Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in Wilmington

On Wednesday we left the Durham's rains,

avoided the planes,

The "Misery Map" of 3.1 M delayed travelers on 11/27

and headed for the coast. 

We arrived in Wilmington around 3 and settled into our apartment overlooking the Cape Fear river.  Then off to the movies for the 75th annual...

For the big feast we brought thanksgiving eats with us from our local haunt, Nosh, and Lacey made some marvelous mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie!

The view from our apartment was fantastic, and made for a beautiful sunset!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Starting The Long Trek Home

A taxi to the Maglev station gave me instructions on in-cab exercises, and took me up the impressive, spiral Nanpu Interchange (video below). Then on the Maglev train I watched the opposing train pass at 500mph (video below).

Breafast of Champions

 Before heading to Pudong airport I grabbed some Chinese breakfast. The conventions we have about what can and can't be served in the morning do not always apply here,mnot shown are the pork dumplings I quickly devoured.

Fortunately Pancakes seem universal, want to try eating one w chopsticks?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

PM traffic along Zhaojiabang Lu

Returning from a meeting with NYU Shanghai I caught this view of the sun setting over the Xuihui district along Zhaojiabang Lu or "Road". Despite the bumper to bumper look, traffic flowed smoothly taking me only 15 min and $6 to taxi 4 mi across town. The government limits traffic by charging $15K per license plate - yes, that's $15,000 dollars.

View of Downtown Shanghai and Pudong

For a meeting with Macmillan Publishing's Asia office, I found myself on the 42nd floor with an excellent view. The row houses in the foreground are preserved from the French colonial era, while the highest skyscraper in the distance will be the world's 2nd tallest blding when completed in April. The iconic skyline surrounding this building are on the east ( "dong") side of the Yhangtze river ("pu"); giving the the district it's name - Pudong.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The French Concession

I spent my first full day in an area of Shaghai called the French Concession. After the 2nd Opium War (1840s), the Brits, French and Americans divided up Shanghai into sections, or "Concessions". These areas were governed by their respective countries, independent of Chinese laws, taxes, etc. This arrangement lasted until 1949, and the French influence on the design and culture in this part of the city is still very visible today.

So, is Shanghai's French Concession the "Paris of the East"?!?

Taking a right out of my hotel, I immediately dive into the tree-lined streets with wide, Flâneur-friendly walkways. The most common forms of transport seem to be walking, bicycle, scooter and Audi.

Like Paris? Check. +1

To my right is the former French Counsulate, like many of the surrounding mansions it's a ways off the street inside a gated compound

Check. +1

The street signs are clearly visible at each intersection an easy to understand

Not like Paris. - 1

I wander into a cafe and enjoy an iced Cafe Mocha while reading the news

Check. +1

Then enjoy some crepes and San Pelligrino for brunch, served by my Breton waiter, Clément.

Check. + 1

I receive a text during brunch from Verizon, telling me

Check. +1

It turns out to be a mistake by Verizon, but my concerns quickly vanish once Clément brings my chocolate banana dessert crepe. The inverted spelling of stressed is

Check. +1

The waiter see's my look of content satiety, and it takes him less than 30 min to bring the check. It's under $50, legible and allows me to pay in $s

Definitely not like Paris. -1

Strolling back to my hotel I see a cab driver pull over and relieve himself on the side of the road.

(Yes, it's just as you're imagining)

Definitely Paris. +1

But I'm quickly distracted by a quaint park with a statue in the middle of the intersection ahead

Check. +1

Final Score: +8 -2 make the French Concession 80% similar to Paris.

It's not surprising that I encounter many expats who choose to live in this part of the city, including Canadian my host. One can enjoy many of the pleasures of Paris at half the price....and without the Parisians!
Bon Soiree et a tout a l'heure!

Location:Wulumuqi South Rd,Shanghai,China

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The home stretch

The pilots added about an hour by going over Alaska instead of the North Pole

but it was still quite cold outside at -59 degrees.

So after 15 hours of

I've finally reached Shanghai. The airport is very modern and I cleared immigration in less than 15 minutes. Soon I was heading for downtown at 260 mph on the Maglev train. Not sure if this link will work, but try

Transferred to the metro - clean and modern, comparable to Paris or DC.

I did have a little trouble finding the way to Line 7, but asking directions by holding up 7 fingers worked like a charm.

Check-in was a breeze and my room on the 18th floor provides a nice views of the city

After a quick Skype with Lacey (7 am her time, 7pm my time) I was ready for some much need...zzzzzzzzz.......

Location:320 Yueyang Rd,Shanghai,China