Monday, March 30, 2015

Shanghai - Around Town - Part Two

More photos from around town.

Spotted 2 electric cars in one day. First this BYD Qin, a plug-in hybrid designed and manufactured in China, parked just outside Grandmother's apartment. I like the color.
Shanghai, China

Then after it attempted to run us over (sort of - not really - it's very quiet at low speeds of course), Sun-Ling's cousin whose father is part owner in an Audi dealership ID'ed this Tesla S - first Tesla I've seen anywhere.
Shanghai, China

Sun-Ling's cousin is a pastry chef. We headed over to her apartment to make some treats. Well...to watch her make this amazing cream puff. It was very tasty!
Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Then out to The Urban Harvest for dinner as guests of cousin's parent where your salad greens are freshly cut and the restaurant napkin logo appears to be very similar to the Google+ icon.
Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Freshly cut greens in bowl at front right. Cousin and her parents at back.
Shanghai, China

It's Spring in Shanghai with the weather alternating between chilly, rainy, and pleasant....Free bikes.
Shanghai, China

Small river near Grandmother's apartment.
Shanghai, China

Sun-Ling's Grandmother making vegetarian potstickers for dinner; that is, Chinese dumplings called jiaozi.
Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China







Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shanghai - Around Town - Part One

Now that the wedding is finished we are relaxing a bit, meeting up with old friends and family, shopping, and walking around town.

Milk wagons. The milkmen deliver each morning to your milk box (sorry for the fuzzy shot).
Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Roaming coconut vendor. Check out his tool.
Shanghai, China

The "in the alley" haircut shop patronized by Sun-Ling's family (including us).
Shanghai, China

Sun-Ling's grandmother has a live-in helper who turns out to be a very good cook. Just some of her vegetarian dishes.
Shanghai, China

The Bund at night from an Audi sedan.
Shanghai, China

Twin Towers.
Shanghai, China

MacDonald's delivery with an electric bike.
Shanghai, China

With my old friend Leon.
John & Leon - Shanghai, China

With Sun-Ling's cousin, the director, at SMG.
Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Electric Bikers.
Shanghai, China

Rug Beating.
Shanghai, China

Sun-Ling's grandmother "gets around" the neighborhood in a wheelchair but is quick to pop out when needed. It's a lot of fun to take her out as she likes to buy snacks and treats; however, the local buses do not yield to wheelchairs. Yikes!
Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Monday, March 23, 2015

Shanghai - The Wedding Banquet

Shanghai - The Wedding Banquet: For months, the March 21 wedding banquet of Sun-Ling's cousin Jin Jin has been a milestone on our calendar. Now we are in Shanghai with only 2 days to prepare. Haircuts, cash, Internet access, appropriate attire for a wedding are all the must-do list.

John gets a haircut.
 
 


Sun-Ling works to get through the Great Firewall.
 
 


We are staying with Sun-Ling's grandmother who is 95 yo. It's my job to wheel her to the hair dresser the morning of the wedding.
 
 


 
 


 
 


The wedding.
 
 


 
 


 
 


Hangzhou to Shanghai - The Migration

Hangzhou to Shanghai - The Migration: For Chinese New Year, about 250 million Chinese travel by car, plane, train, and bus to be home for the holidays (or recently to enjoy a vacation holiday) creating what is called the Great Human Migration. One month after Chinese New Year 2015 as Sun-Ling and I walked along Platform 3 at the Hangzhou South Train Station passing car 17, then 16, then 15, on our way to car 4 to catch the train to Shanghai I realized that every day is in fact a Great Human Migration in China. 

Our Platform 3 companions  toted suitcases, backpacks similar to ours, young children, huge sacks, boxes, and shoulder poles. We piled into the 17 cars consisting of sleepers (this train's final destination is Inner Mongolia) and hard seats (ie normal seats). Our car had 118 seats - all full . I had seat number 118. In addition some standing-room-only tickets are sold after the seats are full. A quick check online shows over 120 trains daily from Hangzhou to Shanghai. Slow rains like ours to Shanghai South Station take over 2 hours; the high-speed trains to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport take 55 minutes.

It's quite a show inside car 4. The conductor comes through checking tickets. Our car 4 attendant moves a huge sack from the overhead rack to under the seat to improve safety. Here comes the mobile cart with snacks for sale. The young woman in the seat next to Sun-Ling lets her toddler walk mostly unattended in the aisle. Miraculously he does not hurt himself - fellow passengers are kind souls. 

Although the train is ultimately headed to Inner Mongolia, it seems that most of us in car 4 are going only as far as Shanghai. At every stop, people get off and on. The standers discretely slide into the emptied seats only to be booted out when a ticket holder comes on seconds or minutes later.  But that's all part of the game. The guy sitting next to me from the start turned out to be a stander when a ticker holder showed up after 90 minutes. And in fact it's even more complicated then I've described here as maybe you'll find out one day if you ride a slow, hard seat train in China. So goes the daily Great Human Migration.

Car 4 ticket check. Note that the old style hard, vinyl-covered, seats have been upgraded.
 
 


The guy across from me was a sharp dresser.
 
 


The high-speed and normal tracks come along side each other near Shanghai.
 
 





Friday, March 20, 2015

To China - Chiang Mai to Hangzhou

To China - Chiang Mai to Hangzhou: Our last "to-do"  in Chiang Mai was to eat one more bowl  of Chiang Mai's signature dish, Khao Soi, curried egg noodles, before heading to the airport.
 
 

Well actually our last to-do was get a photo of ourselves in full travel gear. 
 
 

Checkin and departure at the Chiang Mai airport were easy. AirAsia gave us a free upgrade to exit row seats, and we arrived on time in Hangzhou, China to a light rain and temps in the 60's F, no lines at immigration, our one checked bag was on the carousel in minutes, and the smiling face of Sun-Ling's uncle was waiting to drive us to his home.

We had a full day to do some walking in Hangzhou, but first it's to the Police Station as all aliens staying in private homes must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. Wrong station, we only do resident aliens here. Then on to station number two where we are duly registered for a 60-day stay.

In the Police Station.
 
 


The four of us in Hangzhou.
 
 


Hangzhou is very lush and scenic, and famous for Dragon Well Tea and West Lake.
 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 


After the tea plantations we walked along a canal and path that used to take pilgrims from West Lake to Lin Yin Buddhist Temple.
 
 


 
 



Playa del Carmen, Mexico

From Aguascalientes, there is a very convenient direct flight to Cancun.  Since the wedding is at a private beach south of Playa del Carmen,...