Tag archives: olympics

Day 13, Silk factory, Nanjing Road & Acrobatic show

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The second day in Shanghai was also full of activities. In the morning we visited a Silk factory. This is a government owned/run factory and silk shop. We were given information and demonstration about silk making. The interesting thing is that there are two type of cocoon, single and double. As expected the double cocoon is very large compared to a single cocoon. The double cocoon is processed differently. It is not turn into silk threads but stretched into a big sheet of raw silk material. Multiple sheets are then used to generate layered material for quilts. We bought a few of those silk quilts.

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After the factory, we went to Nanjing Road shopping center. Similar to Wangfujing Street in Beijing, Nanjing Road is the premier shopping area in Shanghai. We actually didn’t do much actual shopping at all. We were tired of shopping 😉 We did see some other folks from our tour group bought extra luggages. I suppose they needed the extra space for all the stuff they had been shopping while in China. Nanjing road is a very long walking road and we didn’t get to walk the entire road since it was then time to return to the bus.

Next on itinerary was a visit to Pudong. Yesterday we had a view of Pudong from the west side from the Bund and when we were on the cruise. Today we crossed over to Pudong. The buses went through a tunnel under the Huangpu river to get to the other side. The buses parked nearby the Pearl TV Tower. We walked around the area and took some pictures. We also went to a shopping mall to window shopping.

After dinner, we went to watch the Shanghai Acrobatic Show. It was a good show, nothing spectacular. For me, I was ready to head back to the hotel and pack for the trip back home.

Pictures: Day 13 album

Day 12, Yu Garden, The Bund & Evening Illumination Cruise

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First day in Shanghai is full of activities. After breakfast, we headed out to our tour buses. That’s where we saw buses carrying the kids from the train station arriving at the hotel. Our first destination for the morning was the Yu (Yuyuan) Garden. The garden was built 400 years ago by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan’s parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age. The garden is actually located in the middle of the old Chinese City. The locals call it “China Town” because the existence of classical Chinese buildings in the are is a minority compared to the rest of young and modern buildings that make up the majority of Shanghai.

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The next destination on this first day in Shanghai was the Bund. The Bund is a waterfront area along the western side of Huangpu river. This place is one of the most famous tourist destination in Shanghai. The most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 52 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower can be seen on the opposite side and also the Jin Mao Tower.

At the end of the Bund’s tour, we were taken to a Tea tasting house.  There we had the chance to taste various tea flavors such as jasmine, ginseng, lychee, black tea, etc.  The place also housed a collection of big, delicate and expensive jade fixtures.

After about an hour rest at the hotel, we were treated to a dinner at a unique ethnic food from a southern part of China.  The interior design of the restaurant and the dresses wore by the staff reminded us of those from Thailand/Burma.  We are also getting some entertainment at this restaurant.  There were live music and some ethnic dances performed on the stage in the middle of the restaurant.  The food was just OK though.

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The hilite for the evening, or the day for that matter, was the Evening Illumination Cruise on the river.  The Bund at night is so beautiful.  Buildings are lighted.  Boats and the piers are lighted.  Big screens and electronic billboards are bright.  It’s an awesome 45 minutes boat ride on the river.  Please check out the pictures we took from this cruise.

Pictures: Day 12 album

Day 10, Silk Market, Opening Ceremony & Peking Duck Banquet

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This morning we took the shuttle bus and went to, once again, the silk market. We wanted to purchase a few more souvenirs and gifts to bring back home. We had already went to the silk market on day 5, after the Tiananmen performance. The six floors building has everything to sell, from fake brand name clothing, shoes, watches, silks, jades, electronics, etc. There is a restaurant on the sixth floor and that’s where we had our lunch. On the outside, there were plenty of places to eat too. The most important element, the fun element, of shopping at this place is the haggling from the sales girls and the bargaining work you need to do. We were fortunate that our companion on the tour, Kenneth and Lei, speak the language and are experts in bargaining 😉 They helped us getting the best deal we could get at the silk market.

