Saturday, 12 April 2008

Airport Service Quality Awards 2007


The Airports Council International recently announced the Airport Service Quality Awards 2007 winners, in Shanghai.

Here are the results:

1) Incheon, South Korea
2) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3) Singapore
4) Hong Kong
5) Central Japan (NGO)


1) Johannesburg, South Africa
2) Cape Town, South Africa
3) Durban, South Africa
4) Nairobi, Kenya

1) Incheon, South Korea
2) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3) Singapore
4) Hong Kong
5) Central Japan (NGO)

1) Oporto, Portugal
2) Zurich, Switzerland
3=) Helsinki, Finland
3=) Munich, Germany
5) Southampton, UK

Latin America & Caribbean
1) Guayaquil, Ecuador
2) San José, Costa Rica
3) Mexico City, Mexico
4) Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
5) Curaçao, Antilles

Middle East
1) Tel Aviv, Israel
2) Doha, Qatar
3) Abu Dhabi, UAE
4) Muscat, Oman

North America
1) Dallas Fort Worth, USA
2) Halifax, Canada
3) Ottawa, Canada
4) San Diego, USA
5) Detroit Metropolitan, USA


fewer than 5 million passengers
1) Halifax, Canada
2) Ottawa, Canada
3) Guayaquil, Ecuador
4) Porto, Portugal
5) Cairns, Australia

5 – 15 million passengers
1) Central Japan (NGO)
2) Tel Aviv, Israel
3) Auckland, New Zealand
4) Christchurch, New Zealand
5) Adelaide, Australia

15 – 25 million passengers
1) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2) San Diego, USA
3) Zurich, Switzerland
4) Vancouver, Canada
5) Melbourne, Australia

25 – 40 million passengers
1) Incheon, South Korea
2) Singapore
3) Detroit Metropolitan, USA
4) Minneapolis St. Paul, USA
5) Munich, Germany

over 40 million
1) Hong Kong
2) Dallas Fort Worth, USA
3) Denver, USA
4) Houston George Bush, USA
5) Amsterdam, Netherlands


That second part got me interested in the 'size' (number of passengers annually) of certain airports so I looked it up (all are approximate numbers of course).

The order changes a bit depending on sources but the busiest international airports are:

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - 84,846,639
2. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago) - 77,028,134
3. Heathrow Airport (London) - 67,530,197
4. Haneda Airport (Tokyo) - 65,810,672
5. Los Angeles International Airport - 61,041,066
6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport - 60,226,138
7. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport - 56,849,567
8. Frankfurt Airport - 52,810,683
9. Beijing Capital International Airport - 48,654,770
10. Denver International Airport - 47,325,016
11. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) - 46,193,329
12. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - 46,065,719
13. Madrid Barajas Airport - 45,501,168
14. Hong Kong International Airport - 43,857,908
15. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York City) - 43,762,282
16. Bangkok International Airport - 42,799,532
17. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston) - 42,550,432
18. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport - 41,436,737
19. Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey) - 36,724,167
20. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport - 35,972,673
21. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport - 35,612,133
22. Singapore Changi Airport - 35,033,083
23. Narita International Airport (Tokyo) - 34,975,225
24. Orlando International Airport - 34,640,451
25. London Gatwick Airport - 34,172,492
26. San Francisco International Airport - 33,574,807
27. Miami International Airport - 32,533,974
28. Philadelphia International Airport - 31,768,272
29. Toronto Pearson International Airport - 30,972,577
30. Munich Airport - 30,757,978

More airports/stats here.

(From what I can gather Shanghai Pudong: 20+ million, Sydney Kingsford Smith: 29 million)

Interesting fact:

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
The worlds busiest domestic-only airport until service began to Tokyo in October 2007. It only handles 19.3 million passengers, but only defeated Chicago Midway International Airport by around 0.5 million passengers. The international passenger services are served by Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which handles around 60% of the traffic within Shanghai. It is 15th busiest in Asia and 62nd busiest in the world.

China.. Tibet.. Boycotting the Olympic Games in Beijing

It seems like every man and his dog has an opinion on this big news event, as so I may as well add my 2 cents.

First of all I'll start by saying that I agree that what China did to Ti-bet is absolutely appalling, as well as their hideous track record/history of issues relating to hum-an rights. For me, a few years ago, I saw some posters in Hong Kong (Tsim Tsa Tsui) of what the Chinese government did to people who were found to be practising F-a-lun-G-o-ng (writing it like that in case my blog gets blocked). Those images will stay with me for life. I actually started crying (in public, at the ferry terminal!) because I was so shocked, saddened and disgusted at their treatment of fellow human beings. Every time I think about it I feel really really SICK.

Anyway, back to the topic.. how will boycotting the Olympics achieve anything? I'm more than certain the games will go ahead no matter what, and if it didn't all it would achieve is to disappoint the athletes who spend their whole lives training for this big event.

