Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trippin': Shanghai, China [Travel Tuesday]

Note: It's Travel TuesdayAll Travel Tuesday posts are of course in the Travel Tuesday tag2007 was a big traveling year for me. Right after Japan, I headed to China. Here's a look back on that trip and my thoughts from back then.

I hate this bad habit.
May. 8th, 2007 at 1:37 AM

I just finished last-minute packing. I'm leaving for Shanghai, China in a few hours. Why do I always do this to myself? I resolved to start packing a day before for this trip, but it didn't happen. I always have to wait the night before I leave - okay, it's more like a few hours before - to get ready. One would think that being a frequent traveler I would be more conscious of this, but I'm not. Don't get me wrong though. Packing is like second nature for me. I simply have a tendency to procastinate. Oh well I'm tired. I'm glad I'm done. Later, people.

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy
Current Music:Silence in my room

Shanghai Noon

May 8 to 11, 2007. China wasn't what I expected. Maybe it was because I went to Shanghai instead of Beijing or Hong Kong, but I found it to be a very pleasant place. I didn't encounter any of the stereotypes I've been warned about, and this trip turned out to be another very unique experience for me. I don't think I can live there (the only country I said that about was Japan) but it sure is a good place to visit. 

Greetings from Shanghai
May. 9th, 2007 at 8:26 AM

Ni Hao!

Let's see if this works. Apparently, the Great Firewall of China has blocked Livejournal as well as a ton of other sites (Wikipedia, Digg, Blogger, Wordpress, Technorati, and such). I'm trying to post via e-mail right now. I just hope this posts. So far, I'm liking China, but freedom of speech being non-existent here puts a bit of a damper on things.

Anyway, a few things about yesterday:

I'm in Shanghai right now for the HP Mobility Summit.
My first time flying an international Philippine Airlines flight went okay.
Our hotel, the Le Royal Meridien, is gorgeous.
We were given an iPaq Travel Companion each as part of our press kits.
My room is the best and biggest I've ever had.
The hotel has a very personalized service - I feel so pampered.
Cocktails at the hotel bar last night was fun.

Okay I gotta go down to breakfast now.

Current Mood: good good
Current Music:Sounds in my Le Royal Meridien hotel room

Day 1

This is the first time I rode a Philippine Airlines international flight. I was thrilled about being at the Centennial Airport. It's so much less chaotic than NAIA, and it's prettier too. It's still not as modern as the airports in the other countries I've been to (damn government should stop the crap and open Terminal 3 altready), but it's nice to have a relaxing check-in for a change.

Riza from Inquirer was the only other journalist who went on this trip. We only met at the briefing just a few days before we left.

We had breakfast at Delifrance while waiting for our flight. Mmm coffee. The airport wasn't so busy so we had time to hang out.

There's our plane.

The food was alright - beef with rice, plus ube-macapuno cake for dessert.

We're in China! Shanghai's Pudong airport is pretty quiet.

In the hotel shuttle service van. I'm tired from the 3 1/2-hour flight.

First view of Shanghai. Nice.

All checked in at my gorgeous room in the Le Royal Meridien Hotel.

Bath area.


The fluffy bed.

The living area.

Amenities shelf. The toiletries were L' Occitane! That made me happy. They smelled so good!

I had a drawer filled with a complete set of glassware. I only used the ones for water, what a waste, heh.

The well-stocked mini bar I never have any use for because I can always get the stuff at the local 7-11 at a third of the hotel's price. Still, it was nice to have it there just in case I crave for something during the night.

My reading area.

The desk.

It seems I have a new favorite hotel again.

Time to go to the hotel bar for welcome cocktails. Riza picked me up at my room.

Dinner was a mix of tasty hors d'oeuvres, and weirdly-presented potato soup (eating it was like sipping a mashed potato cocktail).

I tried the Asahi beer. Nothing beats the Philippines' San Mig Light, in my opinion.

Riza and me, plus Bebi, our host from HP Philippines. They're really easy to talk to, which was great.

I finally learned how to appreciate wine on this trip because of Bebi. She's a wine person, and she got me to give it a chance. Riza turned in early because she was already sleepy, but Bebi and I stayed in the bar till late just talking and having multiple red wine refills.

When I got back to my room, I was surprised to find a cute little box near my bed. It had gourmet chocolates stamped with the HP logo on them, plus a note that said "Welcome to Shanghai! Have a good night's rest and we look forward to having you join us tomorrow at 9:30am at the Grand Shanghai Ballroom, level 9, where we will be unveiling some of the most exciting mobility solutions in 2007!" Yay for chocolate! I thought that was a neat surprise.

