Gongqing Forest Park – best park in Shanghai

Best Park in Shanghai

Gongqing Park Bridge

In our opinion the Gongqing forest park is still the best park in Shanghai! For its trees, its groves, verdant forests and pretty lakes. Though there are the usual hordes, it’s big enough that you can find a shady spot to yourself. You can do what you want on the grass, though there are designated kite-flying areas, and there are barbecue pits (from 60RMB/four people up to 150RMB/ten people for two hours) with a shop for supplies.
Best Park in Shanghai

This is the best park in Shanghai

The park boasts too many activities to mention, from a loop-the-loop rollercoaster (20RMB) and other classic rides (log flumes, pirate ships, etc) to airgun rifle shooting (10RMB/five bullets), rock climbing (20RMB), paintball (20RMB/five bullets), go karting (15RMB/lap) and a fun electronic toboggan ride (20RMB). They’ve added more activities including horseback riding (30RMB/person), rowing boat (40RMB/hr), cable sliding (60RMB for two), football field (200RMB/hr for 15 people; 400RMB/hr for 23 people) and fishing for free.

If you can’t bring yourself to leave, you can stay the night in one of the cabins at the Hongsen Forest Park Hotel (Rooms from 280RMB. Cabins from 580RMB). Just remember to bring your passport and plenty of food. Also note that no dogs allowed in the park.

Check the video:

ParkSize 131 hectares – Entry 15RMB – Opening Hours: 6am-5pm
Website: http://www.shgqsl.com

Gongqing Forest Park 共青森林公园
2000 Jungong Lu 军工路2000号

Phone: 6574-0586

Do you think the Gongqing Forest Park is the best park in Shanghai ? Join the conversation and share your opinion !

Achala Fürth

Das “Achala” (Fränkisch für: Eichenwäldchen) befindet sich an der Kreuzung Ecke Stiftungs- und Hardtstrasse – zwischen der Billinganlage und der Hardthöhe in Fürth/Bayern.

Circa 1900

Eichenwäldchen 1900

Circa 1985

Eichenwäldchen Fürth

An dieser Kreuzung am “Achala” trafen sich zwischen ca. 1982 und ca. 1990 täglich 20, 30, manchmal 50 Freunde. Meistens traf man sich am frühen Abend, nach der Schule oder der Lehre, bevor man dann in verschiedenen kleineren Gruppen Richtung Disco oder Kneipe weiterzog oder den Abend einfach am Achala verbrachte. Die meisten Achala-Fans waren Motorrad- oder (noch) 80er Fahrer.

Kawasaki und Yamaha waren die Motorradmarken. Bei den 80ern waren es vor allem Hondas und Yamahas – ab und zu hat sich mal eine Hercules oder gar eine Zündapp ans Achala verirrt. Achala Fürth – heute “verkehrsberuhigt”, aber in den 80ern ein beliebter Treffpunkt in Fürth.

Das angeblich erste Bild vom Achala

Eichenwäldchen 1982

Das Bild wurde aber am Spielplatz in der Hardstraße und nicht direkt am Achala aufgenommen.

Graffiti in Shanghai | China

GraffitoGraffiti in Shanghai.

You rarely see graffiti in Shanghai besides phone numbers for some services. This graffiti is on a piece of wall in Pudong and shows the German word “Freundschaft” (= friendship). On a corner of Jin Xiu Dong Lu.

Wieviele Deutsche leben im Ausland ?

Ich hab´mich bei der letzten Wahl kurz geärgert, weil das mit der Briefwahl nicht geklappt hat –  muss aber gestehen, dass ich hier in Shanghai kaum jemanden kenne, bei dem es geklappt hat. Die meisten wählen gleich gar nicht…

Mich hat in dem Zusammenhang interessiert: Wieviele Deutsche leben im Ausland ? Und bin dann von einem zum anderen gekommen.

Eine Zusammenfassung:

74.324.165 Deutsche Einwohner

davon 12.236.582 unter 18 Jahren (lt. Auskunft des Stat. Bundesamts)

62.087.583 Wahlberechtigte (Wikipedia)
61.903.903 (lt. Auskunft des Stat. Bundesamts)

davon ca. 32.000.000 Frauen
davon ca. 30.000.000 Männer
davon ca. 21.000.000 über 60
davon ca.  3.000.000 Erstwähler

44.330.000 Wähler (= 71.5% Wahlbeteiligung)

abzgl. 576.290 ungültige Stimmen (1.3% lt. Wikipedia)

43.753.710 gültige Stimmen

davon: 41.5% Union  
=  18.157.789 Deutsche haben CDU/CSU gewählt

Ergibt ca. 22,1 % aller Deutschen!

oder: 41.5% Union + 25.7% SPD
= 29.402.493 Deutsche haben CDU/SPD gewählt

Ergibt ca. 39.5 % aller Deutschen die eine Große Koalition gewählt haben!

Achja: In der Zahl der Wahlberechtigten sind 67 021 Deutsche enthalten, die im Ausland leben und auf Antrag in ein Wählerverzeichnis in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland eingetragen wurden (lt. Auskunft des Stat. Bundesamts). (Hmm, allein in Shanghai wohnen wohl 10 TSD Deutsche)

Die Antwort auf die Frage: Wieviele Deutsche leben im Ausland ? habe ich aber immer noch nicht gefunden. Das Statistische Bundesamt schreibt dazu: “Die Zahl der deutschen Staatsbürger, die im Ausland wohnen, ist nicht bekannt.”

Book Review the art of thinking clearly by rolf dobelli

Let´s be straight about this: book reviews are in most cases a form of advertisement. Just like many websites only exist for the sole purpose to direct you to some content in order to cream off an affiliate commission for sending you there. Book reviews intend the same by making a potential reader interested (or by intention: the opposite) into buying a book
Dobelli BookThis is why book reviews usually do not tell you very much about the actual book content nor the conclusions/resolutions of the writer´s thought process.

My book review the art of thinking clearly by ralf dobelli is a bit different.

Lets start with the author. I had actually never heard of Rolf Dobelli before. One of my friends living in Germany recommended reading one of Dobelli´s books. He said that Dobelli was very popular in Germany recently and had made it onto some book bestseller lists.

I did a quick search on Amazon and randomly ordered one of his books and ended up with “the art of thinking clearly”.

The book is a quick read, actually I wouldn’t even describe it a real book in the regular sense. Thats the first problem: It is more like a LIST, than a real book (even though it has a book cover). A LIST ? Yes. Dobelli compiled a list of 99 – what he calls- cognitive biases or “thinking errors”. These 99 items are listed one after the other.

Well, we all know that lists are important in daily life: house wives use shopping lists so they don’t forget, what they wanted to buy (but then again, you always forget some items, because the most important product pops up while you are in the shower or jogging around lake Zurich).

So turning a simple list into a book, is already a bit daunting, or lets say Dobelli is testing his audience and wants to find out, what he can get away with.
(It reminds me of Tim Ferris 2nd book “the 4 Hour Body“ – but then again, Tim actually told everyone that he “compiled” the book for the sole reasons to prove a) he could “produce” a best-seller on -demand and b) make a lot of money with his compilation technique).

The good part : Dobelli condenses each cognitive bias into tight 2-3 pages so you just need a few hours to read the whole piece.

The disappointing part : I actually knew most of them already. (And I really don’t read many books, maybe 2-3 a year. In this case it seems that I had read the right/wrong ones.)

Whether one can classify these “thinking errors” as actual errors or whether they are just part of being a human being may be of some debate and a worthy question, which Dobelli can not or does not want to elaborate on.

So what are Dobellis conclusions ? The reader waits for the last 2-3 pages to find out that:

a) Dobelli, in his own daily life, just follows his instincts (so much for lists helping in daily life).
b) For big and important decisions though, he developed a “decision tree” based on his findings to guide him though his own thought process and help him make “better” decisions.
His “decision tree” could been something of interest and might be worth the price of the book, but then again: Dobelli disappoints once more: he doesn’t share it with his readers.

So when you finish Dobellis´s list of 99 thinking errors, you will not have found a real conclusion. When my spouse asked me what the book was about, I realized that I had already forgotten most of the “thinking errors”. Dobelli himself calls this the “recency effect” (the man actually has humor).

If, in any case, you are still interested in this topic, I recommend reading some of the original sources which cover 99% of Dobelli´s book:

• Daniel Kahnemann: Thinking, fast and slow
• Nassim Taleb: The Black Swan (and other books)
• Peter Gruber: Tell to Win
• Rolf F. Baumeister and John Tierney: WILLPOWER
• Robert Levine: A Geography of Time

If psychology is not your hobby, I suggest to avoid this book altogether. You wont find any unique new ideas, nor valuable conclusions of any kind.
Its just a list.

So in the end I agree with Nicholas Taleb who supposedly advised Dobelli not to publish this book under any circumstances ! Thanks Mr. Dobelli for sharing that piece of information with your readers in the “acknowledgements” section on page 313 (which by the way is the car license plate number of Donald Duck and may be of similar importance as the 99 errors).

Have your read the book ? Any thoughts on this book review the art of thinking clearly ?

Are you still interested in this topic ? Then you might as well read the list of “cognitive biases” on Wikipedia.

The Green Hills Shanghai & Willowbrook | Shanghai | China

Entrance of The Green Hills Shanghai and Willowbrook
Green Hills Main GateGreen Hills (Simplified Chinese: 云间绿大地, PinYin: yún jiān lǜ dà dì) sometimes also called Yunjian Greenlands Villa, is a very popular appartment and villa compound in PuDong for expats and wealthy Chinese living in Shanghai.

Green Hills Shanghai & Willow Brooks probably have one of the largest communities of expat kids living in one, well actually two combined compounds. The very peaceful park setting make Green Hills & Willow Brooks extremely popular with expats and Chinese alike.

The Green Hills Shanghai & Willowbrook Shanghai

Some of the features:

  • two tennis courts
  • large indoor pool and outdoor pool with slide
  • gym with all sorts of machines
  • sauna in each changing room
  • soccer ground with 2 goal posts
  • outdoor basketball court
  • two large playgrounds with swings and lots of other things
  • a small convenience store
  • own property and lease office on the grounds

There is a dancing room where a Kungfu teacher, amongst others offer all types of classes. You need to be member to use the pools, sauna and tennis courts or pay a guest fee.

The “community center”-Pudong is located inside the compound offering a wide array of courses for expat mom´s and the kids. [Update Sept. 2014: The Community Center has moved away from Green Hills to BiYun Road] A Montessori Children´s House kindergarden is also on the gounds.

Green Hills Shanghai

Picture 1 of 13

Road in Willobrooks Shanghai

The location in Jinqiao, sitting just next to Luo Shan Lu, provides access quick to Lian Yang/Thumb Plaza Area, the Century Park and JinQiao Green City. Lujiazhui can be reached in 10-15 mins, The Peoples Square, depending traffic, within 30~60 minutes.
The compound offers a bus running to several locations in the city several times per day. The next subway is a bit far though.

Eventhough GreenHills is already a little “old” (constructed around 2001) the compound is well maintained and very peaceful and eventhough there are no hills, it is VERY green and in a park-like setting.

See a short video here:

Satelite View of Green Hills compounf Pudong
Greenhills & Willowbrook Shanghai
Chinese: 上海 浦东 金桥 锦绣东路418弄 云间绿大地
PinYin: yún jiān lǜ dà dì, 418 jin xiu dong lu
English: Greenhills 418 JinXiu East Rd Jinqiao, Pudong, Shanghai 200135

In September 2014 there are around 50 units available for rent.

Have you lived or been to GreenHills in Shanghai ? Leave a comment.

Review Smartphone Breathalyzer /Breathometer/Alkoholtester

Review smartphone breathalyzer 1

The German magazine DER SPIEGEL picked up on smart phone breathalyzers which have been around for a year or so.
Breathalyzers help to measure the Blood alcohol content (BAC) of a person. This is important to measure when it comes to driving a vehicle after having alcohol.

The European breathalyzer trend started in 2012 when France introduced a law that requires motorists to carry a alcohol testing device with them at all times. Tourists travelling to France are also required to carry alcohol testing devices. What most people do not know: Until now there are only few brands which have been approved by the french authorities and carry the blue circular “Norme Française” (NF) Logo. Smartphone breathalyzers are NOT among those approved !

Review Smartphone Breathalyzer

Ok let´s get started with the review smartphone breathalyzer look at some models:

Review smartphone breathalyzer 2

A very basic model with monochrome display, which is a bit pricy though. Mostly seen on Ebay/Amazon.





A newer version by Review smartphone breathalyzer 3another factory with improved and colorful display indicating the alcohol level additionally by green, yellow and red colors.

Newer versions/connectors for iPhone 5 and for Samsung are supposedly under development.

New, but not yet on the market, is the so called Breathometer which collected almost USD 75,000 on Indiegogo until today and promises to deliver nothing more than already available on the market but without a display. This reduces the cost substantially with industry experts estimating the production cost to be below USD 1,00 per piece. Without the display, results will be transferred to the iPhone and are shown by its App and can be saved for future reference (?).
Main advantage over the early models is, that the Breathometer connects via the headphone socket and is therefore not bound to one smart-phone brand and universally useable.

The app is said to include a button which allows to call a Taxi in case you are over the allowed alcohol limit for driving. Nothing new here aswell, as there are a bunch of Taxi-apps on the market already.

What all these breathalyzers have in common is that they try to appear to consumers as being “life saving devices” by repeating their sales mantra of “help to save lives by checking whether you are still fit to drive“.  Well how about not drinking in the first place ? Even the consumption of alcohol within legal  limits may lead to accidents.

Once beyond the sales-talk let´s look at the actual results and that´s when depression sets in:

The results of the breathalyzers are not very exact, to say the least.

They do NOT give you a clear indication as to whether you are still fit to drive. Instruction manuals clearly point that out and often ask you to wait for 30 minutes after eating, drinking and smoking before you do a breath test. That might be difficult for many in a real-life situation. Breathometer states: “Our device is as accurate as other consumer breathalyzers on the market”.

Result: smart-phone breathalyzers are not much more than a party- or smart-phone gimmick which may quickly end up collecting dust.

There  is no apparent reason as why not to use a regular consumer breathalyzer with a battery (random example) which comes at less than half the price of above gadgets and doesn´t even need to connect to a phone.

If you really want to check your blood alcohol level accurately, you should use a professional breathalyzers such as the police use. These are in a different price range though due to their fuel-cell technology for professional use.
But then again: If you fail that one, the police usually requires for a blood test, to actually verify the results.
My impression: save the money spent on such gadgets and make an “either-or” decision between drinking and driving instead of asking a gadget to clear you to do both.

Smart Globe 2.0

Google Earth is great. But the globe I had sitting on my desk as a kid wasn´t that bad either.
I could touch it, swivel it around, easily understand the concept of the aquator and where I would have to live in order to experience an almost stable climate all year round. I could easily see why a country might be called “down-under” and some countries are supposed to be “on the other end of the world”. Best of all : I could turn on the light and watch our planet while falling asleep and dreaming of far-away places.

Well these globes are still around. Not much as changed though, some magnetically “float” in the air, some are made from marble – you can even buy a waterball globe. I have collected some here.

But, the concept of the traditional globe has been more or less the same for the past 30 years ago. Time to change that and introduce a new idea.

The smart globe 2.0

Smart Globe 2.0

Design Concept for the Smart Globe 2.0

My new concept for the smart globe 2.0 is driven by two major ideas and changes:.

First, I suggest to use mini LEDs to light it. Not 2 or 3, not hundreds, but thousands to light up the Globe 2.0. Using these LEDs will allow much more variation than merely turning the light on and off and you can illuminate very very detailed areas on this globe, such as cities, rivers, counties and a lot more.

Secondly, I control the smart globe 2.0 by connecting it to a smart-phone through an app. This app includes hundreds of functions which in turn allow endless variations.

Imagine the possibilities:

  • show your child where mom or dad are on their business trip, or where the grand-parent or friends you met on your last holiday live.
  • learn about the states/provinces of your country by showing their location
  • look for longest river, the highest mountain or the deepest point on the planet
  • calculate distances from A to B and show them on the globe 2.0
  • play games by searching for cities, countries, rivers or mountains and provide the solution by highlighting the results on the globe 2.0.
  • teach science by illuminating specific areas such as “covered by water”, “forestation” or “rainfall data” and show climate zones (desert, tropical rain forest)
  • transfer real-time data and show vessel or airplane locations in realtime and watch them move on the globe 2.0
  • thousands more ideas are thinkable …

Watch our planet, learn and study it, educate your kids and grand-children or yourself. Use the Smart Globe 2.0 in classrooms and excite the students with fascinating data and views of the unique planet we all live on. This is the next generation desk globe: Smart Globe 2.0

Miniatur Wunderland Shanghai

One of my all time favourites: The “Miniatur Wunderland” in Hamburg/Germany, supposedly the largest miniature railway attraction in the world. And its not only HO-scale trains, there are cars, container ships and even airplanes moving around fully automated. See for yourself in their official video on YouTube:

I hv been there 3-4 times in the past 10 years – the kids loved it, and I loved it even more. You can definetely spend more than one day in there and always find more and more fascinating details.

Miniatur Wunderland Shanghai

I havent seen anything similar in Shanghai. Well, there was the “Christmas Train” in the Hilton Hotel lobby every year (old video from 2008) and we enjoyed that display every year. Compared to the Wunderland it was tiny but nevertheless a miniature railway sytem. Believe it or not, it has been cancelled this year. How long did it run ? 10 years ? Too sad.

Now living in Shanghai since 1999 I already had this idea several years ago: Why not set up such a “Wunderland” in Shanghai ? I am sure the Chinese audience would just love it. Imagine a replica of PuDong with the highrises of LuJiaZhui, HuangPu River and the Bund, the MagLev, PuDong Airport and and the Yangshan Deep Water Port – all miniaturized to HO scale. Add the HongQiao Hub in another display and then some models of Switzerland or Germany to showcase further landscapes. Special areas could show the railway to Tibet – the highest in the world.

I think it would just work out perfectly and add another major tourist attraction to Shanghai while she is evolving to be more and more of a tourist attraction every year; just to mention a few: the F1 Race Track, Disney Land opening soon, Sea World, dozens of Museums, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center on Peoples Square, the Expo 2010 Site …among many others.

UPDATE 07/2014: I contacted Wunderland Hamburg and asked them whether they would be interested in a another Wunderland in Shanghai. They wrote me, that they want it to be unique and do not plan to open any further Wunderland in any other country.