This is my second visit to China, and I was very impressed to to be in what is now the largest city in the world. It is definitely more of the metropolis landmark than Beijing, which I had visited last year. I was staying at the Novotel Shanghai Atlantis in Pudong, and from my room on the 31st floor, the view was fantastic. Just as I was told, Shanghai does display all the signs of a vibrant financial centre, and convinces you, without a doubt, that it is the best place to do business.
To get there, I took a long journey with Qatar Airways. It involved a six hour afternoon flight from London to Doha, and yes I finally made it to city in the Middle East. But it was not for very long , just two hours later, I was headed for a nine hour flight to Shanghai, which had me arriving the following day in the afternoon. The experience was very revealing, and full of surprises to me, as I was passing through that part of the world for the first time.
The Jardin Botanico Nacional is a pleasant diversion to take in this lively bustling city of Santo Domingo. I was here on a day trip, having decided to spend my holiday week in Punta Cana, on the eastern tip of the island.
Even more surprising is the awe-inspiring Japanese garden which offers the perfect place to relax, or have a break. Once you are up on your feet, there are many other attractions to enjoy. I also loved the tropical rainforest, and the Orchid Pavilion. This Botanical Garden is a must see if you are visiting Santo Domingo.
The last time I visited Chicago must have been around ten years ago. I was passing through on my way to New Orleans. I spent most of the afternoon looking around, and left by train later that evening. I vowed that I would make a visit sometime later.
The visit last weekend was as planned, but in many ways it was very different. I arrived to find a city preoccupied with the staging of a NATO meeting, and the demonstrations which were planned.. The trappings were unexpected, lots of talk of security, lots of police everywhere, and sometimes unnecessary closures of streets, and buildings. Yet the locals seem to take with candour, even though they were inconvenienced somehow.
Most pointed fingers at the new Mayor, suggesting he was simply flexing his muscles. Others were convinced that the security was probably needed. I wasn’t convinced; since I witnessed almost no demonstrations or threatening disruptions.
My big disappointment was on Sunday when I arrived at the The Art Institute to find it closed for the day. I thought it extreme for any museum to be closed down because of the planned demonstration. Later that day. I learned that the museum was closed to facilitate Mrs. Obama entertaining the wives of the visitors.
Did it wreck my holiday? Not altogether, as I was able to adjust to situations whenever it was necessary. But had I known about the planned event, I would have chosen another weekend.