Everyone is Talking about Stock


I am waiting for a friend in Starbucks to chat about business. He is about 5 minutes late, and I have some time to pull out my laptop to write something about what I observed in Starbucks.

On my rights, two guys are talking about stock. They are talking about some stock at 1.70 RMB/share, and discussing whether they should sell it or buy more. Then their topic shifted to foreign exchange. The guy looks like a professional stock broker.

On the left, several people are also seriously discussing about stock. They looks exciting.

Within just two years, the topics people talk about changed dramatically from house to stock. Shanghai is a center for business. People think about money, talk about money, and care about money. The majority follows the economical trends closely. That is just the nature of city. Good or bad? Well. Hard to say. I am not the money-driven type, and I need more space. I will move to another seat to avoid all kinds of stock terms running into my ears.

So, what is the next? What people will talk after 2010? Criss, or sad stories?

What? I Wake up at 2 PM?

What? I wake up at 2 PM today?

It is a normal Saturday (the only difference is, Wendy is out to some place in Zhejiang for team building). I opened my eyes for the first time, and thought I should wake up and have my breakfast – “It should be as late as 10 AM already.” I thought.

However, the big yellowish round clock on the left side of my bed shows 2:00 PM. The clock must be wrong. I checked the battery. It seems to be working.

Confused on the bed for one minutes or two, and looked out of the window, I finally figure out, it is myself instead of the clock that is wrong.

So, I woke up at 2 PM today. I doubt without an alarm clock or Wendy, and if I didn’t start to feel starving, I may wake up when it went dark? Maybe.

I am a sleeping cat. Back to university, my record to continous sleeping is more than 40 hours (finally I got up to feed myself to keep alive). My brother volenteered to participate a study by a Sleeping Institute in Toronto. The researcher just didn’t understand why he can sleep that long. I guess we share the same thing.

Anyway, I am now awake, and going to the kichten to look for some food again. Thinking of last night, I start to wonder, why I am always in a situation to look for food? Hmmmm…

Rainy Friday Night, 2006

Friday night, it rains in Shanghai again. Wendy went to off-site in a remote place in Zhejiang. Their bus should left Xujiahui soon. I bet she will be back on Sunday night.

Just left my office and go to the Raffles City to look for some food – whenever I look for food, I think I am not too much difference with a dog. Hungry? So start wandering on street and hope to get something interesting to eat. Well. Delicious is not the term I use as my object. Nothing is delicious after you have eaten it twenty times.

The big shopping mall is at the heart of Shanghai – just at the People’s Square. But there is not good foods anywhere – expensive foods are typically not good, as in many places.

I walked to the direction of the Ajisen Ramen. There are 30 people lining up at the gate. It seems if I wait there, it may easily kill half an hour. It reminded me of Jan 21, 2005. It was also a rainy Friday night. Everywhere is fully booked, or enough people lining up. So I get back to the first floor, thinking about what to eat. Finally, I made a decision that I will laugh at myself – I went to KFC to get some fast food. There are also many people there, but I can get my food within 5 minutes.

KFC meets my expectation very well – not good food. Don’t feel satisfied as all. But anyway, I am not hungry.

Wang Xiaohui

I read Wang Xiaohui’s second book. I fall in deep interest to this photographer. I appreciate a lot of sentences and ideas she expressed in her interview. Today, I read something about her life. She treat her whole life as a behavior art show, and document everything with her camera, and her diary. She said, if I can only take two things with me on my journey, I will take camera and diary.

She records her 15+ years with camera and diary, and published the details with a book. I like the attitude, and have the feeling I am doing the same thing. I may want to be more sensible and thoughtful when I record MY life, so it is valuable for me after 10 years.


Recently, everyday after work, I feel very tired. To sit there just think hard consumes more brain power, I believe. This is a weekend. Don’t know what to do yet. My guess will be, keep thinking hard… :-D

Best Afternoon in Shanghai

The best experience in Shanghai I can imagine looks like this:

A sunny warm afternoon (from March to April).

Walking along any of the following roads:

Fu Xing 复兴 Road (near Huai Hai Road area), or Xing Guo 兴国 Road, Wu Yuan 五原 Road, or Fen Yang 汾阳 Road.

Watch the high Platanaceae along the street,

and observe those old standalone villas.

I marked the area with nice old villas and old platanaceae on my map.



If possible, find a tea house and enjoy the sunlight.

