One of the many things I like about Guiyang is the street food. I took a half hour bus ride to get home last night (about 30 cents) and had the munchies. So in front of my house is a little BBQ where I bought three beef and green pepper kabobs and a baby squid on a stick. All were roasted over charcoal in front of me and spiced to perfection (another $2.50). So for $3.00 I had a ride and a respectable midnight snack.
One aspect of living in Guizhou is returning to the USA periodically for a “fix” of American culture. I have returned to the USA for three months to get cataract surgery, physical thearapy for my back and to golf. I am happy to report that the first eye is done and in “perfect” condition; the back is healthy again; and I am playing golf at a fraction of the cost of a China round of golf. Eighteen holes in the USA is between 25 and 40 dollars. China, Guiyang, costs about 200 USD.
Below are a few photos of the course I played at in Northern Michigan, just outside of my home town, Traverse City. My old friend Gerry, who came to visit me in China a few years ago played golf with me in Guiyang. He brought his Grandson Nick, and a foreign friend from the Neatherlands (Koss). The four of us played 18. A fine time was had by all.
(Click for full size photo)
It was a cool, late November evening and the usual suspects were gathered at the new Obsession Jazz Music Restaurant and Bar. Things were warming up quite nicely when the Guiyang Orchestra finished their jazz concert. Apparently some of the musicians weren’t done playing because they came to the Obsession. Then the night really got hot. . . .
A Hot Night at the Obsession (Youtube)
A Hot Night at the Obsession (Youku)
(Youtube is best outside China and Youku is best in China)
By the way, I was working with a cell phone — Huawei 10 Plus, which is quite a good little unit for sound and video. Unfortunately there were a few operator errors. You might catch the hand in front of the camera. Also, I accidentally chopped a guy’s head off (sorry about that). Maybe the most annoying problem was with the guy beside me that kept pounding on the table. His table was next to mine and was actually touching. You can see him kind of keeping beat by the disruptions in the video . . . oh well. Finally, the oversized music stands are good for hiding behind if you are a shy musician, but they are murder if you are watching the show or trying to film it. In fact, there are a lot of problems with this video, except the music.
Huaxi’s biggest new attraction partially opened and under construction is its Fairyland,
But that won’t completely open until 2019. In the meantime, Fairyland is troying to hold over fans with Pixar Fest, a collection of new and revamped shows and rides.
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.
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.
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).
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.
More info about busses: http://www.tourguizhou.com/chiangmai-airport-and-bus-to-suneta/
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
It is hard to explain what it is like to live in a nice part of Guiyang, of Guizhou Province. It is best to just show a video of my neighborhood. My neighborhood is maybe ten or fifteen years old, and has been surpassed in values by newer, and better construction in and around Guiyang. My neighborhood is still very nice. I have a little electric bicycle that gets me up and down the hill in front of my apartment. I am on the twelfth floor and can ride my bicycle to the elevator . . . no stairs.
I had to to out for bread so I put the cell phone in my shirt pocket and tried to give you a flavor for what my neighborhood looks like. It is considered one of the nicer parts of Guiyang.
Click to view:
Riding Home from the Bread Store