Category Archives: Travel

In Shenzhen

I am in Shenzhen.

For the first time, I see the city from top of a high building.

Hong Kong is just one bridge away.

Shenzhen is very like the life in Silicon Valley – green trees, clear sky, and … a little bit boring.

After the Tencent trip, we will appear in Netease in Guangzhou tomorrow.

I am in Tongchuan (Near Xi’an) Today

I am flying to Xi’an via flight FM9203 on August 8, 2009, and will be back on Monday. Maybe cannot access Internet during my trip, but will update when I am back.

I lived in Tongchuan 铜川 from 1.5 years to 3 years old (just in the age of Yifan these days) with my uncle. I treat it as my second hometown. I am visiting my uncle there. He is in hospital, and I hope he will recover very soon.

Back from Nanjing

Meeting

Back from the trip to Nanjing – a government meeting on media regulations. It is maybe the only government meeting I attend every year. The meeting is in Nanjing International Convention Center, in the same mountain area with Zhong Shan Ling. I like that area a lot – the place we should definitely visit more often.

Nanjing Blogger

Most of the photos I saw about Nanjing came from http://lifetea.org/?pg=2. She started blog 5 months before I did (her first blog), and from the first one, I saw a long-long-long-long-time-no-see name: Tiger Cafe. Yes. In the old happy days in 2002, not so many bloggers in this world. Tiger cafe has stopped update in 2004. Christina, me, Isaac, and Robert are still writing our blogs. BTW, Christina and I was not as aggressive as the other two. Their blogs have been blocked by GFW many times – an acknowledgment of the depth of “harmful information” by the government.

Shizilin Street

We had lunch at Shizilin Street – the pedestrian street with many restaurant.

Nanjing is just a normal crowded city like most cities I visited. I am very sure it is my own fault, not the city’s fault, since Christina always have nice photos of the city from her camera: the decent, the beautiful, the sensitive all captured. Example 1, example 2

This is the fifth (if not the sixth) visit for me to Nanjing. I like Hangzhou just because the life there is so nice, but I enjoy Nanjing more because of the history – it is the capital of Republic of China anyway.

Moving back to Puxi

Still working on moving back to Puxi – see if it is possible at all. Seems a big step for me today. Let’s see.

Why People Travel

Event at the lake of Yangshuo near West Street and facing the nice Bilian (Green Lotus) Hill, I brought out my Nokia E71 smartphone, and Googled the question: "Why people travel?"

Yes. That was exactly the question in my mind, and the question I tried very hard to answer. I read books about it, fall into deep thought in airports, and hotels, and even went to many places myself. The question was still in my mind that I still didn’t find a satisfactory answer. When I am reading a blog entry started with this

I’m writing from my hotel balcony in Giza City, Egypt – just outside Cairo, and the site of the historic Pyramids. The sun is coming up right now, and the view is great..

I feel that I am very attracted by the scene, and would love to check out airline websites. But, I still don’t have the exact answer to the question: "Why People Travel?"

Before I continue to write my answers, I am turning my question to my readers. Why you travel? By travel, I am excluding business travel or other travels that you are required to. I mean the travel that you WANT to go yourself. Again, my question is, Why YOU travel?

Where is This Tunnel

Anyone want to try to guess where this tunnel is? The only thing I want to tell is, that it is not Shanghai.


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Update December 19, 2008

DKwan got the right answer: it is Narita airport of Tokyo. Here are more photos of the nice tunnel.

Still Many People Go Abroad

I went to the Shanghai Entrance and Exit Administration Bureau today to have my Hong Kong visa renewed. Here is what I saw:

This was a cold, sunny, and clear Saturday morning. I didn’t expect so many people waiting in line to get a passport or visa. The line of people winds and finally leads to a photo service – they were waiting for their photo taken.

As I observed, the line moved very slowly.

Heading to Hong Kong

I am visiting Hong Kong for two nights to attend the Red Herring Asia summit. Baixing.com was nominated as Red Herring Award, but not sure whether we can enter the finalist list. Let’s just wait and see. There are many uncertainty ahead for any rewards like this. Anyway, the most important award is from the market, not from any organization.

I hate to have to get a visa to visit Hong Kong. It does not make too much sense for a Chinese citizen to get a Visa-like document to visit another part of the country. It is even more frustrating that sometimes it takes longer than a Visa for many countries.

I went there, and was told that if I submit the documents on Saturday, I get the visa on Friday. If I come here on Monday, I get it immediately. So I will had the documents sent and received on Monday.

Get to Airport Early is Important

I am in San Jose now – hello world! I am in San Jose!

There are several very tiny mistakes I took during the trip.

United Airlines, or Others

1. I am still flying with United. Many friends told me to avoid the airline, and try something else, like the India airlines. Maybe because of the tendency people have, I never thought of change before. UA858 is my first flight I visited the States, and since then, 10 out of about 11 visits to US is via UA858…. I am thinking about a change the next time.

