Tag Archives: skyscraper

A dinner escape on the Bund

9 Feb

After my harrowing experience with the air conditioner – I was pretty rattled.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I had a client dinner scheduled that evening and so leaving the final details to Li, I headed to the Bund to meet my contact.

I had decided to book a restaurant which I had not gone to before – El Willy on the Bund.  The cuisine is Spanish fusion which made me curious, given that I had lived in Spain nearly 15 years ago now. The location is central, a little farther south than where I had taken my mother last year and it is inside a beautiful building.

As soon as I stepped in past the doorman, I could feel my nerves start to calm.  The building had an interior courtyard with the fall wall painted with foliage and the lights slowly changed to bathe the multiple layers.  It intrigued me so much that I snapped a couple of photos.

IMG_20140121_174906 IMG_20140121_174859

Right as I arrived, I got a call from my client who was running a little late which was a good thing because it gave me the chance to sip some tea, relax- and look at the beautiful view outside the windows.   Our table was situated perfectly, giving me access to the view.

The night was clear and crisp and the buildings on the Pudong side of the Bund sparkled.  Multiple buildings had moving patterns dancing across the front celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday.

The Bund - though I've seen it so many times, it still thrills - you can just see the darkness of the new tallest building against the night sky

The Bund – though I’ve seen it so many times, it still thrills – you can just see the darkness of the new tallest building against the night sky

Because it was a client dinner – I didn’t take any photos of the food, but I would go back there gladly at any time.  We sampled the tapas style plates – the smoked salmon croquettes were amazing, the traditional tortilla almost up to my Spain standards, fresh sardines and coddled eggs with chorizo and walked out with silly smiles on our faces.

El Willy delivered – the food, atmosphere and beautiful views reminded me again why I love Shanghai.

I love Shanghai!  The buildings captured my mood.

I love Shanghai! The buildings captured my mood.

Where do you go when you need to be re-inspired?  What rejuvenates you during the darkness of winter?

Roppongi Hills and the Tokyo City View

29 Aug

On our last full day in Tokyo we decided to try to see the city from above even though it had turned cloudy and was threatening to rain.  There is a newer tower – the Tokyo Sky Tree, but we went for the old standard – the Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills.

Roppongi Hills is a high end shopping mall/residential complex in the heart of the city.  The upscale stores are framed by sculptures and modern art.  We did a little window shopping as we made our way to buy our tickets inside.  One of the unique elements in the complex is an enormous metal spider that takes over the entrance.  Of course – I had to get a picture with it!

What a spider!

What a spider!

I think I could be swallowed alive!  Look how long the legs are!

I think I could be swallowed alive! Look how long the legs are!

We decided we didn’t need to go all the way to the top for the open air view – it is really high and instead made our way to the glassed in viewing area on the 52nd floor.

Tokyo City View

Tokyo spread out below us – I could see the density of the city – the number of high rise buildings – small swimming pools on the top of some, others with gardens – trying to capture every single inch of space.

Green - in patches

Green – in patches

To the northwest a large park spread across the city – an expanse of green among the man-made structures.  Like Central Park in New York or People’s Park in Shanghai – the green becomes an oasis in the center of the city.

The helpful guide to the sights (in Japanese)

The helpful guide to the sights (in Japanese)

Different views pulled me in as I snapped photos. I even noticed the buildings under construction.  Because of the density, renovating a building is more dangerous in Tokyo than other cities.  That means that keeping all pollution – noise as well as materials – low is key.  The buildings are wrapped as tight as presents and then the construction can be done without disturbing the neighbors.

A main highway - flanked by tall buildings

A main highway – flanked by tall buildings

I enjoyed my visit up to the Tokyo City View and would recommend it for anyone who wants to see Tokyo from high above.

Posing over 50 floors up

Posing over 50 floors up

What do you notice high in the sky?  I realize I have been to towers all over the world now – Tokyo, Shanghai, Taiwan, Chicago, New York, Paris… What next?

Taipei 101

23 Jul

On one of my weekend days in Taiwan I took it upon myself to visit Taipei 101.  I’ve seen television programs on it – how it is a city, you could go days without needing to leave, and I decided no trip to Taipei would be complete without a visit.

Approaching the town, I snapped a photo from quite far away so I could get the entire building in my frame.  It appears to billow at different levels, perhaps like bamboo?  One thing that struck me though was that the rest of the buildings around it didn’t even come close to approaching its height.  The skies were gray as I approached and I started to wonder what the weather would be like at the top.

Approaching the tower

Approaching the tower

Before entering I snapped a photo of kids soaking themselves in the fountain in front of the building.  Some things never change – no matter what culture!

All kids like to play in the fountain

All kids like to play in the fountain

After winding my way up to the fifth floor to buy a ticket and a postcard (which I later sent my mother), I entered the elevator to zip up to the observation deck.  The elevator is one of, if not the world’s fastest.  Going up over 100 floors took less time than my daily 43rd floor trip to my office.  It was very, very fast.

There was a free audio tour included with the cost of admission so I made my way around the circle and listened.  The aforementioned storm became reality and I slowly watched the views change from sun to clouds to pelting rain.  It was a unique way to see a summer thunderstorm.

My feeling from below was correct – there were no other buildings even close in height to Taipei 101 that I could see.  Instead, I looked at the mountains that surround the city.  Over the audio tour they talked about how important nature is to the Taiwanese and that the public transportation system connects city residents for easy hiking in the mountains all year round.  They also talked about the tunnels that cut through the mountains and the difficulty in building them.  Nature is a powerful force.

View from the top as storm clouds roll in

View from the top as storm clouds roll in

Just past the city is the rolling mountains - the tower appears taller than the mountains, but I am guessing that is an optical illusion

Just past the city is the rolling mountains – the tower appears taller than the mountains, but I am guessing that is an optical illusion

Since it was now storming pretty heavily I wasn’t able to go to the open air observation deck.  Instead I took a staircase down and looked at the dampers – the feature within the tower that allows it to withstand the frequent Taiwanese typhoons.  The dampers allow the building to sway with the storm and absorb the force.  They were enormous.

View of one of the dampers

View of one of the dampers

My visit complete I went to the famous food court in the basement and got a take out order of Din Tai Fung soup dumplings.  I have eaten them many times in the Shanghai branch, but wanted to see what the difference would be in their native territory.  Per my count, they tasted the same – but were much cheaper than the branch by my house!

Taipei 101 was an overall good experience.  I would recommend it if you are in Taipei.  And make sure you get a picture taken!

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

What’s the tallest building that you’ve been up?  Where was it and what kind of memories do you have?

Spring day in Shanghai

14 Apr
Jin Mao, Global Financial Center and the Shanghai Tower (under construction)

Jin Mao, Global Financial Center and the Shanghai Tower (under construction)

We finally have had a couple of days of great weather.  Recently we went over to the Pudong side and met friends at Super Brand Mall.  On the way back we stopped on the elevated cross walk and really looked around.  These three buildings are among the tallest in the world and we were right there.

Sometimes it’s worth taking a moment to take a photo.

Have you done that recently?

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