Drama: Chang Hen Ge

I had one hour of such beautiful life this afternoon and then we went to the theatre for Wang An Yi’s drama Chang Hen Ge (a.k.a Song Of Endless Sorrow). The life of the old Shanghai appeared before me vividly and I can relation the beautiful but sad story that happened in 1940s with the old time-flushed villas that still stand in the city.

I intended to see another drama Love is Everywhere 《爱,无处不在》, but all tickets were sold out. The actor Zhang Zhang is a great guy. I enjoyed talk with him last week. When we was almost finished, he checked his watch and said: “It seems I have to be hurry. I don’t want to miss the drama tonight.” Later, I found out he is one of the actors in the drama. So I wanted to catch the last show of this drama but failed.

Rainy Crazy Friday Night in Shanghai

Mao and I met today and we wanted to go to Starbucks and chat. The large Starbucks store at Metro City was full of people, and there were no seats. We went to another coffee shop inside Metro City and there are only two seats at the door. We didn’t like it because many people passed by the table and it seemed we were drinking coffee at the platform of Metro Station. We went to Chatea in Metro City, a Taiwanese tea house. It was fully packed of people. Anyway, we finally settled down. People are competing with each other to get a seat in cafe shop. When we left, more than 10 persons were lining up to wait for those inside to finish their tea or dinner quicker so they can get in.

Outside the Metro City, at the exit 10 o Metro Xujiahui Station, Mao couldn’t find a taxi. It is impossible to hire a taxi during the two rush hours in Shanghai. Empty taxis are rarer when it rains, like today. Finally, Mao has to take bus although he well affords taxi expense.

I called Wendy to have dinner with Jin and Peng. Wendy asked me to go to the restaurant one stop away to occupy a table for them first. I argued that there are thousands of restaurants in Shanghai and why I need to go to this specific restaurant. “Just because we can book there?”. Wendy confirmed my guess. She told me it had been the first restaurant that offered four seats when she booked. She had failed on other five. It turned out Wendy was right again. I happened to step into the wrong restaurant on the opposite of the Hua Shan Road, and they said “Sorry. We are full tonight.” to me. Well, well. No matter good or bad, expensive or cheap, as long as it offers something to eat, it is full on Friday night.

On Friday night, Shanghai seems to be a city with too much demands and too few resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is my limited observation in Xujiahui area – the most crowded regions in Shanghai. I hope I didn’t mislead you and help you form an impression that everywhere in Shanghai is the same; or every city in China is the same or it is more wrong to claim it is the general life in China. I have to put a disclaimer anywhere when I can think of. Otherwise, I may be challenged to describe only a small part of life in China. It is true, that I am only one person and I can only experience a very small sample of the world at a time.

P.S. Claire, one of the most-frequent-travellers I know, arrived in Saigon. BTW, where is Saigon? In which country? I know I can easily find out the answer by typing it Google, or even select it and right click and choose Google Search (after I installed the Google Toolbar), I want to record my first impression here. How poor is my geographic knowledge? And how about you?

Last Night in Shanghai

The last night in Shanghai. Let me keep today’s post short so I can allocate more time with my family.

China has got 20 golden medle so far in the Athens 2008. It is a great achivement. Congratulations!

Last Friday, when I was busy with my Project Server 2003 setup lab, my friend Lei called my mobile and asked “Check out whose voice is it on the radio!”. He was driving on the road and happened to tune to the China Radio International. On the radio was my the audio of my last interview. I said: “Yes. It appeared to be mine.”. Ha. I am a little bit surprised that they did broadcast the interview. Thanks Shen.

Later, Wendy told me that Daine, the reporter from BusinessWeek, has sent me a copy of BusinessWeek. It is very nice of him. Wendy finally find my name in the magzine with my help on the phone. There is no F5 key on the hardcopy of the magzine. She said she was disappointed to discover that I was not in the cover story. I know she was kidding.

Shanghai rained dogs and cats today. It washed my car effectively. There are two kinds of rains in Shanghai – one only left dirt on your car and the other washes your car.

Lonely Planet, Lonely Journey

Kissing goodbye Wendy, leaving my home, seeing away my lovely car, I got on a red Falanhong taxi in the darkness of this summer night, heading to Pudong Airport. It was 8:50 PM. If I have choices the next time, I won’t fly at 9:50 PM. It is a good time to go to bed, not the right time to start a new journey ALONE.

