Showing posts with label My Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Life. Show all posts

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Shanghai visit - Day 2 - After a day of work

After a day of work, I headed out a bit to explore on the way back to my hotel.  I stopped off at the Century Square.  The Station at Century Square is within an underground shopping complex with many cheaper items for sale.  It is a bit of a hassle to walk to thru the complex since the vendors follow you insistently trying to get your attention so that you may want to take a look at their particular store.  It is particularly annoying.

Back in Lujiazui area a bit later, I made another attempt to get a good photo of the TV Tower.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Travelling to Shanghai, China - Day 1 - scammed, then fun

After spending a week in Japan, it was time to get on to Shanghai.  The flight between Tokyo and Shanghai is about 2.5 hours and one time zone difference.  I took the Maglev from the airport to Longyang.  For whatever reason, the Maglev doesn't extend to center of Shanghai's iconic area in Pudong.  So, once you get to the end of the Maglev line (in under 10 minutes), you have to make a choice about how to get the rest of the way:  Taxi or Subway's Line 2.

Hmm, the taxi?

Shanghai is a city where scams abound.  You have to watch out when taking taxis.  Unfortunately, I got into a cab and walked right into the broken meter scam.  The scam happens when the meter isn't turned on when you get into the cab.  The driver drives about 100 feet, then stops the cab and tries to negotiate the cab fare to your destination, expecting payment upfront.  Here's a hint, taxis are super cheap in Shanghai.  These taxi scammers know that out-of-towners generally have no idea of just how cheap, so they try to scam you into paying a much higher price; a price that you might be more accustom to paying in other places.  I don't really strong have advice to avoid the scam, other than to say, be very very cautious at the Maglev station at Longyang.  Make sure the cab as a plexiglass guard between the driver and the passengers.  Make sure the meter is started before you drop your bags in the trunk and get into the car.  One last piece of advice: taxis in Shanghai are cash only, whether they are legit or not.

Moving on

Once settled in the hotel, I met up with my colleagues and wandered around Lujiazui Finance District.

We took a tour cruise.  It was a bit hazy, but the pics weren't that horrible.

Later, I got a couple of angles on the Century Peace Bell.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Japan Day 8 - Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Some of us did some wandering around.  We got a little lost from confusing Shimbishi, Shambuya and Shinagawa stops on the subway.  Even still, we did eventually find our way to the Tokyo Imperial Palace.  The Tokyo Imperial Palace has grand walls, but once you are inside, it really is apparent that the purpose of the palace is to create a calm atmosphere.  The gardens are modest, surrounding a large and open grassy field.  Most of the buildings are also modest compared to what one might expect for something labelled "Imperial Palace".   Entrance is free.

The day was hot, sticky and bright, so I made a special effect to reserve myself to the shade where I could.

Approaching the palace

Guard house

Palace gardens

Locals appear to visit regularly to relax, meet, and even sunbath (modestly) on the grassy field at the center of the Palace gardens.

Observatory (higher ground for a bit of a better view)

Ruins of the major donjon

Famous Guard Tower @ the Forbidden Gate

There's a bit more do the palace than these exterior photos, but every thing seems to be of a modest nature.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Japan Day 7 - Mount Fuji thinks it defeated me, but I got ice cream!

A group of us had a plan to hike up Mount Fuji.  There is a fair amount of preparation necessary for such an endeavor.   You need comfortable hiking shoes, water proof outer clothing, jacket, hiking pants, etc.  You also need to pack a lunch or bring enough money to buy the expensive food on the mountain.  You'll need some money to take care of other business too.  There is a 100 to 200 yen "donation" required for use of the restrooms.

The mountain beckons!

Getting ready for the hike at Station 5.

View on my way up

I made it to Station 7!  Yeah!

I made it to Station 8!  But, my pace was too slow to keep going and still have time to get back to Station 5 in time for transportation. So...

I found the Station 8 bailout point and headed back down the mountain.

The view was nice up there, being above the clouds.

Heading back down

After I got back to civilization....

...I got myself a green tea ice cream, and all was better.  I then waited for the rest of the team to return from the peak.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Japan Day "4-6" - Great sushi and a view to pee by

For the next few days of my visit to Japan, I was working.  I'm not going to get into that, other than to show you the view I had from the men's restroom.  Yes, there are huge and open windows into the restroom.  It was a little unnerving when trying to pee, even if I was looking the other way.  Even with that awkwardness, the view is still very nice.

When went out for dinner each evening.  On the way back to the hotel on the first evening, I found this interesting building with a big globe within.

The next evening, we went to this one restaurant that had awesome sushi.  I was in heaven.  Unfortunately for us English speaking folk, there was no English name for the restaurant, so I cannot really tell you where it was directly.  However, I was able to tag it in my Instagram account.  You can try to track it down from there if you are so inclined and tech savvy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travelling in Japan - Day 3 - Another side of Kyoto

After a restful night, the plan was to explore more of Kyoto before finishing our journey to Osaka later that day.  Our party first visited Fushimi Inari-taisha, known for its vibrantly colored gates and stone shrines.

The gates lead up to the top of the mountain.  Unfortunately, the walk was taking longer than we hoped, so we only made it about a 1/3 of the way up before heading back down.

On the walk back down, we found many shrines and altars.

Our next destination was the beautiful Tenryu-ji.  You can take mass transit between Fushimi Inari-taisha and Tenryu-ji.

The temple is beautiful.  Full admission is 600 yen.  Added appeal of this location is its proximity to the Path of the Bamboo, which is free.

We had a really good and reasonably priced lunch in Kyoto.  Just watch out, as a reminder, many places do not take credit card (cash [yen] only).