I kept this diary of things we have done in Singapore for 2 years. I have now moved some of it to other travel pages but you can still find links to many of our activities here. I have also created a reading list of books we have read about the region.

Western Japan

Birds in Singapore

Kuala Lumpur stopover

Thai Diving

Singapore Liveaboard

Local Residents

Beijing Summer

Diving with Sharks

Shanghai Heatwave

Taiwan Tourists

An Indian week

Where U bin?

Island hideaway

Steamy running

A Trip to the Zoo

Gardens by the Bay


Singapore walks

Mind the bus

Flower power


Early weeks


Vicky's Blog


Jade CupAfter a break in the UK we are back in the East and soon after arriving in Singapore we fly off to Shanghai. For both of us it is a first visit to China. I work in the week while Vicky explores the city on foot in blistering heat - it is mid summer and the temperature is hitting 40C.

We are staying in the very comfortable Meridien with fab views from our room and the club room on the 44th floor (above). On Friday night we join the crowds of visitors (mostly Chinese) strolling on the Bund, the riverside row of grand offices, before cocktails and dinner.

Shanghai MuseumOn Friday morning I take a break after some late nights in the office and join Vicky on a trip to the Shanghai museum. This compact circular building in People's Park, a short walk from our hotel, has a fine collection of sculpture, china, bronze and jade. It is not a huge museum but each gallery contains a display of works from throughout China's history. The bronzes are particularly impressive and I continue to be amazed by the early jade and intricate later jade carvings although the collection is smaller than that in Taipei.

Back into the midday heat we are delighted to find that the MRT walkways run all the way from People's Park back to the hotel, a huge network of underpasses, so that we can get back without boiling. A visit to the Nanjing Dumpling House is not a success as they bring us all the wrong dishes - I am sure that our order (English menu and photos) was clear but suspect that they had run out of our dumplings and did not tell us.

Shanghai CircusOn Friday night we make a trip to the circus. Circusworld runs every night for bus loads of local tourists and puts on a decent show. Tumblers and acrobats, dancers, gymnasts and jugglers. Each act has you gasping - particularly ones like the simple but amazing china bowl juggler (left); how did he throw four bowls onto his head with one foot while balancing on a wobbly tower? The finale is a spherical cage with motorcyclists whizzing around (and missing each other) - something I have only see at the movies and again is breathtaking. The show itself is a bit tired by global standards but the performers are fantastic.

Shanghai MotoAt the weekend we explore some of the parks of Shanghai, including a fine sculpture park at Jing'an before heading off on a sightseeing tour by motorbike and sidecar! We spend most of our two hours exploring the French Concession including narrow alleys of old wooden houses and a hidden away restaurant which was once the British consul's weekend hide-a-way. What a great way to see the city. From a bike you can take in all the street scenes that you miss from a cab although you need nerves as taxis and vans swerve in front of you while ignoring red lights. As Sammy, our guide and rider points out, the brakes on this old Chinese motorbike are not that great so you need to plan ahead!

TongliOn Sunday we hire a cab for the day for a trip to Tongli, a very picturesque water town 70km to the west of Shanghai. This is the first time that either we or our local resident friend, Jess, have been outside the city. The surrounding countryside is flat with fields and canals interspersed with light industrial sites and tower blocks. Housing for displaced Shanghaiese?

Tongli is delightful. We had been warned that it had been done up for the tourists but you still get a feel of the old houses, courtyards and narrow alleys opening onto the canals. With Jess's help we also meet some charming local visitors - 3 girls dressed up in Disney princess outfits tell us we are the first foreigners that they have ever met as they try out their rather good English.

JessI was here to work but outside of the office our trip was totally made by the wonderful Jess. Good friend of Louise, she is just completing a year as a 'WPP Scholar' and has been living here, learning Chinese, and finding all about life in this extraordinary city. Friends who were here ten years ago tell us that the streets still had more bicycles than cars, there were far fewer skyscrapers and more of the old blocks with their lanes and alleys. Who knows what it will be like in another ten years.



click on the images below to see my photo diary of our trip to Shanghai.