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Year 6 Day 91 Puteri Harbour Ferry Terminal
Dave/ Hot
05/06/2013, Puteri Harbor Marina, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

The other day I walked over to check out the almost completed ferry terminal that is next to our marina. It will be an international terminal with ferries going to Harbour Front in Singapore, Tanjung Balai Karimun, Indonesia (west of Singapore near Sumatra) and Harbour Bay, Batam, Indonesia (to the south of Singapore). I had heard rumors that it would not be opening until next month. It was originally to open toward the end of last year but things get delayed here in Malaysia all the time.

As you can see from the picture I posted about, this complex will be very nice when it does open and will make getting around very convenient. Unlike the bus we take to Singapore, which drops you off at a mall in the suburbs, this ferry will drop you off right in the harbor area of the city. It makes getting into the downtown area so simple.

The ferry to Singapore will run three times a day departing Puteri Harbour at 0700, 1400 and 1800. The ferry will take about 90 minutes to make the 29 nm trip. The round trip was will be $58 RM or about $19 US.

I was not allowed to go into the complex to check it out but the guard insisted that ferry service will be starting this Wednesday, May 8th. If that is true, then it will be operating in time for us to take it as we start our trip to China this Friday, May 10th. It will make getting to our hotel in Singapore so much more convenient. I have now been in Malaysia long enough to know that an opening date just has no meaning here but I am encouraged. I thought I would walk back over to the ferry terminal on Wednesday to see if it is really open and that the ferries are running. With my luck, it will be open but only the ferries to Indonesia will be running...

Shanghai Tour Research Continued
05/05/2013

During our second and last day in Shanghai we will visit the Pearl of the Orient Tower, stroll through the Yu Yuan Gardens and the surrounding Old Shanghai District where we may have lunch. Lunch is followed by a walk along Nanjing Road and the waterfront Bund to view the city skyline.

Pearl of the Orient Tower is a 1541 foot high communications tower making it the highest tower in Asia and the third-highest tower in the world. From its completion in 1994 until 2007, Pearl of the Orient Tower was also the tallest structure in China, period, but in 2007 the tower was surpassed by Shanghai's World Financial Center. The "bulbs", or "pearls", which in fact are steel globes are supposed to relate to a Tang Dynasty ( 618-907) poem, the Pipa Song. The poem is about the crisp, twinkling sound of the pipa (a four-stringed lute), which sounds like "pearls, big and small, dropping on a plate". Pearl-shaped when viewed from the outside, the steel globes nevertheless take on an entirely different aspect when viewed from the inside: they resemble something out of the Stanley Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, a couple of these globes have names suggesting space and space travel, namely the highest globe, at 350 meters, called the Space Module, and the lowest globe, called Space City, at 90 meters. The second-highest globe is a revolving restaurant, offering an unparalleled view of the city, which is especially beautiful at night.

After an early dinner, Mary Margaret and I will say goodbye to our good friends and exploration partners, Valerie and Joe Kennedy, as we will be taken to the airport to fly back to Beijing. Joe and Valerie return to the US directly from Shanghai. We depart China the next morning to return to Singapore and then Puteri Harbor in Malaysia where good ol' Leu Cat will be waiting for us.

Whew! These two weeks of exploring China will be a whirlwind of an adventure and I am sure it will take a couple of weeks for us to rest up from it before we start our more leisurely sailing adventure along the east coast of Malaysia.

Shanghai Tour Research Continued
05/05/2013

Our last place of visit in Suzhou will be the government owned The No.1 Silk Factory. The silk factory is divided into three parts: the exhibition hall which shows the history of Suzhou silk and some ancient collections; the working spot, where one can see how the silk is made; and the product exhibition hall, exhibiting the main products of this factory, the silk wadding quilts. The factory is known in the silk industry for its complete technical process of silkworm raising, cocoon sorting, cocoon boiling, and silk reeling, rewinding and packing.

Shanghai Tour Research Continued
05/05/2013

Next, we will go to the Lingering Garden. This particular elaborate garden is actually a succession of smaller gardens. It is well known because of its unique art and architecture, along with its beautifully landscaped and picturesque gardens, pavilions, rockery and pools. Covering an area of about 5 acres, the Lingering Garden was originally a private garden built in 1593 during the Ming Dynasty. It is regarded as one of the four most renowned gardens in China.

Shanghai Tour Research Continued
05/05/2013

There is a legend about the name of Tiger Hill. It is said that King of Wu buried his father here and three days later a white tiger came and crouched on the top of the hill as if he is/was guarding the tomb: hence the name Tiger Hill.

Although it is only a small hill (it covers an area of just 3.5 acres) there are number of historic points of interests which make Tiger Hill a famous attraction. Among them are the Tiger Pagoda (also called Yuanyan Temple Pagoda) and "Sword Pool" (Jianchi).

Tiger Pagoda was built in 961 and is a seven-storey octagonal pagoda. Because the foundation of the pagoda was not well built, it has tilted and now the top point of the pagoda is 2.2 meters away from the vertical center line.

Sword Pool is about 500 square feet and 20 feet deep. The pool never dries and is very clear. It is said the tomb of King Wu (He Lu) was under it. The king was a zealous collector of rare swords, and after he died, all the collections including some precious ones which were made of gold, were also buried with him. Hence the name: Sword Pool.

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