Mar 26 2020

An old house in Shanghai

3 Baoqing Road 宝庆路3号
Shanghai, China

According to the post, this is one of ten old luxury houses in Shanghai 榜上有名的豪宅约有十幢, and there are 3,000 (short for yangfang 独立花园洋房.) The following photos are taken by Hu Ping.

It’s the Shanghai Symphony Museum now 上海交响音乐博物馆. Aunt Jennie started her career at Shanghai Symphony, spending four years there (1956-60) before moving to the Central Philharmonic 中央乐团 (CNSO since 1996). The exhibits in the museum are from the Symphony and Shanghai Conservatory of Music 藏品主要来自上海交响乐团和上海音乐学院. The restoration of the property was rather decent, except the fire place.


Oct 30 2019

Changde Dao in 2019

21 Changde Dao
Tianjin, China

We jumped from Zhou Xuexi’s former residence to my former residence – well, I called it home for a couple of years, after the lunch. It’s a short walk, southwest 900 meters away.


Chongqing Dao and the neighborhood of Five Great Avenues 天津五大道…

Oct 30 2019

Zhou Xuexi’s old residence

Macau Road 澳门路
Tianjin, China

From the Museum, we drove to Aomen Lu from Luoyang Road 洛阳道, visited Zhou Xuexi’s former home, a row of red brick buildings – 900 meters NE of Changde Dao. Zhou had four buildings but many had been demolished.

It’s built in 1915 and Zhou lived here for 30 some years. Zhou passed away in 1947 in Beijing where he also maintained homes.

At the curb of Luoyang and Aomen, there is a street vendor selling veggies. A popular restaurant 粤园 operates on the ground level. From the name I’d think it’s a Cantonese but it’s Thai.


Oct 21 2019

世纪荣耀 Century Glory

3 star out of 5. Grossly over priced.

It claims to be the best river cruise in China and the price reflects it. They say the Yangzi River cruise is to be taken again and again (18 times is the current record). If I were to retake the journey (most likely not), definitely will NOT be this shitty boat.

  • Cost for 3 night: the 3rd level double with a balcony is ¥3500 pp, foreign passport adds ¥500 外宾费. Total for me is $571.
  • Getting to the cruise: it’s easy, at Chaotianmen Pier.
  • Boarding: so so. At the first check point, the guard took photo of my passport with his own phone because there is a glitch. The glitch reminds – my gender is male. After the initially check, we were led to the dinning room, waiting to be assigned to a room. Jimmy the staff in white suits explained our options (a soft sell) which we all knew when we booked. He took our IDs and came back with our room assignment and keys. We could up grade to 4th floor for ¥300 each but we declined.
  • Our room: is ok. Two beds are closer than the photos depicted – only a gap about a fist wide. Water is weak. Door to balcony is unlockable (they fixed it). The censor by the bathroom is way too sensitive and lighted up a few times during the night – a terrible problem. The room cleaning didn’t take away the dirty glasses and plates that are left in the room. The towels are really good. Two ponchos are in the closet: perfect to the rainy days. The water heater malfunctioned too: won’t stop on its own. There is NO USB port to charge your devices and without the room card inserted, there is NO uninterrupted outlet in the room. The front desk can charge for you – talking about luxury. The fake flowers are big turn off. It seems all things pointed to a 3 star venue.
  • Foods: nothing to write home about. On day two they served steak. The line was long. I took one look and walked away: just a piece of small meat and they have the audacity to call it steak. My roommate took a piece – steak, are not their everyday food. She cut a small piece and offered it to me: not good at all. Adding ¥398 ($57) to upgrade to higher level dinning room for pretty much the same food, and without table wine and beer.
  • some services they provide

Some unreal experience:

  1. Their arrogance. They’re the best when in fact they’re a luxury wanna be. Maximum a 3-star operation.
  2. Sound pollution: every morning since 7, the PA begins to blast out announcements and instructions. It’s a torture. Like we’re back to Cultural Revolution. Many instructions could be done by WeChat, like assign land tour group. Instead, a staff yells out every single group/room to a tour guide, for every single excursion. Every time we enter our room, the tv greets us with our names – why couldn’t they use the same channel/method to assign tour guide, instead of yelling out for good ten minutes?
  3. Smell pollution: the public bathrooms by either side of the cabin rows stinks the moment we boarded.
  4. Water accidents: water gushing out when I went out after settle down, and dripping above the elevator which is dangerous.
  5. Luggage handling at the disembarkment. The cruise will NOT dock at the port that is near the tourist center, which is at the Wanda Plaza in Yichang because of the dam. Getting off the boat, you need transportation to the Tourist Center (where buses, taxis …). Our cruise arranged a visit to the Dam on the last day, which means you leave the cruise after breakfast and after the tour, they return you to the tourist center in town. You’ll reunite with your luggage if you choose not to take them with you.
    1. The cruise offers porter service. For ¥25 per luggage, the porter will bring your luggage to the Tourist Center – which you will reclaim after the Dam visit. The caveat for this option is, you’ve to pack your luggage and leave it out side of your room before 9 pm the night before. I’m wondering why can’t they use the five hours window (7:30-12:30) to transport our luggage, instead imposing such inconvenience on us? Again, think, will any luxury outfitter will do such thing??
    2. You bring your own luggage to the tour which will store in the tour bus. Simple enough. From the cruise to the bus, there is a mini tram which spares you to climb the steps with your luggage in hand. Unfortunately the tram wasn’t working on that nice day. The reason the cruise gave is, the water level is too high. “We’ve no control of it” so we have to climb the steps with heavy luggage. My travel companions have bad knees and is 70 years old. The cruise did nothing. If I were the manager, I definitely will send out all my able staff to help the needy. They stood their ground and did nothing. We were the last four leaving the cruise. They finally call in a porter to carry out stuff out, at ¥60. Again, think of luxury. The inefficiency and inept management is everywhere. The cruise will not end officially by noon. So it was their responsibility to see us off.
  6. The last meal: the breakfast on the last day is 6:15 to 7:45. I guess they want us out of the ship asap. Luxury? What luxury?
  7. On the third/last night, the cruise offers disambarkment info in their small theater. The manager Allan Chen began it on time (a good manner in my book). First, he asked “Has anyone taken a luxury cruise before?” Because my experience thus far, I knew exactly where he’s from or where he’s going. I asked, “how do you define luxury?” He didn’t hear but went on to push their company and different lines. Come on, we sailed for three nights, knew your little boat well, no need to push again. At the end of info session, he brought up tips by saying, they adhere the international standard by adopting tipping a few decades ago and it hasn’t changed, still ¥150 pp. Now everyone’s living standard has rose so much but the tip they expected is still ¥150. What a bargain, he chuckled. … That wasn’t it. He went on to say (it was also shown on the ppt on the stage), that he and another person do NOT share in the tipping pool. IF we want to express our gratitude personally to him, we should tip him personally. Tips: Chinese is NOT used to tipping culture but the cruise talks about it officially at least three times: at welcome session shortly we departed; a staff came with an envelop on the last night and at the disembarkment info session.
  8. Captain’s dinner: NO need to bring a suit or dress because the captain came into our dinning hall and raised his glass once arrogantly, then his side kick said, “… because the captain has to sail our boat so he has to go back to work …” with that, the skipper left. All in less than two minutes of time.

Three wash machines (¥15 per wash; detergent is free) and one dryer (free) is my lift saver since I’ve been on the road for a long time.

Tables in the dinning hall are bare – uncovered and some of them are uneven – you’ve to insert napkins underneath to steady it. Tableware is, well, you’ll have to use cup saucer 茶碟 for cake tells something. Small napkins were always on short supply.

Fellow boaters are fine, except undies and bras hanging out for all to see. People brought their own drinks: beers, wines and mostly the strong clear liquor baijiu to dine with – our agent said “…no, it’s not allowed” when I asked specifically.

This is 世纪游轮 Century River Cruises‘s newest ship the Century Glory. She made her maiden voyage on August 28 (on Sept 9 fm Shanghai per the agent). The 10.21 sail cost ¥3,699+ pp about $521 base price with buffet meals on the second deck. Upgrade to the restaurants (there are two) is an additional ¥398 ($56). I’m wondering how did NCL‘s Norwegian Joy fared so poorly?

