Northwest Airlines operates one flight, daily, from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport: Flight 26, to Tokyo Narita.
On Tuesday morning I arrived at the airport two hours before flight 26′s scheduled departure and took my place in the very long check-in cue that snakes in front of the Northwest counters. Ahead of me, I could see that all passenger luggage was being hand-searched by airport staff before passengers were allowed to check it. This is nothing new: it’s been going on – off and on – for several years now, and likely has to do with the fact that NW 26 continues to Detroit after a Tokyo layover.
On Tuesday I stood in the coach check-in lane until recalling that I have Northwest “elite” status, which – among its handful of benefits – allows me to check-in via the shorter line designated for first class passengers. So, I slipped beneath the stanchions and took my place behind a mere two passengers (rather than the dozens lined up in coach).
And, from there, I noticed another, very important reason why the first class line was moving more quickly than the coach line: Passengers in the coach line were required to subject their checked-luggage to a hand-search; passengers in the first class line were NOT. Below, a photo of the first class line on Tuesday. Note the screened area to the immediate left of the first class passengers: it’s one of several bag hand-check areas stationed to the right of each coach line, and to which coach passengers were subjected before checking their bags. The first class passengers were able to proceed directly to the counter.
Perhaps I’m missing something here, but this struck me – and strikes me – as a giant security hole. Put it this way: if you’re flying Northwest from Shanghai to Tokyo, and you don’t want to subject your bags to a hand-check (for whatever reason), simply buy or upgrade to a First Class ticket. You’ll be hand-check free (at least, you would have been last Tuesday). Continue reading
On Friday I ran my beloved iPod nano, 2nd gen, through the laundry. Some consolation was provided by the news that Apple had released its much-vaunted 4th generation iPod nano a few days before. So, if I couldn’t have my old one, I could at least have a new and improved one.
The old one, the now water-logged one, was purchased at the first Best Buy in China (fyi: Best Buy is the largest consumer electronics retailer in North America) in a transaction that I recall as being blissfully trouble-free compared to those I’d had in China’s native consumer electronics retailers (Gome, etc), and it’s much-hated, way-too-crowded, e-malls (filled with independently-owned kiosks affiliated with manufacturers) That is, Best Buy didn’t surround me with pushy salespeople, didn’t require me to negotiate, and – best of all – their return policy all but guaranteed that I wouldn’t be sold a cheap counterfeit. Score a sale for Best Buy.
So, this morning, I wandered down to the same Best Buy store (in Xujiahui), walked to the portable music player section, and inquired of the staff as to where I might find a new iPod nano, 4th generation. A salesperson led me to a kiosk that had space (and price tags) for half-a-dozen 3rd generation iPod nanos, though only one was on display. The others had either been removed or sold. In other words: an all but empty nano kiosk.
“When will you get the fourth generation?” I asked.
The clerk consulted with a supervisor and returned to me. “After the October [national day] holiday.” [October 6]. Continue reading
Thanks to Shanghaiist, and – later – Shanghai Daily, I learn that the large thunderstorm that I witnessed rolling into Shanghai on Saturday was “reportedly the strongest in over 100 years” to hit Shanghai. It was certainly the darkest, and most ominous that I’ve ever seen hanging over this city. As it happened, at the time it struck, I was at New Heights. Below, a photo of the Bund a few minutes before the rain reduced visibility to twenty meters, at most.
I’ve been in my current Shanghai apartment for four years, and I’ve come to know my neighbors fairly well. But for some reason, before this afternoon, I’d never noticed the religious statuary in the window that angles towards one of mine, nor the wooden beads on the owner’s wrist.
The photo was taken quietly, while the owner was lazing on her sofa in the fading sunlight.
This one’s for the folks outside of Shanghai.
If you live in Shanghai, you are almost certainly aware of this advertisement for the high-end Dragonfly Spa which, prior to this campaign, emphasized its classical Chinese roots. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that I may have been the last expat in Shanghai to see this campaign (it seems to have been placed, full page, in every English-language magazine in Shanghai). But whatever. There’s much to admire here … and to admire it in all of its glory and color, click on the thumb below to get an expanded image. I think, as details go, nothing quite beats the lower lip bite.
As it happens, I know people who know this model (he is not a professional model – go figure), and though I’m not at liberty to divulge what was said to me in regard to this image, suffice it to say that there is puzzlement all around.