With the excitement to visit a new country fade out gradually in the last 8 years, the requirements for the airlines get higher. The earphone does not work, the channel 9 is not available this time, and the water drops from the ceiling from time to time all contribute to a bad experience this time. The good thing is, however, I don’t care that much as before.

Book the Seat that you Care

2. I should have arrived at the airport earlier, or select my seat online the day before. Their seat selection starts 24 hours before departure. When I take the 10:00 AM Maglev train and arrive there around 10:30 AM, there is only one window seat left – my favorite. However, when I try to book it on the United EasyCheckin counter, it is gone. And even worse, there is no aisle seat. Hmm…. So I have to put myself into the slot between two seats – 32J this time. My favorite 46A (46A is the best seat on Boeing 747) is gone, of cause.

The next time for long trip, it should be better to get online to grasp the seat I like. I talked around the airplane, and find out that the economy seats start from row 32 to row 65. The window seats at the end of the airplane (at the irregular shape of the plane) enjoys both a window and the comfort space on the side as an aisle seat. Recommended

Trip Ahead

I am going to go downstairs to get something to eat, and then sleep for the afternoon. I have appointment from 7:00 PM tonight, and from that moment, I have booked all my wake time with appointments. I think I really fully utilized this trip with the more than 10 appointments.

Look at Places I have Ever Been

Here is a list of places I have ever been – those places I stayed long enough so I have more than 3 blog posts to talk about. In this list, I didn’t put it in a hierarchy so China may be listed in parallel with Chengdu… I just listed those places other than the places with a category under “In China”, and “United States”.

  1. Australia (15)
  2. Beijing (41)
  3. Boston (3)
  4. By Air (22)
  5. By Train (21)
  6. Chengdu (3)
  7. Chicago (2)
  8. Daocheng (28)
  9. Guangzhou (3)
  10. Hangzhou (7)
  11. Hong Kong (13)
  12. In China (7)
  13. Japan (6)
  14. Lijiang (7)
  15. Luoyang (12)
  16. Nanyang (6)
  17. New York (12)
  18. Qingdao (3)
  19. San Francisco (11)
  20. San Jose (33)
  21. Sanya (7)
  22. Seattle (13)
  23. United States (12)
  24. Washington D.C. (2)
  25. Xiamen (5)

I hope one day, I am able to add Paris, London, Tokyo onto the list.

Why I Listed the Places?

I just realized that I have been to many cities when I look back to my travel category. Look at how many cities I have been – most of the cities are in China. My readers often send me questions like: which city I should visit during my first visit to China? Wow. Such a big question that is not easy to answer. Let me summarize my favorite cities.

  1. Qingdao (3)
  2. Beijing (41)
  3. Daocheng (28)
  4. Hangzhou (7)
  5. Xiamen (5)

I posted many photos (over the period of 5 years!) and I hope the photos can be the first hand research resources for my readers who plan their first visit to China – There are many places in China (sure thing), but I have just been to this limited cities. Hope one day, I can plan for a trip just like Dan Washburn did in his around China tour. I guess I can double or triple my city list in two months.

Which category listed above do you love most?

Bird view of Shanghai on Flight

I am a big fan of scene outside aircraft, especially when it is taking off. No matter how many times I take flight, I always push my nose to the window to see what is going on outside.

The city looks amazing from above. Let me share with you my favorite views.

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Below should be A30 – the ring road outside A20 (the outer ring)

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There are golf outside the Pudong Airport – it is just completed, and I cannot find it on Google Map – waiting for the next update.

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The viaduct at the right bottom is A20 and the Yanggao South Road. I can see my house in this picture.

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The imagine below is not clear, because of the dusty air – I used "I’m feeling lucky" button in Picasa. If the air is clearer, Shanghai is a great city – but it seems we don’t have any bird-view photo of Shanghai like this – never saw one.

Please pay attention to the high building cluster in the middle right area – it is Lujiazui.

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In the image below, you can see Shanghai Stadium, and the Shanghai South Station.

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Before airplane left Shanghai, we can finally see the runway of Hong Qiao Airport.

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Going to Europe?

This April, when SARS was already a concern in the country, I listed my dream travel destination. I listed Europe as the first in my list. Now, I really begin to plan my trip to Europe this December.

Destination Countries

On my list, there are Germany, Italy, Greek and Switzland. I didn’t know more about the plan yet, since it depends on whether my passport and visa is ready then.

Yes. My Passport

I didn’t go to the Exit-Entry Administration after I lost my passport. You may have a clear idea about how bad it is to lose a passport. After publishing my adverstisement for losing the passport on May 29, 2003, I finally be able to claim a new passport on Aug 29, 2003. But I didn’t go until recently.

