Tag Archives: Chinese

Dragon In Escape To Australia!


Before continuing with the dragons, I should write first about Australia… Well, the plans for Australia had been made almost one year ago and unfortunately my flight to Perth was cancelled in last minute. That’s why I changed my itinerary with a new one to Indonesia.

But, life is hard, I had lots of new responsibilities at work in the recent months and I couldn’t write the part about the dragons as promised. But, then, the life is also plenty of surprises and hopes, and right now I’m in Australia for a short trip. And this time, I want to share my third Australian experience with you without passing time.

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After a flight of almost 10 hours, I arrived to Hong Kong where I stayed one night. Hong Kong is lively as it is always. Mainland Chinese people are filling up the narrow streets of the city to celebrate the new year, the expats are having fun after work on a Friday evening and you become surprised to see how traffic is under control in the most populated tiny country of the world. I tried to enjoy the dynamism of the city as much as I can because I know that in my next destination I would miss the crowds(!)

Then, with another 8 hours of flight, I arrived to Sydney on Sunday. The weather is hot, very hot for a traveller like me coming from a snowy city. As do most of the tourists of Sydney, I rushed to take a picture of Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, which are the symbols of the city.

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Next day, I took a flight for Ayers Rock, in the center of Australia, known also as Red Rock or Uluru. Finally, I’m in my targeted destination….

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Tranquility everywhere. I’m in the middle of nowhere and Anangu – Aboriginal people of Western Desert think this is the center of the world. The Anangu people have been living here for over 30,000 years. Uluru is the biggest monolithic rock formation on earth where Anangu people have been settled. It dates back to 550 million years and the caves of Uluru had become so far home for Anangu people.

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Today, I woke up early and did a trekking around Uluru. Some of the caves walls are painted – dating back to 5,000 – 7,000 years ago; the stories of those paintings  are still unknown. Hence lots of imagination required. What we know as of today are few childish stories and legends.

But, for the history part;

In 1873, an Englishman, William Christie Gosse became the first European to climb Uluru.

In 1930, the first airplane, ‘Love Bird’ landed at Uluru.

In 1950, first tourists arrived at Uluru. Now, it’s the tourism icon of Australia.

I write these lines right after my camel tour. My camel, Daisy, is well-known in this part of the world, he appeared in many ads… I liked it, and I will continue my touring with Daisy for another couple of days in this beautiful desert….

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Best of Shanghai!


I haven’t written for a while on my blog because of work, everyday duties, etc. But meanwhile I started to learn Chinese and I dedicate most of my time to this new activity rather than writing. I really enjoy learning this language, it’s like “deciphering” the meanings. It also shows me how immense the Chinese culture. I was lucky because last month I was in Shanghai where I had the  opportunity to practice what I learned in my Chinese class and observe again closely the Chinese culture.

Here is my list of `Best of Shanghai….Happy travel!

1. MAGEV Magnetic Train:

High speed train. It can attain to 400 km/ hr. I witnessed to 300km./hour. Morning times, the train does 400 km as well. Besides being the most practical mean to Shanghai city center (it takes 45 km. in about 7 minutes), it was a different experience for me (after having travelled in the TGVs and local trains in France and Europe, which are doing 200 km/hr at max.). My friend told me that Japanese trains are much more comfortable (zero  vacillation). I didn’t really feel any swing during my travel in MAGEV either.

When you exit Pudong International Airport, you find easily the MAGEV train platforms. One way ticket is 50 Yuan per person and it’s more expensive than city buses or metro lines. But it’s worth to try it!

2. The Bund and the view of Pearl Tower

This is the most scenic and touristic place of Shanghai. If you have only one day in Shanghai, this is the place to visit….

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3 . Shanghai Urban Planning Museum:

This is the correct starting point to explore Shanghai. Located in the People’s Park (one of the central places of the city, at the end of the East Nanjing street) and between the Contemporary Art Museum and Shanghai Museum, it first appeared to me the least crowded museum (no queue at the entrance) and that’s why I chose it to visit. But once inside, I spent more than 1 hour to see all floors and to follow how Shanghai had changed within time and what its future will look like.

