Thursday, 22 May 2008

Shanghai says big 'Gidday' to Sydney


SHANGHAI and Sydney, Australia's biggest city, signed an historic agreement this week that will open the door to a myriad of business opportunities.

Morris Iemma, the premier of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, revealed yesterday he had signed a "Friendship Co-operation Agreement'' with Shanghai authorities which he says will open the door to many significant possibilities.

He told more than 200 guests at the NSW Premier's China Business Mission "Gateways to the Future'' function at the Portman Ritz Carlton that this new relationship would extend to business, tourism, research, education and culture.

Mr Iemma led a 40-strong delegation of New South Wales businessmen and academics into town this week to seek out business and other opportunities in the country that is Australia's biggest trading partner.

He told guests at the function 25 different Australian companies and nine universities were represented within the delegation.

Mr Iemma said China had a long history of investment in New South Wales but the relationship between Australia and China is more than 150 years old.

More recently however Sydney and NSW had become major tourist and education destinations for Chinese people, he said.

In announcing new relationships between the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales with Chinese universities this week, he said more than 85,000 Chinese were attending educational institutions in NSW.

Meanwhile, Iemma expressed deep sympathy for victims as he pledged AU$600,000 (US$576,210) to the relief fund.

Speaking at the NSW Premier's China Business Mission function in Shanghai, Iemma said the "heartfelt sympathy" of everyone from New South Wales went out to the earthquake victims and their families.

Iemma also praised the way China had handled the earthquake crisis.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Dry dry dry

Pretty soon I'm going to have to turn on the air conditioning inside the house. I'm pretty comfortable but I find my palms being sweaty a lot. Also, the air is mega dry (not that the a/c will help with that part).

This morning I had an attack of eczema on my face again. It was twice as big as the lump posted here. When my ayi saw it she gasped in shock. Luckily it's gone down a bit now.

I just checked Yahoo weather and it's 27% humidity now at 4pm. In Beijing it's only 15% - wow!

Apparently it should be between 35-50% for comfort. Other sources say 40-70%. Personally, I find around 45-60% the most comfortable. I don't know why people keep saying that Shanghai is humid, last summer I noted that the humidity rarely went higher than 65%.

Ayis are the best

On Monday morning I went out and when I came back I had discovered my ayi occupied herself by reorganizing my wardrobe and she folded all my underpants! LOL. Noone's ever done that for me before, least of all myself. (she did it for hubby too but it doesn't look as pretty as mine ;) ) I remember seeing a Facebook group called "I miss my ayi" and I'll sure miss having one when I go home. She's like a mother only she doesn't have all the annoying qualities a mother has such as nagging.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

'PS I love you' the film

Related post


I'd been waiting for ages for this to come out on DVD and finally got it last week. I mean why watch it at the cinema when you can own a copy for just over a $1! Of course it's not as good as the book (in fact, it's nothing like the book!) but in its own right I thought it was a pretty decent film. I didn't like how Dan and Chiara were portrayed though. They seemed so stupid and Chiara was barely even needed, she didn't add anything to the film. Taking Holly's father out of the picture was a weird move too.

The DVD extras of the deleted scenes were really interesting. One of the most poignant scenes in the book is the travel agency scene (won't give too much away) and I was looking forward to seeing that in the film but it wasn't in it, however, if you see the extras you can see that they did film it but it was cut out. It's not done that well though and a bit disturbing which was probably why they took it out.

As everyone says Gerard Butler was totally right for the role of "Gerry" and totally hot in the movie, and Hilary wasn't too bad either.

I would rate it 6.5-7 / 10.

Breadtalk's Peace Panda to raise money for Sichuan / Random news

* Three day nationwide mourning period starting from yesterday at 2:28pm, exactly a week after the earthquake hit

* 61-year-old woman found after a week of being trapped, alive but had to have both legs amputated, seriously injured and delirious

* Olympic torch relay through Shanghai (originally 20-21 May) to be delayed

* Death toll nearing 50,000

* From beggars to billionaires, all donate money to support the earthquake victims

* We must not forget our poor friends in Burma, who've also suffered a great loss due to the cyclone there, and they have an even higher death toll :(

* I have to admit that since the September 11 attacks nothing has moved me as much as the Sichuan earthquake. Obviously living in China I'm being bombarded with the news and images whereas if I was in Australia I'd barely hear anything about it. I can't watch the news on tv, even a few seconds brings me to tears.


