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I hate it when i am blamed or shouted for somebody else's mistake and i have absolutely nothing to do about it.! It just gets me so upset !! :(
This was our last weekend in Shanghai and so decided to go to Beijing to see the Great Wall of China.
We took the tickets for the high speed sleeper train for friday night and left for Beijing. We dint really know how we would get to the great wall, as we had only booked our to and fro journey and nothing else. Just before leaving, I just googled and checked for the best way to get there.

The train station and the train were awesome as i had already told you one of my other posts. It was Shyam's first time in this train and so this time he was even more excited.I just hope they bring this technology to India soon. We had nice cozy beds, blankets and a personal tv screen for everyone with 4 different channels. And oh ya, how can i forget the bathroom slippers! :)

We got toe beijing in the morning and almost wasted 2hrs in teh station trying to find out from ppl on how to get to the Great Wall. Almost everybody there was trying to con us. I guess they were targeting tourists. We finally decided to go with what i had written down.

We were at the Beijing South station. We decided to take a subway to the north station and then a bus or train to the great wall.

The north station was so big that it took us another 30mins to get out of it, Finally 2 nice policemen helped us find our way out and also the way to the bus stand. Bus No.919 is a direct bus from near the station to the Great wall of China. There were mannny buses and the queue was as long. It reminded us of the queue in Tirupathi :) Finally got on to the bus and reached Badaling Great Wall in an hour.

Beijing was comparitively colder than Shanghai. We just decided to climb up instead o a slide car or cable car. It was beautiful. It definitely is a wonder, so many stretches of the wall, so strong and neatly done so many years ago!

They say, the construction workers who built the great wall sometimes never returned home. If they died, their fellow mates would just throw away the body over the great wall into the barren land below as it was very difficult to get them back home.

We climbed to quite a distance. Some stretches were really steep. The biggest mistake i made was wearing my heeled boots! I actually dint have a choice and that was the only thing i got. Thanks to the boots, my ankles and knees started hurting by the time we came down!.

It was nice experience and i would say everyone who comes to china should go and see the great wall of china :)

Once done, we took the next 919 back. Then took another subway to the forbidden city. Unfortunately, they were closed by the time we got there. However, it was beautiful although we could see only a part of it.

There are 2 huge LED screens on the walkway, each one as big long ten 70mm screens kept side by side that played videos about the chinese culture, the chinese army etc. They were beautiful!

We were running out of time so, just walked around, did some window shopping and then took a subway to the train station to get back to Shanghai :)

Finally the end of the Beijing trip!

Shanghai Diaries - Shanghai Zoo

I wanted to see 2 things when I am in China.

1) Pandas
2) The Great wall of China

So today i decided to go to the zoo. Actually Chengdu is a place in China which has an organization, which helps in breeding and growing Pandas. I wanted to go there, but its really far, so decided to just take a look at them in the zoo.

As Shyam and Rajat would both be busy during weekdays, I had to go alone.

Took a metro and got to the zoo. Wasn’t as hard to get tehre as i expected. The zoo was huge and the lanscaping done really well. The only problem was, the animals were scattered all around the place and tehre were no directions properly

Most of the animals i had already seen in the mysore zoo, except the penguins, kangaroo, pandas and some others..i forgot the names.

I finally found the pandas and they were so cute. They are just sooo lazy and all of them looked like Po in Kung-Fu panda! :P

They have a separate play area with slides etc similar to the children's park. I spent almost 30mins there and then went around to look around.

The red pandas were also cute, but i liked the giant white pandas better. I shot a video of a cute panda fight, will probably share it.


The other attraction was the monkey park. As always they look really nice hanging around.

The entire walk in the zoo took me like 3hrs, where I missed to see the seals as there were no directions.

I realized I missed them at the end of the walk and dint feel like walking back so far again so just got back home.

Shanghai Diaries Week 2

My toys are finally here and they rock!! I got a hummer, Ferrari 458 Italia and a glider. The rest of the toys for others, 1 Lamborgini for my nephew, 1 4-channel helicopter for adi and 2 more smaller helicopters.

I wanted to try all of them, but dint open them because i dint feel like spoiling the packing! However, i couldnt resist the hummer and Ferrari so i checked them :)

The black hummer looks awesome! the brake lights, indicators, the sound , the doors etc. after testing the hummer we checked the Ferrari and that was the best. Its just soo powerful. At first i couldn’t get a hang of it, but now i know how to drive it ! :)
You can drift with it and also its very smooth. I feel i should buy more toys, but if i do, Rajat will leave me here.
Nothing special done in these 2 days. Was not keeping too well so stayed home and also had a lot of pending office work.
Just went out for a walk to nanjing road one day and to yuyuan market again another day.

