Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Good Morning Shanghai

Just woke up, and it seems are train is going really slowly now. This leads me to infer that we must be pretty close to Shanghai by now. I slept pretty well, about as well as I could hope to sleep on the top bunk of a short bed on a train. I think I’m going to need some additional napping when I arrive at Connie’s in order to feel rested, but that sounds like it’s going to happen anyway.

Honestly, this train ride felt much shorter than my flight. To be fair, the flight to Beijing was like 2 hours longer, but the train ride felt like half the trip. Maybe the advantage is in leaving when you’re about to naturally sleep anyway.

Right now I have a queue of like 5 new blog posts sitting on my iPhone that I want to get launched, so hopefully Connie’s place will have wifi.


April 12, 2010 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell Beijing

I’m on the train now headed south to Nanjing and then on to Shanghai (and Connie, woo!). This will be an exciting trip in travel abroad.

I bought a deluxo-seat on an ultra-modern train. These trains would be the envy of Eurorail and put Amtrak to utter shame. I guess I actually got a bed rather than a seat. The D class trains that run between Beijing and Shanghai are the pride of the fleet and boast truly flat bed experiences for those willing to shell out upwards of 600 RMB (~ $90). For those on a budget there seem to be decent regular seats more in the 300 RMB range.

It was a pretty exciting and hurried trip to the train station. Zhi hui, my new buddy from the coffee shop at Jingshan park, recommeded that I take a bus or taxi to the nearest subway station. Once I got my bearings, I opted to walk to Tiananmen West instead, failing to take into account how far North-South the Forbidden City runs.

Continue reading

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going to Hangzhou

I’m in a cab stuck in traffic now. I’m headed for a nearby metro station and am now wishing I had chosen a different one not blocked by congestion as the starting point for my adventures today. I’m taking a bullet train to Hangzhou today. The public transit systems so far have seemed beautifully interwoven, and the idea that I could travel several hundred km in just a few hours and for the equivalent of $9 US just blows my mind as a native of Southeastern Michigan. For me to travel even to Detroit is very difficult via public transit. I think we could really learn a lot from the public transit here, but perhaps it is the population density here that makes this possible.

I feel guilty about this, but I’m excited to be traveling somewhere that I expect to see fewer Westerners. I enjoy meeting people, and that seems much easier when people are curious about me. In Shanghai, there are so many westerners that I rarely got a second look, let alone a smile for long enough for me to strike up a conversation. I hope my fortunes are better in Hangzhou and Suzhou.

I’m curious to see the interior of the train. I read a few reviews online and they were all very positive. The economy here is just bustling. I’m looking for a downside, I know there must be one, but so far I’m just seeing prosperity and growth. Maybe I’m just looking through rose-colored glasses, or Shanghai is some unique exception to the Chinese rule, but so far my overall impression is far more positive than the feeling I’ve gotten from any accounts I’ve heard. Maybe I’m just excited to be in a city—I felt similarly while in the Bay Area last week—and that’s what I’m actually enjoying.

June 13, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , | Leave a comment