Guiyang Happy World.

This week I went to Guiyang Happy World 90 minutes away from my medical school.

I haven’t been to a theme park in a long while. I was looking forward to it but, like all of my experiences in China, I’ve learnt not to use my Indian life as a parallel or point of reference to anything in China. I was expecting something a little more gritty and undoubtedly a little more dangerous than the parks I’m used to back in India.

 

The first thing that hit me about the park was the complete lack of life. Aside from a few groups of friends and the odd family, the park was barren. It was like an old abandoned theme park that you’d read about in Stephen King horror story. I was half expecting a 7ft clown to dash out from behind a carousel and capture us for use in a haunted house.

On the flipside, no crowds = no queueing for the rides. Me and Nargis hopped hopped through the park without once waiting in a line.

There was the usual set of rides. The big juggernaut of a roller coaster at the entrance and exit and the set of intermediate rides in between; the pirate ship, carousels, the logflume, dodgems, finding Nemo-themed choo choo trains and so on. Being the tight fisted people we are we made a mission of going on everyone of them.

If you’ve ever bought anything from china (you have) then you may be aware that build quality is not exactly a priority in this country. With this in mind, some of the rollercoasters had a very real edge to them. Not only were they scary rides, they also had that quaint chinese quality about them that maybe, just maybe, that they might collapse mid ride. This ran through my head when, as I was getting strapped in for one particular ride (see below; the mammoth yellow one), two workmen to the left of me were balancing on top of the structure tightening the bolts for us.

Half way through the day was the logflume’s turn. Thinking about it, logflumes are always terrible. You get one rush off of them and, unless you buy a raincoat at extra cost, you’re getting a wet behind for the rest of the day. As you can see from the gallery, we saved our cash and took the full force of the flume. No regrets.

Once done with the rides, we hitched a ride on a black taxi with the a beautiful divorcee. She was quite happy that she won custody of the child and, apparently, to share private matters with strangers. If you’re to take anything from that, don’t ever divorce a chinese woman. She will air your dirty laundry.

Why Disney’s New Shanghai Park Is Its Most Ambitious Yet

The Walt Disney Company seems to have spared no expense in building its sixth theme park which opened on June 16 2016 in Shanghai, China after a decade of planning and five years of construction. The $5.5-billion Shanghai Disneyland is a colossal 963-acre park three times larger than Hong Kong Disneyland and anchored by the tallest castle in any Disney theme park. The joint venture with China-based Shanghai Shendi Group, which owns 57% of the park, is the glitziest in a spate of entertainment firms rushing to establish themselves in the world’s most populous nation, one run by a regime that increasingly views entertainment as a vital component of its soft power.

The meticulously orchestrated opening was done in June 16, 2016.

As well as a massive financial investment, Disney’s new park relies on technology the company hopes will augment all its parks. Shanghai Disneyland was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) using Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3D model-based process of designing everything from the Steamboat Willie entrance fountain to Roarin Mountain. Imagineers—Disney’s term of art for its enginneers—were able to couple these 3D models with tablets on site, while using the latest virtual reality headsets and DISH (Digital Immersive Showroom) technology to share their progress.

According to Mark Mine, creative technology executive at WDI’s Creative Technology Studio, DISH allowed imagineers to work across locations from Shanghai to Glendale, California and Orlando. The large white rooms work with projectors and 3D glasses, allowing multiple people to experience rides, attractions, and hotel rooms before construction even began in 2011. “We link our DISH’s together, which is also very important because as an international company we can load up a model in Orlando and have people walk through it simultaneously in Shanghai,” Mine said. “It allows us to do reviews across multiple sites. And that’s something that we’re going to continue to push and develop.”

Disney’s first theme park in mainland China is divided into six lands: Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Tomorrowland, Gardens of Imagination, Adventure Isle, and Mickey Avenue.

Towering 196.8 feet above Fantasyland is the park’s Enchanted Storybook Castle, which includes retail, dining, and theatrical spaces, as well as two attractions. It’s home to Once Upon a Time, an indoor, walk-through exhibit of all the Disney Princesses that blends dioramas with screens displaying classic Disney animation. The Voyage to the Crystal Grotto boat ride travels through Fantasyland and underneath the castle for its finale, which features music and animation from films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Mulan, and Beauty and the Beast.

