Shenzhen’s New Airport Terminal

Leave a comment


I lifted this article from The Nanfang. Its author is Kevin McGeary.

 

Check out these photos of Shenzhen’s futuristic new airport terminal

Posted: 11/1/2013 11:00 am

The new terminal C at Shenzhen Bao’an Airport will open on November 28. Shenzhen Daily says 83,000 passengers are expected on the first day.

The airport will close at 10 p.m. on November 27 as final preparations are made for the opening of the new terminal which will be more than twice the size of terminals A and B combined.

Metro Line 11, the future airport express line, couldn’t be finished in time for the opening of the new terminal.

Metro riders who take the Luobao Line to the airport will need to take free shuttle buses to the terminal’s General Transportation Center after they get off the Metro at Airport East Station. The shuttle trip takes about 30 minutes, airport authorities said.

The new terminal’s Wi-Fi system will be able to handle simultaneous use by up to 3,000 people.

Here are some images of the new terminal, courtesy of Gizmodo:

The interior of the terminal, which was designed by Italian company Fuksas

The gateway is designed to look like a manta ray and stretches for almost 1.5 km.

Natural light pierces through the honeycomb design on the roof

The supporting columns of the interior are designed to give the place the feel of a cathedral

Advertisements

Mooncake Nirvana

Leave a comment


I have a fondness for sweets. I like anything sweet from candy to cake to pie to ice cream. The only thing sweet I don’t enjoy are drinks because they don’t quench my thirst.

Now it is mooncake season. It seems that most people, both Chinese and foreigners, don’t enjoy mooncakes, but I do. I’ve been dropping hints that if anyone gets unwanted mooncakes they would be welcomed by me.

By this morning my begging was largely ignored. I’d only gotten three mooncakes and a small piece of another given to me in a café.

I’ve read that mooncakes are not selling well this year because corrupt government officials have not been buying them to display their wealth. But I don’t know any government officials, so that isn’t the problem in my case.

Then this afternoon, a Chinese friend gifted me the mooncake mother load, a large box of mixed kinds of mooncakes. I am very happy. In fact I’ll be hard pressed to eat them all before the 19th when I return to America.

DSCN0564

I’ve already eaten three of them. One had a strawberry filling, another gape, and the third was peach.

DSCN0560

When I get a gift, I like to see how much it cost. It’s a way of finding out what the giver thought of me. There is a Vanguard grocery store a few blocks from my house. Am looking forward to going to see how much the same or a comparable box of mooncakes cost.

Chinese Tourists

Leave a comment


An edited version of this piece was published in Shenzhen Daily on September 9, 2013.

 

There has been a rash of news stories lately about bad behavior of Chinese tourists abroad. They are criticized for being rude, loud, poor tippers, and generally obnoxious. Most of the criticism, it seems, comes from other Chinese who are embarrassed by the behavior of their countrymen. Some call it uncivilized behavior.

I disagree. If a Chinese person disrupts a restaurant by talking too loud, it doesn’t mean he’s uncivilized. It means he talks too loud, nothing more. If a Chinese fails to leave a gratuity it means there is no tipping in China and the practice was unfamiliar to the tourist.

It was reported in Xinhua that Vice Premier Wang Yang called on the nation’s tourists to improve their behavior, stressing it was important to project a “good image”

Wang went on to call certain Chinese tourists uncivilized. “They make a terrible racket in public places, scrawl their names on tourist sites, ignore red lights when crossing the road and spit everywhere. This damages our national image…” He ignored Chinese culture in this statement.

By now most people have heard the story of a 15-year-old Chinese boy who scratched his name into a 3,500-year-old temple in Egypt’s Luxor. The incident created a furor worldwide, especially in China, unlike some of the more minor offences. But it hardly means that all Chinese are anxious to damage ancient relics. It was no more than poor behavior by an individual.

To help tourists understand how to best behave while out of the country, the central government has issued guidelines on its main website. Subjects include dressing properly, queuing up and not shouting.

There was another story in the news recently about an American tourist breaking the finger off a 600 year old statue in Florence. Was breaking the statue an example of uncivilized behavior? Of course it was. Does that mean all American tourists are uncivilized? Of course not.

Money is the great un-equalizer, and according to an unsigned article that appeared in the British publication, The Corner, 83 million Chinese travelers spent US$102 billion last year (up 40 percent from 2011) making them the most lavish spending of travelers.

Many people think if they pay money for goods or services, it gives them the right to be demanding or abusive. Undoubtedly this attitude is not a strictly Chinese trait.

Once I was in the Budapest factory store of Herend, a famous Hungarian manufacturer of fine porcelain and china. A group of Japanese tourists came in at the same time. One man collected tea cups and wanted to buy one. The clerk told him they were only available as a cup and saucer set. She wasn’t allowed to sell just the cup. After ranting loudly for a few minutes, the man bought the set. Then he proceeded to smash the saucer on the floor before storming out of the shop with the cup only.

