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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.

Year 6 Day 90 Shanghai Tour Research
Dave/Rainy All Day
05/05/2013, Puteri Harbor Marina, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

The last two days of our upcoming exploration of China will be spent in Shanghai. I think our stay here in Shanghai should being renamed "the garden tour" since we are scheduled to visit three different gardens during our two days here. That sounds a bit much to me. While not a politically correct thing to say, after a while they all start looking the same to me. I can say the same about so many other "treasures" around the world, such as European churches, castles, temples, museums, wineries, etc. While each one is unique and very interesting, I tend to get burned out after seeing a number of them in a short period of time. I am afraid this may happen to me while in Shanghai. I may end up baling out on going to one of them but we will just have to wait and see...

Shanghai is the largest and most prosperous city in China. It is located in the Yangtze River Delta, along the coast of the Yellow Sea in East China. Though not the capital, Shanghai is China's most populous city, with over 23 million inhabitants, which also puts Shanghai on the world map as one of the world's largest cities in terms of population. Note: while I previously wrote that Chongqing had a population of 28 million, I have gone back and discovered that number was stated for Chongqing and its immediate environs. The actually population of Chongqing city is just 8 million.

Shanghai's origins date back as far as 5800 years ago, during the Neolithic Period of the Stone Age. The earliest traces of civilization present in this area have been unearthed from a village by the name of Songzhe, in what is the present-day Qingpu District of Shanghai. The artifacts unearthed include hard pottery (vessels mainly) and even prototype porcelain, as well as stone implements.

For centuries a major administrative, shipping, and trading town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to European recognition of its favorable port location and economic potential. The city was one of several opened to foreign trade following the British victory over China in the First Opium War and the subsequent 1842 Treaty of Nanking which allowed the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement. The city then flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, trade was reoriented to focus on socialist countries, and the city's global influence declined. In the 1990s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city.

Our first day in Shanghai will actually be spent in the city of Suzhou to the west of Shanghai. Suzhou is known for its beautiful gardens. While there, we will visit Tiger Hill, the Lingering Garden and the Silk Factory No.1.

The Yangtze River Cruise Research Continued
05/04/2013

Day 3 of the cruise takes us to the Three Gorges Dam where we will get a tour the dam. The dam is about 361 ft higher than the river level downstream. It took 3080 days to complete. During the construction, the builders used state-of-art techniques and achieved a world record by pouring 20 thousand yards of concrete in a single day at the peak time. As a steel- concrete gravity dam, it used 35.6 million cu yd of concrete. If laid at in one cubic meter blocks, the overall concrete would revolve around the Earth for more than three times!

Once our tour of the dam is over we will go through the locks which lower us down to the downstream side of the dam and then continue a short distance to the city of Yichang. Here we will we debark the cruise ship and then board our plane to Shanghai. So much for a relaxing day...

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