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Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm back!  I managed to gain my freedom yesterday and flew from Shanghai to Zurich.  While Shanghai remains in my top ten list, I should mention that the Sun looks like the Moon for the air pollution and you can't bring your cigarette lighter to the Expo (they confiscated mine at the Pudong Airport).  Zurich is wonderful, and I report on this "neat" city tomorrow.  At some point I will also review some Shanghai highlights:  M on the Bund, Jean Georges and the Expo (where Helen Zhang, friend of Leighton Chong--by the way, the Chinese characters are the same for those two names--was able to sneak us in as VIPs, avoiding twelve hours of standing in line!).  As you know, China blocks out most things GOOGLE, and also Facebook, You Tube, Twitter etc.  I found it interesting that during my week of silence, the daily  hits on this blog site remained around 100/day I generally average.  I guess it doesn't matter whether I do this daily or not.  Here are four blogs I would have posted if able.  

1. I'm into my third day in Shanghai, and have just paid for one meal: $9 at Din Tai Fung for exquisite Shanghai Dumplings and a Tsingtao beer. Otherwise, breakfast and dinner are free at the Westin Executive Club, both remarkably sumptious, and dinner with anything you want to drink. A decorative tank of an unusual red fish was eye-catching at DTF, while the Westin EC entrance is graced by a huge aquarium of circulating jellyfish.

2. Leighton Chong, chief counsel for the Blue Revolution, arrived, for we have been invited by Zhejiang Ocean University to work out cooperative marine programs tomorrow. Today, however, we go to the Shanghai Expo.  (Photos will be shown later)

3. I made two purchases yesterday in one of those street markets. I considered a pair of $3 dress shoes, but splurged on $8 safari sneakers. I also spent ten minutes in a 2 Yuan (30 cents) Shop and finally settled on a sewing kit set with 20 needles, an assortment of threads and scissors. Thirty cents!  I should add that on my walk around Nanjing Road I saw the exact same $8 shoe I bought selling for $200.

4. Mision cumplida in Chile, unlike President Bush’s 2003 landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln. What a heartwarming miracle in the Chilean desert.  There has been a tendency to downplay the role of America in this rescue, and that's good, no problem with me on that score. However, for the record, we should appreciate that Schramm, a drilling company from Pennsylvania, beat two other countries to get to the miners. NASA was very helpful, including NASA's Clinton Cragg, who whose design was used by the Chilean Navy to build the rescue capsule, and Aramark was able to get vacuum-packed hot food to the miners. The rescue cable came from Germany, Japan provided the video know-how and China the crane. Thus, this was a wonderful international partnership which came together for the most watched event of the year. NOW IF ONLY WE CAN GET SIMILAR COOPERATION FOR WORLD PEACE IN OUR TIME.

16 October 2010

Professor Jinbao Wang of Zhejiang Ocean University (ZOU, located in Zhoushan) and his driver picked us up at the Westin on the Bund and broke a world's record to their campus. What should have been a four hour trip was accomplished in three, as the car weaved in and out of traffic, at times exceeding 100 MPH, in a ride that reminded me of a death-defying auto racing video game. I think I acquired a permanent nervous twitch to my right eyelid.  One American tourist dies every 36 hours, and mostly from traffic accidents.  China has more road deaths than any country, with India #2.  If you didn't read about my Taj Majal experience, click on it.

We of course went through the usual protocol by visiting their laboratory (which includes a massive 130 meter wave tank) and Leighton Chong provided a presentation on the Blue Revolution to Vice President Changwen Wu and the faculty. ZOU was founded about a half a century ago, but will now zoom into prominence, for the $9 billion Zhoushan Bridge (photo above) for the first time connecting this "city" of more than a thousand islands to the Chinese mainland, was just made operational less than a year ago. Already, there are construction cranes everywhere you look. I would not be surprised if their 10,000 student population becomes a multi-campus of 35,000 in a decade or two, in the process becoming the premier ocean institution for the country.

Zhoushan is a perfect sister-city for Hawaii, as we both have populations of 1 million, depend on tourism and seek prominence in ocean systems. Mayor Zhou and Councilman Nestor Garcia are proceeding with gaining official sanctions.

The highlights of the day were our two sponsored meals. Lunch at the Sheraton where we are staying, the best hotel on these islands, featured a twelve course extravagance with white and red wines. We were hosted by ZOU and the Mayor's Office and given an assortment of gifts. What to do with them will be a problem because I still have 17 planes to catch. Professor Zhibo Tang, who organized our trip, called from New York to acknowledge our presence.

Dinner was even more experienceful with a 15 course seafood feast involving a local beer, 38% sweetish wine from Jinbao's home region and a 10% yellow wheat wine. There are around 70 of these restaurants around their port where our fast ferry tomorrow leaves to take us back to Shanghai.

The evening ended at a glitzy karoake establishment, greeted by 20 hostesses where there are various private rooms with impressive acoustics. Nothing like this in Hawaii, although Hong Kong has similar entertainment centers. Mike Sun of ZOU was the superstar of the night.

What an incredible day and night to remember.

18 October 2010
1. While Chile saved all 33 miners, it is now appearing that the Henan (China) coal mine disaster deaths will reach 37. China has about as many coal mining casualties per day as the U.S. has in a year. It is generally not reported, but China, it is speculated, suffers something in the range of 10,000 mining deaths/year.

2. While coal is the energy source which remains #1 globally in growth/year, China has doubled wind energy production each year for the past five years, while the U.S. in 2010 will experience an installation rate DROP. Wind power and geothermal energy are the only renewable electricity options competitive with coal and nuclear. A controlled government is more efficient in affecting change as necessary. The American government is broken (the military industrial complex, fossil industry and farm lobby dictate policy to our Congress and the White House). Europe, however, is worse, and Russia...

3. Mega Typhoon Megi, now down to 110 MPH, rolled over the Philippines, but is predicted to re-strengthen into a Category 4 storm and slam into China (probably Hainan, which already experienced 4 feet of rain earlier this month) and Vietnam.  (Luckily, the storm went north of Hong Kong.)

4. The Shanghai Expo saw crowds approaching the population of Hawaii each day this weekend, and has now hosted more than 65 million. Thirteen days remain, where the admission during the final days will be halved to half a million each day. Tomorrow, I'll be back for a night viewing, then on to Zurich, where I will be able to resume my daily blog.

5. If you like car horns, you'll love China, for many vehicles have four of them: the standard puny one you have, a higher frequency attention catcher, an intimidator to scare other cars and a truly frightening one to to anyone ahead of you to get out of your way, now.
19 October 2010

The next president of China will be Xi Jinping (he and his wife to the left), who served as the leader of Shanghai until promoted in 2007 to the Beijing ruling group. Appropriately enough, he is a chemical engineer. During the period when he was 16 to 22, he lived in a remote mountain village reaping wheat and shepherding. His immediate next stop was at Tsinghua University, where he graduated as an engineer. As President Hu never did respond to my message, my next effort will be directed at Xi.

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