Tale of two Cities

Two of the renowned city of the Mainland I recently visited this summer. Their close proximity to Shanghai made it possible to visit these lovely cities which are considered the courtyards of Shanghai. In this literature you’d find out that there are more reasons of visiting them other than collecting Starbucks city mug.

Hangzhou, Epitome of Classic Chinese beauty

I knew I would be back to this city this time with no work in mine but to explore its natural beauty and what a nice thing to do the sight seeing with my Nang, my lovely wife, with me. It was a sort of our honeymoon after getting married in the Philippines and a personal conviction that when I take Nang abroad she would also see other city than Shanghai. It was good idea also to explore a realm unknown to us together and learn and love the things after.

So, I asked the office people to purchase me 2 roundtrip ticket to Hangzhou from Shanghai and vice versa (54rmb per trip) this after checking that eastern China would receive heavy rains during the weekend. We have umbrella anyway, just in case I realized. I did research about the city from the net and my paperback, wrote notes to sort of have informal itinerary in my mind.

We woke up early on that Saturday and Shanghai was gloomy and raining. The city metro from Changshu Road took us to the circular shaped Shanghai South Railway Station. The way every mode of transportation depots link close to each other is one thing I appreciate here in Shanghai. By 7.30am, we were on CRH electric train riding 150km/hr southbound to Zhejiang province.

The train ride to Hangzhou
took at least 2hrs and the Shanghai rain seemed to lost in her way and stopped trailing us. In the station, I hired this van to take us in Xihutiandi for 30rmb after desperately giving up of finding cab. In Nanshan road, I bought a city map in English in a kiosk to guide us accordingly and to spot the right and best spot to enjoy Hangzhou. We passed on this temple and slithered on pathways with lawns and flower plants along leading us to our destination… Xihu or West Lake. I have seen Nanjing’s XuanWu lake but Xihu was superbly classical and naturally blessed with scenic landscape.

While we walked on the gray pavement, with water and garden in between us, the growing willows trees on the edge lake with their branches and leaves kissing the peaceful water was quite a lovely attraction to appreciate.The pedestrian bridge and zigzag boardwalk in Chinese in their style and form were also worth to capture on frames.

After paying 40rmb for a ticket, we headed to our boat docking at Pier 1 at Lakeside Park with already 20 people on board. The wooden boat with a pagoda looking shed took us in a 10 minutes ride to Midlake Pavilion and Ruan Gong Islet, these two islands nestle in the middle of the lake and provides you
a scenery of Chinese gardens and architecture that dates back to dynasty days. What impressed me most, and I hope Nang would agree with me, was the island called Xiaoying Island with its Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, never understood what that really meant. Roaming the island covered in green and lush planting you’d see floating wooden pavilions of red, white and gray hue and concrete pathway on stilts laid out in Chinese fret pattern like.
The calm water of the pond and with the island panorama seemed to invite me to meditate, seating crossed leg, eyes closed like Buddha position and receiving the enlightenment.

We had a break, ate some light lunch whilst viewing the boats crossing the lake and further south we saw Leifing Pagoda towering mightily over the green mountain. By late noon, we took our last Xihu boat ride and headed north to the largest island called Guashan Island and with a still small amount of energy we still have, we braved enough to climb those steep slopes. Downhill, we were rewarded with a view of armies of large lotus covering the lake.

Realizing our feet and stomachs were complaining, we decided to hitch on one of those electric carts that circles Xihu. The carts passed along the Bai Causeway and many important waterfront but we made our stop in Xihutiandi. This Hangzhou’s version of Xintiandi looks cozy and gives you a feeling that you are one with nature with its chow buildings designed in glass panel walls and roofing surrounded outside with fine bamboo and greens. Eating inside the glass walls or even a walk along Xihutiandi’s esplanades is a must. We ended our day in Hangzhou sipping cold frappuccino in Starbucks that still has a good window view of the lake called Xihu.


This literature is to my wife, Nang.

A great and noble Suzhou

The idea was conceived to conquer Suzhou happened over a cup of coffee with Filipino friends two days prior. It was sort of a treat to a friend who wished to see Suzhou and who was leaving China in a week.

