China adventures 2012 – week 1

In this series on the International Study Trip please welcome Mark Willems as the second guest reporter from China. Mark made us the honour to write an extensive report of the whole (tourist) trip, including pictures … [for the sake of clarity and although I don’t like it, I will split this very long post, you’ll need to read it on the web]

Day 1 – Shanghai

I arrived early on Monday morning in Shanghai airport.

The Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train brought me to the city center in 8 minutes at a maximum speed of 301 km/h. During the day the train reaches a maximum speed of 431 km/h.

Maglev picture by Frederik Mennes

Maglev picture by Frederik Mennes

Speed indicator picture by Mark Willems

Speed indicator picture by Mark Willems

After another short and “slow” metro ride I arrived at the Blue Mountain Youth Hostel where Frederik checked in the night before. He was barely awake when I knocked at the door but it was nice to see a familiar and non-Asian face. Apparently I already felt alienated in China and that after only a short train and metro ride ;-) In the subway I was at least a head taller than the others and I was the only one wearing a non-black and even a colorful sweatshirt. Can you imagine ;-)

Stijn, a friend of mine studying an MBA in Gent, was also staying in the same Hostel. We all gathered and took off to People’s Square in the city to meet up with our Leuven classmate Gilles. From there on, we first visited the Jade Buddha Temple.

Jade Buddha Temple picture by Mark Willems

Jade Buddha Temple picture by Mark Willems

Afterwards we travelled to the famous Bund where we got a first glimpse of the Pudong new area across the Huangpu River. The Bund is a waterfront area between the river and Zhongshan road.

Bund waterfront picture by Mark Willems

Bund waterfront picture by Mark Willems

Eager to see the Pudong new area from close by, we crossed the river by taking the sightseeing tunnel.

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel picture by Mark Willems

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel picture by Mark Willems

As you will see in the following link to a You Tube video, this tunnel is less spectacular as seen in many pictures (mine is pimped by playing with the shutter speed), but it was nice to have seen it though.

Once we arrived at the other side we grouped with two other classmates, Vanessa and our one and only Chief Party Animal, Fabian.

We climbed the large bottle opener shaped building, the Shanghai World Financial Center, housing the second highest observation deck worldwide at 474 meters.

Next to this tower an even higher beauty of 632 meters is being built, the Shanghai Tower, which will open for public in 2014.

Spyshot picture by Mark Willems

Spyshot picture by Mark Willems

Pudong new area skyline picture by Mark Willems

Pudong new area skyline picture by Mark Willems

For dinner, Frederik arranged us a nice table at Shook! where Kevin Cape, a British highly respected chef, presents an Asian and Western blended menu.

We tried some different nice dishes but it was mainly one of the desserts that caught our attention. Even for a culinary adventurist like me, the “Malaysian Ice Kacang” was very innovative. Or did you ever try a dessert that combines shaved ice, corn, sweet brown beans, peanuts and grass jelly?

Shook! dinner picture by an unknown Shook! waiter

Shook! dinner picture by an unknown Shook! waiter

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How Belgium is selling itself in China

For the New Year of the Dragon, Belgium is selling itself on Chinese social networks Baidu and Weibo.

I don’t know you but for me, I watched the 7 first seconds as a demonstration of a missile attack from China on Belgium (and France, the Netherlands). I’m not sure it was the best way to demonstrated direct flights from China to Europe …

Diplomatic and economic relationships between Belgium and China are quite recent. However these ties were quickly strengthened with the fast Chinese economic growth. For instance, look at the amount of activities organized by the The Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC) … Here, Belgium tries to attract Chinese tourists to Belgium and by doing that, strengthen economic exchanges too. They try to attract Chinese tourists and businessmen in Belgium ; Vlerick will be sending some Belgian business students in China in a few months …

For those who are going to other parts of the world, here are the Belgo-indian chamber of commerce and industry, the American chamber of commerce in Belgium and the Belgian chamber of commerce for Southern Africa.

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