Sunday, May 31, 2009

My First Visit To South East Asia, And I Survived :)

Like so many things in life, it is not until we take action that we actually complete the tasks we set out to accomplish. Last year I decided that I wanted to visit China. On June 1, 2009 I boarded a plane. My trip covered almost 13 days. I left from Brisbane, flew to Singapore for a few days, then travelled to various cities in China for a few days to then return to Singapore for the remainder of my trip before heading home.

The purpose of this blog is to document this journey and experiences.

June 01:
Depart Brisbane International Airport at 13:55
Arrive Singapore International Airport at 19:50

Today's flight was long. It was pleasant enough, lots to eat and drink. You even get free movies on international flights :) I landed safely and was met at the airport by my guide who dropped me off to my hotel. Singapore is a very pretty city. It is very clean and the people there are friendly and seem to want to help to make visitors feel welcome.

June 02:

A veiw from level 6 of The Skytech Building, Singapore.
The Golf Club

I had a meeting on the 2nd of June with the owners of the company that manufacture parts for my lens. We discusses the technical details of the lens, then went to the local Golf Club for dinner. I had a local dish which was basically Curried Chicken In A Clay Pot. Yum!!! Very impressed.
Me [centre] with Robert [right] and Messa [left] after dinner at the golf club. The photo was taken by Nareej.

June 03:

Today was a shopping day and when I asked about getting a custom suit, I was even supplied with a guide who took me to a place in "Little India
". After being measured by the tailor, I walked around the markets and even braved some local food. I spent most of the afternoon in shopping centers along Orchid Rd.
A few years ago, an anamatronic dinosaur display came to Brisbane. For reasons unkown, I missed it in Brisbane. However, I was fortunate to find this one in one of the major shopping centres. Very entertaining. Later I even had time to go and see Terminator 4 at the cinema before going to dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe.
June 04:

My suit arrived in the morning at the hotel and I was asked to try it on by the tailor to ensure that it fitted.
WOW how cool are tailor made clothes?

June 05:
Depart Singapore International Airport at 0800.
Arrive Shenyang at 16:35 Via Guangzhou.

Going through Customs when one does not speak the native language is interesting to say the least. I was fortunate to meet and English speaking lady on the plane who was kind enough to see me through to Shenyang where I was greeted my English speaking Guide Maggie. Maggie ensured that I was checked in to the hotel room and even arranged for me to use an internet cafe.

June 06:
Maggie met me in the foyer of the hotel at 9am so that we could go and meet with Mr Lu. She did a brilliant job even though some of the technical stuff was beyond her understanding.

After the meeting, Mr Lu, Maggie and my self went out to lunch where we ate local food. Chinese food is awesome in China and I am afraid to say that Chinese food in Australia does not compare.

After lunch, we all headed off to a theme park for the after noon before going to a restaurant for an evening meal.

Maggie and me at the theme park entry
This is the only driving I was prepared to do in China
Driving is China is nothing short of an experience. The intersections were the most interesting. In Austrlia if you have a green arrow to turn right, the on coming traffic has a red light. It seems this is not the case in China. As we turned right, the driver honked the horn as the oncoming traffic proceeded to drive around us. Totally different from anything I have ever seen. Interestingly enough, I saw just 2 "fender benders" in my 5 days there. It seems that there is at least 20 every day in Brisbane.
June 07:
My flight was at 15:30, so I was taken to see a few thing like these Dragons and awesome fountains at a local shopping centre close to Down Town in Shenyang.
These fountains shot water some 5 stories up. Impressive stuff.

Depart Shenyang at 15:30

Arrive Nanjing at 17:30

Like my stay in Shenyang, I was greeted at the Airport by my guide [Lucy] who arranged my transfer and check in at my hotel - the 5 star " Royal Fortune Hotel". I found a local shopping mall and food court where I was able to experience Chinese culture.
The Great Wall Of Nanjing

Nanjing used to be the captial of China and its history dates back to the Ming Dynasty. The city has its own "great wall" with gates which are now huge arches allowing the motor ways to pass into the city.

The City of Nanjing has many more tradional buildings and is really worth a visit to if you go to China.

June 08:

I was picked up at the hotel by Robin of Wavelength and taken for the day to inspect the factories where many of the worlds optical components are made. Very interesting indeed.

June 09:

Depart Nanjing at 11:00
Interesting to say the least...

Arrive Guangzhou at 13:10

Depart Guangzhou at 19:10

The flight was delayed to 20:30...

Arrive Singapore at 23:05
Actual arrival time was after midnight.

June 10:
Went back to the Tailor to get a matching vest and tie for my suit.

June 11:

Note quite the real deal
To get real Indian, one needs to go to India. However, Singapore has a huge Indian population and this sample of Indian food was one of the best I have had.

June 12: Depart Singapore at 21:25
June 13: Arrive Brisbane at 06:50

So in closing, a visit to China is highly recommended.

Likes: The food was amazing, the people I met were kind and the culture is interesting. I think as a 'westerner' I have have learned allot from visiting a country like China.

Dislikes: The smog. Whilst cities like Shenyang have taken on a 'green' approach, it is a little to late to reverse the effects of polution.


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