June 1-5, 2009
In Florida I am surrounded by rain.
In Brazil David is surrounded by girls.
Watcharee and I had lunch with Stephani at Smith & Jones (*), a new restaurant on Las Olas. The food is excellent. Stephani had the Chicken Caesar Salad; Watcharee ordered the pulled pork and I went for the steak.
Oh, and we all shared a flat bread with mushrooms and balsamic vinegar.
(*) The restaurant also has a nice web site: http://www.smithandjones.us/
My friend, Dan, from Shanghai and Taipei sent this piece about a city that we both love very much: Shanghai.
Shanghai-The Oriental Pearl
Shanghai, Hu for short, is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 20 million people. Located on China's central eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality of the People's Republic of China with province-level status. In China there is a saying that "Xian has witnessed 2,000 years of history, Beijing has witnessed 1,000 years of history while Shanghai bears witness to the last 100 years." For anyone who is interested in the history of modern China, Shanghai serves as an ideal starting point. Regarded as the "Oriental Pear", the city has a unique and important place in modern China and its rich heritage is worthy of exploration.
Shanghai began as a fishing village in the 11th century, but by the mid-18th century it was an important area for growing cotton and by the 1800s it was becoming the largest city in China. Foreigners came into Shanghai due to foreign trade after the Opium Wars. The British, along with the Americans and French, were allowed to live in certain territorial zones without being under the Chinese laws. As a result of all the foreigners, Shanghai became greatly influenced by Western culture, but things changed dramatically after Communism took over. The city flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business by the 1930s. After the Economic reforms in 1990, with its advantaged natural conditions, rapid development and splendid oriental culture, Shanghai became one of the busiest cargo port in the world and was famed as the 'Oriental Paris' and attracted many entrepreneurs and established businesses. Split in two by the Huangpu River with the older town on the west bank known as Puxi and the brand new development on the east side being Pudong , this city is an emerging tourist destination.
Having suffered the ravages of war, turmoil and economic crisis, the fortunes of Shanghai have been revived thanks to the great Reform and Opening Up since 1978. Now it is often regarded as the center of finance and trade in mainland China. Modern development began with the economic reforms in 1992, a decade later than many of the Southern Chinese provinces, but since then Shanghai quickly overtook those provinces and maintained its role as the business center in mainland China. Shanghai also hosts the largest share market in mainland China. Over 300 of the world's top 500 enterprises have opened branches in Shanghai, while many have their research and development centers or headquarters there. Pudong New Area has developed in just five years, and Lujiazui in Pudong has become one of the foremost world class financial and trade zones in Asia. Skyscrapers such as Jinmao Tower and Shanghai Global Financial Center dominate the skyline, while landmark constructions like Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Pudong International Airport and Shanghai International Convention Center offer the finest and best of modern facilities.
Shanghai has many attractions in the downtown area, including Huangpu River, the Bund, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden, Xin Tian Di and the special old streets and lanes. Besides, there are places in the vicinity of Shanghai well worth a visit such as Zhou Zhuang Water Town. Also in the big Yangtze delta economic circle, Suzhou and Hangzhou are the other beautiful destination to visit. In Hangzhou, you will enjoy the natural scenic spots such as the West Lake; and in Suzhou, you will see traditional Chinese gardens built inside houses of typical traditional architectural style of South China.
Shanghai continues to develop at an amazing speed. It will host the World Expo in 2010, after hosting the football preliminary of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, both of which offer the means to introduce Shanghai to yet more people worldwide.
Does this upside down photograph of my pool make it look like a dirty urinal?
PS: Today I received an email from Olga, my Intourist guide when I first visited the USSR in August, 1982. She and her husband are now living in America. Her husband, Andrej (who I also know), is a professor of physics at a university and Olga teaches in a high school. After, digging through old photo albums, I found what we looked like 27 years ago.
Getting a proper shower before a long sleep. (*)
(*) Hey, cars are people too!!!
PS: This is found in every home but it is very rarely used. What is it? (*)
(*) Follow the link to the answer.
Going home to Bangkok.