Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Usher in the Dragon Year!

Seems like we just welcomed the new year not too long it's time of the year again to welcome Chinese New Year! As compared to last year, work is not as hectic this time around and I also managed to do most of my new year shopping in Shanghai. =) CNY falls on Mon and Tues this year, and we were asked to take 2 days off work (to avoid charging time on the job)...kinda waste of my leave. :P Even though I had 2 extra days of holiday, I was on cny-lazy-mode...stayed home most of the time and enjoyed being a homebody. 

This CNY, I also offered to host an exchange student (Thea) from Germany and share how we celebrate this 'ang ang' festive season in Malaysia. Main reason I volunteered to host was because I was fortunate enough to receive warm hospitality when I was an exchange student in the States and I would like to take this opportunity to give back by doing my small part in sharing our Malaysian hospitality. =) This is the 2nd consecutive year that we've hosted 'ang moh' for cny, let's see if this trend continues next year...haha!! :p

Pre-CNY 'lou sang' with Dell team on the last day of work before the holidays.

Jan 21 (Sat): Georgetown Heritage Tour

Brought Thea for a walking tour around Georgetown Heritage zone. Thanks to the hot weather...we almost got barbequed. :p

Jan 22 (Sun): Chinese New Year's Eve 除夕夜

Reunion dinner with the family at Vistana hotel. Pretty good that we had a room for ourselves. This year's reunion dinner treat was on 4 of us who are already working. =)

Chinese New Year = feasting season (we eat all day and night) :p

Group picture with all sorts of combination. :p This year we're missing 2 in UK and one in Taiwan.

Once in a year...of course gotta take more pictures. :p

Was supposed to stay home and play mahjong after the dinner but we ended up somewhere else. =.=

Jan 23 (Mon): First Day of CNY 大年初一

Usual routine...paternal relatives gather at 姑妈's house for lunch. Last year we were all wearing England jerseys that I got from UK, this year we're all in traditional clothes that I got from Shanghai...hahaha! :p

All paternal relatives at our house...this year only one cousin absent. It's pretty interesting to see the exact same kinda group picture year after year. :p

Continuing with my task as a host...quick detour to Batu Feringghi.

Last stop for the first day...grandaunt's house.

Jan 24 (Tues): 2nd Day of CNY 大年初二

House-hopped to 6 houses.

Ended the day with a yummy dinner treat by aunt. =)

Jan 25 (Wed): 3rd Day of CNY 大年初三

Aunt's lunch treat with free lion dance. =) Told ya...CNY is all about eating! :p

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year in Shanghai!

29 Dec 2011 - 2 Jan 2012 ~ Work + Travel in Shanghai
As I mentioned before, I'm definitely very blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to travel overseas for work within my first year of work. #countmyblessings We do travel for our work every now and then but mostly within Malaysia coz we're a regional's very rare for this kinda opportunity to come by. So this is one of the few good things about being in this team. :p Anyway, the 'work' that I'm referring to for this trip is stock count. Honestly, I've never attended any stock count before since I started work last January, and 'lucky' me my first stock count is in Shanghai and I'm doing it alone. :p

If Shenzhen doesn't count, then this would have been my first time travelling to China. Since I've never been to Shanghai, I decided to take this opportunity to do some sightseeing. Went to almost all the touristy attractions in Shanghai that I wanted to go...mission accomplished! #leggo Good thing about having to work on New Year's Day...we had the chance to countdown for 2012 in Shanghai. =)

28 Dec 2011 (Wed): Penang - KL - Shanghai

Took the night flight coz we wanted to arrive SH early the next morning and waste no time. My window seat wasn't comfortable but had a cool night view of KL from the sky. 

29 Dec 2011 (Thurs): People's Square - Nanjing Road - YuYuan Garden - XinTianDi

Arrived Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 7am...hello winter!! =)

Our hotel for 4 nights...Renaissance Zhongshan Park hotel...very nice hotel. =) My room was at the 49th floor...awesome view of the city! =)

Tried something 'local' for breakfast...煎蛋饼...sorta like  pancake but with 油条 in it.

First stop: People's Square Park...a park in the middle of the city. Love the autumn colours around the park...even though it was winter already, the trees weren't bald yet. :p

This park is definitely a place for elderly people...taichi, play poker cards, fishing...haha!! 

Time to camwhore! :p

Some landmarks around People's Square - Tomorrow Square, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Grand Theatre.

Walked from People's Square to Nanjing Road pedestrian street...Shanghai's main shopping street but I didn't buy anything here. :p

Took the subway from Nanjing East Road (南京东路) to YuYuan Garden (豫园). Shanghai Old Street (上海老街) was filled with lotsa ancient architecture. All of the sudden I felt like I was REALLY in China...hahaha!

Lunch time! Had Xiao Long Bao at one of the famous restaurants in Shanghai...Nanxiang ManTou Dian. The queue for take-out was so long so we decided to eat-in and take a break. The price for eat-in was at least double the price of take-out...what a ripoff but we needed a break after all the walking since morning so it was fine. Honestly, I think the 'xiao long bao' was just ok...not fantastic...a bit overrated lo. :p 

The whole area felt so 'ancient' was kinda weird to see Starbucks in such an 'ancient'!

