{beijing-shanghai, second conference of asean-china ministers responsible for information, 15-17 september 2010}

(after hours of typing like crazy, writing was so out of question. while more typing was another thing, i was thinking maybe i should try to discipline myself to start taping my story instead of trying to find some time to sit in front of the laptop and type it. it was very rare for me to be able to write my travelling story right away. well, maybe we can’t say ‘right away’ since i could not accessed the blogspot during my time here. but who knows that blogspot is blocked here in china?)
anyway, i was in beijing servicing a ministerial meeting. this was my third visit to beijing. the last two visits were done in 2008. believe it or not, i found that servicing ministerial meetings are less hectic compare to those of working level meetings. the reason being was because ministers usually do not discuss things in details, their meetings are mostly consisting of reading of statements, adopting documents that have been cleared by their senior officials and issuing joint statements. there. 80% of the work was done even before the meeting is started.

images of beijing

in beijing we stayed at the beijing international hotel, a five star hotel located at jianguomennei avenue, a very strategic location at the heart of beijing, not far from the tiananmen square, forbidden city and the famous wangfujing street.

the view from my hotel room in beijing

day one was the meeting day, and it was finished quite early in the afternoon, followed by a gala dinner at the hotel. after that the host took us to see the NCPA (china national centre for the performing arts) orchestra at the beijing concert hall. actually i am not really into classical music, but i must say i quite enjoyed the 2 hours performance of the orchestra. i think the best things about servicing ministerial meetings are staying at five-star/ luxury hotel, good food, and extra activities such as going on city tour or performances like this. things that I can rarely get while attending working group level meetings.

snapshots of collections in the red sandalwood museum

day two started with a short trip to the red sandal wood museum, china’s first and largest private museum. founded in september 1999 by chan laiwa, who was named the richest woman on the chinese mainland by forbes magazine, the museum has more than 300 pieces of precious red sandalwood furniture from the ming and qing dynasties on display. some 2,000 pieces have come from Ccan's workshop next to the museum over the past years. at the end of the trip, the meeting participants were handed a basket of handmade moon cakes. nice.

baskets of handmade moon cakes

in the afternoon the head of delegations were taken to a courtesy call with the china communist party leader at the great hall of people located next to the tiananmen square. and in the evening we flew to shanghai because the host has organized a visit to the shanghai expo on the next day. tired and all, we reached the hotel almost at midnight.

park hotel shanghai

we stayed at the park hotel shanghai, a nice hotel with european and american art deco style. originally built in 1932, it was once the first high building of far east in the thirties. the hotel is located in nanjing road, the downtown of shanghai, opposite to people's park. nanjing road is known as the main shopping street of shanghai. seeing rows and rows of shops without being able to explore it drove me nuts!!

on day three, we headed off to the expo site. we only visited several pavilions and did not have enough time to explore the whole location. i took some pictures here and there and was able to do some shop stops (in a hurry) to buy souvenirs. because of this i was once separated from the group and later received a 'death' stare from our tour leader. haha!

around 4 pm we drove back to the hotel and was given only 30 minutes time to refreshed and changed to formal attire, and then off again to a courtesy call with another party leader at another hotel.

it was only 9 pm when we reached our hotel back from the courtesy call. i was told thatthe shops will close at 10. so i quickly ran up to my room, replaced my jacket with a cardigan, and stormed down to hit the street of nanjing.

nanjing road at night is such a beauty

the city lights was awesome. i loove city lights. the nanjing road is filled with rows of department stores (small ones 'thou), food stalls, souvenir stores, bars and coffee shops. i saw that as the night getting late, more and more people came and filled the street.

i returned to my hotel room nearly at 11.30 pm and had to left the hotel at 04.30 am to catch my 07.40 am flight. the schedule was very packed and i got to sleep for only for few hours everyday. i can feel the energy drained out of me day by day. my flight home was not a direct one. i have to fly through hong kong and stayed overnight in bandar seri begawan. still, it was a great experience to be able to visit china again.

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