Archive | China

I lived from 2005 to 2011 in Shanghai, China, and blogged every now and then about this fascinating country.

We’ve found authentic Chinese food in Saarbrücken!

We've found authentic Chinese food in Saarbrücken!
It was delicious. We’ll be back.

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Merry Christmas! Here’s a gift for everyone, the free iBook ‘ASIA’ with my best photos from 2005-2010.

Check out a preview from the book:

You can download the iBook version for the iPhone and iPad free of charge right here:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/533526/Asia-by_Jakob_Montrasio.epub
You can download the book directly if you open the link from an iPhone or iPad. If you download it with a computer, just import it into iTunes afterwards and sync it to your device.

You can also order a beautiful hardcopy through Blurb:
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2803637
I recommend the premium paper, it really makes a difference.

Merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

– Jakob

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Going Home: So Long, and Thanks for All the Chickenfeet.

Jakob going homeStarting March 15th, I will be working as a video producer for a large advertising agency based out of Saarbrücken. It’s really a win / win situation, not only for me, but for us, my family, my friends… Not only will we be able to enjoy living in Germany and Europe, but we’ll also live near my parents and near my friends, they are in my hometown, and just an hour away. Also, I should be able to get back to Shanghai and Asia every once in a while for video jobs, as the agency wants me to keep doing those here.

So how do you sum up the experience of over five years of living in China in a blog entry? It’s nearly impossible, unless I make the longest entry ever written by me out of this. I would really like to go into detail and explain very clearly what is making me move out of China by remembering the past, but it’s just too much right now. There’s some unfinished business, we have to pack, deal with Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur and other things. I will only quickly mention the main reasons.

The first and biggest reason of them all is our sweet daughter Emily, she deserves a safe and peaceful childhood, and I can offer her that. Looking at her growing up here in Shanghai reminded me of my own childhood, and China simply stands no chance against Germany in many aspects: Sanitation, insurance, society, safety, honesty, weather, quality of living, education system, politics and much more. What disappointed me recently the most was the Expo 2010 and the fact that the slogan “Better City, Better Life” was nothing more than toxic hot air. Don’t get me wrong, Shanghai is a fantastic city in many other aspects, especially for young people and singles, but as soon as you hit the family road, you realize just how terrible it is to live here with children. There is barely any nature, at least nearby, most venues are not family friendly, people in the park spit all the time and ruin it one way or another, the roads are dirty and all that… So many reasons.

Another reason is the increase of cost in Shanghai. Our apartment price went up by almost 15% last year. This year, the landlord is raising it by another 20%! Food is getting more expensive. Services of any kind are. Everything is getting more expensive. But it’s hard to charge customers so much more to compensate, and there is more and more and cheaper competition. Less productions, more bargaining. I think we are at the point where China got on it’s feet, and now it wants to try walking by itself.

There will be many, almost countless things that I’m leaving behind happily, but there are also things I will miss a lot, friends, food, work… And so on. It will be quite a challenge for us to get back and used to the life in the western world, especially for my wife. But she wanted it, learned German B1 at the Göthe Institute in Xi’An and looks forward to moving to Germany. And on a professional level, I feel I have learned as much as possible here, and will develop more skills in Germany.

I look forward to our new home, and to keep revisiting the city that both formed and changed my life.

So long, Shanghai!

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Moving in Shanghai – Shanghai’s biggest guerilla event ever.

Media Markt opened it’s first store in Shanghai last week, and they did it with a bang! 40 trucks drove all over the city and delivered boxes to 1.000 movers, who then walked through Shanghai, raising the attention of the opening. In the evening, there were 3D shows on the giant building on Huaihai road as well as a uncountable amount of spectators and customers. What do I have to do with all this? I was one of the camera men hired by DVP China who captured this crazy day on camera. Enjoy the video!

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Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Anji produces 12 million commercial bamboo poles annually, ranking first nationwide. It also has China’s largest bamboo nursery. The Anji Bamboo Garden is acknowledged by scholars within and outside China as containing the widest variety of bamboo to be found. It was formerly a bamboo grove research base that combined scientific research with teaching, and has received many foreign experts and scholars and officials from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan. (Wikipedia)

Movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or House Of The Flying Daggers were partly shot here.

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The hellish birth of an beautiful angel.

Emily Fan Montrasio.
Emily Fan Montrasio
* 2010/01/23 at 4 a.m.

I am writing this negative experience down to leave it behind me, to forget about and to go on, to enjoy the new life with my sweet little daughter. I am also writing it down as a warning for other foreigners, expats and Chinese people who are having a baby in Shanghai or somewhere else in China.

Never ever have your baby in a Chinese hospital.

It simply has been the worst experience in my life. I am not exaggerating. It didn’t look bad in the beginning, when it seemed really comfortable to have a hospital nearby your home. Not when we heard the price, which was a quarter of what foreign hospital charge. Not when we saw the equipment, which was modern.

But once the actual delivery of the baby started, all that went to hell in just three days.
Continue Reading →

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The Lupu Bridge Arcs.

The Lupu Bridge Arcs.

The Lupu Bridge (simplified Chinese: 卢浦大桥; traditional Chinese: 盧浦大橋; pinyin: Lúpǔ Dàqiáo), in Shanghai, China, is the world’s longest arch bridge. The 2.5 billion yuan (US$302 million), 3,900-meter (12,795 ft) bridge was opened on June 28, 2003. Its main span of 550 meters (1,804 ft) over the Huangpu River is 32 meters (105 ft) longer than the previous recordholder, the New River Gorge Bridge in the Fayetteville, West Virginia, United States.

The name of the bridge, Lupu, is an abbreviation of the two districts of Shanghai which it links – Luwan District on the north bank, and Pudong New District on the south bank. This follows the naming convention of the three earlier bridges on the Huangpu River – Nanpu (Nanshi-Pudong), Yangpu (Yangpu-Pudong), and Xupu (Xuhui-Pudong).

During the hearings and evaluations of the construction of the bridge, scholars and experts agreed with the local government in that a bridge was indeed needed for further development, but that was where the similarity ended. The experts have continuously advocated the local government on alternative designs that cost much less and produce the same result, but the local government, under the reign of disgraced mayor Chen Liangyu, decided against the advice to select the current arch bridge design. The reason was simply because for the cheaper alternative bridge designs, there were already such bridges in Shanghai, and the arch bridge design not only provided a first for the city of this design, but also enabled the city to claim a world record for being the longest. Critics point out that such showpiece project is the proof of the city officials’ superficiality, and ignored the real need of the city, causing the city and its residents to pay much more and much longer in the long run to recover the investment cost.

Yao Ming, the Chinese-born NBA basketball player, ran among the first group to cross the bridge during the opening ceremony.

The top of the west tower is open for visitors, with access from ground level by elevator then along and up the north east arch to the viewing platform at the top. Most of the time a guide will accompany you. (And maybe a security guard as well.) From the top you can see the development underway for the expo site on both sides of the river.

Source: Wikipedia

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