Author Topic: Around the world  (Read 23178 times)

Offline moish

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Day 6 Shanghai
« Reply #75 on: June 13, 2010, 03:56:41 PM »
We woke up early to make our 10 AM flight to Shanghai. Miraculously, we were able to fit in one taxi with their elongated trunk.

HKG-PVG on Dragonair
Business was nothing special, just a wider seat but again we got delicious Hermolis meals. They actually sent us a lunch and a dinner for the short flight, so the stewardesses packed it up for us to go.
Upon arrival in Shanghai, we opted to take the Maglev train to the city. Itís the fastest train in the world reaching speeds of 431 km/h (268 mph) for the 8 minute journey so we figured it would be an attraction by itself. Big mistake. As it turned out, during the time of our trip it only went 300. Besides for that, they donít let luggage carts past the elevator down to the platform, so we had to schlep our heavy luggage in shifts. You also have to take a 10-15 minute taxi from the arrival station to reach the hotel. Of course, the taxi drivers attempted to rip us off by quoting us prices 4 times the normal amount, and refusing to turn on the meter. Left with no choice, schlepping heavy bags and with rain starting to fall, we took two of the taxis. When we arrived at our hotel, however, we told the bellboys how much the taxis wanted, and they basically fought our battle for us. We booked into our hotel, the Park Hyatt Shanghai, using FFN nights from moe. It's the world's highest hotel (not sure if the new hotel in the Burj Khalifa, Dubai is higher), located in the 79th to 93rd floors of the Shanghai World Financial Center, the third tallest building in the world. The views were spectacular. It also holds the record for highest swimming pool in the world as well as the highest bar (which is ironic as the building looks like a gigantic bottle opener). The rooms were modern (the hotel recently opened) and many electronic controls. The rain shower was also pretty cool, but the Toto robo toilet definitely took the cake. To quote from the great Johnny Jet, "if you sat on this Toto thing, you would be just as enamored as me. It was so incredible that I needed a moment alone before we left, just to say goodbye. At times, while we were out sightseeing, I wanted to cut the day short, just so I could get back to the room to sit on my friend. First of all, this special little toilet is located in its own separate room for privacy. Secondly, the moment you walk in, the toilet seat cover rises like it's bowing to you and a night light goes on so you can see in the dark without flipping the bright lights on in the middle of the night. Then, when you walk away, it automatically flushes. And I haven't even told you about all the buttons it has Ö just like a luxurious European car. For starters, the seat is heated (love that!). It's got a built-in bidet, with mechanical nozzles that spray warm water on your bum just how and where you like it. Okay, that part might take a second to get used to but the moment the anxiety of not knowing what those noises are and what's going to happen wears off, it feels so good you don't ever want to get off." But enough about toilets. We then went to take a stroll on the pedestrian only Nanjing Road where we got our first taste of bargaining in China. There were these guys walking around selling laser pointers that shine very far, which were cool, but something I didnít really need. Since I had the luxury of walking away knowing full well I might not make the purchase, and convincing them of that, I was able to get them at the rock bottom price. So in this situation, the starting price was around 400 RMB ($50) but I ended up getting it for 40 ($6). (it just so happens that these were the most popular things we brought back to the family, but unfortunately we only bought 2. if anyone's going to be in Shanghai, please buy me some more and I'll pay you back.) After our stroll, we went to see the acrobats. There are two types of shows. The regular one and a new one called ERA. The ERA was more expensive, but they had some better acts, so we decided to splurge. Let me tell you, if you havenít seen Chinese acrobats, you ain't seen nuthin'. There were two standout performances in my opinion. In the first one, he balances himself on a board atop a cylinder. He then proceeds, without getting off, to place cups by the corners and adding another board. He did this until he had four boards. Then he put a bowl on his foot, and kicked so it ended up on top of his head. Then with two, then with three. Then he kicked up a cup that landed in the middle, and lastly a spoon. If I wouldnít have seen it, I would never have believed it. The second standout stunt was with motorcycles, but it's too hard to explain. Hopefully I'll post some video at the end.


Offline Deal Guy

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #76 on: June 14, 2010, 12:37:49 AM »
If only your meals would have been more nutritious........

Offline Avid Reader

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #77 on: June 14, 2010, 01:11:31 AM »
Really like your reports. You would do good as a news reporter.

