Tuesday, August 30

Get a hobby

Ever since I got my touch screen phone and angry birds I've been playing it in the cab while going home in evenings because it's too dark to read. Now I almost got 3 starts in all the levels but that took some time! I should really get a hobby....

Monday, August 29

The Art Area

Like Beijing Shanghai also has it's own art district called "Tianzifang" 田子芳. There are a lot of small shop which sell paintings, sculptures, hand made stuff and other funny things. One of the most popular thing they sell at the moment seems to be Angry Birds merchandise stuff. There are slingshots, pens, umbrellas, toys, notebooks etc etc. And pretty sure they are all fake but at least Finland gave the world something new :)

Great idea, let's go
Anyone fancy some Propaganda art?
The small alleys
Angry Birds here and there, can you find one?
They added some strange tasting ice cream to my coffee...too sweet
Saw something really cute in a coffee shop we went to. 2 cats sleeping together dressed up :D

Getting lost

Last night I decided to go drive around the town to places I haven't been to since the traffic on Sunday nights is great. I went to the far west and after about 1 hour I had no idea where I was...Luckily I have google maps on the phone so I could find my way back but it took over 1.5 hours to get home. Some evening view pictures from the ride...

Some elder couple were dancing in the street on Nanjing road getting a lot of attention
The star watching over Shanghai...
Middle of nowhere where I sort of got lost

Kunshan Beer Festival

A city not far from Shanghai called Kunshan organizes a German Beer Festival every year. It started a few years ago with some expants and has grown a lot since then. We booked a bus for 20 people to get there and it cost around 100 Euro. Worth it! Was really comfortable just to hop on/off. The ride took around 2 hours because of the traffic but was a lot of fun among great friends!
When we arrived at the festival we walked around little tasting some of the beers and after that went into the tent where the evening "big show" was.
We had an own table with beer and food for more than we could drink or eat! The show was great, there was a German band doing traditional German songs and English song and as the evening went on people got more excited and started dancing on the tables. Was really one of the best weekends I had here! It really does not feel like your in China when joining events like this one...

Pretty much the first one's to arrive...
Nobody left the table hungry
The roof was very Finnish flag oriented

Tuesday, August 23

Back and forth to Nanjing

Had to go to Nanjing for a quick 1 day visit. It's really easy to get to Nanjing from Shanghai even though it is around 400km. Only takes 1,5 hours with the bullet train that goes 300km/h. Since the last months accident on the Shanghai - Beijing bullet train route they have taken down the speed. These trains top speed is actually 450km/h but at the moment only drive 300. People in China are still pretty pisst of at the accident. The Government told press that it was not allowed to make news about it too often and then they dug down one of the train becuase "it had secret technology" It's unclear how many people died but reports said that 44 were dead in a accident where around 200 people sit in each wagon and 3 train wagons fell down from a 30 meter high bridge and when the trains collided it was running around 250km/h. The train was also reported to have been full of travelers. A lot of unclear things about the whole things and now you can't see anything about it in the news here. The ticket price for bullet trains went down by 5% after the accident...
Now when you buy train tickets in China remember to bring your passport or a passport copy! Otherwise they will not sell the ticket, this is just to stop the black market ticket sales. Before a lot of people went to buy lots of tickets just before some national holiday and everything was sold out except from the black market where you had to pay double...If there is a way to make money in China, people will do it. Resourceful!
They got IFC malls all over China, these places only have luxury goods but usually also a Starbucks where to have your morning coffee :)
When I was leaving Nanjing I came to the station a little too early. There is a lake next to the station but when your in China it's packed with people everywhere. And in second grade cities they stare at me like I was a ghost.

Monday, August 22

Some Exhibitions

The new Shanghai Exhibition center has shows all the time. I thought I would go to the Automotive exhibition mainly for work but when I came there they were cosing down even though the time schedule said it should still be on the rest of that day. TIC...