The only interesting part was that Rajata finally odered my toys online!! So excited cant wait to see them!!

Shanghai Diaries Day 8 - 13th March 2011


After a tiring day yesterday, woke up late. Today one of his local colleagues took us around the city. Shyam (Rajat's friend) also arrived last night so he joined us too. The first place we went to was the Yuyuan Market. This one place finally made me feel like i was in china. It had these old Chinese style buildings and was basically a shopping area for mementos etc. There were many shops that sold watches. The watches were cheap but really good to look at. All of us bought a couple of watches for children in the house and also some others.
The watches looked stylish and were as cheap. The best part of buying the watches was the bargaining, I never thought anyone could beat me at bargaining, but after i saw Shyam i decided to stop bargaining and let him do it :) i would ideally start with 1/4th the price, and he always started with 1/10th the price!! :P We bought some Chinese fans, watches, some cheap toys and my favorite buy, a panda backpack!

It was small but good. We had a good time walking around those streets. Everyone here has their lunch at around 11.30. So we went to Mc' D and grab a burger each. After lunch and another walk in the Yuyuan Market, Alwin (Rajat's colleague) said he would be taking us to Luijiazui. It is a beautiful place with the maximum number of sky scrapers in the city. It is on the Pudong side of the bund and the main attractions are the Malls, the Oriental Pearl TV tower and the Ocean Aquarium.

We saw all of them from outside and decided to go inside the pearl tv tower during the evening when it would get dark as it would look even better. We walked around the streets and then finally told Alwin that we wanted to go to some kind of digital market where we could get some kool Chinese Maal :P

He took us to this huge mall, with so many electronic stores! The ground floor had all the branded stuff, and from the first floor it was paradise
J

I am going to buy myself many things. Te problem is we need to bargain and they can’t talk English. So the bargaining takes even more time. We ended up buying only a 32GB SD card, a web cam and a mp3 player for the car (Cigarette lighter adapter) in 2.5 hrs.After all this we decided to get home and come back some other day and spend the entire evening here.


Shanghai Diaries Day 7 - 12th March 2011


The first weekend in Shanghai. One of the local friends suggested that we visit Hangzhou as it was really beautiful. He helped us get the tickets for the high speed rail. Saturday early morning, we left the hotel at 7.45am and took a metro/subway to the Hangqiao Railway Station. My first trip in the subway here. It was pretty much the same as the subway in Delhi. What really was interesting was the transit from the subway station to the railway station. It was a single building with all different exits for subway and bus stand and the railway station, and the best part,, it looked like an Airport :P Bial was no where close to it! It was just an awesome sight. We waited to check for our hi speed train. ( We had to check-in as in the airport as well :P). After check in, when we walked down, there she was standing on Platform No.11. She was just sooo beautiful that we couldn't take our eyes off her! I am talk about the Hi-Speed train! Never seen anything like that till date. Just so soo soo good.


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10th March,

Early morning 10th March while checking mails, saw a mail from one of my managers on some work that had to be done ASAP.
I know I am on vacation but I can’t help it. Had to finish it. My backup colleague is already overburdened and it would be very unfair of me telling him to do it. Besides, I had been doing it since a long time and I would be able to finish it faster that he would as he would have to start from scratch. So 10th March was just another day in the Hotel room. Wok work and work. In teh evening however, we decided we'll go some vegetable shopping as were tired of having Maggi and ready to eats. Got the address of the closes store and took a taxi to that place.

The receptionist said, it was a better option to go to the City shop (supermarket) rather than a local one as they could cheat us.
I don’t think I have ever been so thrilled shopping for vegetables ever!! As we entered the vegetables section, we just felt like taking everything! But when we saw the prices, we decided to buy whatever we wanted for another week an then come back next week again for more :)
The vegetables here are weird. The potatoes when boiled, tasted sweet. The sweet potatoes which are usually pink from outside and white inside were purple from inside and outside here. The onions, tomatoes and all the other vegetables were huge! I found them so weird I dint buy them :) We dint find green chilies :(

Bought as much as we found and then go back home. The vegetables were not fresh not good and definitely not worth the price! But at this point in time, nothing really mattered.