Turning right on the Hunan Road, and turning left at the first viaduct, I am on the A20 outer ring road. The taxi ran at more than 100 km/h. The driver was obviously very happy to take me. The 100 RMB taxi fare may mean a nice toy for his kid, or a wonderful meal for his whole family. He became talkative and mentioned his family, the small taxi company he works for, the change of this city. It is nice to end a day with a good business and a polite passenger, isn’t it? But how about ending it with a journey out of home? I became very homesick last week, despite of the exciting projects and the busy life I was longing for.

The air at night is as clear as vacuum. The road lamps hide away quickly with new lamps running into my face. I am not happy to leave home at deep night – the time to go to bed.

Chen had a talk with me this afternoon. He described his dream as the life I am leading – to fly between the two cities frequently and enjoy the best the both cities have to offer. Well. It is nice if I don’t have to leave Wendy.

Believe it or not, the taxi driver managed to send me to the airport within 30 minutes. He was quick to help me to get my luggage out of the back case and handed it to me. I guess he will turn on the CD, increase the volume and conduct a beautiful U-turn back home – his home is just 5 km away from mine – he told me about it.

The airport was empty. Not many people travel as late as 9:20 PM. There are still many airport staff there – busy packing their stuff to get ready to leave. When I checked in at the Eastern Airlines counter, they told me I am the last three passengers for this flight – the plane is already going to taking off. “Be hurry. Everyone is waiting for you to go home.”, said the tired young man. I realized that although the check-in gate closes 30 minutes before the departure of the flight, as the last flight of the day, they have the flexibility to depart as early as they can if there is no bad passenger like me.

I left the counter and ran to the security check – the counter closed behind me. I went down, down, down to the ground floor of the airport to gate 32. At the counter, a lady in uniform was complaining with another girl about missing her last shuttle to go back home. I went through the gate and the counter closed behind me. Lights went off.

I got to the plane that was parked south-most corner of the airport via shuttle bus. I stepped onto the plane, and door closed after me. When I sat down at the back of the plane, it started to move along the taxi way and soon took off.

Now I am at the plane and typing the entry of today. 80% passengers in this flight are foreigners. It seems half of them came from India and others from Russia – I am just guessing. They must have bought a (cheap) tour package.

The light of the plane soon went off and people started to fall asleep. I am among the few persons who are still awake. Along with others on this flight, I am somewhere between the two major cities in China, and 100,000 meters in the middle of the dark sky.

Wandering in the Rain

I am tired.

I took one day sick leave at home. It was a short pause after the long week, if I count the two intensive day of driving last weekend as working days. :-)

It started to rain from this morning in Shanghai – actually not only rain – it was very foggy from 11 PM yesterday night till this morning. All express ways of Shanghai had been closed. Even the National Road – the lower level of highway are closed. This does not happen frequently. Not to mention the closure of the two airports. I learnt this from the newspaper when I was buying my lunch at C-Store downstairs. It was the headline of the local Youth Daily.

It was exteremely cold outside. I only wear a T-shirt inside and a coat outside. After lunch, I went to the street. Although it was still raining slightly, the Charity Lottery organizer lined their tables up in the square in Tianlin. The high volume speaker repeatly annonced the new award winner of 100 RMB – the big price is 300,000 RMB each for 24 persons. I smelt the sense of money in the air. Many people rushed to the tables and put their money in, dreaming to get the 300K.


Metro Line #3

I got on board a bus No. 830 and it took me northward the city. I don’t know why but I fall deep asleep on the bus. I woke up only to see myself in a completely unfamiliar area that I never being. I get off the bus and got into the coldness again.

It was a busy town there. There was even a Hymall there. Thousands of bicycles and cars were taking their ways to home in the rainy cold afternoon. It was totally a mess. At least, I saw the elevated railway – it is the symbol of Metro Line #3. I know if I walk along the rail and I will get back home. It is intesting that I never felt into a situation like this – cold, alone and in a strange place.

Walking along the elevated railway of Metro Line #3 for about 10 minutes, I finally found a station in dark. It is the Zhongtan Road. Station next to the Shanghai Railway Station. I extended my hand into my pocket and touched my camera – I often took it with me when I get out – who knows what interesting things happen around me? It does not hurt to take it with me.