 

Fantasyland, the largest land in the park, is also home to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster, the Peter Pan’s Flight dark ride, and the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh dark ride (all of which are also in the Orlando Magic Kingdom). The outdoor, walk-through Alice in Wonderland Maze is home, no wonder, to characters such as the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen, and others from the films set within a leafy labyrinth.

Hong Kong – A Kaleidoscope of fireworks

Sooner or later, globetrotters like me will find themselves with a layover in Hong Kong en route to a farther destination on some other part of the globe. Don’t stay at the airport. Go to town. Literally: Here’s a checklist, good whether you have a few hours or one night.

Arriving in Hong Kong is exhilarating: a mix of jet-lagged euphoria, loopy circadian rhythms, and sheer excitement. Hong Kong is all about motion. It’s an invigorating assault on the senses, a veritably kaleidoscope of fireworks — of motion, speed, and color, bursting everywhere, fast and furious. You’re racing past gleaming futuristic towers lined in rows, stacks upon stacks of glass and steel layers, with mountainous peaks perched in the background and expansive water views.

If you have 24-36 hours, Hong Kong makes for the perfect layover. Good thing, because sooner or later all travelers to Asia will find themselves here. It’s easily accessible and efficient to navigate. And you can pack a wonderously unique itinerary into a short period of time.

I check into the opulent, statuesque oasis that is the Harbor Plaza Metropolis Hotel . Whisking up the panoramic glass elevator to the 17th floor, it’s impossible to miss the grand Great Mother of China, the largest Chinese landscape silk painting in the world. In my room, I find breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour, a front-row-seat view of the Hong Kong skyline against the hazy fog. I’m Lost in Translation. I take a photo, feet reclined, and tell my mom I’ve relocated to Hong Kong.

A post lunch stroll through Hong Kong Park is a tranquil introduction to Hong Kong, a city that’s an unlikely mix of green and steel. Situated in a green oasis of koi fish, terrapins, and turtles, the park frames the reflection of the surrounding mountains and the towering, modern architectural world, including I.M. Pei’s gleaming Bank of China Tower.

Against the advice of trusted locals, I beat the herds of tourists — 7:30 a.m. has its privileges — and board The Peak tram. It’s a steep, five-minute climb, a ride that reminds me of a roller coaster’s slow wind-up before it drops at an exhilarating pace. Once you arrive, don’t dawdle in the mall-like structure of dizzying shopping and dining options, but rather head straight to The Sky Terrace 428. (Mathematical translation: 1,404 feet above sea level.) You’re here to absorb the bold, spectacular, unobstructed, 360-degree views. Go ahead, take an obligatory photo. Email it to Mom.

TSIM SHA TSUI :

I decided to start walking from Wan Chai and head towards Kowloon to explore these thhwo parts on foot and the (required) ferry.

I started my walking tour from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre popularly known as HKCEC. This is an exhibition and convention centre, made entirely of glass and a huge aluminium roof sculpted to supposedly resemble a seabird in flight (I really tried to imagine it but just couldn’t see the connection). It is a massive building and even when you are standing at the farthest point available on land, you can’t capture this building in one frame. Hence the best view of this landmark building is from a ferry (when you can see it in entirety).

DISNEYLAND :

Visiting Disneyland was a part of my itenary. Disneyland Hong Kong is located at Lantau island merely 20 mins from the Hong Kong International Airport

Inspiring Story of a Guiyang Expat.

Faridun Kamalov from Tajikistan, an epitome of tamed brilliance and Hardwork.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” — J.K. Rowling

Born to Mrs. Gulandom and Mr. Mukimbek with an ambition of being a professional MMA fighter in Tajikistan. Faridun rightnow is a bright student of Guizhou Institute of Engineering and Technology.

He had an ambition of being a professional MMA fighter but unfortunately because of some very serious injuries and health issues he could not continue his career as a fighter.

But he didn’t give up,  Four years ago he began his mixed martial arts training and then went ahead to became two-time kickboxing champion of Tajikistan, after which he was signed for 6 fkickboxing fights in China in in which he won four and the last two were lost because of injuries.

