August 8th - 16th 2014, Shanghai & Hong Kong ...

Carola has a 3-month assignment with her job at ZF in Shanghai, so we thought this is a good excuse to visit her ... and as Shanghai is close to Hong Kong (and we used HK-based Cathay Pacific to get there) we stopped in Hong Kong on the way back ...

Shanghai (Day 1 Arrival)

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Claudia flew as well and we met with Carola at Shanghai Airport on Friday morning. As Thomas wanted to use the Maglev (Transrapid), this was the first thing to do. One of the many examples, why we Germans cannot bring our products to the market ... already during Thomas' studies in the 80s the technology was developed ... how many run in Germany? ZERO ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Good to see her again after approx. 3 months ... here the two sisters in the Maglev train ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and the two of us ... a bit tired ... having some "stressful" days ahead of us ... Carola had planned a "comprehensive" 4-day schedule ... hardly time to sleep or relax ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). That was the view from our hotel room ... really ideally located in the centre, close to the underground and a good starting point for all the adventures to come!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Unfortunately, the weather wasn't so good on the first two days, but we went on anyway! Here Thomas' three ladies on Nanjing Road East (where also our hotel was located) ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Robbing Chinese army warriors ... we always wonder, who buys the stuff ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here East Nanjing Road again ... as usual in Asia, masses of people of course!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Just at the entrance of People's Park MTR, we had this photo taken of the four of us with the shopping strip behind us ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After wandering through People's Park, we had a stop at the "Moca" Coffee Shop there (tip from the travel guide). Because of the weather, the terrace was closed, but due to Carola's excellent Chinese Language Skills, the "crazy Westerners" were allowed outside!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next stop was the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall ... to give us a quick overview of the development of Shanghai ... past and present ... Here's one photo of Claudia and a figure ... it would be too embarassing to tell you guys how many of those Thomas had to take ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). In that centre was a HUGE and impressive model of the city of Shanghai (see the people at the end of the picture!) ... it's permanently updated, whenever a building is changed ... we've never seen anything like this before ... good light show too ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here an "aerial" view of it from the floor above ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Before going for dinner, we had the "pre-dinner-drink-ceremony" at the bar of the hotel ... Tsingtao beer for Thomas (one has to keep the money together) and cocktails for the ladies ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Then we had a "long" walk to the restaurant ... first it was only 3-4 blocks according to Carola ... it turned out that it was around 10 ... here the two of us in front of "Bund", the shoreline of Shanghai ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Carola introduced us to the fantastic restaurant "Lost Heaven", where we had the "official" birthday dinner for Thomas ... it was Carola's gracious birthday present (thanks to her again!) ... as a caring father, Thomas ordered one bowl of rice and four sets of chopsticks ... ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Walking back to the hotel, we could take these photos ... still many old buildings there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and Carola and Claudia at the Bund ... Pearl Tower in the background ...

Shanghai (Day 2 Super-Guided Tour)

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After a short night, we started early in the rain ... first project was to get an umbrella each ... about 3 Euros and they lasted approx. one day per Euro spent ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Carola could get her colleague Chris to join us on Saturday (!) morning to show us around. First stop this morning was the Jade Buddha Temple ... many people there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). If you do your prayers, you might need some help from your spouse ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Impressive Buddha figures everywhere ... you turned around or entered another building ... more to be found!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Buddhism and modern technology are NOT a contradiction in terms ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's a photo of us together with Chris ... it was amazing that a) she spent her free Saturday with us and b) the amount of information she could give us about the temples, the history and buddhism ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We went to a second temple, the Jing-An temple. Even bigger and in the middle of new high-rise buildings ... capitalism works quite well everywhere in Shanghai ... the entrance fees were not "cheap" at all ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Walking a lot in the wet required fresh band-aids for the feet ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). And we saw many examples of say "exotic fashion taste" ... we could start a separate website about that ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We had a few stops in Starbucks for drinks (it was hot and humid despite the rain) ... every restaurant in Shanghai is checked once a month for hygiene ... this one only achieved a "pass" in July ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Then we had superb dumplings in the Din Tai Fung Restaurant ... behind a glass wall you could watch the staff preparing the great food ... when they saw Thomas with the camera ... this was the reaction!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here the five of us again in this restaurant ... really awesome food!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Then we walked through the district of Xintiandi, old buildings there ... and the museum of the communist party, which was free (!). Photography was not allowed there. After Thomas saw two locals taking photos with their smartphones in front of the guards, he picked his camera too, but you can guess what happened then ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's an impressive building in the French Concession Quarters ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... where we took this picture ... now we were six ... another colleague of Carola's joined us, Hao Jie. Again thanks for your wonderful hospitality!!!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After more hours of walking, we ended our guided tour in the afternoon in a coffee shop ... relaxing our feet and "refilling" the sweat we lost during the day ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Before we went for dinner we took this picture of East Nanjing Road at night from the 7th floor terrace of the hotel ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and we had pre-dinner drinks again ... this time Carola ordered a Martini ... this photo shows the smallest Martini on the rocks ever ... it's the one between the Schnaps Glass and the tiny Tsingtao beer bottle ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). To continue with "smallest" extremes: We went for dinner to a typical chinese restaurant (no English speaking at all) and asked for a wine ... they only had two sorts, so we went for the local white wine. Unfortunately not cooled down, so we asked for an ice bucket ... well that's what we got! But we managed to cool it down a bit ...

