Saturday, 3 November 2012

Visit to China

For approximately two weeks, from the middle to the end of October (2012) I was in China. Initially I spent 5 days in Shanghai, at an excellent hotel close to Shanghai's domestic airport (Hongqiao). I was speaking at an Industrial Lubricants Technology Forum, believe it or not, which attracted upwards of 300 people.

As part of this event, there was a Ferrari F1 car in the hotel lobby, which is something you don't often see.

The hotel room where we were giving our talks was also quite impressive - see below:

We had some time to go out and have a look around Shanghai. Below is a photo of some of the Shanghai skyscrapers taken from a part of Shanghai known as "The Bund". 

We went into a bar in "The Bund", and somewhat surprisingly there was a sculpture of bicycles going up vertically in the hallway !

We visited some good restaurants whilst in Shanghai, including Jesse's and a chain called Southern Beauty. 

At the end of the week we visited a customer south of Shanghai, near to Ningbo, which meant going across a 30 mile bridge across the sea, which was quite impressive. 

I then flew up to Beijing for the weekend, and we visited one of Beijing's oldest roast duck restaurants (unfortunately I can't remember the name) but Beijing (or Peking) duck is fantastic - I particularly like the way they cook the skin. 

On the Sunday morning I went around the Forbidden City, which is an amazing, enormous, historic place. Unluckily I lost my camera here - so no more photos. I think it fell out of my jacket pocket. (However the camera was about 5 years old, and I had backed up all the photos, so it wasn't the end of the world - when I got home I bought a Panasonic Lumix TZ25 to replace it, which looks very nice.)

On the Sunday afternoon, I went to Baoding (about a 3 hour drive from Beijing) which believe it or not is famous for Donkey Burger, which was not the best thing I ate whilst in China. 

On the Tuesday morning I flew to Chongqing, which is a city of approx 30 million people, in which the cars all run on gas (CNG to be precise). We also went to a restaurant which was famous for spicy hotpot. Basically, a large bowl of water, filled with various chilli's and other hot spices, was brought to the boil, and then different types of raw meat, vegetables, fish were cooked in the sauce, and then eaten. It was so spicy, it numbed the tongue - I could tell it was spicy when I woke up in the middle of the night and needed to drink two bottles of water.

Finally, I went to a place in the far south of China, called Zhuhai (in fact it is very close to Hong Kong) where  I stayed for a couple of days before finally flying back to Europe - in fact the trip back was quite stressful as the flight from Zhuhai to Beijing arrived late and I nearly missed my connection to Frankfurt - I got on the plane about 10 minutes before it was due to take off which was a bit too close for comfort.

Anyhow, I would certainly recommend a trip to China - an interesting country, with lots of good food, and cheap, very good hotels. Plus in most cities, there are usually quite a lot of interesting historic places to visit. 

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