Oh, and I love how all these high and mighty people from Western countries think that THEIR country is so great and perfect, and don't have a shoddy history as well. And if you're going to boycott anything Chinese - hey, you may as well walk around naked because I'm sure as anything the clothes you are wearing are made in China, and stop eating Chinese food and going to Chinese restaurants, and associating with Chinese people (rolleyes).. OMG.. when will this lunacy end?

I'm sorry to say I think it's just pathetic and childish.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Nanhui blossom festival report

Related post

So I trekked out with my friend yesterday for some blossom viewing. Luckily she has a driver so we had a car, but despite our best efforts it was still hard to find a concrete address or phone number of some sort. So we set off around 11am and when we go to Pudong her driver stopped the car at the red light, got out of the car and asked a taxi driver in the next lane for directions. My poor friend was cringing, and I and the taxi passengers were laughing at his antics, as he did this over and over again!

So, after almost 2 hours we finally arrived there, in the town where Ang Lee filmed "Lust Caution".

We were pretty hungry by the time we arrived so we ate at the restaurant which happened to be there too, and sampled some local dishes. My friends is a vegetarian and I wanted to play it safe so ordered mostly vegetarian dishes too. We also invited her driver to eat with us, he didn't think he was supposed to.

After a hearty lunch of very healthy simple Chinese food we paid the entrance fee (30 RMB) and set off in search of blossoms.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned yesterday, the stupid recent crappy weather has blown many many petals off the poor blossoms so they looked very naked. :( boohoo.

Firstly we went inside the mini museum they had set up inside a straw hut. It showed various primitive implements used in farming and outfits and stuff like that. It was interested but we didn't stay long because we realised the performances on stage would be ending soon so we rushed off to see that...

They had various acts going on on the stage and we had a look at that. It was a weekday so there weren't that many people there...

The stage

Lion dancing

Long dragon


I said to my friend - is that christmas tree foil cut-outs on those straw hats? hahaha

Elderly ladies watching

Bee on blossom

Fields of peach blossom trees

Fields of yellow rapeseed flowers

There were little old ladies selling vegetables, tadpoles, etc. There were also people selling guinea pigs and they tried to tell us they were rats or rabbits. What the-? We didn't believe them though. But it's not like they were lying, they were just very very ignorant. It was scary and funny at the same time!

There were also various tables of crafts which you could purchase - chinese paper cuts, candy that looks like it was glass blown, silhouette paper cut outs, pearl necklaces, dolls, miniature toy bikes made of wire, bone carving pendants, etc..

Cute animals made of dried grass blades (each takes 2 days to make!)

There was also the God of Marriage (I believe that's what he is) and we all threw coins into the bowl. I got mine in first go, so I hope that it means I'll have good luck or something.

I had the most amazing time yesterday. I couldn't stop laughing. It was just so funny and so much fun! I guess it helped that I had great company and perfect weather (warm, sunny, little wind, not hot and not cold).

Countering the culture shock


A good article I think. Useful if you are new to Shanghai...

LIFE for newcomers to Shanghai can be vibrant and exciting. More often than not though it is overwhelming and daunting. Luckily, help is at hand, writes Sam Riley.

While starting a new life in Shanghai can be the adventure of a lifetime, for some expats adjusting to living in China can be a difficult experience.

Crashing headlong into a totally new culture and a language they don't speak can be a daunting and sometimes alienating experience for new arrivals.

The Community Center Shanghai specializes in helping expats overcome this so-called "culture shock" by conducting a range of programs designed to make settling into life in this vibrant and exciting city easier.

As well as courses, the center conducts specifically tailored orientation programs for executives of some of the biggest multi-national companies operating in Shanghai...

The center's Puxi director Michelle Wright says it is common for new arrivals to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of performing seemingly simple tasks when they first arrive in China.

"Coming from a Western country to Asia can be very, very different and there is so much new that you are being affected by," she says.

"Traffic patterns, common courtesies are very different, for example. Even the written language is different so you don't have your normal reference points. (But) it's much easier to adjust now than it was 10 or even five years ago because there's a lot more help available.''

Wright says family members or friends of expats can recognize the symptoms of "culture shock," which include outbursts of anger or frustration with aspects of life in China. Other "culture shock" sufferers may become withdrawn and isolate themselves. In more serious cases, some even become depressed...

But the challenges and rewards of beginning a new life in a totally different environment do not stop after the first adjustment period.

Community Center Shanghai executive director Christina Showalter says many people found that after they had adjusted to life in China, a range of new opportunities for personal growth arose.

"Once they have found a circle of friends, become established, eaten in restaurants, gone shopping, been to bars, people tend to look for meaning in their lives," she says.

"People soon find there are so many opportunities for personal growth, whether that be through learning new skills or contributing to the local community."

The Community Center Shanghai will run a free half-day orientation program on Saturday. The course covers a range of topics such as getting settled, hiring household staff and managing workplace challenges.

