Back from Chongming Island

This is the third time I went to Chongming (the first time, and the second time).

This time is a little bit special than the first few visit. Yesterday (June 28, 2008), the Yangtze River Tunnel + Bridge is structurally completed, and it takes some time to pave the road and install equipments. In 2010, people can drive to Chongming Island via Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge + Shanghai Yangtze River Tunnel.

Currently, we have to put our cars onto the boat and get to the island via 1.5 hour trip. However, waiting in the line to get to the boat takes 1 hour to 2 hours.

Here are the lines we waited before we get to the boat:

Leaving the pier:

Behind the pier is the Baosteel – the Baoshan Steel Company, a high polution source.

Cars parked on the ferry:

Finally get near to Chongming in 1.5 hour:

On the island, we went to another wet land, and get a crab. There are billions of them.

This is the trip to get back, and I found out Chongming is turned into a big port already these three days.

Bye bye, Chongming. I know I will come back again even before the Tunnel and Bridge opens.

Trip Tips

You can refer to Chongming Island category to learn more about the logistics about the island. Here are just some general tips for you to get there (in a not so systematic way).

  • Chongming Island is part of China, in the north, at the mouth of Yangtze river.

  • It is actually the third largest island in China, after Taiwan and Hainan.
  • Chongming is now still an island without any bridge connecting to Shanghai, so it is just like Pudong before development.
  • The new bridge and tunnel will connect the island to Shanghai in 2010, and the mega project is part of the Shanghai to Xi’an Expressway G40.
  • The island is undeveloped, and it is mainly rural area, where people grow all kinds of fruits and food.
  • Drive on the island is wonderful – there are not many cars on the island, and the roads are very beautiful with trees and rivers on both side.

Stock Market Big Drop

I always react very slowly to what is happening in stock market in China.

Recently, the big drop of Shanghai Stock is also crazy (like that crazy and more crazy increase before).

After I reported the increase from 998.23 in June 2005 to 4040 in May 2007, and more than 6000 in 2008, it gets back to something around 2800 these days.

I am not involved in the stock market this time. People say, there is bubble in China, and there are always people believe: This is China, so economic rules do not apply.

Well. Even western rules do not apply, there must be some rules that works…

Sunday without Sun

It rains all day today. Not today, it rains all the time in the last few weeks, and we expect it to rain every day in the next few weeks too.

It is called the Meiyu Season (or Rainy Season). It is a two-month long period of time around the Yangtz River that it rains almost everyday without significant pause in between. This is maybe the toughest time for many new visitors to this region – it is even more terrible than hot summer or cold winter. I call it wet world.

The Meiyu, or Rainy Season

The season typically last from June to late July in Shanghai. The rainy season is called Meiyu because “Yu” means rain, and Mei means “ume plum”. Since the rain arrives exactly as the season of havest of ume plums, it is called Ume Plum Rain in Chinese.

I have 5 big ume plums tree before my garden, and I can see the ume on the tree. When it turned red, I know the rain is coming.

More Rain to Come

During the rainy season in Shanghai, don’t panic. It won’t be heavy rain at all – just those tiny small rain drops coming down all the time. It is annoying though, but what we can do?

The other day, when I went to my car, I just realized there are many mushrooms growing out of the grassland on the way… A sign of arrival of very wet season, isn’t it?

There is one thing we should be happy about – you can enjoy wonderful Ume fruits although it is raining outside!

Lujiazui is a Construction Site

Lujiazui is the heart of Pudong – or in other official words, the “show window of China’s reform and opening up”. I went to Lujiazui today, only to find out the whole area is turned into another big construction site.

Heading out of the Super Brand Mall, the entrance (once was wonderful place with big garden in the middle of the circle road) was completely chaos. A new big overhead bridge is under construction. When completed, the big circle bridge will connect major buildings in that area, including the metro station, together. However, the problem is, currently, there are construction site everywhere. Besides this kind of small project, big underground tunnel is under way, and some roads are completely blocked and turned into construction site, not to mention the crazy skyscrapers in that area. The history of Lujiazui taught me, when there are many skyscrapers in one area, that only mean one thing, there are many more to come…

I walked around and could not find a taxi (I said, Lujiazui is Full, long time ago), so I kept walking. The bus stations have given ways to the new construction sites, and I could not find it. The major roads long the century avenue is also blocked, so I have to change route to somewhere in the New Financial Street. Finally, I got a taxi around 9:30 PM, and get back home.