The Station

Standing about 3 stories high, the station of Metro Line #3 was by no means warm. The high roof and the ground made up a short tunnel and the cold air keep coming from one side of the tunnel and blow to the other side. There are not many people waiting there. It is interesting that the train heading to the north side of the city was tighly packed but there is almost no people waiting for the southward train. It is clear that those people just finished work and get back to their home in the north side of the city. The metro line #3 is mainly designed to help people in the north side of the city to get to work. Maybe.


The Train

I love the color of the train for Metro Line #3. It is dark blank – very cool color. The train looks more modern than those running in the tunnel of Metro Line #2 and #1. The head looks like a bullet – something similiar with the MagLev.


Look inside – it is much warm. I was so glad that I finally get inside to enjoy the short warm room before I get back to the cold dark night of Shanghai again.


The impression of the day is cold for me. It was also an interesting day though.

Shanghai Saturday

It is such a sunny Saturday here in the city of Shanghai. Good weather gives me very good mood. It rained for 3 days in the last week. I am caught by one of the rain that I was completely wet although I have a umbrella. You can imagine how happy I am to have the sunny (Satur)Day.

New Scanner

With the wedding ceremony in Luoyang coming soon, we decided to create a grant website for the event and create some videos to be played. We have hundreds of photos that need to be scanned. So I rushed into the computer store and bought a Founder F5580 scaner. Just guess the price – 320 RMB (36 USD). It is much cheaper than before – I am not sure whether this price is higher or lower than that in U.S.


Pictures contesy for Tom.com

There are some 500 RMB scanners with 1200dpi resolution. I believe that 600dpi is good enough for me since 300dpi can produce a picture twice as large as the computer screen from a 6′ photo.

Lupu Bridge

Everyday, I will pass the Lupu Bridge in taxi. As the world largest arch bridge, it is almost completed – at least from the eyes of a outsider – the shape and the roads seem be to have been ready. Today, however, is the first day we went onto the bridge – due to the left-turn road construction, all traffic were directed to the bridge and take U-turn on the bridge, then run to the original direction. Hard to understand, isn’t it? Refer to the map below – the original left-turn road were blocked and we took right turn, then u-turn on the bridge (dotted line in the map).


Hand drawn by Jian Shuo Wang. Thanks for the new scanner

I am very excited to see the splendid new bridge. I didn’t bring camera with me. So check this picture of the bridge which was taken 7 months ago.


The bridge at 08.10.2002. Image source: ShanghaiGuide.com

When completed, it will offer a shortcut from Puxi to Pudong, espcially the Pudong Airport. The Nanpu bridge will be off loaded.

Sunny Saturday

It is a sunny Saturday! Saturday is always my favorite day. This is the last Saturday before I go to Seattle. I have a short but important shopping list to workout.

I don’t know music

The last thing in the world I know is music. I went to some music instrument store near Shanghai Music Inistitute. There are voilins, pianos, gitar and all kind of instrument. I bought some new reep for the charinet and bow for full size voilin. At that time, I found it is completely another world from mine, which are full with computers and web pages.


Roads in grass before near Fengyang road.


The big Pepsi advertisement hangs high before Pakson Mall.


the Super Brand Mall near the Pearl Tower

The new shopping center, Super Brand Mall, or Zhengda Square in Chinese, opens to public recent. It has been the hot topic with expat community or newspapers. It is designed the be the exnibition center of top brand in the world and occupies the most significent place in the world – just oppsite to the Pearl Tower, besides the Huangpu River and only about 300 meters away from the Shanghai Internation Conference Center.

My tour turned me very disappointed. I am not sure whether it is because the strange Thai-style archtecture design, or the tide of visitors, I don’t feel comfortable in the center.

Click for more pictures.


Irregular publishing in the next few days

I am not very sure whether I will be able to update this page tomorow, since tomorrow will be a very long day for me. My day of Nov 10 is not 24 hours. Instead, it is about 40 hours. I will cross the Pacific, including the International Date Line. This will turn me to the day of Nov 9 – today, after I have already entered the day of Nov 10 in Shanghai. If you look at my ticket, you will find I leave Shanghai at 13:00, Nov 10. After I arrives in Seattle, it is 11:01, Nov 10 – the same day and two hours earlier. It is interesting where my 17 hours’ of flight goes. :-) The other problem for me is, when I come back, I leave at 9:35, Nov 16 and will arrive in Shanghai at 19:10, Nov 17. The days of Nov 16 and Nov 17 will be very short days for me. It is challenging to live out the promise of daily update during these days.