Did this mean all Japanese tourists are obnoxious slobs? Absolutely not. Most members of his group seemed embarrassed by his behavior. All it means this one guy was a poor representative of his country. There are examples of poor behavior to be found everywhere.

In Paris visitors from China are told by a sign outside the Louvre Museum (now reportedly removed) written in Chinese characters, they can not urinate or defecate wherever they want inside the museum.

Yong Chen, tourism researcher at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said most “bad” tourists don’t intend to be “bad.” They are just being themselves. He went on to point out that their knowledge of the destination country and its culture is often outdated or completely non-existent.

Another researcher, Liu Simin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, arrogantly noted that, “Objectively speaking, our tourists have relatively low-civilized characters.”

Bad behavior involving Chinese tourists doesn’t all go one way. In the news recently was a story of some Chinese who were shaken down for money in Cambodia. There was another story of a Chinese student being charged more that $4,000. USD for a taxi ride in Chicago. And there are always a few stories of Chinese tourists or students being crime victims.

On a personal level, I’ve done things in foreign countries that I’m not proud of. In most cases they were a result of lack of knowledge, but a couple of times I was purposely a bad ambassador for my country and acted like a spoiled, petulant child.

Once I was turned away at a busy restaurant in Amsterdam. The only empty tale they had seated four people. I was alone. I whined, complained, and generally acted childish to the hostess for not seating me. Later I regretted my behavior, though by then it was too late.

Most People who work in the tourism industry understand that all people are not alike, and don’t expect everyone to act the same. They instinctively realize the best way end bad Chinese behavior is for more Chinese to travel.

As Wang Wanfei, a tourism professor at Zhejiang University, noted, “Travelling is a learning experience for tourists. (Chinese tourists) learn how to absorb local culture in the process (of traveling), and get rid of their bad tourist behavior.”

Pussy Riot

Leave a comment


Three days ago I stopped in a café about 15:00 to read my newspapers and drink a cold beer before returning home. There were 20, maybe 25 tables in the cafe, and only one other was occupied.

Then a few girls came in and sat down. Then a few more. Then a few more. They didn’t come in like an organized group. Sometimes one or two came in together, then a group of six, then a few minutes later maybe four came in. Soon every table in the café was filled.

I think they sent the lunch hour employees home about 14:00, so there was just the manager, the assistant manager and one waitress on duty in the dining room. From what I could see there was one cook in the dumpling/pancake making station and one, maybe two other cooks in the kitchen.

With this skeleton crew on duty, the café was unprepared to handle the full house they suddenly had. Everyone was yelling and running around trying to get things under control. Most of the women seemed pleasant and didn’t complain about the slow service.

I couldn’t figure out who these women were. Guessing, they seemed to range in age from their early 20s to mid 30s. They didn’t wear name tags or appear to have a leader. Whatever type of group it was seemed to be very informal.

I tried asking a few who they were, but none of the four or five I approached spoke English. Since it was raining when I left the house, I didn’t carry my camera that day, unfortunately.

I decided to give up my table so the café could seat people there who would spend more than my 6 RMB. I moved to an empty outside table.

There is a small café next to the one where I was. Once outside, I saw it was filled with women too. Next to it is a fairly large hot pot place, also overflowing with women.

Slowly the women finished their meals and began drifting out of the restaurants. They headed down the street to the left. Looking, I didn’t see tour busses or anything unusual. The women kind of dissolved into the street scene after a few blocks.

The next day I put my camera in my pocket and went back to the same café at the same time, but there was no pussy riot that day. Maybe I’ll go back again today, just in case.

First Steps

Leave a comment


There is a small café I like to visit every two or three weeks. The food isn’t great, but is OK. The thing I like about it is everyone, from the owners, to the managers, to the help, are extremely friendly.

DSCN0530

I’ve been stopping there for years. The managers  are a husband and wife team. They have a son who is about 8-10 years old who is always there.

A couple of years ago the wife got pregnant. She popped out a baby girl. Since they keep the baby with them at the café,  I’ve been an observer of the baby since her birth.

DSCN0537

Like her parents, the baby is very friendly. Her mother usually brings her by my table where we high five a few times. She always smiles and laughs.

Last week the baby took a few steps on her own. She was a year and three months old.

DSCN0540

It’s been interesting to follow the baby’s progress from birth to toddler. I think I’ve enjoyed watching because I missed much of my son’s early years as I cared too much about work. Going to a Little League ball game or taking him and a few friends to a movie was an imposition. Now that it’s too late, I deeply regret not spending more time together.