There was no point in just leaving so I went to the other exhibition hall about the 13th Villa Equipment. They had everything from Earthquake protection building materials to gigantic bath tubs :)
This indoor or why not outdoor hot tub/ pool would be awesome for parties!!
Some more funny signs from Shanghai...Love it

Sunday, August 21

Carting 100km/h by the F1 track

We have been talking about going to the Formula 1 track to do some carting for some time already. This Saturday we made it all the way there. It's about a 30 minute ride by subway so it's pretty easy to get to the circuit. The carts here are something different than those indoor tracks. Usually they go around 40-50km/h but these went up to 100km/h and were by far one of the most fun toys I ever tried! Prices were also reasonable, it costs 250 RMB to ride the fastest cart for 1 race. 1 race lasts 8 minutes but trust me that 8 minutes is more than enough because after you drive your arms are shaking and feeling like spaghetti.
There he comes, tight right turn!
YES!! I passed most of the people by 2 laps! Safety first, driving in sandals, shorts, shirt. The safety regulation said "All must wear gloves, rib protection, racing shoes and protective clothes" Well this is China and no one cares :) The only thing I wore was a helmet.
After the race we went to have Teppanyaki in Tairyo which is one of the first Teppanyaki places in Shanghai. For 168 RMB you can eat and drink as much as you want. Beef, Salmon, Pork, Sushi, Beer, Sake etc etc. The chef usually set the dessert on fire and from the pictures it looks like the place blew up. Was hot to sit by the flames!
To flames with the bananas!

Wednesday, August 17

Half a week in the Jing

The 2 first days in Beijing were rainy, dark, misty and sort of depressing. But on the third day the sky was clear blue and the weather was one of the best I've seen in 3 years! Was amazing!

The first day we went to the Mongolian Embassy to apply for a visa there. The embassy opens from 8.30-11.30 on Mondays and we came around 9 or so. After standing in the que for about 2 hours it was obvious that we were not gonna make it. A lof of chinese skipped the que or then some random people from nowhere came and gave the people in front a stack of passports and applications which made the que move so damn slow. So just before it was our turn 11.30 they closed the desk and said "Come tomorrow 14.00" and that was it. Next day the Visa section opened at 14.00 but we came around 12.00 and at 14.30 our application was done. The visa was done in the evening at 21.00. So much for that...Some guide books says it's easiest to get in Beijing so I wonder how hard it is in other places...
I also went to check out apartments in Seasons Park where I used to live. The prices have gone up like crazy. Now the price for a 1 room flat of about 30m2 is 5800-6500 rmb/month. That's something like 700 Euros...Prices in China are soaring!
Party food and Sanlitun is what I love most about Beijing. Everything is neatly in 1 small place. Bars, Resaurants, Clubs, Cafees, People, Noise, Calm, Shops and whatever you might imagine. This is something Shanghai does not have, at least not yet. Everything here is more scattered around.

My all time favorite Chinese food is the one that comes from the Xinjiang region up in the west where the people look like foreigners. They are an Ugry minority and make some really good stuff. So far I haven't really found any THAT good Xinjiang places in Shanghai but Beijing have plenty of them like this one just next to my old flat!
They had some kind of road construction in the middle of Jiuba jie (Booze street) and the workers are sleeping under the white roof you can see there in the corner. Well at least they have a "Great Location"
Coca Cola had some campaign going on in the middle of Sanlitun, the fountains were shooting water in the rhythm of the music, looked cool.
Beijings nr.1 street
How about some parma ham, salami, bread, 5 different cheese for 10 euros? I loooove Nearby The Tree!

Sunday, August 14

Back in Beijing for a Quickie

Now in Beijing for a few days to take care of some work and prepare other things. It's not as hot as in Shanghai here, finally got out of the sauna. It was funny in the plane when the pilot said "Weather is Beijing at the moment is...(silence)....Goood! But when we landed it was super misty and rainy. This pilot seriously has a strange taste of what good weather is. Airplane food was horrible but luckily we had some subways before boarding at the airport. Schools are starting soon and the airport was PACKED! I have never seen it like this before. Students from all around the world waiting to come and study chinese...

Arrival hall...
Horrible rolls, could not finish more than 1 bite
Found some funny signs again. One was on the ATM and the other one in the arrival terminal toilet. I never thought about locking the door before :)