Thursday, October 12, 2006

Escape to Shanghai

KWAI-LAN n. (derogatory) tormentor

Hong Kong International Airport really deserved to win the World's Best Airport award. It definitely gets my vote, you don't know how relieved and how good I felt to be there after the heavy spending in the city!

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We took the budget airline, Dragon Air, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways, to our next holiday destination. I was glad the trip to Shanghai was at the very end of China's Golden Week. I'm sure Shanghai is busy enough without the week-long influx of Chinese out-of-towners.(Workers in Chinese companies have only three 7-continuous days of paid public holiday each year. No Raya break, no Christmas holiday, no New Year's Day celebration, no Wesak Day-off. Those living and working in Malaysia and Singaporea are a lucky bunch!)

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Shanghai has just hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix. I did not catch the Alonso-Schumacher duel on TV, but I did not need to be reminded of it. Our cab driver drove like he was determined to get us to our hotel in the shortest possible time. My mate in the front seat said it felt like he was in a Daytona arcade game. As for me, I was laughing nervously at the back. Secretly, I was thinking of ways to drown this frightening experience, I even tried humming to the tune of: I wonder if you know, how they live in Tokyo, if you see me then you mean it, then you know you have to go, Fast and foo-rios (Drift, Drift, Drift)! Fast and f00-rios (Drift, Drift, Drift)!!!

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Someone in the hotel later told us that every cabbie here is equally kwai-lan; in Shanghai, they all drive like that. Anyway... I was glad to be out of the taxi. Gave him some renminbi to go far far away.

We arrived at an amazing location. Our hotel was located in the heart of Shanghai, the place was surrounded by modern shopping malls and office buildings. The hotel grounds were landscaped to perfection. It did not have the Made In China feel. The place was built in 1935 but the rooms were refurbished recently. It boasts art deco design and European architectural style, and the place has welcome over 300 head of states (according to a travel website), people like King of Spain and the Queen of Denmark, two US presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, two British Prime Ministers Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, Japan Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew stayed here.

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Sadly, just adjacent to this luxurious 5-star hotel was an old, dilapidated Shanghainese building, you could even see Lao Ah-Ma pouring hot water in her bath-tub from the hotel room. Urban life here is indeed an example of great economic contrast.

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Next entry: The Bund


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice entry. Keep it coming! :D

October 11, 2006 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey... which shanghai hotel did you stay at?? which Hongkong Hotel u stay also? Can share with me pls?

December 25, 2006 5:25 PM  

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