It was a Sunday, when I first set my foot to Suzhou. It’s a 30 minutes train ride from Shanghai and cost me 62rmb for a roundtrip. Before noon there were already crowds of people in the rail depot not to mention the locals who were offering some transport service that to rent for a day. But we opted to ride in this modern rickshaw that can carries two passengers for 20 rmb. Our chauffeurs headed us in Dong Bei Jie our first destination.

The Suzhou Museum is a new attraction of the city and houses few artifacts mostly from Qing and Ming dynasty period but the building was an architectural wonders of its own designed by infamous architect Ieoh Ming Pei (). The museum of white and gray was very modern and very minimal in design but still seemed to embrace stay loyal to Suzhou and Chinese tradition. I personally like the hallway ceiling in wooden slots over a glass skylight. Meanwhile the stone wave on the back draft of a big white wall was amazing but I felt some Japanese style there. The entrance to the museum was free and the fully air conditioned interior was a refuge from the scorching heat outside.

The tour of Suzhou would not be complete
without riding a Chinese galley that slithers on the city’s dynasty old canals. The 40minutes galley ride was quite an experience seeing these old houses along and arch stone bridges who bare witness to the silk trade in the old days. When noon came, we ate Chinese lunch fried rice and dried noodles in this cozy bridge like restaurant over the city’s canal.

Because it’s a peak season we paid 70rmb to enter to a World Heritage Site called The Humble Administrator's Garden. It was grand, green and luxuriant. There were numerous pavilions, ponds with lily pads and maze like paths that seem endless to walk at.

We ended the tour visiting the pedestrian lane called Gong Xiang Jie. Here we paid homage to Starbucks and bought a city mug. We rested for a while near the yellow gold wall temple of Xuanmiao until we realized its time to say goodbye to this Chinese noble city.


out of words 02: the climbing

Out of Words is this. Since the mainland is barring me updating my Multiply, I'll make a blogger a venue to post some pictures I took that deserve a space other than my desktop. With this way also, I can excuse myself from sloth in writing yet ubiquitous and prtentiously busy in blogging and loving the cyberspace.
Anyways, I was browsing my pictures folder and stumbled on this one I took in Chengdu late June. I just love the angle.


Huizhou, just Huizhou

I reached Huizhou last Friday one of the Guandong Province cities. It’s a 2 hour away drive from Shenzhen Airport (yes Hongkong is closer but pity it’s not the destination) because it was another one of business trip I did not see much of the city except from the window of the van. Pity again. Getting to Huizhou’s meant passing these mountains with slope now cladded by rip rap stones or reinforced concrete preventing erosion on thoroughfares. Likewise adjacent to plants and factories you'd see box like medium rise dwellings, painted in pastel colors of yellow and beige. I guessed these house the Chinese migrant workers that building and modernizing Shenzhen or Guangzhou. Huizhou has its own lake named West Lake, yes like the one in Hangzhou complete with a tower pavilion and causeway for a fine scenery. Huizhou was by far the most southern most Chinese city I have been, or was it Shenzhen? And they speak Cantonese here that made me lost in translation again in meetings or even ordering sandwiches for a late night chow. When darkness fell, I felt Huizhou slept early. No Starbucks city mug souvenir this time just a memory of travel and lots of wishful thinking.


He Met The Walrus

i am posting this video i got from you tube the animation really is awesome and the John's preaching still a challenge to all of us. Amen!


Towering Thoughts

Well some office really have the best view one could ask for and this one on the 24th floor in East Zhong Shan rd, were we had today's unscheduled meeting meets the criteria. Hope by this time you'd realized that the author corporate nest is too ordinary. The client's office is not that luxurious and it's space just manageable but it gives you a good look of Huang Pu River and Pudong skyline which is dominated by the towering heights of Jin Mao and the Shanghai World Finnancial Center which is scheduled to be finished and inaugurated this month.
But a month before SFWC announced completion, already the edifice was dwarfed by the so called "Dragon" or Shanghai Center, the winning design skyscraper by an American firm called Gensler and was given a green light to be built in Lujiazui finnancial district. The twisting Dragon is said to be the highest man made structure in China rising at 580 metres and has a great chance to be the second tallest building after Dubai's Burj unless someone proposed another that would out height the two. Wow!the scale!

Anyway, I fancy that by that time I would have a room with a perfect view and these buildings included or maybe a desktop image in my pc would be enough at least I can change them as my mood requires it.
Or maybe I'll just go to sleep to halt this daydreaming.