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Archive for December, 2007

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Christmas in Singapore, 2002 (Image tour)

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Singapore Merlion on Sentosa

Merlion, Sentosa, Singapore See how big the Merlion is and how small I am.
Sentosa, Singapore

It is said that this tiny island is the southest point of Singapore, in Sentosa.


Eye of a fly.

The best Christmas Tree I've ever seen

The best Christmas tree I’ve ever seen.
These images were taken 5 years’ ago in Singapore. It was my first time there right before Christmas. My graduate school supervisor Professor Chen once said: “The greatest invention of 20 century is air conditioner.” You might not agree with him if you are not from Singapore as he did. It is such a humorous way to explain the weather in Singapore. December is the coolest month of a year, but rains a lot. Afternoon storm is almost a daily routine. I was forced to cancel my trip to Singapore Zoo due to the bad weather. I was on the light rail to the Zoo, and saw dark cloud covering the whole sky. It was very scary and I didn’t want to stroll around the zoo in a storm. But when I was back to the city, the storm had been gone. That’s the weather in tropical area. The best way to plan your trip is to plan a few relaxing hours after lunch and stay under roof.

Singapore is a small nice place to walk around, and a lot of fun things to do. See my next posts for more images.

Post Xmas Shopping in Shanghai

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

I don’t celebrate Chritmas. But many of my girl friends and I are looking forward to this holiday, because it is when big ON SALE happens in 99% of the malls in the city.

Last night, we went to shop for my husband some winter outware on Huaihai Rd in French Concession area of Shanghai. Huahai Rd. is the best place for people watching and window shopping. You are expected to see the most fashionable and stylish people on this street. Take a look at these Baidu images for keyword “Shanghai Huaihai Rd“.

We knew Parkson has the “Buy 199 get 100 instant rebate” promotion. So we headed directly to the shop on the intersection of Huanhai Rd. and Shanxi Rd. (Parkson is on the South Shanxi Rd. Metro station Line 1). The mall is much roomy comparing to the crowdness of pre-Xmas, and the CSs are less nicer. I can tell most of them were yawn to go home. Yes, it was 830pm. But it is a perfect moment for us.

Products of some foreign brand names are over-priced in China. Levi’s and the Northface (TNF) are two of them, not to mention other “luxury” brands. The price for a common Levi’s jean is ridiculously marked as RMB 799, which i know I can buy it at around HKD 599 HKD ( app. RMB 560). A GoreTex outware of TNF can be priced as RMB 1999 (app. USD 280), while you can buy a GoreTex of Lafuma at RMB 800. Though the design of Lafuma is a little dull, we bought one and it is a real bargain! And I also found one local brand called Belle is over-priced judging from its design and manufacturing quality. I believe its IPO in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May 2007 has improved the brand image and prices.

Tips to shop in Shanghai:

  • Avoid shopping before X’mas, do it after the holiday;
  • Avoid weekends if you can shop at night;
  • Avoid buying accessories in the malls since most of the accessories are alwasy not ON SALE, try to shop in the boutique shops where you can bargain;
  • Compare before you pay.

Happy Holiday!

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Merry Chirstmas!

Image of today: Dec. 17, 2007

Monday, December 17th, 2007

We are in search for a new apartment in Shanghai. But the price of real estate in downtown Shanghai is too high for us to affort. So we visited this neighbourhood called “tianshan” last weekend. It is a rebuilt new district.  not many skylines here. All residental apartments are not higher than 15 floors, except of this ugly tower…

Place to go in 2008, or today!

Thursday, December 13th, 2007’s newsletter service has a new feature, it will send you a “Top 5 Viewed Features” email every week. One of the most eye-catch eresting feature in today’s email is an artical titled The 53 Places to Go in 2008. I don’t know why it is “53” not “52” or “54”, but those pictures and each 60-word description are just amazing. What even more amazing? 437 people have comments and shout out their wishes.angkor wat

Kango blog is hosting a Carnival of Cities this week. It asks bloggers to answer “Where do you want to go today?” well, I have a long wish list. But the 1st place is Angkor Wat. Reason #1: Winter is the best season to visit East South Asia as the raining season is over and the weather will be cooler. But the con is that Winter is also the tourism peak season as well. Anyway, who cares. Reason #2: I am from a country of a long history. I want to see all other ancient cultures and histories. One day I will be in Egypt, Chile and Greece. Bootsnall blogger Sharkfin just report his trip in Angkor Wow.

