Sitting in the Larkspur Landing hotel in San Jose, I missed Shanghai a little bit, just like I missed Maglev. I mean I actually missed it when I left my home and went to Pudong Airport in Shanghai. I found out that the speed of Maglev is actually 64 km/h, instead of the 430 km/h from a traveler’s perspective.
The calculation is easy. When I pull my luggage (a bag and a laptop) on to the taxi, the driver asked where I were going. I said “Maglev station”. The driver asked me: “Are you going to the Pudong Airport? How about I directly send you there?” I know the driver definitely want me to get to PVG. Well. It is a question without easy answer.
It was around 10:35. My home is about 4 km away from the Maglev and about 40 km away from the Pudong Airport. Well…
If I take the Maglev, when I arrive at the Maglev station, I should already miss the train on 10:40 AM. I need to wait on the platform until the next train arrives at 11:00 AM. Meanwhile, I have to bring all my luggage out, walk for a while (2 minutes?) from the taxi to the station, and get to the second floor of the station to wait in the line to buy the ticket, and then bring all my luggage with me and take the elevator to the third floor to wait for the train. The train is fast, really fast, I mean if it really get started. The top speed is 430 km/h, and it takes only 8 minutes to complete the 30 km journey. But after that, the nightmare repeats itself – get off board, bring the luggage with me and go along the long walk from the Maglev to the terminal. The bridge goes to the second floor of the terminal and I have to take the huge elevator to the third floor before I can find the United Airlines counter. Everything takes about half an hour. So, the speed for the 30 km is actually 60 – 64 km/h, depending on how fast I run, instead of how fast Maglev runs. :-)
If I take taxi, the same distance also needs 30 minutes. But what I need is to close my eyes and wait for the taxi driver to wake me up at the third floor of the Pudong Airport. This choice also creates a happy taxi driver, along with a happy Jian Shuo…
What about the fare? Maglev takes 40 RMB + 13 RMB taxi = 53 RMB. For taxi, it is 94 RMB. I am running out of time already. I finally took the taxi approach. The 30 minutes well compensated to my overnight work last night. When my taxi is heading to the viaduct to the terminal station, the Maglev flied away beside us. From the tourist’s perspective, Maglev is really cool. From a business traveler’s perspective, the speed of Maglev is not that good than a taxi.
First Impression of Silicon Valley
It is the first time I visit the Silicon Valley, the dream place for many people in IT industry. It is different from what I think though. This is what the Valley looks like in my imagination:
The entrance of the Sillicon Valley is Stanford University. At the back of the University campus, there is a small garage where HP started. Beside HP is a short street. Many two to three story buildings line up along road, with logos like HP, Apple, eBay, Yahoo!….
I don’t know how I formed this impression of Sillicon Valley. Maybe it is because of the legend that Sillicon Valley started from the garage of HP, or the joke that “when you goto the street of Sillcon Valley and say you have a project, a lot of VC will jump out to you”, or the fact that many people jump from one company to the other frequently… It turned out San Jose is not that near to Stanford (at least not within walking distance) and there is no all-star street there. It is a quiet place that is no difference from other small towns in U.S.