DSCN0538

I rationalized my inattentive parenting by telling myself that my work enabled my son to have a better life with things like private schooling, nice clothes and cars, a British nanny, and living in a big house in an excellent neighborhood. Looking at things today, I think this baby has a great life growing up with her parents and her brother in the café while learning to walk in a parking lot. Which life is better? I’m not so sure anymore.

Restaurant Review: Kagoshima Sushi

Leave a comment


Kagoshima  Sushi is located on Jingtian N. Street. It is about a 25 minute walk from my old residence. We used to eat there quite often, but since we moved it is more than an hour walk. We haven’t been there in more than a year.

Yesterday we went there for an early dinner. We walked and arrived about 16:00. There were just a few other customers in the place.

The sushi is served on a conveyor belt that goes around a large roundish bar. I enjoy the concept because you can look at the actual food instead of blindly ordering from a menu. Each dish is served on a plate that is color coded for price. The sushi chefs work in the center of the conveyor. They also have a menu with other Japanese foods.

DSCN0542

To be honest, I’m not a great lover of sushi. I find most of it tastes the same. I can’t tell the difference between a tiny silver of crab wrapped in rice with a seaweed cover from a piece of salmon, tuna, or shrimp, prepared the same way. Ultimately the pieces get dipped in a soy, ginger,  and wasabi dip that becomes the dominate flavor. If someone declared I could never have sushi again, I wouldn’t retire to my bed, weeping into the pillow.

Between us we picked seven plates of sushi from the conveyor, plus we ordered a bowl of noodle soup and a plate of French fries from the menu. I had a bottle of Japanese beer.

DSCN0546

The sushi was good. My favorite was the smoked eel because I could actually taste the eel. My least favorite was the tempura shrimp because it wasn’t served hot. The other dishes tasted like the soy/wasabi/ginger concoction described above. Since I find it hard to judge sushi by flavor, I judge it by presentation. This sushi was extremely well made, neat, and presented in an appetizing way.

Sea ate most of the noodle soup. I tasted a spoon full of broth. It was rich and flavorful with a touch of miso in the background.

Surprisingly, my favorite dish was the French fries. They were freshly made, not frozen, and while cooked maybe 30 seconds too long, they were still excellent.

I asked the chef if the recent ChinaJapan friction had affected his business, but because of language difficulties, we never really connected.

Sea has a discount card, so the bill came to RMB142 after a small reduction. Not bad. We were so full we took a taxi home instead of walking.

The restaurant earned 4 out of 5 stars on the prestigious Kirtley scale.

The Dreaded Learning Curve

Leave a comment


I recently bought a new laptop. It is a mid-range HP with Windows 8. It’s now four months later and I still haven’t mastered the Windows 8 operating system.

If have more than one window open, it will suddenly switch from the window I’m using to another window that I’m not using. I have to manually  switch back. Extremely annoying.

It has a crappy word processing program with poor spell check, no word count, and a few other annoyances. I think Microsoft wants to sell its Office Suite which supposedly has an excellent word processor. I partially overcame this problem by installing Windows Live Writer from my old computer. But it doesn’t work exactly the same in the Windows 8 environment.

It has all sorts of little messages that pop-up to tell me it went offline, should it allow a pop-up from a certain sit to be viewed, etc. I’d like to figure out how to turn them off permanently. In Vista these annoying messages had boxes you could check if you didn’t want to see them again

One especially annoying feature are little weather messages that appear in the upper right corner of the screen. At 11:25 today one came up that said I should expect rain at 12:00. It is now 12:30, and there isn’t a rain cloud to be seen. That thing has never successfully predicted rain, and it has never popped-up before an actual storm. I’d love figure out how to disable it.

I get a lot of useless messages from Norton Security that appear in the lower right corner of my screen, mostly telling me its doing its job. They make me want to uninstall Norton and take my chances with viruses and spyware.

I can’t get the Favorites bar to work correctly. When I want to open a program I can’t get it to open in a new tab. It will only open over an already open tab, making it disappear.

The F5 key (Refresh) doesn’t work correctly. It turns the keyboard backlight off and on. It doesn’t refresh. Instead I have to open View and scroll down to Refresh and manually hit it.

I feel most if not all of these complaints can be addressed by someone who understands Windows 8 better than I. But until I muddle my way to the solutions, I pine away for my old Windows Vista operating system.

The same day I bought the new p.c. I bought a Samsung Galaxy tablet. It got the 7 inch version because it will fit in my pants pocket. I don’t like carrying bags or backpacks when I’m out.

The had two versions, one was locked into Verizon Mobile service, the other one was unlocked. I bought the unlocked model, thinking I could get China Mobile when I returned to Shenzhen.

Of course that didn’t work. Sea took it the China Mobile where she was told it couldn’t be converted. Now it sits next to my new laptop where I use it to play an occasional game, read a bit of news, or check email. That isn’t why I bought it.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: