Reflections

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: Passing Under the Bridge

Colorful ripples reflect our boat’s passage under and past this remarkable color-and-pattern-changing bridge on the Yangtze River.

Remind you of anything?

Categories: Architecture, Art, Asia, bridges, China, cruises, engineering, Photography, Reflections, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Nickname Your Skyscraper

Pudong and the Huangpu River at night
It’s a tall, tall world in the district of Shanghai known as Pudong.

Boardwalk along the Bund, ShanghaiA mere twenty-one years ago, Pudong—on the eastern shore of the Huangpu River, opposite the city’s celebrated Bund—was a mix of farmland, squatters’ shacks and swamp. Now it has a population of more than five million and is home to some cloud-scrapers even Superman would have to think twice about leaping over in a single bound. As these behemoths neared completion, Shanghai residents gave them nicknames.

Designed by architects in Chicago, the Jin Mao Tower has a pointy top that looks like those needles you stick into eggs that whisk them from inside the shell. Some call it the Egg Beater, others the Marinade Injector or Syringe. As a business center and home to the Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel, it stands at 1380 feet or 88 stories high. For an entrance fee, you can shoot up at thirty feet per second to the top floor observation deck along with 999 other like-minded people for a stunning view.

Pudong on a clear day in Shanghai

Pudong on a clear day in Shanghai

Once the tallest structure in China from 1994 to 2007, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower at 1,535 feet (387-foot broadcast antenna included) is no longer the tallest, but definitely the most unique. Its eleven spheres, fifteen observation levels, and three gigantic columns host a combination of exhibition facilities, restaurants, shopping mall and hotel. The highest observation deck, at 1148 feet, is known as the Space Module and has an outside area with glass floor. Its architects designed it to resemble two dragons playing with pearls. It’s called, simply, the Pearl Tower.

Next up is the Shanghai World Financial Center. It’s a sleek, modern beauty at 1,614 feet (101 floors), the glass-and-metal façade reflecting sky and clouds. It, too, has a sightseeing top floor and can survive a devastating magnitude-8 earthquake (good to know if you’re sightseeing on that top floor when the earth shakes). With its distinctive trapezoid hole near the top, it’s easy to see why it garnered the nickname, Bottle Opener.

A brightly lit, masted brig sails up and down the Huangpu River in front of the Bund and Pudong.

A brightly lit, masted brig sails up and down the Huangpu River in front of the Bund and Pudong.

And at the top of the heap, so to speak, is the almost-finished Shanghai Tower. When completed in 2015, it will stand 2,073-feet high, with five basement levels, 121 floors above ground and five podium floors, and it will be, not only China’s tallest building, but also the second tallest in the world (Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is taller). Since Shanghai is on a seismic belt, engineers poured a twenty-foot-thick underground baseboard over almost a thousand 282-foot-deep foundation piles to ensure stability. And, since Shanghai is also subject to frequent typhoons, they designed the building to twist about one degree per floor to offset high winds. The building spirals upwards like a snake climbing a tree. Because of its twist, it’s called the Screwdriver. Or sometimes the Egg Whisk.

These buildings and many others in Pudong draw attention to themselves in the evening by switching on an incredible, constantly changing and colorful LED lightshow. I admit to sitting by my Bund hotel-room window after dark and watching, fascinated, as the lighting display created a mesmerizing backdrop for the barges, ferries and sightseeing boats plying the river.

The Bund (older city) at night
One night, a flash storm added lightening to the mix. It was much better than tv.

Lightening splits the sky over Pudong during a brief evening rain storm.

Lightening splits the sky over Pudong during a brief evening rain storm.

The Pearl Tower with its bulbous spheres is easy to spot, but can you pick out the Egg Beater, Bottle Opener and Screwdriver? Hint: at night, the unfinished and lightless Screwdriver disappears in the blackness.

Categories: Architecture, Asia, China, Photography, Reflections, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moonlight Over Waikiki

From Ala Moana Beach's Magic Island, the moon illuminates a rich tapestry of clouds over Waikiki.

From Ala Moana Beach’s Magic Island, the moon illuminates a rich tapestry of clouds over Waikiki.

Categories: Hawaii, Photography, Reflections, Stock Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Pole Fun Facts

The sun sets over the Lofoten Islands, northern Norway

The sun sets over the Lofoten Islands, northern Norway

Just in time for Christmas, this is a link to a story in Budget Travel magazine about the most mythical place on earth. Even though I traveled to Norway this past summer and into the Arctic Circle, I didn’t quite make it all the way to the North Pole. Perhaps next time.

Categories: Norway, Photography, Reflections, Scandinavia, Sunsets, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Reflections

Alaska mountains lake reflections

Misty snow-capped mountains reflect in a mirror lake, Alaska

fall colors, Olympic Peninsula

Beginnings of fall colors, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

sunset reflections, Olympic Peninsula

Sunset at Second Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Tivoli Gardens reflections, Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

duck reflection, Cartagena

Does this water make my face look fat? Mandarin duck, Cartagena, Spain

Istanbul, Galata reflections

Colorful boat-restaurant reflections in Istanbul, Turkey

lake reflections, Olympic Peninsula

Where sky, earth and water meet. Olympic Peninsula, Washington

ducks and fall colors reflections

Ducks glide through fall-colors reflections, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

sun reflections Nice

Sunset rays off the coast of Nice, France

Categories: Birds, environment, nature, Photography, Reflections, Stock Photography, Sunsets, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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