Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Bund - Wuhan

First things first - any pic can be clicked to view bigger and underlinged words in blue are links to click

Shanghai has The Bund, then I come to Wuhan and they have one also - confused yes - google time

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bund

noun \ˈbənd\

Definition of BUND

1: an embankment used especially in India to control the flow of water
2: an embanked thoroughfare along a river or the sea especially in the Far East 
 So the Bund in Shanghai and Wuhan is about the waterway, most likely the embankment that has been created to control the water. 
The one in Shanghai is small in comparison to Wuhan.  
The Yangtze River blows right through the middle of Wuhan in a big way, big and wide enough that the first bridge across the Yangtze River in China was consructed in Wuhan in1957.

Dang that smog and haze here !





Wuhan is actually the conglomeration of 3 cities , Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, seperated by the Yangtze and Han rivers. This monument symbolizes that and below it is a map of the same built into the walk way.


The Bund itself is called the Wuhan Beach Area, and stretches for a few kilometres, though not the kind of beach we are used to, there is no swimming in the Yangtze River !! The area is set up for hanging out, exercise (I saw one lone runner) with exercise machines setup down one side of the promenade.  Lots of shaded areas for sitting. Am sure at night the place is a little more active as the noon day sun was cutting a path thru the haze here.


Also along the promenade were modern art statues of various things.


The art i liked the most was the Tortoise and the Hare depiction. Look closely they are actually computer mice !

And a grand monument to honor the birth of Communisn in China, July 1st, 1921 , so the 90th anniversary is this year. So am sure some big festivities will be in order, though I will be up top a mountain on the first (with Canadian Flag in tow haha)

After getting some sun, we headed across the street to the largest shopping street in China, not sure how long but we only managed to walk about half of it, before needing to get out of there.
One side of the street is under heavy construction as older buildings are being torn down and replaced with modern , all part of that urban renewal project that is ongoing in China.  The prices are not that good when you do the exchange to Canadian dollars, so any thoughts of making cheap purchases need to be dispelled.  No bargaining in the big stores, just like home.

They did have perfume girls wandering the streets, spraying Lynx perfume in the air. Sorry guerilla hip shot so not so clear.

And one thing I had not seen anywhere in China , a lone Skate Boarder on the street, managed a quick shot as he sped by.

Ok so observation of the day !

One thing quite obvious in China
1) Women wear dresses and skirts
2) you have to have shoes to go with them.

If you have a serious shoe fetish then you need to head to China and any big city. Shoes are it here. For the guys really not much styles to look at, but for the girls an endless array of styles, heel height and looks. We were in a shopping store and the complete first floor was basically shoe sales, each brand having its own little booth and hawking its wares.



Thinking my plan next time I am here is to sit on a street corner and take pics of shoes to make a photo book haha. wonder if that could sell ??  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

East Lake - Wuhan

Last  Saturday visited East Lake - wuhan's answer to West Lake in Hangzhou. (see my past posts when i was there last year)

Honestly the place is, I think, much more than hangzhou, its only failing is that it is 5hrs from Shanghai and not as popular with the Shanghai crowd.  The lake is bigger and more going on there for activities.
Though most was locked up or closed down , looked like renovations going on.
East Lake on Wikipedia

Also with all the rain in China these days, the water level was up over a metre from normal , so some of the paths were closed down and the brave wading through knee deep water for access to other sections.

And like West Lake , East Lake is a mecca for wedding photographers catching that special moment for couples.

and apologies for image quality , that day was extremely bright day with usual haze around the city, so makes for the worst picture taking scenario.

We did go out for a boat ride on to the lake, to cool down from the relentless sun.
 In one of these boats, with human powered paddler in the rear and usual lack of safety equipment. haha. So far have not met to many Chinese that can swim. not like alot of us Canadians who spent summers at cottages or beaches with clear water. You dont want to swim in East Lake.


Managed a shot of Miss Aibing in the shade of the cover with our hard working paddler behind.


And my lucky shot of the day and one I will print and put on my wall in London. My Guerilla photo method pays off once again - 1 shot over the shoulder , center focus and paid off !!

This lady is around 60 yrs old and been doing this awhile. They get a small portion of the fee we paid, 80% of it goes to the group. So hard work for little money.


We then went into the park section with monuments and usual tourist trap places. We had to take a boat to get in as the main entrance is closed, what looks like renovatoins, though there was not much open, not sure why. So was pretty quiet day there.

Park entrance 

Some statue near the water

Building on top of the hill - didnt make it up there , as everything seemed to be shutdown

Of course there was the usual tourist stuff , like dressing up in olden time costumes to have your picture taken. Caught this couple all dressed up , the girl was freaking out having some westerner take their pic, in the end she went for it.



And for you UFO buffs out there.
A few years ago there was a water plume spotted on the lake, quite large , that of course was explained away by the local meteorologists.  But there was reports of UFO 's being spotted in the area shortly before the event, so who really knows.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wuhan Traffic

Dennis from London asks...." I'd like to see some video on city traffic and how they manage busy intersections with cars and bicycles."

This was taken with the Canon T1i DSLR with 17-85 lens - sitting at 17mm - focusing can be a little wacky using this as a video camera so  I was winging it.


This was taken just outside the Wuhan Pedestrian Mall - basically your local shopping mall spread out on one street (and it actually crosses a few along the way) it is the largest and longest in China (even beating out Shanghai's) Gives you sense of how things interact on the street here , watch carefully, you will see some pretty brave moves, and fast moving vehicles haha



video

Later this week we are headed to (link - >) Huangshan - Yellow Mountains 
Plan is to be there for 3-4 days staying near the top of one of the mountains, hiking , relaxing , enjoying.
Also one the highlights is getting up at the crack of dawn to watch a sunrise or two and catch one of the amazing sunrises from the moutain top , like this one (click the link ->)  HuangshanSunrise

Then Bejing for 3-4 days , back to Shanghai and fly out on July 10th

will visit a few sites in Wuhan in the next few days.

later

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quick Update - Start of vacation - Travel to Wuhan

Blasted off out of Shanghai this afternoon, for a speedy journey across 1000km of China.

From Shanghai to Wuhan in 4.5hrs at roughly 250km/hr at the top end, about 10km faster than I ever did with the old Hyundi Tiburon !


The ride was smooth as glass, and really not much different than being on a plane, including stewardess's and snacks for sale.

quick video to watch, hope it works !!

video

and a video view of out the window. The flicking you see on the screen are the posts on the side of the track that hold the lines up for power to the train, blasting by.


video

A new train starts up July 1st from Shanghai to Bejing that will cruise along at 300km/hr covering the aprox 1200km in around 5 hrs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2 weeks in and Vacation starts June 24th

Ok have been here two weeks, first week was all Shanghai Textile Show at the Shanghai International Exhibition Centre in Pudong distract.
If you remember my updates from last trop here you knew how big the place is.
Well they have pushed the envelope on that and are in the midst of adding 6 more show spaces to the centre. Honestly you could possibly do up to 18 unique tradeshows once the place is fully in gear , dont even think about the centre court area yet to be developed.

Managed to do a panaramic photo - this is 5 pics merged in to one.
Click on the pic and then enlarge to get the full effect.



The show was the usual aray of huge machinery, complete spinning banks, weaving machines etc. What caught my eye where the computerized embroidery machines, this one pumping out the Pudong skyline with multi-colored threads. Tis only one of 20 heads that was stitching into the fabric.



Not far away was another technology , fabric printing. IMagine your home ink jet printer, except that its 8ft wide and prints on fabric.  The colors were amazing and basically if you can get the image int he computer it will print it.


So my first week here was all about the textile show , then had the weekend to relax and cath a breath after being on the road at 7:30 every morning then spending 8hrs standing and smiling.  But gave me chance to chat with the Shanghai folks. 

Of course my buddy Shelton was there and had to take advantage of a photo op, of him and his big toothy grin.


Miss Alice was the one who held it all together, making sure everything was in order and flowing smoothly at the show. Great gal , met her husband this year and her Aunt. The Aunt is 50 this year and decided to learn english 2 years ago, so having me visit gave her the first oppurtunity in over a year to speak english with a foreigner or lǎowài (mandarin)


This year am staying at Motel 168, a China wide chain of hotels, basic rooms, inexpensive by our standards. Place has seen better days buts it clean and has internet and very close walk to the office, price for a room is 182rmb or $27ca per night and has maybe 100+ rooms and busy every night.
Is also walking distance to E-Mart your basic groceries, clothing, housewares and electronics.

obiglitory bedroom and bathroom pics


I like the window between the shower stall and the bedroom, adds some fun to the room haha

At night you can go out and have street meat if your so inclined (I am not) just about anything is available for food.



Construction here is non-stop - really unbelievable how many large housing complexes and office space you see dotting the horizon that are new construction.


One very close to the office in the Minhang district of Shanghai. 5 years ago was apperently industrial spaces and old housing. This pic is example of old Shanghai housing. All of this will get torn down at some point as the goverment repos everything , bulldozes it over and starts another housing project.


Right across the street is a major housing development in progress. This was not here last year.
The question I have is where are people getting the money ? Getting a job in Shanghai is not any easier than anywhere else in the world.

Of course still always something to see or some site to surprise you.
Like the amount of recycling that goes on here, everything has value and reused for something.
This couple was pushing their 3 wheeled motorcycle/cart off the main road to fix it.

Then since it rains here every other day , the site of motorcylce/scooter drivers headed to work in the morning in the daily downpour of the season.


And I am now officialy trained to drive in China !
Buddy Shelton and I ventured out to do some installs at two customer sites , so he asked the question "you want driving ?" . If you know me you know the answer. So i grabbed the keys to the Honda Odysey and we blasted off down the highway. cranked it up to 120 set the cruise control and beat his time the customer by 30 minutes ha ! Even drove in Shanghai !


Have not had alot of time to spend with the folks here in Shanghai, and on Friday June 24th I head out for holiday time here in China.  Did manage some camera time with Clark , the proud owner of a Nikon D90 as of this year. his good friend had recently upgrade to the Nikon D3, for you none camera people is kinda like tradining in your Toyota Camry for a Lexus IS300.