Amusing quotes are found everywhere in this hotel, from the water bottles down to the coasters. I loved how personalized everything felt.

Shanghai morning
May. 10th, 2007 at 8:43 AM

Hello from Gmail haha. I'm glad my first entry posted. However, I can't reply to comments. This e-mail-to-blog service is pretty limited, but it's better than nothing.

Yesterday was good. The worldwide press conference thrilled me to pieces. My inner geek was so happy, seeing all the technology being launched. I'm used to regional press things, where we get the news a bit later, but an event with almost 300 journalists from all over the world is an entirely different affair altogether. For dinner, we had the best Chinese lauriat - everything was so hot and so spicy, but so good! We got to walk around the streets of Shanghai already as well. We found that it's pretty cold here at night, but doable. The buildings here are European-looking with a Chinese touch. Everything looked nice, except that there are very persistent beggars and
solicitors on the streets. They're hard to shake off! After our walk, Bebi, Riza and I capped the day at the hotel bar with a bottle of white wine. Mmm.

Okay, it's breakfast time again. Ming tien jian! (See you later!)

Current Mood: good good
Current Music:Sounds in my Le Royal Meridien hotel room

Day 2

The phone rang and woke me up at 6:30am. It was my friend Karren, currently based there in Shanghai, calling to talk about our meetup plans. That, and she just wanted to wake me up.

I looked at what's on CNN, which I always leave on all night. It's some sheep race thing. Cute.

I went to the window after getting up because it's my habit to look at the view first thing in the morning when I'm in another country. But, I couldn't help marveling at how roomy my room was first.

Hello there, Shanghai.

I got my things ready while listening to CNN. Then something weird happened. I heard "Chinese activists..." then the screen went blank. China was censoring the TV, live! What the fuck. The news went back on after a few minutes, when the "bad" segment was over.

Then I stepped into the tub for a hot shower.

I brushed my teeth, and then dressed up.

Got a text message from the boyfriend. Thank goodness for roaming.

Time check - 7:45am.

Ready now.

But first, a quick online check. There's no Livejournal in China! A slew of other Web sites didn't make an appearance as well. No freedom of speech and information? That sucks. I don't think I can last a month there.

I headed down to Ai Mei, the hotel's Chinese restaurant for breakfast.

Sort of unhealthy, as usual. I had bacon, chicken sausage, mushrooms, an apricot jelly bun, french toast, and fruit.

The view from our table.

Pretty aquarium!

After breakfast, we headed over to the media center to surf while waiting for the start of the conference.

When the conference began, I was seriously buzzing with excitement. It was my first time at an international event (my previous events were just regional), and I was so thrilled to be getting the news at the same time as everybody else. It was a true geek moment.

After the keynotes, we headed to the hotel's Italian restaurant, Favola Pizzeria, for lunch. Funny, the meal I had was pretty Chinese. The roast duck was delicious.

Me, looking like such a geek.

HP was all over the place. It was like they took over the whole hotel for a few days.

After lunch, I went back up to my room to rest a bit.

I read the China Daily for a while. Even the newspaper had an HP cover.

Back at work in the breakout sessions, a bunch of HP mobile devices were launched, and presentations were made on HP services. That's part of HP's new lineup of notebooks right there.

Coolness! I got an HP iPAQ rx5770 Travel Companion as part of my press kit.

I took pictures of the aquarium while waiting for the next session.

We had a good group interview with HP execs.

The last session for the day was a keynote, where we got a glimpse of the technologies the company's looking into. That's a memory spot - a teeny tiny storage dot that comes with a data reader, and an e-book reader that allows you to turn pages like an actual book.

After the work part was done, we were taken out for dinner at this Chinese place called Southern Beauty. There was a lot of food, consisting of several courses. Everything was super hot and super spicy, but so scrumptious. We Filipinos loved the strong flavors, but I wondered if the Westerners were okay with it. There was nothing served that wasn't exotic-tasting.

It was such a long dinner. Riza, Bebi, and I were able to chat with a Chinese journalist named Stoneyu, an HP exec, a Filipino-Canadian based in Singapore named Tim, and a couple of Asian-American CEOs based in California at our table, so the conversation was very interesting. At one point, an Austrian HP exec grabbed my iPAQ from the table while I wasn't looking. Riza and I both whirled around in instant kung-fu fighting mode, only to see him laughing behind us. I explained that our strong reactions were because we're used to things like that in our country. He said "I know. I went to the Philippines, I lost my phone." Haha that was... embarassing.

Shanghai looks like such a modern city, just mixed with European-style architecture. This was taken while in the bus on the way back to the hotel.