We hope to see Faridun in MMA one day.

Chiang Mai Suneta Hostel

A low cost getaway to Thailand from Southern China is Chiang Mai.  The Suneta Hostel is a good, clean alternative. It is just a few hundred yards from the gateway (Tha Pae Gate) to the old city. It is located at 20 Chang Moi Kao Road, Chang Moi, Muang, Chiang Mai  50300
See: Suneta Hostel . Phone Number (66)53232345 where 66 is country code. In Thailand delete the 66 and use 053232345 .

Prices are typically 440 Baht to 550 Baht about 13 to 14 dollars USD a night, depending on the season and discount. A private room for one person is about 16 dollars.

Checking in is normally between 2PM and 11PM. If you come earlier you may  be able to call and get an earlier checkin time. The front desk is not staffed between 11PM and 7AM. Be sure to learn how to use the night key.

The airport taxi should cost you 150 baht (about 5 USD). You may want to take a blue bus from the airport for 20 baht, but it takes almost an hour, compared to about 20 minutes by taxi.  The airport taxi may cost up to 300 baht for a new van.

The staff is friendly and can help you find services, such as massage and tours. They can even find some discounts for you. You can contact the hotel directly by email at: chiangmai@suneta.net .

This Tha Phae Gate is very distinctive, and everybody know where it is. There is a McDonalds, Burger King, and Starbucks in close proximity.

 

 

 

This is the entrance to the street where the hostel is located.   It is opposite the Tha Phae Gate. The hostel is about two hundred meters down  this one way street, on the right.

Bangkok Chiangmai Heart Center

I’ve had two trips to Chianmai and checked out the medical facilities there. Living in China I decided to have an escape plan if I have some major medical issue and can’t get back to the USA promptly. This visit I checked out the Bankok Chiangmai Heart Cener and its Hospital. I found an extremely modern situation with top doctors.

Medical care is a significant concern in China and Thailand is known for advanced, Western trained doctors and hospitals. One of the top hospitals in Thailand is Bangkok Hospital.  It has a branch in Ghiangmai, relatively close to Guiyang.

I had swelling in my ankles and a couple doctors suggested that this might be related to a heart condition, leaky valves or something is possible. I forgot to mention it to my USA doctor until I was walking out the door this summer and he suggested maybe I should get a blood test to see if this heart condition might be present. Cutting to the conclusion, I am fine and my blood pressure medication has been modified to reduce or eliminate the swelling.

I found the staff to be friendly and efficient. My doctor was the head of the department and gave me a complete examination. He explained everything to me about heart stuff. The reception area was not crowded and very pleasant. I left feeling that I had top service comparing with any in the USA. The price, including ten days medication was $38.02 on my Mastercard. We’ll see if that can be covered by my USA insurance, but I’m not worried about it. The hospital even has a free shuttle from the city center.

 

Halloween 2018 in Guiyang

Guiyang Expat Pallvi during a Halloween Party.

The Halloween tradition is very old in Guiyang. No one really knows how it was first celebrated, but it did come with a wave of a trend to follow west..

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Syed Saalim Hashmi and Pallvi during Halloween 2018

Some people say Halloween is a Welsh, or Celtic tradition, while others say its roots are Christian, but for today’s generation it doesn’t really matter anymore. We just like to get dressed up like fools, go to parties, and eat lots of candy!

Pallvi. finally showed up at my door. She was strikingly beautiful. She was dressed as a fairy princess and was glowing in her black gown. “You look amazing,” I told her. She just laughed and said, “I know,” and tapped me with her wand.

Momo : one of our youngest and cutest Guiyang Expat celebrating Halloween.

 

New Obsession Jazz Bar is Open

Sunday evening, Oct 28, I visited the New Obsession Jazz Bar on Suidong Lu at Hong Yan Bridge. Martin was wonderful on the piano and the Jazz Band did well with an international selection of musicians.

Click on thumbnail Photo for picture attachment.

You can call the manager of the New Obsession, Mr. Wang Bin — 13984028732 .

See also: Original Obsession