The famous Exit-Entry Administration is located at 333 Wusong Road. Yes. It is famous to me since I was told about this name so many times in may painful experience to claim the lost of the passport. I got there very easy. BTW, I would suggest http://www.jt.sh.cn, a perfect website that can tell you how to get around in Shanghai via public transportation. Without its help, I may never figure out go by Bus #43 and transit to Bus #17 at Chongqing South Rd is the best way to go there. The automatic queuing system told me that 155 people were waiting on the line before me. My number is 483 and the current number is 328. I went out to have my lunch and get back, it only goes to 338. Well. What efficiency! So after about 2 more hours, I handed in the newspaper with my ad, my photos and my photocopy of ID. The man on the other side of the class window told me to get the new passport in 10 days. It is the happy ending of the sad story of losing passport.

Visa

It is still not easy to get a visa to go to Europe. I am not sure whether I can get it in time. Anyway, I don’t care too much. If the God don’t want me to go, I just stay and practice my driving skills.

It is said to get a visa from any of the Schengen counties, I can go to other Schengen countries. I tried to call Consulate General of Germany, France and Italy. They give me difference experiences.

Voice System of Germany Consulate

The German consulate in Shanghai has moved! They can now be found at:

Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany

F18 New Century Plaza

188 Wujiang Road

Shanghai 200041

People’s Republic of China

Phone (021) 62 17 28 84

Fax (021) 62 71 46 50

After I called their phone, the German recorded voice greeted me. They also offer Chinese explaination. That should for sure. The second half of the story is very interesting.

Phone: For recorded information, please press 8.

Me: (pressed 8)

Phone: For visa, please press 1.

Me: (pressed 1)

Phone: For business hours of visa, please press 3.

Me: (pressed 3)

Phone: Good bye. (hung up)

Hehe. I spent 0.6 RMB mobile fee and interact with the system only to hear the sweat Good bye.

Out of business hour, their voice message became:

Phone: Hello, this is the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germanythis. Our office is closed. Our business hours are 8:30 – 11:30, Mon to Friday. Thanks for calling. (music…..)

France

France is not better than Germany. They offer France greetings and just claim their business hour. No one ansewred the phone.

Italy

Italy

Add: 12F Qihua Mansion, No.1375 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai

Tel: 021-6471 6980

Fax: 021-6471 6977

I have to say, I love Italy. Just like Nepal, a human being answered the phone. I was surprised. The man on the other side of the phone can only speak Italy and I can only speak Chinese and English. The caused big problem. I tried to explain that I want to know the process of applying a visa in English and he is trying to explain something to me in Italy. I have to compliment the good service this guy provided. Although none of us can understand each other, we were all patient enough to keep the conversation going. After about 50 seconds, the guy finally transfered the phone to another one capable of Chinese. Anyway, this is the first guy who didn’t hung up the phone when they found out we are saying the different language.

What surprised me most is, when I tried to call the Consulate General of Italy after their business hours, this is their greeting:

Phone: “Thanks for calling Consulate General of Italy. Our business hours are 9:00 – 16:00 Mon – Fri. If you want to make a reservation out of the business hours, please call 13901993054”

What? They even offered a mobile phone number? Do they provide 24×7 service? I don’t want to bother the good guy in the world. I asked the express man to get a visa application form from the Consulate and found their website at http:///www.conitsha.org.cn. I was not able to find it via Google before.

The Dream fo “Around the World”

I finally bought the book “Around the World with 3000 USD”. It is an interesting book. The author Zhuzhaorui traveled around the world in 3000 USD. It is interesting.

My Dream Travel Destination

There are two much breaking news recently, which convininced me that the world is going crazy:

  • Iraq war – the topic I didn’t cover in this blog at all since I can say nothing about the action to kill peoples and being killed. Terrible!
  • SARS – the deadly virus that spread to the whole world – the spread of concerns are wider.
  • The China country wide fake news of “Bill Gates was Murdered in LA”
  • Recent suicide of the famous actor Leslie Cheung – Why?
  • ……

Any piece of the news is shocking enough for me to think about. I am just a little bit tired of tracking these stuff in the blog. Let me take a short break today to describe my travel plan this year. Don’t worry. I will keep updating the news related stuff later.

I am very committed to travel to one of the following places, in the order of possibility.

Europe

Going to European remains a dream for me since I have never been there. Due to the travel visa issues, the only country opening for travellers from China is German (more may have been opened. I didn’t check the data yet.)

However, there are some workaround that I can go with some business group – the travel agencies always has good ways to send people to anywhere they want using workaround for policies.

Egypt

Very nice place. I believe it is an adventure. However, I didn’t have any information about the route to this country yet. Anyone has any advice? Anyone has been there before?

U.S

U.S. is in the third place I will choose. Although I have been there for many times, they are all boring business trip. I am still interested in Washington D.C., Las Vegas…..

I believe many of my readers will have splendid ideas of where I should go for a 20 days vacation. Please advice. Thanks.

— Thank God for the time to think about good things instead of the virus, the war, the murder and the death these days. —