On the taxi, I am thinking – if all these buildings, tunnels, over-head bridges, and many other things are to be completed before the Shanghai Expo in 2010, what Shanghai will be look like after that? and will there be any new construction after that?

Gas Price and Plastic Bags

The recent ban of plastic bags, and raise of gas price today are, I think, both good for the environment.

My Recent Shopping Experience

Wendy and I went to Decathlon near our home today. As most of the retail stores I went to, they didn’t provide any bag after shopping. They do offer a big bag as a “product”, costing 5 RMB. Wendy and I checked what we have: several clothes, two box of Ping Pong ball, and a big volleyball, and decided that we don’t need a bag. It was not as easy job as to bring it back to our car with a bag, but we finally made it.

The other gentleman after us bought a pair of running shoes, and he grasped the running shoes in hand and went away.

In many times, we rely on bags, and consume all kinds of one-time goods. We take it for granted, but now, it looks so clear to me that reducing plastic bags is exactly the right thing to do. I admit I still didn’t form the new habit to bring a bag or two with me when we go shopping yet. That is the reason I had to buy big bags from Carrefour, Tesco, and other stores, but the bags are very good, and endurable so we can use them again and again in the future.

Actually, without the plastic bags, and carrying the smooth clothes in hand, I felt much better.

Gas Price

Today, the retail gas price increased a lot in Shanghai.

Here is the price change:

#90 4.77 ==> 5.57

#93 5.19 ==> 6.05

#97 5.51 ==> 6.42

Yesterday, I heard many cars lined up to get their tank filled with the last tank of cheaper (already expensive) gas. When I heard about the news at the end of the day, I looked at my gas meter – almost empty.

The raise of gas price is a good thing, maybe. For some days (I don’t think it will last too long when people get used to it) at least, people may think twice when they use their car (including me). I still remember the time when I just need to pay less than 150 RMB to get my whole tank filled with #93 gas, and the last time, even 200 RMB cannot fill it, and how about the next time? 240 RMB?

BTW, why every time, I happen to talk about gas, and plastic bags together, like last time?

Kong Fu Panda Hits Shanghai Tomorrow

Tomorrow, movie Kong Fu Panda will start to show in Shanghai. Hmm… I heard the movie is pretty good, and I am thinking about going to theatre to watch it sometime next week. The recent Kong Fu movie, like Forbidden Kingdom by Jet Li and Jackie Chen was really disappointing, and I think this one may contrasts with it and should be better.

NBC Interview at my Home

The last post was actually posted under camera. A team of 4 gentlemen from NBC news visited my home and did an interview in my family environment.

Since NBC is the only official TV station to broadcast Beijing Olympic, they are preparing a series of programs to show the American audience about the real China, and in the several days before Olympic in Aug 8 this year, they will broadcast one piece per day, just like what CCTV did for Athens Olympic.

Here are some photos. As I told many journalist, most of the time, when people are interviewing me, I am also interviewing them. Before they put what they recorded on to TV, or print media, their photo and the story have already appeared on my blog the same night. Today is the same.

Below: Yifan is looking at the camera bravely. This is maybe the first time for him to appear on a TV program, and for the first time, he is going to appear during prime time on NBC.

Regarding Yifan’s shoot, Wendy and I had an interesting conversation the other day. Wendy complained that I didn’t send Yifan to a local kid TV program. I said, well, if you want, next time, when I am interviewed, I will make sure Yifan gets a shot. So here we go.

This is also my first time to be recorded on HDTV (High-Definition TV). BTW, HDTV has started to be on trail in Shanghai these days.

Simon (please correct me if I spell it wrong), our professional audio man.

The light. I was told the most key element of a TV program is about the light.

The back of the light:

Ian, sorry that I made you blur – I didn’t use the view finder.

This time, the camera points to me.

The last photo: Ian Williams, Asia Corespondent for NBC, with Wendy and Yifan.

The program may be broadcast in American in the early part of August.

Hm… The topic? We were talking about blogging…

P.S. I didn’t have a photo of Steve in my camera. Why? Sorry for that, but Steve Jiang was also there. We started from 6:30 and finished almost at 9:00 PM. They were so passionate that they didn’t have dinner when we finished.