Witt's Twaddle

Shanghai Short Story

Posted in Fests, Food, Trips by Witt on June 19, 2010

The family celebrated the 34th wedding anniversary of our parents in Shanghai, China. Here’s a few snaps I took with my Motorola Milestone.

Not very pleasing experience here that I will not be divulging. The Consular Section is at the World Center, 330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City. Come early and take a number. Business hours begins at 9:00am. Requirements: New Visa Applicant – Completed application form, passport with a least six months validity, birth certificate, marriage certificate (if married), NBI clearance, bank certificate with OR and P50k show money. Previous Visa Holder – Completed application form and bring the old passport with the Chinese Visa.

Yes, they have flights to Shanghai. I think they just recently added Beijing to their new destinations. On time, maybe even earlier at times. Cheap. No food.

We arrived at Pudong International at around 11pm. Had some cash changed to Renminbi or Yuan (¥). They can also change your Peso, so you need not have to change it to USD ($) back home. Our chauffeur was there. It took us over an hour to get to our hotel. A series of skyways and flyovers. Simply spectacular. The moment we got out the van, cool breeze. Around 18-21 degrees Celsius. Very nice. Chun Shen Jiang Hotel is situated at East Nanjing Road in the heart of Huangpu District. Where everything is. Food, shopping, everything.

I suggested we eat something familiar for breakfasts so as not to upset our stomachs for the day. They try to be as environmentally sound as possible, no plastics or styrofoam here. No rice though, but they do have strawberry jams for pancakes and ground black pepper packets which I particularly liked.

When in Shanghai, the Oriental Pearl Tower is a must see. Fastest elevators I’ve ever ridden. Don’t forget to check out the Sight-Seeing Deck. 360 degrees of clear walking glass.

Same taste.

The Shanghai World Expo opened on the 1st of May 2010 and will run until the 31st of October 2010. ¥160 for a standard day pass, ¥100 for seasoned citizens. Luckily, we have two. Security was tight. They even held me for some time due to the Starbucks Shanghai City Mug I bought for Abbie. Expo hours begin at 8am and closes at 10pm except for times when there are special activities which can go on until midnight. The park is massive, as in colossal. Like a small town with hundreds of thousands of people. It’s impossible to scan the whole park in one day that’s why they’re selling 3-day and 7-day passes at ¥400 and ¥900 respectively. We just breezed through some. There’s a number of electric cars which serve as free ride in the long “highway” of the park. The longest queue: USA Pavilion. It has three short movies for its presentation mostly themed on saving the environment. Of course, we definitely have to see the Philippine Pavilion but unfortunately it was just a so-so. As we entered, a male vocalist sings Freddie Aguilar’s Anak followed by a lady singing a “kundiman”, a Filipino serenade. Then followed by a DJ… a DJ?! WTF! The pavilion showed the immense influence our conquerors. There is “hilot”, a Filipino massage/therapy, of course with pay. And the only one with a restaurant inside. Filipino food at skyhigh prices. The only thing good about the Philippine Pavilion, Pinoys need not queue. Another thing I noticed, Filipino travelers are one of the snobbish bunch there is. Don’t be like one, smile back. Did I say the park was enormous?  Huge portalets. Food is everywhere. Expo goodies galore. Everything is 20-30% more expensive though. Tip: Wear you favorite, most comfy footwear.

Some of the best authentic dimsum I’ve tasted are found here at the Shanghai Tea Houses near the Yuyuan Garden, center of the Old City. My favorite, the “Soup Siopao”. You stick a straw in it and sip its juices, tastes like “balut” soup. Yum!

The nearby Yuyuan Shopping  City is the “Divisoria” of Shanghai. Haggle-fest! Sub-story: Dad and the rest of us had a miscommunication on where to meet up after an hour of shopping. Hence, we waited and searched for him for four hours. We even summoned the assistance of the police. Tin went on the PA system which was funny-cool. Later he claimed that we’re the ones who got lost 😀

Boxing Cat Brewery‘s Knockout Stout. Two of this and you’re done. Crazy soccer hooligans pack the place at the time of the World Cup mania. Located at the French Concession, 82 Fu Xing Road West (Near Yong Fu Road), Xu Jia Hui District.

Xintiandi is a small district in Shanghai where old China and new China meet. The best restaurants can be found here. One is XinJishi Restaurant located at Building 9, Xintiandi beili, No.2, Alley 181 Taichang Road. The tofu is my favorite.

The vacation would not be complete without a trip for the faith. St. Peter’s Church is situated at 270 Chongqing Nan Lu. English Mass at 5pm every Saturday and 12noon on Sundays.

Free. ‘Nuff said.

Before flying out, I had a bowl of beef ramen from Ajisen Ramen at Pudong International.

To end, Shanghai is a beautiful megacity. You cannot capture it using a Motorola Milestone. Do not be discouraged if the locals turn you away when you ask them for directions or what not, they just do not speak English. Shanghainese are kind, welcoming people. Would love to go back and have more fun.

7:52am, 19 June 2010.

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Mother Earth

Posted in Everyday by Witt on February 24, 2010

Let’s do our part, save this beautiful thing.

Courtesy of NASA

10:35pm, 24 February 2010.

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Meet Charlie

Posted in Everyday by Witt on January 18, 2010

This is Charlie. New baby of newlywed, Allan and Caren.

Meet Charlie

Sleepy Charlie

Wake Up Charlie

Crazy little critter!

10:03pm, 18 January 2010.

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Breaking Dawn

Posted in Trips by Witt on January 10, 2010

Taken three years ago at Puerto Princesa City

I’ve been to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan numerous times. Yet I haven’t really seen the beauty of this bustling city in the middle of a vast rain forest. All work, no play. Though I thank my work, if not for it I wouldn’t be able to see Palawan. Of all twenty-four, city and municipalities, I’ve missed just eight. Most of these are island municipalities and are very difficult to get to during rainy season.

Taytay, Palawan

One trip I had lasted for more than a week. We were doing inspection work and we have to visit all the city and municipalities of Palawan. The team was split into two to cover the whole province at lesser time. The other half of the team got the island municipalities where the best beaches and resorts are. Lucky bastards! My team on the other hand, got the main island including Puerto Princesa City and farthest ones, Balabac and Cagayancillo. From the main island it will take you eight hours on a boat to get to Balabac, and seventeen to Cagayancillo. So I guess we got the bad deal. Anyhow, the experience was phenomenal. I would never return to those places but I can say I’ve been there and returned ALIVE. Then again, never say never.

17-hour trip on this from Roxas to Cagayancillo

Funny story. In one of the places we visited, Quezon, an acquaintance gave me a Myna. They had it delivered to where we’re staying in Puerto Princesa City. It was a beautiful bird, maybe a week old when I got it. You had to feed it with your fingers as if you were the mother feeding its young with her beak. When we were set to leave Palawan, I decided to take it back to Manila, which is illegal by the way. I emptied a big bag of potato chip and had the bird placed in it. I instructed our aide to get some cough syrup (Loviscol)  to help the bird sleep. This slightly slow aide got the wrong medicine, he bought a vitamin (Clusivol). So the bird ended up drugged like she was on meth. Therefore, I can’t take a noisy bird on a plane. Eventually, the bird went to the care of the dumb aide instead 😀

I’m putting my foot down, I will go back to Palawan and see all its glory in this lifetime.

10:32pm, 10 January 2010.

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