Exploring the World

Summer vacation

Yeah, I know. It isn’t summer in Finland but I am now actually spending a week from my summer vacation. It is raining and snowing at the same time in Finland currently and soon I will be boarding a plane to Helsinki. And then continue towards the Beijing where I will be only staying until the Sunday evening when the next destination will be Guangzhou. So, keep looking for this blog, I will try to post some pictures along the way using the mobile phone and also write something if I have time.

Have fun with the snow until it apparently melts away. I won’t be seeing much snow after this evening.

What a week!

All begun one week ago when Russian embassy rejected my visa application because they detected that my passport is broken. It caused that I needed to apply for the new passport and then get my Chinese visa to be transferred to the new passport. And everything inside two weeks.

I applied for express passport, which is delivered in one day but must be picked up either in Helsinki or Helsinki-Vantaa airport - I chose to pick it up at the airport and then stay overnight in the new Hilton located at the airport. Next morning I drove to the embassy hoping that I could get my visa transferred quickly but I already knew that they will not transfer visas but I have to apply a new one. So after discussing my options at the embassy, I chose to use the express option and surprisingly I got my new visa within 30 minutes - that is very impressive!

Of course after all of this, there wasn’t any long enough time for applying for Russian visa so I needed to skip my trip, which I was supposed to take next week. But at least I am ready to go to China next week and that was just the most important at this time.

Winter coming this time?

We got some cold weather and then of course some snow. And this time smaller roads are icy an snow actually stays longer than couple of hours. :-D Maybe this is beginning of the Winter? Well, they have predicted that soon we will again see some warm weather so it will melt away but anyway, we are progressing to right direction all the time.

ForestA view from balcony

Autumn in Finland

Beginning of October there was just yellow and red leaves in the trees and most of those were actually falling down. Nature was preparing for Winter.

And then suddenly there was a storm hitting the Finland, twelve days later from the first picture. The strong wind brought also some rain with it and also the temperature went down so the rain came down as a snow. We have seen the first snow for this Winter, it of course melted away already during that day but this is the beginning.

Nice weather in AutumnCompletely different view

Organising photo archives

Jin Mao Tower

I have been organising my photo archives. Just putting photos to correct folders and selecting the best photos, writing down the details for the photos and so on. Something everyone does and something everyone also usually skips when it is supposed to do and does only when it is already getting too late (so you will have just way too much work in that, why do that kind of task when it would be easy?).

This photo was taken in September 2006 when I visited Shanghai for the second time in my life. It is taken at The Bund standing on the Pudong side, towards the Jin Mao Tower (in the middle next to the Shanghai World Financial Center being built). During that trip, I visited the Jin Mao Tower or actually Grand Hyatt Shanghai to have a nice view over the city from the Cloud 9 restaurant. At that time, I didn’t yet know that I will be coming back to that same building I am now looking in this photo. I stayed on my next trip in the Grand Hyatt Shanghai as you have learned from my blog.

The Jin Mao Tower is somewhat special place for me, I just fell in love with the building from the first moment. I have always been huge fan of atriums and Grand Hyatt hotel located inside the tower has just one of the most beautiful and perfect atriums I have seen.

88 floors, 420.5 meters tall building, which has now been surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center. Grand Hyatt hotel is located on the top of the building, the lobby is located on the floor 54 and there are some interesting facts about this hotel. First of all, it is the highest hotel in the world (in terms of distance from the ground). There is the world’s longest laundry chute. :-D Also the hotel has the world’s highest bar (higher restaurants exist), Cloud 9, which is always worth the visit if you are in Shanghai. And don’t forget to see the atrium, it is very amazing and I couldn’t walk between the hotel room and elevator without stopping to admire the view.

I should really plan my next visit to China, I have been away for too long time now.

Luggage back home safely

Well, as I told you they didn’t manage to deliver my luggage in the same plane with me when I was flying to London. I guess it was a combination from delayed incoming flight from Tampere and the bad weather in Helsinki area. By the way, it was the first time I have experienced such a delay in a flight between Tampere and Helsinki and that we have to actually queue before landing to Helsinki. And then again queue before being able to take-off from Helsinki. Well, that can happen and is part of flying.

In London they promised me that my luggage would be at my hotel on the next morning before my meeting. I didn’t believe that so I headed to the Oxford Street and Bond Street for some shopping. And I was right, on Tuesday afternoon they didn’t have clear view where my luggage is, they guessed it would be still in Helsinki. With that information, I just informed them to stop my luggage to Helsinki because I was about to fly back to Finland in few hours and it would be best if they would then load the luggage to the same plane with me to Tampere.

In Helsinki they searched my luggage and found out that it was flown to London the same morning. :-(

But of course it is just fair to let the luggage to see the London too. And it arrived safely back to Finland on Thursday.

And then it happens to you ...

You travel in different countries for years without too many problems. You have one diversion to the backup airport with the emergency fire trucks deployed because of malfunction in flaps and extraordinary faster landing but nothing major happens ever. You have the usual delays and cancellations and sometimes you divert back to your departure airport because of the technical problem in the air plane.

And then you lose your luggage. And of course you would need that luggage. I have been checking my smaller bag because of the new security rules and because it is still very convenient way to travel. I don’t like to drag my bag behind me in every airport just for fun of it when the airline can do it for me and transfer it from one air plane to another. I knew that eventually because of the laws of statistics, this will happen and I am sure I have been very lucky.

And now they don’t have any clue where my bag is. Filed a delayed luggage report and it doesn’t bring any information at this time. They just don’t know anything of it. The best advice was to wait until noon so the reports will be updated but I am actually leaving the country back to home this evening so most likely my bag doesn’t reach me and then it starts to get complicated.

It is good to have some insurance with you so you can at least get around the major problems. Well, let’s see how this turns around and if we have a happy ending in this story or not.

Rainy flight

Raining and flying

It’s a rainy day today. I am sure happy that the rain is calming down at least for a moment that we can walk to the airplane. The joys of flying from the small airports, you can walk to your airplane and sometimes get wet if it rains. :-D

The Amazing Race

And once again we have a new season of The Amazing Race, this time Season 7. This season will not take the contestants to the Asia very much, the only country they will visit in Asia is India; also Europe isn’t visited very extensively this season.

Amazing Race is quite interesting tv serie for someone who loves travelling. It provides the typical reality tv excitement when you can follow how people react on different kind of situations but you can also see selected (by the production team) views from different cultures. It of course doesn’t provide very good idea about different cultures and countries as these are just selected ones and selected for the purpose of the viewers. We all love to see how the contestants are in trouble with different cultures.

Anyway, it is a lot of fun and in the previous season they actually visited some of the locations in Shanghai, which were familiar to me and it was funny to see how they stumbled to some of the stereotype challenges in China. Let’s hope this season will be at least as good as the previous one - it of course will depend heavily on the contestants and their personalities. And of course the tasks they need to do in each location they visit.

Something to watch on Sunday evenings. :-D

Time for mooncakes

Just like last year, it is again time for mooncakes. My good friend once again knew where it is possible to get these nice cakes in Tampere - it is just a matter of knowing the right people. :-D The tea pot was a great find from the little shop, which was selling Chinese porcelain in Tampere for couple of months. I am still looking for a good tea cups but I am sure that I will find those, maybe during my next trip to China.