A paper cup and a sachet of chamomile tea was waiting for me on my bedside table when I got back to my room. The note said "Thanks for spending time with us today. We hope you found the sessions useful. Here's something to help you relax and sleep well tonight. We'll see you tomorrow morning at 9:30am. Good night!" How cute.

Bebi, Riza, and I didn't sleep yet though. We went out to see Shanghai at night.

During the day, the climate was moderately cool, but in the evening, it got pretty cold, but doable. Good thing I was prepared with my leather jacket this time, and my system found it easy to adjust to the weather because of my recent Japan trip.

McDonald's, as usual.

We walked down the streets just looking at the buildings since everything was closed. The only things I didn't like about Shanghai were the beggars and solicitors. They were so persistent, it was so hard to get them to stop stalking us.


We decided to cap the night off with a bottle of white wine at 789 Nan Jing Road, the hotel bar.

Hmmm alcohol.

We called it a night at around 1:00am. I got a pleasant, light buzz from the wine.

I got ready for bed - brushed my teeth, changed into jammies.


Shanghai evening
May. 11th, 2007 at 12:05 AM

I'm so exhausted, but I'm having a great time. I have to pack so I'll do this in bullets to remind me of what I'll write up when I get back to the Philippines. Here we go:

The event had me awed. I know I've been in the industry for half a decade already, but the way technology moves and evolves still makes me feel like I saw magic.
It's great being able to see and interact with journalists from other countries, starting from the regional ones (some of which I've met before like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan), to the ones so far from my country (like Greece, Brazil, and Germany).
The cultural presentations here are a-ma-zing. Boneless acrobats and anime-looking classical musicians rock.
This trip taught me a few things: wine gets better after one glass, and chamomile tea is so soothing it'll lull you to sleep.

Alright, that is all. I have to pack, for tomorrow I shop.

Current Mood: good good
Current Music:Silence in my Le Royal Meridien hotel room

Day 3

I woke up at 7am.

Good morning Shanghai!

I immediately headed over to the mini bar for a swig of cold water.

Then it was rain, er, shower time.

All dressed up. I went online for a bit and updated my Livejournal using Gmail. I don't know why China even bothers with having Internet when almost everything is blocked anyway.

Before I knew it, breakfast time rolled around. The dimsum was extremely tasty! Mmm!

Work, work, work. The first session of the day was a demonstration outside the hotel about Mscapes, HP's new location-based application. We got to use the iPAQ Travel Companions that we were given for the activity. It was fun. The game took us from the hotel all the way to People's Park.

Next on the agenda was an Intel briefing. After the presentations, they gave away fifteen HP Compaq 6910p notebooks that were launched during the event. Guess what? I won one!!! I couldn't believe it. I never win at raffles.

I brought it up to my room and took a look at it. It's a Vista-powered, Intel Core 2 Duo business notebook from HP's professional line. Sweet!

We had another scrumptious lunch, then we had to go back to work.

First there was a very interesting panel discussion on Mobile TV.

Then there was an amusing little notebook challenge which had fake HP competitors in a contest with HP. The journos had a great time taking it all with a grain of salt, and laughing throughout the presentation.

When the last session was over, we trooped to the Product Showcase to ogle at all the shiny new things launched at the event. Anyone want a huge-ass notebook?

The enormous HP Dragon.

One of the Mscape team members telling a journo how to make an Mscape.

HP's slick, slim, tablet PC.

The latest HP iPAQ Mobile Messenger.

One of the new HP Compaq business notebooks.

After looking at everything, I went back to my room to chill out for a bit before leaving for dinner.

I went online, checked my e-mail, dumped the pictures from my camera's memory card, and backed them up on my USB key.

I decided that the enormous plasma TV was going to waste, so I watched some CSI.

We left for dinner (all 280 international journalists plus the HP people) at around 6:00pm.

We went to a bar right across the Bund, Shanghai's iconic financial distrinct.

We had to take tourist pictures of us with the Orient Pearl Tower in the background of course.

The river looked amazing!

Now here are pics with the Jin Mao Tower in the background - it's the fourth tallest building in the world (it's all muddled up heh), and the third tallest in Asia.

I'm done! I have seen the tallest buildings in Asia, yay!

Oh yeah, seeing the Good Year blimp hovering over the Bund was nice too.

Lovely flowers at the bar.

A Chinese pagoda restaurant was right across the road from the bar.

Just smiling about nothing.

Ads across the river, neat idea.

After a ton of picture-taking, the show started.

Teen-aged Chinese contortionists! My mouth was open the entire time.

