Nothing too exciting… just some pics down the street from where I live. I sensed a good sky coming on (of the vespertine variety) so decided to photograph my 5min walk from my apartment to the subway station, Jiashan Station. As with everywhere in Shanghai, some major construction going on there too… this thanks to the extension of yet another metro line.
This was my first trip back to the World Expo site after its closure back in October 2010. For quite some time I had been meaning to go check it out at night, and also properly see the Shanghai Arena up close for the very first time. Of course I waited until the thick of winter to venture out to Pudong and take a look.
That evening hovered around 1°C, so I packed on a couple jackets, a hat, gloves, and thick scarf… setting up shop in Yaohua Line 8 metro station before venturing out into the cold for 2½ hours.
I did my best to capture these impressive structures, but did feel something was lacking in the lighting department… especially when you consider how other things are lit in Shanghai. Or even when you look across Shang Nan Road (map) where both the China Pavilion and Shanghai Arena (aka Mercedes Benz Arena) are located, to see how impressively the Expo Axis is lit. However, all three of these structures are immense and still very much breathtaking.
Well, just like in Saigon, we did a temple patrol in Hoi An, hitting up all the religious sites in one go (and this time I brought my camera). Then we took a drive down the only road on Cam Nam island to the very end, where we found a boat… and a crazy plant that instantly retracts its leaves when touched. I have a video somewhere…
We flew from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) to Da Nang, and then a short 30min drive to the town of Hoi An…… a slightly touristy, but extrememly beauitful town. The center of the village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and thus historically preserved… the first night we took some bicycles into the town center, which is where I captured these.
Afterwards, we had some beers at Treat’s Bar for 10,000 VND a bottle… and if that isn’t a reason to come back, I don’t know what is.
This was the highlight of my trip to the Philippines.
Sagada is only a couple hundred kilometers from Baguio City but the trip still takes several hours. In part because the roads aren’t straight for lengths exceeding 4 meters, and because it isn’t always paved. In the hours on the trip, we must have passed at least 12 landslides that had partially or completely blocked the road (but had since been reopened, or were still in the process of being cleared of debris). However, the typhoon that hit 2 weeks later, made Sagada inaccessible from Baguio, thankfully we were lucky.
Don’t let the images fool you, it is completely DARK, that water is FREEZING, and there were two people ahead of us throughout the… uhm, spelunking? So you can use them as a size reference in regards to the size of the cave (and thankfully their lantern lit up more of the cave).
The first cave is a burial site (see all the coffins piled up?!), whereas the second is the infamous Sumaging Cave. We descended for over an hour, though spaces smaller than a manhole, waded through areas where the water was 1.5m high (freezing, mind you), to absolutely massive spaces. All the way at the end we came to “the swimming pool.” I can tell you that my hair and skin have never felt so strangely smooth and clean as when I came out of that superbly fresh water. Despite the temperature of the water, and the fact that you can’t see your own hand, I would do it everyday if I could.
So I finally got my first taste of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, which opened back on May 1, and runs until the end of October. Took a weekday night ticket, in the rain, and there were still massive crowds (June 24th: 447,100 visitors)… I can only imagine what it’s like on a sunny weekend.
“Better City, Better Life” is the motto, and the site itself is MASSIVE (interactive map). This first trip was only through [part of] Zone C which houses most of the European Pavilions as well as Canada, US, and Africa. And to say the Expo has transformed Shanghai city life is quite the understatement:
- 41 billion US dollars were spent on preparations (more than the 2008 Beijing Olympics);
- 18,000 families & 270 factories were relocated;
- 190+ nations and 50+ world organizations taking part (largest ever);
- Expo site covers 5.28 km², also the largest in Expo history (which equals about 987 football fields including endzones);
- 10,000+ new Shanghai taxis;
- 6 new metro lines;
- 1.7 million volunteers were trained specifically for Expo help;
- 70-100 million visitors are expected to pass through the gates;
- metal detectors (nuisance!) in every subway station throughout Shanghai;
The image above (UK Pavilion) is just a taste of the CRAZYNESS that is to come, I took 397 images and am still working through them, so check back soon as I will be updating them below!
*UPDATE* Check out this amazing photography of Earth Hour in action around the globe (click the image to dim the lights)!
In 10 days, on March 27 @ 8:30pm (local time, wherever you are) the World Wildlife Fund will organize Earth Hour, asking you to turn off your lights for one hour.
Just do it.