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #78 on: June 14, 2010, 02:17:03 PM »
aa laak de staaal

Offline moish

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #79 on: June 14, 2010, 03:05:35 PM »

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #80 on: June 14, 2010, 04:01:03 PM »

Offline moish

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #81 on: June 14, 2010, 05:33:40 PM »
i thought it was kurdish, supersocks.. i mean superflyer

Offline moish

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Day 7 Shanghai
« Reply #82 on: June 14, 2010, 07:06:45 PM »
THIS PORTION OF THE TRIP REPORT IS DEDICATED TO Y.A.

The next morning we met up with an Israeli woman living in Shanghai to baby sit our daughter and then we proceeded to the fascinating Jewish history tour with Dvir Bar-Gal (http://www.shanghai-jews.com/index.htm). He basically gives you a thorough history of the Jews there, from the time the Sefardim came, and through the time of WWII when over 20,000 Jews were saved due to the open port policy (i.e. no visa necessary). You also visit the areas that the Jewish refugees lived, where you can still see some magen davids and the places where the mezuzahs were once affixed. You also visit an old shul which also houses the Jewish Refugees Museum. He also takes you inside a "house" which used to be inhabited by a Jewish refugee family, which they then sold to a Chinese guy after the war, to see how small and cramped the living conditions were. (It happened to be this Chinese guy's worst real estate deal, as just a few years later, the government confiscated all property.) I just want to point out that there is a ton of dialogue on this tour, but I personally enjoyed it very much. It's also quite expensive at 400 RMB ($58) per person but he does give a student discount. After the tour, I walked over to the site of where the Beis Aharon shul once stood, which was where the Mir yeshiva set up its temporary beis medrash. Unfortunately, it's nothing more than a construction site today. After that, we went to the Yuyuan Gardens but we didnít really find the garden part only all the tourist shops. Next we went to Xintiandi which is basically a hip area with cafes etc. They also have a Coffee Bean there, but not sure if kosher. BTW, we went to all these areas by taxi which is dirt cheap. I think our most expensive taxi ride on the meter was no more than $5. After that, we strolled along the Bund area which is basically a bunch of buildings with 1920's architecture along the waterfront, that was the hub of business life when Shanghai was an open city. At night the buildings are lit up which is beautiful. Unfortunately, the boardwalk was closed due to construction for the then upcoming World Expo. We then returned to the hotel where we hit up the highest bar in the world for a beer and the view which being around 10 floors higher than our room, was better. After that we took a dip in the highest pool in the world after a long day, and called it a night.

P.S. Where's Waldo? I appear in one of the pictures below, can you spot me?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 07:37:40 PM by moish »

Offline Deal Guy

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #83 on: June 14, 2010, 08:35:30 PM »
Nice reports!
 I guess if you found a Israeli lady to babysit your daughter there, then maybe someone would know of some decent babysitter in Israel while I am up North, for a few hours here or there?

Offline moish

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #84 on: June 14, 2010, 08:40:03 PM »
it wasnt easy, you gotta put in the effort, my friend. work those phones!

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #85 on: June 14, 2010, 08:50:03 PM »
it wasnt easy, you gotta put in the effort, my friend. work those phones!

I'm sitting in the U.S. now. Maybe some residing in Israel would have some insight.

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #86 on: June 16, 2010, 02:37:52 AM »

Offline chuchem

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #87 on: June 16, 2010, 03:51:54 AM »
Moish, nice report. As you can read im my trip report I stayend in the Grand Stanford in Kowloon. A really nice hotel and shabbes was no problem. Door to the lobby is not electric, steps and 3 min walk to Kehilat Zion. Whoever reads this tr, should consider it. Match your spg plat to Priority club and they will also upgrade you.

Offline moish

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #88 on: June 16, 2010, 05:49:29 AM »
what advantage does the grand stanford have over the sheraton? i doubt it beats the price with the cash + points option

Offline moish

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Re: Around the world
« Reply #89 on: June 16, 2010, 05:53:27 AM »
moish, since you're the first person that mentioned Kingfisher, this is for you:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/starwood-preferred-guest/1096082-kingfisher-airlines-india-our-newest-spg-airline-partner.html
interesting. the flights were cheap enough that it wouldnt have made much difference. besides, theyre in the process of becoming part of one world.