Carnival of Cities is quite a fun blog event. I submitted a post in September about Beijing and that post now is the most viewed page among my 43 blog posts. So, undoubtly, you can promote your blog while having fun writing about trips!

Where do you want to go today or in 2008?

New Beijing ”Wonders”: The Egg, The Bird’s Nest and The Two-legged Stool

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

You don’t want to miss these three “weird wonders” next time you visit Beijing:

National Grand Theater in Beijing,the egg, 国大剧院

National Grand Theater in Beijing,the egg, 国大剧院

The best view point of The Egg is on the top of Jing Hill (Jingshan, 景山). It is designed by French architect Paul Andreu. My friend Michelle Hu took the first two images.

The Brid's Nest, The National Stadium in Beijing

Photo Courtecy of Dante Busquets

The Bird’s Nest is the National Stadium for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, designed by Herzog & de Meuron. It looks like an under-constructionnever to me

CCTV tower, Beijing, ChinaCCTV tower, Beijing, China cctv headquarter hq

CCTV (China Central Television) Head Quarter is still under construction (left photo by China Chas on Dec. 2, 2007, thank e-architect for the right image.). It is designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren.

Updated on Jun. 12 2008:

I went to the Bird Nest last month during “good luck Beijing” Sohu open, a game design to test run the National Stadium Bird Nest.

CCTV tower, Beijing, China

More images here. CCTV tower, Beijing, China

Image of today: The most expensive apartment in Shanghai…

Monday, December 10th, 2007

tomson riviera

Photo courtesy of Shanghaiist 

This is an old image, and stories about Tomson Riviera, the 110,000 RMB/sq. meter apartment in Shanghai have been online since 2005 (read here and here).

Today, an investigation result about Tomson Riviera since June 2007 was released: Shanghai real estate and and department has ordered “Tomson to sell at a reduced listed price or put all its properties out to lease”. This is a strong action in the move to cool down the over-heated real estate marketing in China. What’s the government’s next movement?

Cave Adventure in Yangshuo, China (Photo Tour)

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Bodhisattva Water Cave

Bodhisattva Water Cave is the best known cave in Yangshuo, China. The whole cave is about 3 km long, runing through three mountains. The bottom level of this 2-level cave is an underground river which is about 2.5 km long. Two things to do in the cave: mud bath and fishing/swiming. On above adverstisement/description of the cave at the entrance, it is claimed to be the MUST VISIT in Yangshuo area.

Bodhisattva Water Cave, Yangshuo,China

View of the inside of the cave. The name “Bodhisattva” comes from the Buddhas shape stone in the cave. In fact, there are much more other strange sharped stones in it!
Bodhisattva Water Cave

I was cheated to crawl through this extremely narrow hole when the cave guide said we have no other way going futher! It was painful on the other side of the cave, but such a relief when I made to this side. Even a smile on my face!!! We walked without crawling when we were back!

Bodhisattva Water Cave

Mud? Chocolate? We were fighting. It took me about 1 week before I can’t find any more mud in my hair! You can borrow clothes like these from the cave guide if you don’t want to ware bikini or wash or throw away your own nice T-shirt and pants.
Bodhisattva Water Cave, Yangshuo,China

Hand in Hand with my cavers! We come, we see, we conquer! I have to endorse our cave guide who took great pictures for us in such back condition and keep my DC clean. The tempreture was hot high enogh in April for us to explore more of the underground rivew or the waterfalls. We didn’t see any fishes, and nore of us would swim here. – All above images were took in 2003.

This is an image from George. Check out the story of their recent trip to Yangshuo.

