China Trip 2011

I’ve had the pleasure of going to China again this year to stay with Jiajia’s parents. Here are some pictures with comments. And here is the whole lot with no comments.

As you can see Peter enjoyed the completely new playgrounds. These are all new since we last visited and anyone can come and enjoy them (well, when I say anyone I mean anyone who’s not locked up or under “house arrest” etc.). The point is you don’t have to pay.

On the other hand, to visit the Yulong Mountain and the temples there, you do have to pay and it’s (relatively) expensive at 15 yuan per person (if I remember correctly). The second picture shows how much building is going on. And asking prices for the flats in the high rise buildings facing the Yulong lake are crazy expensive. The price is roughly half that of what it is in London, Hampstead!!! So if you ask me, China housing bubble is real.

The waterfront around the Yulong lake is completely redeveloped. Two years ago when I visited it was there and not bad, last year it was closed and this year it’s completely new. You can see the full grown trees that have been transported there and are protected from cold wind in little houses of bamboo and plastic sheets. The funny shaped building is a new music hall. At night it’s lit in crazy colors. What the picture doesn’t show is that the colors change with time. I’m not convinced I like it.

Valentine’s day is a serious business in China. The hot air lamps / balloons are a great idea. It’s just paper, wire frame and and a chunk of solid fuel. Light it, wait for a while till the balloon fills with hot air and sky’s the limit.

Jiajia says that the choice of fresh fish and vegetables in German supermarkets is rubbish. I thought she’s comparing it to London, but no, this is the reference point. Not so clean but the choice and freshness is hard to beat. And it’s just 10 minutes walk from Jiajia’s parents place.

When I see something like this I always feel a bit silly to insist that Peter needs a car seat or a seat belt when we’re going somewhere in the car. I still insist though. I’m sure China will catch up on the whole ‘elf and safety business. It’s just a question of time.

This picture is from visiting Jiajia’s grandparents and the part of family still living in the countryside. It’s only one hour’s drive in the car but it feels like another world. No heating in the buildings, no sanitation, cooking done on fire, and the odd picture of big Mao himself showing the way to a brighter future.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery? There are plenty of real Minis on the roads in Xuzhou. Together with other quite expensive cars: Mercedes, BMWs, a lot of Audi’s even more VWs, Skoda’s, Honda’s, Toyotas etc. and the local Chinese brands. And the cars range from the small (VW Polo, Ford Focus, to the huge BMW X5s and Mercedes S series). I’ve also seen a Jaguar and a lime green Aston Martin.

Peter enjoying his evening milk. And no he’s not cold despite what all his Chinese relatives say.

This is a great fast food restaurant in Nanjing. Each table has it’s barbecue and you order the meat (and beer). The only trick is that they’re pumping air into the bottom of each barbecue so it burns without any hassle and with almost no smoke.

Famous (at least in China) Nanjing Cherry blossoms. And Jiajia.

Yes this is in Starbucks. They’re everywhere and popular.

Nanjing skyline as seen from the train station.

And finally this is the speed of the train from Nanjing to Shanghai. In fact it got all the way to 340km/h (that’s about 215mph), but I got bored of taking pictures after a while. Last year the fastest train I was on made it to only 240km/h. Since then they’ve build a pair of parallel tracks to the old ones, with fewer turns, more tunnels and bridges. So now the trains run even faster. The only downside is that Xuzhou is not a stop on the fact train track. Oh that and the fact that one can’t buy the tickets online so it’s always a hassle to get them.


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