Trip to Shanghai

Shame on me for uploading the post with the trip to Shanghai with almost two months delay… but well, here is the result:D

We were lucky enough to visit Shanghai during Chinese New year, which is always celebrated some day between January 21st and February 21st (this year it was on februray 7th), depending on the lunisolar calendar.

The result was just awesome. Being the country of gunpowder you can imagine how Chinese celebrate their New Year… in China, not only can anybody buy a firecracker, but they can also buy true loads of gunpowder, children, adults… the point is to make noise, the more the better. As a sample of this, take a look at these videos, taken on New Year’s midnight in any street of Shanghai:

As for the city, Shanghai is full of contrasts, even more than Seoul. As soon as you leave the Bund, which is the “rich” area where all the skyscrapers are, the impression is sometimes that of going back in time like thirty years, poverty, ugly buildings, dirtiness…

I had the chance to meet other two ICEX interns, Alberto (Ho Chi Minh) and Javi (Hong Kong) also on a trip, as well as the local intern, Quique. You can also take a look at their posts about Shanghai (here, here, here, here, here, here y here) much more elaborated than mine (I’m sorry, but my days need more hours…).

Also, I could spend some days with Azusa, a friend from my American days with whom I also spent some days when I went to Japan, and who finally decided to join us in Shanghai. Tanja, also came with us from Seúl as part of her vacation period.

In the subway, from left to right, Alex, Ciro, Carlos, Itzíar, and Jairo.

The typical picture, with the Bund and its Pearl Tower on the background. It was a little cloudy, as it is usual in Shanghai (we were very lucky that it didn’t rain indeed).

One of the communist-oriented commercials that Adidas released for the Olimpic Games. (More of this series at el blog de chinochano.)

The almost-finished Shanghai World Financial Center on the left (492 m.) and the Jin Mao Tower on the right (421 m., although it looks taller becaouse of the perspective). Once finished, the first one will be the tallest building in the world (not including antennas).

Decorations for the New Year in the Old Town. Being New Year’s it was a national holiday, which explains why the lots of heads 🙂

Next to the Old Town, there was the Yuyuan Garden, one of the most popular gardens in China. This is one of its lakes.

The Old Town with lighting.

Having dinner with Azusa.

We also went to Zhouzhuang a city one hour by bus from Shanghai also known as the “Chinese Venice” (in spite of the evident differences…).

Azusa and Tanja. I like this pic:)

You can see all the (many) pictures from the trip here.

¡Happy Year of the Rat!

Trip to Japan

Before going to Spain, I spent one week traveling around Japan:D

I arrived at Kansai Airport from Seoul, where my friend Azusa picked me up and took me to Kobe. I spent three days at Azusa’s place in Amagasaki, a city near Osaka.

Kobe at night.

Having dinner with Azusa, her step-dad and her mom.

Eating Takoyaki, typical from Osaka.

Crab, so good!

Asuza with her dad.

Azusa’s family treated me really well, they took me for dinner several times and showed me around. One day Azusa took me to the pre-school where she works. It is an international pre-school, so children can only speak English and speaking Japanese is forbidden. It was maybe the most fun day of the trip! I played with the children for more than four hours. They were all so cute and seemed to love me:D

With Curly:)

With Azusa, her boss, and the children.

We also went to Universal Studios Japan, which is the only Universal Studios in Asia and is in Osaka. As Christmas were close, it was quite crowded and we had to wait like one hour line to get into any of the attractions, but it was still good.

At Universal Studios Japan.

After that I went to Kyoto for three days. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, so it’s full of monuments, temples, shrines, etc. The first day I visited Kiyomizu-dera with Azusa’s mom. The views were just unbelievable. The second day I went to see another temple (Kinkaku-ji), and the third day I visited the imperial palace, had lunch with Yuko, and left for Tokyo in the Shinkansen.

View of Kiyomizu-dera.

With Azusa’s mom at Kiyomizu-dera.

Kinkaku-ji temple.

Lake at the Imperial Palace.

With Yuko. It took us like seven tries to get Kyoto Tower in the picture:P

In Tokyo, Thanita and Satomi were waiting for me at Shinagawa station. That place is huge! It took us like one hour to find each other at the station.

What surprised me the most of Tokyo is that there is people everywhere. I mean, Seoul is already a crowded city, but Tokyo is just crazy. The subway works pretty well, although I found it quite complicated. There are not many indications in English, and the machines to get the tickets are not very easy to use (more than once I got a train ticket when I wanted a subway ticket and vice-versa).

With Satomi at the station.

At Asakusa with Thanita and her friend Vivian.

Eating crepes with Thanita at Harajuku.

My last night in Tokyo I went to Shibuya with Satomi and her friends. We crossed the Shibuya Crossing, considered the world’s busiest crossing. Of course, we also went clubbing:D

Shibuya crossing.

With Satomi and her friend at the club.

To all my friends who took care of me in Japan,


I hope to see you all again soon;)