All About Crabs: Shanghai Hairy Crab – 大闸蟹 “九雌十雄”

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

One of the best things for me to live in Shanghai is to be able to eat Hairy Crab (毛蟹) from every late Autumn to early Winter, or even to Chinese New Year – Spring. The name “hairy crab” is generated from the outlook of this fresh water grown crab – many small hairy on the crab legs. Its official name is Chinese mitten crab. The better quality of the fresh water, the better the crab. By review and word of mouth, the most famous hairy crab is Yangchenghu (HCH, 阳澄湖) Hairy Crab which is from the name of a lake. Don’t be surprised if you are see all hairy crabs are advertised as “yangchenghu hairy crab” in free markets, in restaurants or in supermakets.
Yuyuan Garden

A decoration of fariy crab harvesting scene in Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai

How to find native Yangchenghu hairy crab, but not fake or “immigrated” ones? Here are a few tips I come up which are not 100% guarantee:

1. Go to YangchengHu city. The chance you encounter a native HCH crab in local is at least 50% higher than in non local place.

2. Go to high end restaurants which care for their reputations. There your chance to eat a real HCH crab is very high, if you are not worried about $$$. It is not uncommon that they will sell you a 250g crab for $40. If you are in Hong Kong or Beijing (places that are far away from Shanghai), you might need to pay for the air ticket for the crab.

3. Go to your Chinese friends and ask for their “relationship” (Guangxi). This is my approach. My ancle has some clients who have very close and good relationships with HCH crab growners. I am 99% sure that I eat the REAL HCH crabs. A “guangxi” is likely to cheat you in other stuff, not food!

4. Research and find the certification labels stick onto the crabs in markets. I have to warn you that the cost to make a label can be extremely low in China.

hariy crab, yangchenghu crab

These are well cooked crabs with certification label on it. The best and easiest way to cook crab is to simplily steam them for 15 minutes (8) with source made of soy bean souce, vinegar, suger and minced ginger.

Can you tell the difference between the two crabs on the right image? 🙂 The upper on is a femail crab and the lower one is a male. Keep the following saying in mind if you are as serious about hairy crab as I am ”September Female,October Male”. The best season to have female crabs is September in Chinese lunar calendar and October for male crab. To keep it simple, 2 weeks after Mid Autumn Festivel is the best season for female crab!

This is a male hairy crab! Now it is the right season for it! YUMMY…


Update on Dec. 17, 2007:

Shanghai Hairy Crab prices in Shanghai Hongqiao Airport

Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) – New Landmark of Lujiazui, Pudong

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

I mentioned in my previous post that “Jinmao Tower is no longer the most visible building from The Bund on Lujiazui in Pudong, Shanghai”. Who is the new landmark?Shanghai World Financial Center & Jinmao Tower

The above image was taken from Yuyuan Park last weekend. It is the new icon of Lujiazui – Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC): Height: 492 meters (72 meters higher than Jinmao Tower), 101 floors. The skyscraper is estimated to be completed before 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It is a nice angle to view this ‘highest tower” in China from Yuyuan Park. (see official image below)
Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC), China

I heard about this building a long time before, as friends were circling the original design blueprints via email.Shanghai World Financial Center & Jinmao Tower degisn The email was asking the recieptants to against the design because it resembled “two swords and the Sun” which are the icons of Japan and Japanese culture. (see right image.)

The owner and investor of SWFC is Mori Building Co.Ltd. (森海外株式会社), a Japanese company. SWFC Co. was found on 1995 but due to Asian financial crisis, the project was forced to stop until 2003. But after the design by KPF, an American firm, was publiced, a Singapore Chinese wrote a letter to Shanghai Urban Construction Department and pointed out that circle on the top resembed the national flag of Japan. Fengshui master also claimed that this building will hurt the Fengshui of Lujiazhui, even the design has been changed. The circle has been changed to an echelon. {Information in this paragraph is from this post.}
If you know about the anti-Japanese sentiment in China, you will understand why building a tower can be so difficult even in 21 century, especially with the help of Internet as information distribution/broadcasting method.

Anyway, I am not exciting to see this highest building in Shanghai, it is just another challenge for Spiderman.