The other day I found these at Breadtalk. They are adorable! Sure they cost a bit more than the other buns (10 RMB) but half or all (can't remember and couldn't be bothered to try to read the poster, click on image to enlarge) of the proceeds go towards the Red Cross to help the earthquake victims.

They are like the anpanman (red bean inside) but with chocolate on top. I also love how all the faces are totally different. Really cute and tasty! :)

The Bund


The Bund (simplified Chinese: 外滩, pinyin: Wàitān) is an area of Huangpu District in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The area centres on a section of Zhongshan Road (East-1), which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong, in the eastern part of Huangpu District. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road, as well as some adjacent areas.
The Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. Building heights are restricted in this area.

The word "Bund" means an embankment or an embanked quay, and comes from the Urdu word band, meaning an embankment, levee or dam (a cognate of English terms, bind and band, German term, bund, etc.). "Bund" is pronounced to rhyme with "fund". "The Bund" as a proper noun almost invariably refers to this stretch of embanked riverfront in Shanghai.

The Shanghai Bund has dozens of historical buildings, lining the Huangpu River, that once housed numerous banks and trading houses from Britain, France, the U.S., Russia, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the consulates of Russia and Britain, a newspaper, the Shanghai Club and the Masonic Club. The Bund lies north of the old, walled city of Shanghai. This was initially a British settlement; later the British and American settlements were combined in the International Settlement. A building boom at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century led to the Bund becoming a major financial hub of East Asia. The former French Bund, east of the walled city was formerly more a working harbourside.

The Bund was famously featured in novel Empire of the Sun by British author J.G. Ballard, based on his experiences as a boy during World War II. The book was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg.
The Bund is a setting (and namesake) of the Hong Kong television series The Bund (1980) and film Shanghai Grand (1996). The story of both involve pre-World War II era gangsters competing for control of the Bund.

Boring intro aside, I had been planning to go and take photos at the Bund for ages but since I'd been here over a year now I thought I'd better get my butt into gear - before the hideous extreme heat of the summer comes - to take nice sunset photos. This requires a bit of planning.

I consulted this site which has sunrise and sunset times (it's excellent and has any location in the world, I've used it many times before, every photographer should have it bookmarked IMHO). So I knew that the sun would set around 6:45pm which meant that the 'golden hour' would be around 5:15-5:45pm (it is usually 1-1.5 hours before sunset). I also knew that it would totally dark at 7:19pm.

I planned to get there at 4:30-5pm but I was running a bit late plus it took way longer to walk there that I thought (from Nanjing East Road station). I just read on some website that it takes 5 mins to walk there. I don't think so!! Maybe because I was hot and tired, and carrying a tripod. I don't know. But I definitely wasn't walking slow and it took me at least 15 mins to walk to the Bund. So by the time I got there (and being peak hour there were fifty billion people and cars everywhere too!) it was already after 5:30pm. About an hour after I left home. D'oh! Oh well. Still, not too bad, I was still in the 'golden hour' period.

At the time I got there there were sooooo many people milling about, mostly tourists but some locals too I think. I had to get someone to take a photo of me (since I was by myself) and just stayed awhile admiring the beautiful view, and the interesting people at the Bund...

After a while I moved further south so I could see the World Financial Center building more clearly. When that building is completed it'll be the third tallest building in the world, and tallest in China, and taking over the Jin Mao building for the tallest building in Shanghai.

On the way I looked across the road to all the former French/British/American buildings. Unfortunately there wasn't much to see because that whole area was a massive construction zone and you coud only see the buildings unobstructed in a few certain areas of the Bund.