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08.08.08 08:08 PM. That’s the precise date and time the 2008 Olympic officially began. I’m sure you all know why the Chinese selected that particular time to open the summer games. Most, if not all, of you must have also watched the opening ceremony, somewhere. It was a spectacular show and full of excitement. For us, we got to watch the opening ceremony on big screens that were setup around the dining hall (Cocktail Garden in Grand Epoch City) while dining on authentic Chinese dish, Peking Duck. Unfortunately, as much as how great that might sound, the reality was we had bad, tasteless dishes. Furthermore, the sound system in the hall was so terrible that we could not hear a thing. There was just too much echo. We returned to our hotel room as soon as we finished dinner and continued watching the opening ceremony on TV. The bad dining hall experience did not, however, diminish, our impression of the awesome ceremony.

Pictures: Day 10 Album

Day 9, a day at the Water Park

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While the kids had their first full day of tour in Beijing, we, the parents, are supposed to be relaxing and doing nothing much today. There was an optional tour for us that would cost about US$ 75/person. We didn’t think that would be worth it, therefore, we decided to just spend the day relaxing and resting at the hotel. It turned out to be trully and excellent choice. We had fun for the day at the Grand Epoch City that was literally empty and quiet for the enjoyment of a few of us.

One of the facility in Grand Epoch City that we had not have the chance to experience was the ‘indoor’ Water Park. It’s a coincidence that right after lunch, we met Victoria and she provided us with VIP treatment for the day. Victoria was the hotel’s customer relation supervisor. She arranged for us a ride from the hotel to the Water Park and back (otherwise about 20 minutes walk each way). 4 of us went for the water park. My wife with 3 others were personally escorted by Victoria for a tour of the city’s beautiful and grandeur Da’an temple.

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The water park was empty and we practically owned the park while we were there. There were only 6 customers of the park at that time. Prianka, her friend Kayna, Kayna’s dad and I. The other two were the wife of Brad McDavid’s and their son. Brad was one of the band’s director. He is from the University of Washington in Seattle.

My wife enjoyed the visit to the temple. She said it was magnificent. The temple was beatiful and full of huge, gold colored, statues. Unfortunately we did not have pictures of those statues since I had the camera with me at the water park.

Also, tonight we had the chance to go out and view the beautifully lighted Epoch City’s buildings.

Pictures: Day 9 album.

Day 8, Tianjin performance and soccer game

This morning we started a little slow. There was nothing scheduled until early lunch at 11am. At 12 though, everybody rushed into their waiting buses and ready to leave for Tianjin. We were informed there were 54 buses and all. Today was also rather very special for us. We received VIP treatment by having police squad cars giving escorts to our bus convoy. The road ahead of us was closed and traffic was held off so the convoy could get to Tianjin as quickly as possible, together and safely. Here’s a video clip of the bus ride and the arrival at Tianjin that I put up on youtube:

The first destination in Tianjin was the Cultural Square where the Olympic Orchestra performed. The three hubs took turn to show off their individual numbers. In the end the entire group performed their combined routine which began with the percussion show case and followed by the Olympic theme music. Here’s is the video clip:

[flashvideo filename=http://daudfam.net/flash/tianjin.flv /]

The official site of Beijing 2008 Olympics has an article about this performance: http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/official/preparation/n214514166.shtml

At the end of the performance, everybody was fed with boxed Big Macs … what an original treat, in China 😉

Next destination in Tianjin was the Tianjin Olympic Center which is a 80,000 seats football/soccer stadium. We were treated to an exciting woman soccer match between China and Sweden. The stadium was full of red color wore and waved by Chinese supporters. They were so loud and a lot of fun to watch. China won the game with a 2-1 score. There were a couple of things we wished could have been better. One was the weather. It was steamy hot in that stadium. I swear we each lost a couple of pounds, easily, in the end. It was like staying in the steam room for a few hours. The other complain we had was the smoke from cigarettes. Try going into the men’s room, you’d have a difficulty breathing and looking any further than two feet because the room is full of smoke, no kidding!

Pictures: Day 8 album.