Window of the World, Nanshan, Shenzhen.
Just don't expect it to be so every single day.
Near Goldenport Motor Park, Beijing.
Pouring rain outside. Grilled BBQ chicken and English tea inside. Laptop open to the front. Jazz/funk band practicing behind.
Not a bad place to be.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
We arrived at 8:30 am and the Research Base was already open. The road our taxi had driven to it was under heavy construction, as was the future entrance to the Base. We bought our tickets, walked in, and made our best guess which pathway to take. At this point the air was crisp and very few visitors had entered the park. After 20 minutes and quite a walk, we finally found an area with some awake pandas. A crowd of approximately 15 visitors had already gathered around the spot. We then walked up the hill to the nursery to see more pandas. Going early was a good call as most of the pandas were asleep by 11 am and the park became much more crowded as the day went on.
The "Giant Panda Nurse Experience Center" opened at 9:30 am and a donation of 2000 RMB reserved my sister a spot in line to hold a panda (I believe I heard the staff say there is a limit of 20 people a day allowed to hold the panda). We returned at 10:30 and she, along with the other donors, went into the nursery to hold the panda (I wasn't allowed entry as we had only paid enough for one donation). The donation not only got my sister a two minute panda hug but also a sweatshirt, certificate, and official photo with accompanying commemorative picture frame.
My favorite moment of the visit to the Base was the viewing of a documentary in the 'Panda Theater.' The documentary was about the breeding of the pandas and went something like this: "Pandas are too solitary in the wild and thus are not genetically diversified enough so we have to help them diversify, and they don't really like to mate so we have to help them mate, and their babies are all born premature so we have to raise their babies ourselves or else they'll probably die, plus panda moms just don't really even know how to care for their babies directly after birth and thus just sort of slap the premature babies across the floor and so we have to rush in after the babies are born, grab them from the panda moms, and raise them ourselves the first few months. The average amount of time a species exists before it naturally dies out is 5 million years. Pandas have already been around 7 million years. They can't really keep surviving on their own not because of humans but because they don't really want to mate and they don't really know how to take care of their babies. They're really cute though (like really really cute, right?), so we're spending millions of dollars (and RMB) and millions of man-hours to keep them from themselves making themselves extinct."
The Panda Research Base was very nicely maintained (and will be even nicer once the new entrance is complete) and the opportunity to hold a panda is a pretty amazing (and pretty expensive) opportunity to have presented to you. Best of all, they have red pandas (which I personally think are much cuter than the giant black and white pandas).
Below is my sister holding a six-month-old panda. More photos of the Research Base can be seen in the gallery.
From the China Daily:
[The above photo is a] combination of 225 photos taken at the same angle from a building on the Third Ring Road between 8 and 9 am from March 1, 2012 to March 5, 2013 record the different shades of blue and grey skies that shroud the Chinese capital. Beijing has been suffering dangerous levels of pollution in the past year and the city has promised to take effective measures to curb the choking smog.
A few years ago I had a discussion with an Australian man living in Beijing and he told me that for all the time he spent in Australia in his youth and older age, the single most beautiful day he ever saw happened to be in Beijing. As you can see above, there are some amazingly beautiful and serene days. You can also see there are days when the pollution makes it so dark outside the windows reflect the interior ceiling lights in the middle of the day.
By the way, the headline of this China Daily post is, "Beijing's 225 shades of grey." Is this supposed to be a play on the novel 50 Shades of Grey? If so, *slow clap*.
Glad my father left Beijing to travel back to the US on Tuesday. From the China Daily:
Calm winds, temperature inversion, pollutants transformed from eastern and southern regions and large-scale dust from Inner Mongolia are behind the hazardous air pollution in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and East China's Bohai Bay, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said Thursday.
Readings for PM 2.5, or airborne particles measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter that can deeply penetrate the lungs, reached more than 400 micrograms per cubic meter, or Level VI, which is considered "dangerous."
Smog in southern Beijing reduced visibility to 900 meters earlier this morning.
I love Beijing. But this, combined with insanely difficult transportation, is causing me to love Shenzhen more and more. Plus I have Hong Kong at my doorstep.
August 16, 2012. Sanlitun, Beijing, China.
June 2, 2006. Badaling, Beijing.
July 26, 2007. West Lake (西湖). Hangzhou, China.
Where'd the blue go? Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Courtesy of Nasa (by way of The Verge). The above photo wasn't even taken on the worst of the bad pollution days last weekend. Below is a photo on a clear day for comparison. Nasa has an easy before/after comparison tool on their website. You can probably add this to the list of reasons why I'm somewhat thankful to be in Shenzhen instead of Beijing right now.
February 4, 2007. Nanning, China.
A landslide in southwest China that killed 46 people was partly caused by an earthquake that hit the region four months ago, a geological expert said on Saturday.
Unstable soil and steep slopes also contributed to Friday's landslide in Yunnan province, the state-run news agency Xinhua quoted Jiang Xingwu as saying.
Wiped out an entire village.
After weeks of record-breaking cold, accompanied by clear, dry skies, the weather turned warmer late Thursday. By the weekend, many of the pedestrians in Beijing were wearing face masks. On Saturday, the Children's Hospital of Beijing reported 900 children treated for respiratory problems. Hospitals also reported sharp increases in the number of older patients who were having difficulty breathing.
Ford's success in China is important because growth in China is absolutely key to Ford's long-range global plan. The company has said that it expects 70% of its overall growth to come from Asia and Africa by the middle of the decade -- much of that from the Chinese auto market, now the largest in the world.
Ford was very late to the Chinese auto party, arriving years after rivals such as General Motors , Volkswagen , and Toyota had established major presences in the Middle Kingdom. Many analysts questioned whether the company would be able to win significant market share in the face of such strong, established competition.
I think the new Ford Fusion will do well in China.
The legal dispute began in 2006 when 150 Chinese companies appealed an EC decision to slap a 16.5% anti-dumping duty on all Chinese and Vietnamese-made shoes made of leather imported by European trading companies and sold in EU countries.
Understanding the interplay of how Chinese are embracing foreign traditions or holding on to old customs related to dating and marriage is essential for marketers. Each year in China more than 10 million couples marry, creating an industry estimated at $80 billion annually with strong ties to retail, fashion, jewelry, travel and tourism, financial planning, real estate and household purchases.
China’s economic recovery is a sign that global demand will improve this year, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said ahead of a visit to Hong Kong where he will speak today at the Asian Financial Forum.
“I’m optimistic that 2013 will be a better year for the global economy,” Swan said yesterday in his weekly economic note. “One cause of optimism is recent evidence that China’s economy appears to be stabilizing after economic conditions moderated in 2012.”
My first and only time skiing in China. All man-made snow and only one run. January 13, 2007. One hour outside Beijing.
Beautiful. Overlooking Futian to the south and Luohu to the east.