Took this one with the trusty Canon G11 as we talked shop and did some quick pics outside.

And one product we should bring to Canada , just because,  is of course Rusty Sticking Relaxer. China's answer to WD40


Friday I start holiday , with a highspeed train run to Wuhan. 1000km's in about 4.5hrs, west of Shanghai,   to meet up with the lovely Miss AiBing !!  She came to Shanghai last weekend so managed to grab a few pics of her.


ok next update is from Wuhan , till then have fun , keep smiling

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Short Layover in Hong Kong

Its 5:43am Sunday monring in Honk Kong , raining outside.
I need a shower and a shave.
That was 15hrs on the plane from Toronto, so feeling a little wacky to say the least.

View of one terminal in Hong Kong

First view coming into my particular terminal was Starbucks. Venti Americano please !!
$30 Hong Kong dollars , so baout hte same as home

and for reference , airport seating for the masses in Hong Kong

sorry for the less than stellar pics - hands are a little shaky right now and that coffee is almost done.

Fly from here at 8am with eta to Shanghai for 10:30
at least i am arriving during daylight and can try and stay up the rest of the day and get my head screwed back on

later

Friday, June 10, 2011

On the road again.....

Can't wait to get back on the road again (Willie Nelson)

Sitting at Toronto , Pearson International Airport, its 22:55,its dark outside. Flight to Shanghai , via Hong Kong, blasts off at 1:30am Saturday morning.

The trick is to stay awake until about 10am (Canadian Time) and then try and pass out for a few hours.
This will be equivalent to getting to sleep around 10pm Shanghai time. Emphasis on the word sleep ! My experience in my last overseas flights is that I get little or no sleep and then suffer for a few days when i arrive at my destination. Gotta figure that one out sometime. Of course there are always pills to be taken , but would rather not. I do wonder if it would be possible to change over to China time a week before going, basically flip my sleep schedules ???

One thing i realize as I sit in Terminal 3 of Pearson is that you have no real clue where you are, besides english on the signs and the english announcements. Though throw in any number of accents and it could throw you.

I pondered this as i see the line of airport seating in front of me, a replica of seats in other airports. Different materials, different styles but still the usual uncomfortable seating found around the world. Well maybe except for Dubai and Delhi where wonderfully comfortable lounge chairs were available.

Can only imagine those people who actually travel on a regular basis, another airport, another destination, another lineup, another wait for boarding, only to sit and wait for 15hrs while you blast across the great wide open, headed to some destination.

oh and a hint for those flying, try online checkin if your airline has it !
Pick your seat , print your boarding pass, and jump to the head of the line for baggage drop off. I managed to jump ahead of about 75 people and first one through security , thank you Cathay Pacific !!

Next stop Hong Kong in about 17 hrs from now !


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gathering on the Green

Saturday June 4th is the annual Gathering on the Green in Wortley Village.
Wortley Village is in the Old South area of London, and the place to live, if you have to much money and dont mind spending it , so you can say you live there haha.  Yes its a Yuppie paradise haha.

the Gathering on the Green has been running for 27th years now, and really just a local festival, brings out various business's and organizations from the neighborhood, and they setup for the day behind the recently restored Normal School. You can read about it here

Some details on the London Normal School

was a little overcast in the morning (which eventually turned into major downpour) though those clouds make for great pictures. This pic is of the London Normal School. had a big lens on and couldnt get back far enough , later when i tried with lens to grab the whole building, the colors were just not there.
I was out there to take pics for the London Bike Festival, who had setup a booth to do tune-ups on peoples bikes as well as take their picture , to use on the festival website but also email to the people.
Of course the rain put a damper on people actually taking their bikes out, so expect for a few die hards , that was a bust.
The only bike worth a shot was this one, that I caught out of the corner of my eye, a classic !!

So I wandered around and took pics of whatever grabbed my eye.

This lady (great red hair) did not want to see her picture, wreath in her hair was being made by some ladies at one of the booths.
Local Taoist Tai Chi org came out to do a demonstration, i don't think there was anyone under 50 going through their routine
Had some local bands out also.

These kids, all about 14 , really rocked. I had seen them last year at one of the Car Free Sunday's in downtown London. The kid on the left with the Red Strat is a wicked little player. The gang of them all attend the same Music Academy here in London.

Then these 3 characters showed up on stage, trio of old guys, who were kicking out Stevie RayVaughn material as if they wrote it. Anyone that has listened to SRV would know that its not easy stuff to play from a guitarists point of view.

And really how can you not be good when the drummer is this cool looking.


Saw these dolls in a booth for sale, just wackiness, walked by a few times before it was clear enough for a few pics .

And mainly because of this one, the eyes !!! like they are staring into the depths of your soul haha.


Ok now 5 days to blast off time to China !
Flying out Saturday morning at 1:30am via Cathay Pacific, first to Hong Kong, then after a little sit arrive in Shanghai 10:30 Sunday morning. Which beats getting there later in the day and being zonked out. Thinking about trying a sleep aid this time, to conk me out at some point, so I dont arrive in Shanghai all scrambled and not thinking right.

OK Later !