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4. Bund Sightseeing:

I took the funicular which goes under the River from Pearl Tower to the Bund. It takes about 5 minutes. During the short distance travel, sounds and lights effects accompany you.

The funicular at the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

The funicular at the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

5. French Concession:

It’s one of the districts of Shanghai where the French concession – together with English one, had been established at the beginning of 20th century. The district has chic boutiques and French style coffees. ‘Shanghai is the Paris of the East!’ what can I say more…!

A coffeehouse in French Concession, Shanghai

A coffeehouse in French Concession, Shanghai

6. Nanjing Street:

The east side of the Street is the pedestrian area and you will find lots of shops and department stores. Check in your guides  the construction dates of the department stores on the East Nanjing Street; most are built at the beginning or in the first half of 20th century.

The West Nanjing Street has a lot of luxury department stores and skyscrapers hosting the offices of multinational companies.

2014, the Horse Year

2014, the Horse Year

7. Old Shanghai

Old Shanghai is the district where you will sense the `real` China. In the narrow and crowded streets you will discover different types of attractions and all kinds of shops.

Old Shanghai District celebrates Horse Year!

Old Shanghai District celebrates Horse Year!

Old Shanghai, crowded

Old Shanghai, crowded

8. Yu Gardens:

Don’t miss this place if you visit the Old Shanghai. The gardens are situated inside the Old Shanghai district and it gives you an idea about the aesthetic taste of the Ming Dynasty.

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Yu Gardens, Shanghai

9. Xujiahui – Electronic Markets

Shanghai is a heaven of malls and department stores in China, and if you’re interested in buying – after hard negotiations of course!, electronic devices go to Xujiahui (the metro line is Xujiahui); this is a paradise for electronic lovers….

Chinese Year Decorations inside a Mall in Shanghai

Chinese Year Decorations inside a Mall in Shanghai

10. Visit the water villages outside Shanghai:

This is recommended by all travel guides about Shanghai but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to do this daily trip, it will be hopefully next time. Instead I’d been in a different place in China and explored the river and the country side…. I’ll write about it in my next post… Until then….`ZAI JIAN!’

 

Shanghai by Day!

Shanghai by Day!

 

Beijing – Introduction (part 1)


It’s extremely hot in Beijing. This was my first impression when I queued in the long awaiting visa hall. And the airport is crowded as well. It took almost two hours that we finish everything with the visa employee.

Then I headed towards the official taxis waiting at the exit of the airport. I showed the name and the address to the boy who tries to organize the taxi queue. He said something in Chinese to our taxi driver. Then on the way to the city center we found ourselves with the worst traffic jam in the world which I’d ever seen. The taxi driver stopped the car and asked me something in Chinese. He didn’t understand the place of our hotel. I showed him our address paper. He doesn’t understand one word in English! Thanks God, I have the phone number of the hotel which I pointed to him. He called the hotel to get the right directions. My second experience: few Chinese people do understand English. And the third experience: few of them knows Beijing, and that’s true for the taxi drivers. The conclusion: don’t take a taxi if you don’t know Chinese and the directions!

Finally we arrived to hour hotel, which is one of the oldest and well-known in Beijing (not well-known for Chinese taxi drivers of course!) . It was at the corner of the famous pedestrian Wangfujing street.

In the lobby we got the address of the famous roasted duck restaurant which was only one block after our hotel and we rushed to there!

Again with some difficulties of English communication, we finally ordered the famous duck! A chief brought the whole roasted duck in front of us and started to cut it in small layers and pieces, it’s a real show! And the decor of the restaurant was amazing like the taste of the roasted duck! I’m sure everybody would love this taste!

Back to the Wangfujing street, it started to rain and we felt some freshness which made us feel good.

The first hours in beijing on Wangfujing Street, on a very smoggy afternoon!

First day in Wangfujing

Live street performance on Wangfujing street

Chinese Street Performance

Dad Dong Restaurant, famous for the roasted Pekin Duck in Beijing

Da Dong Beijing Restaurant

Happy ducks waiting to be roasted 🙂

Da Dong Beijing

Wangfujing on a sunny day!

Wangfujing on a sunny day!