Then, I found 'my spot' and then waited for it to get dark. I set up my tripod (which is as tall as me, at 1.65 metres). Then of course people stopped and stared at me, but I just ignored them (you kinda learn that skill very quickly in China, or if you take as many photos as I do!) So I left my tripod up for quite a while and took photos of the Bund view over the Huangpu river to Pudong. I also took some self portraits using the 10 sec self timer (yes geeky and embarrassing! but hey they turned out great!).

I also have to mention that I had this 'idea' of doing this for so long in my head but was worried about the safety aspect. Would someone run away with my camera or my handbag? Well I was pretty much 'on guard' the whole time keeping my eye on both but I wasn't overly paranoid or fanatical about it. I just had common sense and actually I did feel really really safe. Not once did I think I was going to get bag snatched or mugged or anything like that. In fact, everyone was really friendly towards me, and just curious and interested about what I was doing/what I was taking pictures of.

I had several people ask if I could take a photo for them and I was happy to do so, and emailed it to them. I also offered to take photos for couples (with their own camera) while I sat around waiting for the sky to get dark. I think they were very grateful (and I'd appreciate the same gesture as I know how annoying it can be when you're travelling with someone else and there is never anyone around to take a picture of the both of you and if there is they have CRAP skills (blurry, off centre, tilted, head cut off, horrible composition, etc) OR there's that thougth that they might run off with your camera ala that Mr Bean episode...)

Anyway so I was actually pretty tired standing the whole time after having walked all day from morning to afternoon, only going home for about an hour or so. I was busting to go to the toilet but had to keep holding it in. Aahh the joys of being a photographer.

After it got dark, the atmosphere was beautiful. People milling about, lovers kissing under the lamplight and my favourite weather, the cool breeze of a summer night. It reminded me of Sydney and in Hawaii where even though the day time can be quite hot, the night time is just lovely with temperatures in the low 20s which is just perfect.

There were lots of people selling things (which is illegal and they'll run away when the police comes through every so often) and I bought some cute intricate ox bone carving pendants. I bargained down to 30 RMB for 2 and then I realized that I should've paid more. I felt bad because it takes 2 hours to carve one so that's 30 RMB for 4 hours of work :(

Anyway I had loads of fun and I think my pics turned out pretty good, especially since I don't even have an SLR.


An expat (living in Wuxi)'s account of his visit to the Bund at sunrise here

I have two comments about what he wrote... the English in the taxi? Hahaha. "Welcome to take my taxi" and "Please don't forget anything you take" don't exactly make sense. LOL. And 15AUD for a haircut? My hubby goes to a little place across the road from our apartment and only pays 10 RMB (that's $1.50 AUD). He's been there dozens of times and is really happy with them. I do agree with the author in that they do a better job than in Australia, and you get a free head and shoulder massage every time!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

An American expat in Shanghai

Interesting blog here I just found.

It's only since I've lived in Shanghai that I realize it's a popular place for university students to do their internships during the 'summer'. It seems like a really good idea for one's career, I think. Internships aren't really big at all in Australia, except in a few select fields. I kind of regret not studying overseas while I was erm.. studying.. but life's too short to have regrets! Besides, I don't want to work in banking or finance so doing an internship in Shanghai wouldn't have helped me much but still I think if you're still studying and wanting to work in those kinds of areas it's an excellent idea :)

I don't agree with the author's comments about Shanghai being the "London of the East" though, personally I think it's more like New York city.


Today was hot hot hot. It must have been at least 30 degrees, I'm sure. I felt rather headachey and dizzy all day from the heat. Then, because of the heat there was a sudden downpour around 4-5pm and I was in that too. Fun fun fun. It was so heavy that even walking the 2 metres from the taxi to the entrance of my building I was totally drenched. I still can't believe that one day I was wearing a cashmere coat, then I was wearing a trenchcoat, and now I'm wearing no coats! Then inside the house I was wearing thick socks and bootie slippers and now I'm walking around barefeet, just in the space of a few short weeks! Crazy! Where did the beautiful spring weather go? It seemed to have jumped straight from winter to summer (almost)!