Monday, November 2, 2009

Geekin' it up on my last day in China

I spent my last full day in China wandering Shanghai with a former rPath coworker, Xiaowen, a Shanghai native who is now back in Shanghai as a Program Manager for Microsoft.

Our first stop? A Shanghai Linux User's Group (LUG) meeting in a restaurant across the street from my hotel! Along with socializing, the meeting consisted of two talks, one on iPhone application development and one on Google's Street View camera technology.

A familiar site at LUG meetings everywhere--geeks with laptops and projectors:

After the LUG meeting, we wandered over to the 1930s-era Shanghai exhibit located under the Urban Planning museum. (At least that's where Xiaowen told me it was--I got lost in the labyrinth!) I learned a little written Chinese from her and was probably overly amused that the symbols for "train" mean, literally, "fire car."

We then headed to the Huangpu River by taxi in order to cross the river by ferry. Interestingly, locals carry pre-loaded fare cards that pay not only subway and bus fares, but also taxi fares! Taxi drivers swipe the card as you leave--very slick! The ferry cost us 7 cents each, and we were surrounded by commuters on motorcycles and scooters. The view from the river at night was stunning:

We wandered around Pudong a bit (I'd already wandered there the day before with some classmates), and then we hopped the subway for her part of town, Xujiahui. It looked like a scene straight out of Blade Runner:

Dinner was at a nearby restaurant in a former convent with a 19th century royal rail car attached to it. We ate in the rail-car dining room (I'm a huge train geek). Soy-marinated duck and fish heads with chiles! Mmmm!

I was briefly concerned about getting back to my hotel--the subway system appeared to need a reboot:

A first sighting for me--a completely empty subway station!

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