More of my photos from China


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July 4, 2006

happy 4th

it's 11:30pm, i just arrived at my friends' apartment in shanghai after a hectic day of getting packed up in hong kong and then catching the evening flight out here. after a long taxi ride, i've arrived at their place just in time to celebrate the last 30 minutes of the 4th of july with my friends from the states.

this year there aren't any fireworks or hot dogs to be had, but there is a bottle of veuve clicquot from the airport duty-free store, and excellent company to share it with. i couldn't ask for much more.

July 6, 2006

lost filling!

last night, while eating dinner with my expat friends living in shanghai, a horrible moment occurred: i felt a slightly painful shift both on top of one of my teeth. a filling had come loose, and was starting to fall out.

after a quick call to my travel insurance company to verify my coverage (which turned out to only cover half the cost of the filling replacement), and a medicinal Pernod on the rocks at a local bar, i went to sleep.

the next morning, my first stop was a quick visit to the US Consulate in Shanghai to get a list of recommended western dentists (there's nothing worse than the feeling of either not being able to communicate clearly with someone who's about to start using a drill on your teeth, or not being fully confident in their training). this involved cutting through a line of several hundred Chinese people waiting in line for (presumably) work or tourism visas, and heading into the unoccoupied U.S. Citizen Services area, where I was speedily provided with a list of local doctors and dentists recommended by the consulate. I have to say, having never used the services at any US consulate before, I was impressed by the way they quickly got me the information I needed -- props to them for moving fast!

by that afternoon i was in the chair of an excellent chinese dentist who did her training in Oregon and spoke flawless english, and after an x-ray and evaluation, had the filling repaired and was out of there before i fully knew what happened.

hopefully that will be the only medical emergency on my trip -- and if anything else does happen, i hope it gets resolved as smoothly as this did!

how to use a china mobile recharge card

i recently bought a pay-as-you-go china mobile SIM card (for 100 yuan, or around $12 USD) at my local convenience store. while trying to get it to work i ran into a few problems, so i thought i'd share my solutions in case anyone else has a similar problem (the cards are not very intuitive to use if you can't read chinese, and i found the voice menus to be pretty difficult to understand).

1.) buying the card: despite the fact that most countries use scratch-off paper or plastic cards to give you the phone recharge code, and indeed many stores in china have plastic china mobile recharge cards in their display, don't panic if you get a blue-and-white piece of paper with holes down the sides. this is also a recharge 'card'.

2.) reading the card: everything in the instructions is in chinese, and to add to the fun there are several strings of numbers on the inside of the recharge card. don't panic. your 'recharge pin' is the long number beginning with '09' (or it may start with a different number, such as '19'). this is all you need to know.

3.) using the card: dial 13800138000 (yes that's an extra '0' at the end) from your mobile phone, then dial 2, then 2, then 1#, then 1, and then enter your recharge pin followed by the # sign.

4.) you should hear 'please wait a moment', then a success message. that's it! your card is now recharged.

if you need additional help: as difficult as the recharge cards are to use for people who don't speak chinese, the chinese/english bilingual china mobile customer service operators are VERY helpful. dial 11086 (note: this number used to be 1860. if the new 11086 number doesn't work for you, please let me know!) from your phone for assistance -- if you get an unhelpful operator or you can't get through, just hang up and call again, and you should get promptly connected to another (and hopefully better) operator.

thanks to the helpful reader David who also added that the number to dial if you want to check your prepaid China Mobile balance is 10086.

hope this helps someone else trying to do the same thing!

July 7, 2006

the bund sightseeing tunnel

this video footage is of one complete trip down the bund sightseeing tunnel in shanghai.

quite honestly, this has to be the most unintentionally surreal, psychedlic form of public transportation that i've ever seen. kudos to shanghai for having this delightful (and apprarently irony-free) "ride"!

sleeping in airports

while doing research on my upcoming flights to south america in january, i was looking up whether or not the lima airport would be a good place to spend the night (since i have a layover there from 12am-5pm, which really isn't long enough to deal with a hotel), and i ran across the sleeping in airports site. and bam, there is all the information i need about spending the night in lima's airport, and learned vital information like "If you are staying overnight, head to the cafe called the Air Bar. It's on the second floor at the arrivals end of the airport. There were lots of long couches to stretch out on and after 11 the restaurant clears out and you have the place to yourself."

i would never have guessed that such a site existed. but it does. and this is a wonderful thing.

July 8, 2006

reroute: from soft sleeper to maglev train

i had a "soft sleeper" train ticket booked on the night train tonight from shanghai to beijing, so i could have a few days exploring the sights in and around beijing before heading off on the train to mongolia and beginning my journey on the trans-mongolian railway (as per my itinerary).

but every now and then i cut my timing a little too close and miss my connection. it doesn't happen often, but when you're making this many flights, trains, buses and boats, sooner or later it's bound to happen. tonight i managed to arrive about 90 seconds too late to catch my train, and realized that rebooking for tomorrow probably means missing one of the "must see" sights that i'd been looking forward to in beijing.

but i'll be damned if i'm going to let one night of poor scheduling keep me from seeing the Great Wall of China, so after some quick internet searching, i realized that:

a.) none of the major US-based online ticket websites appear to handle internal china flights very well (if it all). UPDATE: i did some more research, and it looks like kayak.com actually does have good coverage on chinese internal flights.

b.) there is a great chinese website called Ticket.9588.com that is excellent at booking internal china flights, and even is available in english!

so a few minutes later using Ticket.9588.com, i have my flight booked for tomorrow morning from pudong airport, and i'll be in beijing in time for lunch. hopefully i'll get to take the maglev train to pudong airport!

About China

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to gone living in the China category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Chile is the previous category.

Czech Republic is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.