Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back in Shanghai

I'm back in Shanghai, China! This time, primarily to attend an week-long convention from August 16-20 organized by our company for select employees in Asia-Pacific, Greater China Region and Japan. I arrived in Shanghai Pudong International Airport mid-afternoon of August 15 and was greeted and picked up by a hotel limousine (CNY600). Last time I was in the city was less than a year ago, for a birthday spree of my mom and Julie.
inside the limousine
The drive from the airport to the hotel took around 40 minute and it is amazing to note how Shanghai has changed a lot just in months. Glad to see familiar places too like Lupu Bridge which we attempted to climb up last year. I still laugh when I remember my mom was forced to climb that 367 steps to the top as it seems not so high from below. To this date, she remembers the experience something she will never do again (but she's proud to have done that).
Also the site of Expo 2010 is now on full swing. The world exposition site was a massive construction the last time we saw it and now it has been running daily, welcoming up a million visitors per day, since May 1 (it's opening day). 
For this trip, I stayed at Regal International East Asia Hotel, sharing a room with a colleague in Australia (to save cost). Booked for a Premier Twin room for CNY900/night (net), inclusive of breakfast and internet. It was actually good that I shared a room with someone as I have someone to talk to (and laugh about on things) throughout the week. The room is very spacious, with a working desk and enough space for our luggage. It looks like a corner room to me as there are windows on two sides of the room.
There's a transparent glass between the bedroom and the bathroom. However, there's a rolling curtain to keep our privacy inside.
That night, the participants were treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner, at California Café located at the first floor.
my food plates. still salivating whenever I see these
No agenda whatsoever that night so it was actually a free night for everyone. I decided to stay at the room instead to take rest, browse the internet or watch TV. However, I was surprised that all TV channels were cut as it was a National Mourning Day to give time to pay respect and mourn for the landslide victims in Zhouqu.
The message on the screen says "Dear subscribers, To mourn the Gansu Zhouqu mudslide victims, the State Council of the People's Republic of China has announced that August 15th 2010 will be National Mourning Day. To express our deep condolences, the relevant agencies are to suspend relay of overseas channels with limited landing rights that contain entertainment programs over the announced period. Hereby we express our gratitude for your understanding and cooperation. August 15th, 2010".
Too bad I thought at first, but I feel for the victims and gave a minute of prayer. It's heartening to see that the government actually control up to this point for a good cause. Then I just use my computer to browse the internet but a few sites are actually blocked by the government too, specially the social networking sites, but it was okay. I just read about the news for today and some things I may do while in the city before I slumbered and slept. My roommate wasn't there yet either.
It was a good day the next morning. Sun was shining brightly as I look at my window to see the view of the surrounding areas near our hotel. Saw that my roommate was finally there (arrived late due to some delay) and managed to prepare ourselves for a good breakfast and off to the convention right after.
Breakfast was served also at California Café, the same place where we had dinner the previous night.
The rest of the day was spent at the individual workshops held for the participants.
That night, together with my colleagues in Asia-Pacific, we went to Cloud 9, located at the 87th floor of Jin Mao Tower, where Grand Hyatt Shanghai is. It was a very cozy place to hang out and chill out as we talk about stories of all sorts and get to know colleagues from the region.
The place also has a good view of Shanghai as it is located at what used to be the tallest building in China (until 2007, when the next door Shanghai World Financial Center was built). I went to the observatory of the Shanghai World Financial Center last year and it also gave me a good glimpse of the city.
view from the top
Orient Pearl Tower, as viewed from Cloud 9.
Jin Mao Tower
 Shanghai World Financial Center (left) and Jin Mao Tower (right)
After Cloud 9, we just spent some time walking around the vicinity before catching a taxi cab to go back to the hotel as it was already late that night.
Tuesday was the same as the previous day. Breakfast, workshops, etc., so nothing much to share. Just had a couple of drinks with some colleagues at a joint nearby our hotel. Thought the name of this lager is cute so I took a quick snapshot of it - Blue Girl.
Today (Wednesday) is the same as Monday and Tuesday from morning until the workshops ended. As the day goes by, things are getting tougher and tougher for us at those workshops but I cannot share it here.
For dinner, my colleagues and I went to Morning Shanghai tonight at the Basement 1 of Metro City mall.
 Morning Shanghai plate
I'm not sure what exactly we ordered and I'm just trying to describe it here:
soup with tofu
chicken with peanuts
siu mai or pork dimsum
steamed dumpling

So far, this has been the best dinner I had for this trip. Not only is it more local (compared to hotel food that I find not very tasty), but also the ambience of the place is very nice for dinner.

Two more days 'til the workshops in the convention end! Got to prepare for tomorrow!

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