Shanghai (Day 3 Extensive Sight-Seeing)

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next day, Sunday, we started off at People's Park again for the "Parents Marriage Market" ... so what's that?
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). As most of the young people between 20-40 are far too busy with work than looking for a partner, their parents go out on Sundays to advertise their kids, then discuss the possibilities with the other parents and then arrange a blind date between the two prospective "partner" ... Yes it's true! Masses and masses of people with their "ads" bound to umbrellas ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We even found this ad in English from Melbourne ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... interesting part is, that the text (Carola translated) reads like car ads, age, height, degrees, hair colour etc., but nothing about feelings or love ... well it's different to our culture ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next stop was the old village of Qibao, beautiful old houses ... and many many more people who had the same idea on that Sunday ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Capitalism, part II: As long as there's a profit, "Eastern art" and "Western idols" can be combined easily ... ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Smoking is still very popular everywhere, even in restaurants ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here the four of us on one of the bridges in Qibao ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and more impressions of Qibao ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). While waiting for the women, Thomas could capture some scenes ... lunch for this little boy ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and when the poodle looses one of his shoes (he can hardly walk in), it's a difficult procedure to put it back on!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After that we used the opportunity to visit Carola's appartment ... good to see, where she lives. It's close to the MTR and the shuttle bus to work ... nice giraffe stickers on the wall ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Then we had lunch at Carola's "home restaurant" where she lives ... the lady there was very excited to have four (!) visitors from far away ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and cooked a really good meal for us ... the best part ... all in all we payed 12 Euros for the whole thing ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Do I have to say more? There's no difference between 13 and 23 years of age ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). In the afternoon we went on the other side of the river to Pudong. One of the many skycrapers there is the Pearl Tower ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). As Carola made a tour recently with an architect (oops) ... she knew that floor here, where we could take this picture ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Further on we went to another plaza, where three of those amazing buildings could be seen: The Jinmao building, the Shanghai Tower (still under construction) and the World Financial Tower ... Thomas was lying on the ground with the wide angle lense for that picture ;-))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Then - without scrupels - we made our way to the lobby floor of the Jinmao Building to have a look down the Atrium ... again amazing!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). To finish the afternoon we went to the "Flair bar" in the Ritz-Carlton, where - contrary to the Hyatt - we were nicely welcomed ... breathtaking view on Shanghai included ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). That's the four bar stools we could capture ... waiting for the sun to go down and the light show of the Pearl Tower to start at 7pm ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). They had an Erdinger there, which broke Thomas' record of "Most-expensive-Erdinger-World-Wide" ... so long it was at a South Bank bar in Melbourne (~ 14 Euros) ... this here was around 18 Euros ... you only live once ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Getting dark, Claudia took this picture of the "Penicillin" Drink, which she and Cynthia really liked ... a special from the Ritz-Carlton ... btw. after one staff member found out that we were from Germany, the food and beverage manager Ellen Franke came to us and we had a really nice chat with her!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Finally the light show began and this is one of the many pictures Thomas took ... a long-term exposure of approx. 15 seconds ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). This here is a 2-second exposure ... we tried not to move ... fantastic experience and a good recommendation for the Ritz-Carlton!

