notice. Here are two.

The United Center

Above is the view I see when I was waiting for check-out. I sat there, and spent about 10 minutes or more to draw this one.

Here is the photo from the same view:

Gate 15 of Hong Kong Airport

When I was waiting at Gate 15 of the Hong Kong Airport for my China Eastern Airlines flight, I took another hotel notice, and draw what I saw on the back. Due to time limitation, I didn’t draw the roof well, and the relative size of the ticket counter on the left is also wrong. Anyway, this is what I got:

Here is photo from the same view:

The Difference between Drawing and Camera

There is no way anyone can draw a picture as complete as a photo, or even more impossible to be exactly the same as the nature of itself. But as suggested in the Art of Travel, nothing (either camera or simply be there) can substitute the process of observing. Only after observing the nature for long enough, careful enough, and pro-active enough can someone really keeps the nature in his/her own mind.

Personally, the difference between draw a picture of a place and taking a photo is that, if I draw a picture, I can draw pretty much the same one later without looking at the picture or the scene itself (it is in my memory); while if I take a photo, there is no way that I can draw it out. It is just in the photo, not my heart.

I also encourage people to draw. Well. I don’t feel too embarrassed when people see how bad my drawing is. It is just a way to reach better observation of the scene.

P.S. Below are the bigger versions of the same two drawings.