邮轮上水都是5天4晚,下水都是4天3晚的: 上水是星期四, 下水是星期一. Down stream sail (the itinerary) is three nights and up is four, price are similar tho. Four this ship, up stream departs on Thursdays from Yichang to Chongqing.

Google 荣耀三峡 (Sept 22, 2019). The ship seems paying no attention on meals / foods serving to the people who don’t eat certain things: this is what I got from the travel agent who wrote that 餐都是自助的; 餐都是大众口味 – I’d translate to that ‘meals are catered to the popular demand’.

内舱房: 团队位,特价:3500*0.7元/人
臻选豪华间:团队位, 特价:3500*1.5倍元/间(1-2人,享受VIP餐厅用餐)
行政套房: 正价:每套3500*4倍(住1-2人)
家庭套房: 正价:每套3500*5倍(住1-3人)
总套、荣耀: 各2套(均为大床),正价:每套3500*8倍(住1-2人)

Oct 11 2019

Yes Inn 成都雅仕

8 Jialingjiang Road
嘉陵江路8号 成华区
Chenghua District, Chengdu

I recommend this hotel for the convenience – cross street – to Chengdu East train station.

It has two types of accommodations: the hotel and apartment, under four names with Longmont being the most expensive among the four and Rayfont the least: 

  1. 龙之梦大酒店 Longemont 
  2. 瑞锋国际 Rayfont
  3. 亚士商务酒店 Yes Inn
  4. 瑞锋公寓 Rayfont Apt

This hotel group is massive, east of the train station. It’s modern, clean and well light. We stay at Yes Inn (room 509). The bathroom’s door is used also for the shower which is pretty cool. The water pressure is good. However, there are some nagging pains: unstable toilet seat, hard to insert outlets and leaky shower. But over all, I’m satisfied and will return.  

 There is a pool and a gym, etc for different price range (free or paid). A travel agency, a supermarket, a convenient store, a small eatery, cafe/bar and restaurants are on site. Bus #4 is cross the street which we take often.


Oct 9 2019

Kailuan Conference Hall 开滦会议厅

83 Xinhua E Road 新华东道83号
Tangshan, China

After gifting ceremony and seminar, they treated me at their hotel/conference hall for lunch. It’s two blocks away from Xinhua Hotel. Sunshine made the small guest house more desirable than the hotel. The lunch is a quick event and no alcohol was served.


Oct 8 2019

Xinhua Hotel 新华大酒店

105 Xinhua E Road 新华东道105号
Tangshan, China

This hotel has seen a better day. It used to be the tallest building. Next to the hotel, a new building is going up. I didn’t check the hotel before booking, just took a recommendation from a local friend. Location is great, opposite from Wanda Plaza, diagonally from Dazhao Park (大钊) and a stone throw away from Kailuan headquarter and Kailuan Hotel. It’s a revolving restaurant on the top, where I’ve two breakfasts: almost forgot that I’ve paid for, -:). Often I was the only customer. Food varieties were limited.


Left is for sale, that included a toilet seat cover… pretty inventive = sneaky.

Wanda Plaza

Tangshan Workers Hospital 唐山工人医院 (calligraphies by Zhu De) and Tangshan Kailuan #1 Secondary School 唐山开滦一中.

Oct 7 2019

A house

49 Baishu
Beijing, China

This house on Dashun Hutong in Bada Hutong hasn’t changed much. The railings on the second floor are falling off. Dilapidated is an understatement. The bathrooms in the neighborhood although updated but the smell is very strong.


Oct 2 2019

Meet the Fockers at Lincui Apt.

11 Lincui Road, Beijing

The spacious Lincui 林翠公寓 is a residential community (国管局), about seven miles north of Forbidden City. It’s rather well known in Beijing because many officials live there. They’re on the Southwest edge of the Olympic Forest Park. Location is ideal. I met my newly acquired relatives there – an awesome family. 来自不同的部、单位的秘书,司局级,正副部级领导.


Oct 1 2019

ZGC #28

Seeing my old apartment building #28 and the Zoology Institute again.

The three story building looks like need some TLC. But most of the buildings there are in the same league.

It holds memories of our youth … Every time we pass by, we’ll recall the by gone era.

I shopped at the mall 中关村购物中心 at 海淀区中关村大街19号. The 5G