Shanghai (Day 4 Old Parts of Town)

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Last day started with the old town areas ... buildings are really well kept ... after breakfast there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... we went to the Yu Yuan Gardens built by someone rich a long time ago ... do you really need details? ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Impressive monuments everywhere ... here another half-dragon on a wall ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Three days of extensive walking had some impact on Thomas ... slight coordination problems ... Cynthia is checking her handbag for a gun to shoot the old horse ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here another picture of the ladies in the old part of town ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On we went to the Bund, but this time we took a boat trip to see the town from another perspective ... here the Pudong Side ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and here the city side of it. Let's hope, that these wonderful old buildings are not broken down and replaced by modern boring buildings ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). OK another one ... Miss Lemon herself ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Another good viewpoint was this little bridge with Pudong in the background ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... where of course everyone needed a picture of the "me and the city"-type ... and someone with extensive energy had to jump the picture ... but this is the advantage if you have a fast SLR camera ... they think you cannot get them ... ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We had a further walk through these old quarters ... nobody knows how long they will be there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... including a whole bicycle repair shop at the corner of a street ... ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Our last night's dinner was at a Teppanyaki Place (Name: 57°) ... really good food (a bit too spicy) ... here the cook with us ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). This is bacon on an aluminium foil ... flambé in front of us ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Suddenly loud music started and a "gangnam"-style show of the cooks took place ... really good choreography and dancing ... we would have expected everything but this!
Well, four "stressful" but eventful days were over. Carola put together a fantastic program, we have seen so much of this interesting city and we can only recommend a visit there!

Monday night Claudia flew back to Germany, whereas we two headed to Hong Kong on Tuesday morning ...

 

Hong Kong

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Well we arrived safely in Hong Kong, took the "usual" bus to our hotel, but unfortunately the weather wasn't good the first two days ... heavy rain as you can see on the photo ...
"Old" Hong Kong residents might remember the place: The taxis (middle left) were once in front of the star ferry pier ... long time ago ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). As we both had a bit of problems with the Shanghai food afterwards, we had our first "authentic" dinner on day 3 ... here in the restaurant "Red Pepper", an old Szechuan Classic in Hong Kong ... sizzling prawns in chilli sauce ... yummy!
Unfortunately our favourite restaurant "Cheung Kee" in Wanchai closed down two years ago ... the rental costs just went crazy there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On day 4 we decided to go up to the Peak, as we had one of those clear days ... you get maybe 3-5 a year ... the city changes a lot again ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here Cynthia on the peak with Kowloon in the background ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Of course a Hong Kong visit is not complete without visiting Discovery Bay ... here the ferry coming back ... one thing that hasn't changed ... it's as cold as ever inside the ferry ... ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Discovery Bay Plaza ... with advertising for a new development there called "Positano" ... Italian names now the fashion ... DB basically doubled in size with the DB-North Plaza, Club, Hotel, etc etc
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We went to the German restaurant "Berliner" at DB Plaza to have another Erdinger there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On the way back to Central we caught a glimpse of DB North ... just amazing everywhere in Hong Kong how much construction work is going on ... and we Germans cannot even build a single airport ;-)))
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here Tsing Ma Bridge from the DB Ferry ... the visibility was fantastic that day ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here more construction in front of the IFC building ... Wanchai / Causeway Bay in the background ...
Another Story: There's basically noone anymore in HK, who isn't permanently looking on his smartphone ... in the MTR, while walking, doesn't matter, they live in their virtual world. But on the MTR escalators there is a new safety  announcement: "Use the handrail and don't always look on your mobile phones" ... really true!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Last night, Red Pepper again ... here the sizzling prawns ... yummy, but around 35 Euros for this portion ... it's not cheap anymore ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... but the food there was worth the price ... some sweet and sour chicken added ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After dinner we had some last drinks at Delaneys in Wanchai (still there!) ... one of the constants!

Finally a panorama shot of Hong Kong, seen from the Peak on that clear day:

Well, Hong Kong hasn't changed so much from 1999 (when Thomas left) to 2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2009 / 2011, the years when we visited again.

But the change from 2011 to 2014 is drastic, obviously because of the ridicilous rental prices. Delifrance in Queensway Plaza - gone ... Cheung Kee Restaurant - gone ... Chinese Arts & Craft Star House - moved and ridicilous prices ... anyway, times are changing.

We had a safe flight back home from Hong Kong ... let's see when we'll be there next!