Dinner in the middle of the frenzy. I ate so much salmon sashimi that night.

The Shanghai version of the Bond Girls played several sets next. They were fantastic!

Here's a video.

Riza and me, with an Indian journo we met named Kumar.

Smiling with Bebi. We drank lots of wine again! I discovered on this trip that wine gets better and better with every sip.

Attica - that's the name of the bar we were at.

After the extremely entertaining dinner, the HP bus took us back to the hotel. There, Riza, Bebi, and I had the concierge write down where we were going in Chinese, and then we hopped into a cab to visit my friend Karren.

We arrived at the Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel with no hitches. It was so great to see Karren. We're high school friends, and we haven't seen each other in a few years because she moved to China with her American husband, James. Aw I was so glad I got to visit her.

We talked a lot of course. Bebi and Riza were such good sports, they came with me, and let us talk. Karren treated us to chamomile tea though, which was very relaxing, but it also made us terribly sleepy. I must say though, that like wine, I never liked tea until this trip. We had to go after a while. We were going to fall asleep there if we didn't!

There's our hotel, the Le Royal Meridien.

And there's our cab.

I found surprises when I walked into my room again. There was a cute bookmark with an Edgar Allan Poe quote on it, and another chocolate box with a note that said "Thank you for joining us at the HP Mobility 2007 Summit. Wishing you a safe journey back home and we hope to see you again next year!"

I sent a text message to the boyfriend back home.

Then I just had to go online, again, even if everything is blocked anyway.

I packed up my stuff so I wouldn't have to rush the next day.

Afterwards, I got hungry, so I ate an orange. It was really sweet, yum.

Then I played with my Travel Companion before drifting off to sleep.


Day 4

I woke up in good spirits. I spied this this funny quote on the hotel's breakfast menu when I got up.

I resurrected my ancient dragon shirt for this trip. It seemed appropriate.


In the cab. Bebi, Riza, and I ran into another journo, Hatim from Dubai, at breakfast. He asked if he could come with us.

We went to the Fashion Market, which Karren told us about.

It was a fruitful shopping trip for me! I got some of the things I couldn't get in Japan because they were hella expensive there, plus some Chinese dragons. The only hassle is the haggling. Getting the vendors to lower the prices takes 15 minutes at least, and the language barrier doesn't help at all. But you just have to be patient, because they give in after a while since they don't want to lose a sale. It gets fun once you get the hang of it, though. I remember, I asked at one stall, "How much?" The girl answered, "Cheap!" Haha.

We got into another cab to find another shopping place that Karren mentioned. Look, that's Stefanie Sun on the back of a cable bus.

We got lost though, and didn't find it. Since we were running out of time, we had no choice but to go back to the hotel.

Riza, Julls, Bebi, in the cab.

We had a few minutes to spare, so Riza and I decided to take one last walk in the streets behind our hotel before we leave.

Jullienne, the tourist.

We stalked trams, heh. They were very cute. That last one had the Kewpie Mayo baby on it I think.

Checking out now.

One last look at People's Park from my window.

And one last look at the buildings. That prominent building there, the Radisson, is where Karren works.

Checking in at the Pudong Airport.

We had lunch at one of the terminal kiosks. I ordered broiled eel and pasta, which was very yummy.

We then bought a few souvenirs after eating then proceeded to the boarding gate. Goodbye Shanghai!

The airplane food on the way back to Manila was much better. I loved the broiled fish and the chocolate pudding.

Panda cookies I got for my dad.

Chinese dragons for my mom and the bf's mom.

Toy bears for me and my Aleq! These are awesome.

My kokeshi! I finally have my Japanese doll. I love love love it!

Oriental magnets-slash-cupholders - I got five of these. I gave them to my Tita Eve, our family friends Tita Ofel and her daughter Kate who went with my mom to pick me up at the airport, my cousins Shell and Lek, and my friends Sean and Chris. I kept one for myself.

Lastly, I had to take a pic of this magazine came with my press kit. It's a cool mag about the Chinese rock/pop music scene. It's a good read.

Alright, that's it! My geeky heart had its fill of technology, plus I got two new gadgets to play with. I was able to experience some Chinese entertainment - boneless contortionists and anime-looking classical musicians are the bomb. I sampled a load of delicious Chinese food, which made me gain back all the weight I lost in Japan running after trains. I had great shopping finds - I even learned to haggle! And it made me appreciate wine and tea, both of which, I didn't like before this trip.

I didn't really expect this trip to be a great one, but it was.

Apologies for the crappy food pics. They were taken with my phone camera, because I felt too timid to bring out my digicam.

No comments:

Post a Comment