Monday, August 3, 2009

Shanghai - Bright Lights and Big City

It was kinda sad to leave Beijing - we had such a great time - getting to know Mary and Kevin, visiting the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, meeting up with Vivien and her Mom and enjoying all the great food this capital city has to offer.

Yet, we must continue with the rest of the journey and make our way to Shanghai by bullet train. We boarded the train in Beijing at 9:30 pm and the train will arrive in Shanghai the following day at 7:30 am.

Sort of like boarding a plane as well as checking into a hotel. The D train is the newest and fastest. At times we were cruising around 220 kilometers per hour or around 135 miles per hour. Now that's sweet....

We were all so excited - a first for us abroad a bullet train - too bad the US doesn't have one of this. We have to get our priorities right - bailing out the big banks is INSANE!!!

It felt so right - all of us together as a family enjoying this blessing - cozy, clean and comfortable.

This was a spontaneous shot - I was taking pictures of the cabin was David suddenly pop his head, as you can see, unexpectedly.

The world according to David - see his account and impressions of the D Train.

Class act - nice linen with comfortable pillows and bed - the cabin is also nicely air-conditioned. We brought lots of snacks to savor in the cabin as well as play cards till past midnight. It was FUN!!!

Glad to have Hannah up there rather than a stranger in our cabin....

On the top bunk - these two are having a ball.....

Arrived at Shanghai - what an enjoyable trip - first class all the way....

Exiting the train as satisfied customers - this is better than flying.

Upon arriving at Shanghai which was around 8 am, we had breakfast and then checked in the hotel - this one is nicer than the one in Beijing.

A rare moment for Gerda - checking her email in the hotel room.

Later in the afternoon, we went shopping nearby the hotel.

Shanghai is like New York City on steroids - buildings and skyscrapers are everywhere - bright lights, big city.

What does this building remind you of?
3 - 2 - 1 Takeoff!!!

At every corner it seems - there is always some construction going on - build, build and build.

Yet in the midst of the hustle of a big city, you find a church......

Check out the video to see Gerda's take on Shanghai. Capitalism is alive and well - glad to have experienced this first hand - oh consumption too.

Rainbow of Sneakers - we will take 2 of each - may I have your credit card?

Western influences everywhere. Hershey is an iconic fixture in the US - yet the market in China is big and cannot be ignored.

Cold Stone Creamery is a US-based company selling overpriced ice-creams and other goodies.

Bread Talk is a Singapore-based bakery - several 'knock-offs' have sprung up offering similar breads and treats often at lower prices.

In the evening, I attended a special dinner hosted by the Rotary Club of Shanghai, China on the 40th of Shanghai, Hilton. This is a very NICE and opulent 5 Stars hotel located right in the heart of the business and financial district.

Giving a speech at the dinner reception - invited to the head table as honored guests - what a night! Unfortunately Gerda and the kids were not invited - they dropped me off at the hotel and spent a couple of hours sightseeing the area - yes they did have dinner though mine was a tad more elaborate.

With my Chinese Rotary local contact, Terence Chu on top of Shanghai Hilton.

Banner exchange withe the President of Rotary Shanghai, China.

This menu is meant to make you hungry.....

Tomato Marinated with Lemon Basil and Mozzarella Ball served with Girrolle Mushroom Pickles.

Chicken Breast filled with Morel Mushroom Farce Ginocchi Herb's with Green Peas.

Thin Apple Pie with Hazelnut Mousse and Choco Leaves

After my dinner reception, we met up and tour the Bund - actually there was a lot of construction going in anticipation of Expo 2010 causing road closure.

Night shot of Shanghai - it was raining a bit that night - construction was everywhere in anticipation of Expo 2010.

The next day, we arrived at the train station for our ride - another bullet train - to Suzhou.

Finding Nemo - these flaming red fishes are located in the lobby of the Shanghai Train Station.

Video of the Red Nemos......

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