11th March,

Another day of work and no going out. I had head of a street next to the hotel that was a pet, aquarium and flower market. So i just decided to go there instead of staying at the hotel the whole day again. And wow, what a sight! The 30mins of time pass was awesome and one the best times here. The aquarium shops here have sooooooooo many fishes, of so many different types and so beautiful. One shop's specialty was turtles. He had millions of turtles. And i really mean millions of them. All sizes, all varieties and he had them everywhere. In thermocol boxes, in sacs, in drums, in cans. Never seen a sight like that before. Will put up the pics next time i go there. Dint take my cam.
And one big shop i got into, he had some of the most beautiful fish i have ever seen. And my favorite amongst them was the Blue Tang. A dark blue fish with a 2 navy blue lines on its body and a lemon yellow little tail. I want that fish and so..I will call Air China and ask them what needs to be done if i need to take a pair of fish to India :)

At first i thought i'll just put them in a bottle and then put it in my baggage. But let's see. I'd better ask them once. Also i have decided to buy 2 aquariums for myself as i got them for real cheap. The problem would only be carrying them. Need to go back there again and show Rajat the place :) And also patao him to buy me the fish and 2 aquariums! ;)


Shanghai Diaries Day 4 - 9th March 2011


As usual, sent him off to office, set for another hour again and then got ready to leave again !
Today's Agenda "The French Connection". Finally he got me SIM yesterday from China Mobile which had Internet working on it.
GPS is a life saver in cities like this, where people don’t understand what you say and sometime you just feel so helpless.

Checked on Google Maps and found that it was only a 20mins walk from the Hotel. Xintiandi was another place which was suppose to be really nice exactly in the middle of the French Connection. Got ready and left for the place with the help of Google Maps.

At first i was heading the wrong direction. Then found the right way. When I was almost there, I realized that it was just one area or a set of streets in a locality which resembled the French City.  The trees, the roads etc. A nice sight to see and a very good place for an early morning walk (if not for the traffic). I must tell that the traffic here is very well organized, but the drivers don’t follow those rules! :) So it can be a little too irritating sometimes. Further I walked in search of Xintiangdi and was expecting it to be a building/Museum etc. But again, it was just one street with buildings which were similar to French buildings. These buildings looked beautiful, and had boutiques, hotels, spas etc within them. It dint turn out to be as expected but I won’t call it a disappointment as well.

Got back to the hotel and decided to go there in the evening again once he was back from work. The place looked even more charming in the evening. A small French city in the middle of all hose sky scrapers, Malls and lighting! :)




On Monday,
 
When Rajat's colleague told us to be really careful with people around and not to talk to them unless necessary, we realized that we were probably conned. We were upset for some time, but then thought it was ok. The tea ceremony was genuine, maybe the cost was a little too high. And because we had only smelled the tea and not tasted it we felt even worse. Anyways, things like these happen in new places. Rajat went off to work and I thought I would go to the Bund today. When i checked at the reception they said it was 30mins walk.

I walked and walked on Nanjing Road, Malls everywhere. I happened to get into one shop which said fresh food every day. Was looking for vegetables as we needed some for dinner. I went in to see so many different kind of non-veg food that i cant even think of. They looked like worms and I dunno what else. Felt soo pukish that i dint go back in again!

One of the others stores i walked into was a children's mall. A  storied building with only stuff for kids of all ages. The top most floors was for the toys...and they were amazing. Although not a kid i was so fascinated looking at them and felt like buying everything! But i did not cause i dint have so much money with me :) But one thing is for sure..I am getting myself the biggest remote control hummer available!! Apart from the real look alike baby and the remote control plane/glider! ;)

Was so tired of walking that i decided to come back. The bund was postponed to tomorrow and so walked back to the hotel. The rest of the day was the usual..For which i have officially come, cook and laundry :)

Tuesday 8th March,

The jet lag's still there. I wake up make breakfast for him and then go back to sleep for another 2 hrs. Same at night..I go to sleep 2 hrs late.
Again I set out at 11am and decided i will make it to the bund at any cost. Walked and walked as yesterday on Nanjing Road. Din’t get into any of the stores today. After 40mins of walking finally reached the Bund! There was newly married couple shooting pictures in their wedding dress with a professional photographer on the main street. Someone said its very common here.

Got on to the Bund and it was beautiful. Sat there for a while took some rest, clicked some pics and then started back again. This time I found a couple of cool underground grey markets. They had awesome stuff, an original Tissot watch for 3k, I phone 4g for 1.5k :), remote control toys for a very descent price and many others. Was tempted to buy many things but I decided I will do some survey before i buy. I could get it for better price in some other market.

Noted all the prices, just bought a woolen stole for both of us as it gets really cold during the evening and got back to the room.
Again in the evening once Rajat was home, we decided to go to the Bund again and check out the night view. This time, no walking. We used a slow tram which charged us 2Yuan per head. And guess what, The bund looked a million times better than what it was in the morning! It was Awesome! Visited the same grey market on our way back again and then back to the hotel.

Made potato stir fry with Indian Masala, everything was good except that the potatoes were sweet :P

End of day 2 & 3.

Akshata Karna