Shanghai 123 - Orientation for New Arrivals

Date: April 12, 9:30am-2:30pm

Venue: Puxi Community Center at the Sun-Tec Medical Center, Annex Building 4/F, 2281 Hongqiao Rd

Tel: 5175-0519

Register online at

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Freakin' wind

Over the last few days it's been particularly windy and also some days it was raining too. I'm not impressed.

Yesterday I went out and I had a massive massive earache from the freezing cold strong wind.

But, even more annoying is that my beautiful blossom petals have mostly been blown off the flowers by the powerful winds :( Still, some of the stronger petals have survived...

Simpsons Ride and Krustyland at Universal Studios

This post has nothing to do with Shanghai or China...

I have no idea how I got on Fox's mailing list but anyway, I was just notified that a new Simpsons ride is due to open soon in Hollywood and Orlando, Florida.

I checked it out and it really looks like my type of thing - so much fun!

Pictures from here.

The LA Times has a couple of articles here, here, here and here.

According to sources, the new Simpsons Ride/Krustyland is taking over the Back to the Future ride, and is due to open on May 17 or 24 in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Simpsons ride creators even added a hommage to “Back to the Future” with a brief appearance by an animated Doc Brown, the mad inventor from the movie.

Visitors to the $40-million attraction enter through Krusty’s gaping mouth, walking along his unfurled squishy red tongue and swatting at a uvula punching bag hanging at the back of his throat. In the queue, posters advertise many of the Krustyland rides and attractions.

Once through the queue, visitors wait in Funhouse loading rooms before boarding the Simpsons simulator ride. An Itchy & Scratchy safety video vividly warns riders what can happen if they don’t follow the rules.

Riders climb aboard the Krustymobile via a gull wing-style door — a nod to Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine. The ride vehicle glows with garish LED lights in the blacklight-lit room.

The six-minute motion simulator ride follows the Simpsons clan as they are plucked from the crowd at the Krustiest Place on Earth to be the first family to tackle the “upsy-downsy, spins-aroundsy, teen-operated ride thrilltacular.”

Krustyland Rides

* Traumanator Roller Coaster
* Tooth Chipper Roller Coaster
* The Sea Captain’s Queasy Time Lagoon Adventure
* Radioactive Man – the Ride
* Captain Dinosaur’s Pirate Rip Off
* Screamatorium of Dr. Frightmarestein (starring Milhouse, Ralph and Cletus)
* Happy Little Elves in Panda Land
* Krusty’s Balloon Parade
* Death Drop
* Yard Work Simulator

Krustyland Shows

* Krusty’s Wet & Smokey Stunt Show
* The Isotop-ettes Musical Spectacular (starring twin sisters Patty and Selma)
* Sideshow Mel & Mr. Teeny’s Musical revue
* Impervo the Painless (starring Groundskeeper Willie)
* Madame Manjuala: The Future Looker-Atter (starring Apu’s wife)

Looks awesome. I loved Universal Studios in Japan and the Back to the Future ride but this sounds even better! I'm not a fan of those upside-down spinning twirling rides that leave me feeling very dizzy and nauseous, but Universal Studios' ride are just the best - I loved all of them!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Top 20 expat cities

Link page 1 page 2

This article from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a bit old (Aug 06) and I found it some time ago but found it again and thought I'd post some of it.

I noticed there were a lot of cities starting with "S". I seem to have an affinity with cities starting with "S" I think.

fDi picks out the 20 best places for an expatriate posting.




CAPE TOWN, South Africa



DUBLIN, Ireland



MANAMA, Bahrain






If New York is the city that never sleeps, Shanghai is the city that never stands still. The frenetic pace has become its very hallmark – from the never-ending development, to the stylishly dressed inhabitants power-walking down the streets, to the rushing influx of foreign companies establishing operations here. At the same time, traditional Chinese culture is alive and well in the city; like most Asian cities, it has a vibrant market scene where just about any goods – legally manufactured or not – are available alongside stalls preparing traditional cuisine and steam carts selling ready-to-eat food.

The pace is reflected not only in the city’s streets, but also in the business community. Conducting commerce in China has never been for the faint-hearted, and that is doubly true for Shanghai, which has a reputation as being especially Darwinistic. But like inhabitants of other rough-and-tumble capital cities, the Shanghainese would not have it any other way.

SINGAPORE, Singapore


SYDNEY, Australia


ZURICH, Switzerland

If I could live anywhere in the world I would have to rule out a lot of places due to:
1. Legalities of being able to live and work there long-term
2. Cold weather. I just cannot deal with it, esp. if it's below 5 degrees C for more than 2 months of the year. I also hate constant hot, humid weather (notably the insects that it brings).
3. Language issues. I'm up for learning a new language but it depends on how difficult the language is. I think Russian, Arabic, Polish or Finnish could be a bit of a challenge!

I could go on but of the list above the ones I could live in and would like to live in (above issues aside) are:

Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, New York, San Diego, Stockholm, Toronto or Zurich (Sydney and Shanghai obviously don't count since I've already lived there). I'm not interested in the others for reasons I won't go into here.

So... where would you live if you could live anywhere?