We wanted to have more 'China' feel so paid 30 yuan to visit YuYuan Garden. 

The surrounding of the garden was pretty and it was quite huge we almost got lost in the garden. :p

Thanks to Manrou for being my photographer. =)
The streets were already filled with Chinese New Year mood! Let's usher into the dragon year!!

Last stop for our first day...Xin Tian Di (新天地)...more high-end shopping, eating, and entertainment district. The unique thing about this place is that all the buildings are 'Shikumen' 石库门 style.

We were both too tired and our legs were aching after walking for an entire day. Went into 'Shikumen' style Coffee Bean for a break. :p

Dinner at one of the many restaurants in Cloud 9 mall next to our hotel.

30 Dec 2011 (Fri): Qibao Ancient Town - Oriental Pearl TV Tower - The Bund

Continued our sightseeing on the 2nd day. The metro was our main mode of transport to travel all around Shanghai...very convenient and cheap. =) 

First stop for the 2nd day...Qibao ancient town (七宝古镇). Took us about 45 minutes to get here from the city by metro.  

Narrow alleys...ancient buildings...plenty of 'local' snacks.

More street snacks!! I'm not an adventurous foodie so all these doesn't attract!

Tried some huge 'Tang Yuan'.

Picture time!!

Nice scenery of the canal. =)

Seeing the vibrant part of Shanghai was not enough...we wanted to explore more...

One side of the town was bustling with tourists...another side of the town was a quiet old neighbourhood...what a contrast! We also saw an old man sitting by the streets selling popcorns...the 'old-school' way.

Few more pics before we left Qibao ancient town.

Took the metro back to the vibrant part of the city filled with skyscrapers...Pudong (浦东)...home to many of Shanghai's best-known buildings - Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Building, etc.

And of course I've gotta be in these!

Had our dinner at Din Tai Fung with a view of the Bund...we took our own sweet time to eat till the sky turns black. :p 

Xiao Long Bao again...hahaha!! This Xiao Long Bao was better than the one in Nanxiang. 

After bumming in the restaurant for hours and trying out Osim's leg massager in the mall, we continued our sightseeing. Took a ferry for 2 yuan across the Huangpu river to Puxi (浦西). It's easy to pronounce Puxi wrongly and it will sound totally wrong...haha!!

We were both busy snapping pics of both Puxi and Pudong throughout the ferry ride. :p

Finally we're at The Bund (外滩)!!! Beautiful skyline of Pudong at night!!

Night view of The Bund. Whole stretch of nice colonial-style buildings.

Lucky us we saw some beautiful lightings as we were walking along the Bund coz they were rehearsing for the New Year's Eve countdown 3D light show. =) That's the HSBC Building and the Customs House.

31 Dec 2011 (Sat): Nanjing West Road - New Year's Eve Countdown @The Bund

The 'homework' for sightseeing that I did before coming to Shanghai...worked out very well. =)

Chillax day...strolled along Nanjing West Road and passed by Jing'An Temple (静安寺) along the way.

Lunch with the team at 鸭王.

It was New Year's Eve and Nanjing Road was super contrast with the day before...really 'people mountain people sky'. There were soooo many people in the Apple store as if everything was FOC. =.=

Initially we wanted to wait for the countdown along the Bund but after sitting for 20 minutes, the others were freezing already and couldn't stand waiting in the cold for 2 more hours so we decided to find somewhere else to countdown. 

We stumbled upon this place as we were walking along the Bund...The House of Roosevelt. Good job to Ali and Manrou...the very confident duos...we just walked into this posh place as if we've made reservations and went straight up to the 9F rooftop!!  

If you compare to other bars...this price may be a lil' steep but for the view and ambience on New Year's Eve...I think it was actually quite reasonable. Best of all, we had a heater to help us survive the chilly!! =)

Fantastic view of Pudong & The Bund...what a great way to end 2011 and welcome 2012!! #blessed The only disappointing thing was that there were no fireworks at all in Shanghai for countdown!! =.= No CHINA...seriously?!?! 

1 Jan 2012 (Sun): Stockcount at Songjiang
What a great way to start-off the new year...first stock-count ever on the first day of the year. :p No complaints at least I got to travel this far for my first stock count. =) Definitely wasn't easy getting out of bed early in the morning after staying up late to countdown the night before...haha! Our driver picked us up at our hotel at 8am in an Audi (that doesn't look like an Audi at all)...took us about 45 minutes to get to Songjiang. I didn't take any pictures coz I was afraid that people will think I'm very 'sam pat'...haha! But in fact, I really thought about taking some pics but paiseh la! Honestly, it was quite an eye-opening experience to see manufacturing facilities in such big scale...the warehouse that I went was located in the compound of Quanta Shanghai Manufacturing City. The word 'city' is no joke...the entire plant was as big as a university campus with living campus for the staff. Sorry la I've never been to China so a bit 'sam pat'. :p 

Dinner with the team at Spice Spirit. 

2 Jan 2012 (Mon): Shanghai-KL-Penang

Time to go home...checking out from our hotel...goodbye Shanghai!

Lunch before heading to the airport.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport 

Beautiful clouds & sunset.