The Shanghai Bullet Train

by Joe

Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway, also referred to as the Shanghai bullet train is the fastest scheduled train in the world, connecting China’s two largest cities. The rail line is 820 miles long, shortening the trip from Beijing to Shanghai from ten hours to just less than five.

Building the World’s Fastest Train

Construction on the high speed rail began in 2008, and three years later, opened for commercial service in June of 2011. Originally, it was predicted that the train wouldn’t be functional until 2015, but with over 130,000 construction workers and engineers involved on the project, it was completed early.

The high speed rail was designed to reach a maximum speed of 380 kilometers per hour, but broke its own record, tapping out at a top speed of 486 kilometers per hour. A nonstop trip from Beijing to Shanghai (811 miles) can be completed in a little more than 4 hours, making the Shanghai Bullet train the fastest unmodified train for commercial use in the world.

Meet China 1 and China 2

by Joe

For most Westerners, the country of China creates an image that is very specific. For some of us who have had the pleasure to visit the country, that may mean thriving cities with all the modern amenities. We may have experienced a robust night life, stayed in luxurious hotels and dined in four star restaurants. For others, a visit to rural China may create an image of devastation, famine and poverty, with minimal necessities at best. China is indeed a country of diversity- but it’s more than that. You might say that China is one land for two peoples.

One China – Two Realities

Currently, the population of China is somewhere between 1.3-1.5 billion people, with over 200 cities each home to more than a million people. There are only 7 or 8 countries in the entire world with populations that large.  Nevertheless, the country is pretty evenly split, with 49 percent living in rural areas and 51 percent living in urban areas. By conservative estimates, that’s close to over 750 million people living in major cities- and almost just as many on the farm.

Chinese New Year 101

by Joe

Holidays vary greatly across different countries and cultures, but all over the globe, these special days are occasions where friends and family come together for reflection, reverence, and celebration. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese, gaining popularity because of myths and traditions that go back centuries. Also called “Spring Festival”, Chinese New Year is celebrated all over the world, not just in China. And for countries with a large Chinese population, such as Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Chinatowns in the U.S.A., the Chinese New Year is a very significant holiday.

The Basics

Chinese New Year is the most anticipated festivity in the Chinese calendar, and is observed as a public holiday. It begins on the 1st of the month and ends on the 15th. The Chinese Lunisolar calendar determines the exact date of Chinese New Year and as such, it may change from year to year.

A Short History of Hong Kong

by Joe

Located on the Southern Coast of China, modern day Hong Kong is a thriving cosmopolitan city and international financial center. With over 7 million people, the city is the most densely populated in the world. It’s unique geographical position on the coast and natural harbor serves as a gateway between East and West, perfect for international trade. With over 200 outlying islands, Hong Kong is a popular travel destination, offering world class dining, elite shopping and extraordinary attractions.

The Beginnings

It was during the Opium War in 1842 that the Qing dynasty government was defeated and China ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain. Shortly after, the area became an important trading port. In the early 20th century, refugees fleeing mainland China helped populate the city, turning it into a major manufacturing hub. In the 1980’s Hong Kong earned its place as one of the world’s top 10 economies and in 1997, China resumed sovereignty.

 

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