tom911 goes to Shanghai (World Swimming Championships) - Cathay Business - with photos

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by tom911, Jul 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. tom911
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    Greetings this Wednesday evening from the British Airways Terraces First Class Lounge at the San Francisco International Airport. I'm awaiting my Cathay 1:20am departure to Hong Kong, and the start of a 12 day trip that is focused on the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai. This is the most important event in swimming before the Olympics in London next summer.
    I have a business class award ticket booked with AA miles (taxes were only $33, though the Chinese visa was much more at $140). I connect onward with Dragonair from Hong Kong to Shanghai with arrival late Friday morning. I booked this ticket all the way back in September.

    I ended up in a security line with a naked scanner so once again had to opt out and be patted down. Took all of about 3 minutes. I was the only person around that opted out. Seems to be that way quite often. I'm not letting the TSA shoot any kind of rays at me, no matter how safe they claim the whole process is, as much as I fly.

    I'm joining Olympic Gold Medalist Natalie Coughlin's family who are traveling separately and arriving a few hours behind me. I've known her family for over 30 years (Natalie turns 29 next month) and her father and I are retired from the same San Francisco Bay Area police department. I've been to a lot of her swimming events over the years, but the highlights were surely the Olympics in Athens in 2004 (PHOTOS) and Beijing in 2008 (PHOTOS). Natalie acquired 11 Olympic medals over those two Olympics. We're all looking forward to Natalie swimming in London at the 2012 Olympics. She is a co-captain of the U.S. Team.

    Natalie did post a video from Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, where the U.S. swim team was in training camp prior to flying to Shanghai on Wednesday. That video can be viewed on HER WEBSITE. I'd also expect her to update her site during World Championships so make sure you check in there, too. She's a lot more versatile with social media than I am and can gets things on line faster. She also managed to snag a photo of herself in the copilot's seat on her flight out of Australia. Look for that on her website, too. She is worried she might be blocked from updating from China (same worry I have). We won't know until we get there.

    Upon check-in when the counters opened at 9:20pm I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for a downgrade as business was oversold. Compensation was $200 voucher and difference in fare paid (from business to coach). Problem was that I'm on an award ticket so there is no fare involved, and it's likely I would never use a Cathay voucher as I always fly with them on award travel. Really don't think $200 is enough, though, to get me to move back to coach for a 13 hour flight, and not sure what would happen if I don't arrive for the first night on my hotel award booking. I enjoy my perks and will keep my seat this time around.

    I also noticed I lost my seat assignment in the second row of business class on the upper deck. Now I'm in the last row there, which may be blocked for elite flyers and actually considered a better seat. All that matters to me is that I have a window seat still. Upper deck is a bonus.

    In the First Class Lounge I'm enjoying some dim sum and a Geyser Peak chardonnay. They also have a Geyser Peak cabernet, an Italian white, French red and Pommery champagne. I did pop into the adjoining business class lounge and will add photos from there in my lounge gallery (not with this report as I didn't really use that lounge). May not be able to get to that tonight.

    I'll be posting details about my flights after arrival in Shanghai, and will post daily updates once swimming gets underway on July 24 (runs 8 full days).

    NBC in the U.S. will be televising this event on three different weekend days. Set those DVRs. These are Pacific times so adjust accordingly for your time zone:

    Sun 7/24 11am

    Sat 7/30 10am
    Sun 7/31 10am

    Watch for Natalie in the pool and her family and me in the stands. We'll be seated together. I'll be posting swimming updates when she's in the pool for as many as five events (two individual, three relay). We'll know for sure what she is swimming as the week goes on. Swimming runs 8 full days.

    Final note: do guests in the first class lounge expect the bottle of champagne to miraculously put its cap back on? Going to be a pretty flat champagne that way. Fortunately, a hostess just popped in and took care of that.

    That's it for tonight. Next update will be from Shanghai.

    Arrival at SFO International Terminal (Beach Blanket Babylon)
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    BA First Class Lounge
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    BA First Class Lounge- Geyser Peak Chardonnay and dim sum
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    My flight to Hong Kong- we board from the lounge

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    More photos in THIS GALLERY.
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Nice Report! :)
     
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  3. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    As a follower of Natalie over the years (about 10), I look forward to your reports Tom.
     
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  4. tom911
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    Arrived at HKG and I'm in The Cabin lounge next to my departure gate. Other than some OJ don't need anything in the terms of amenities today (food, wine, whatever). Have another installment ready but may not have time to finish it here.
     
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  5. dhammer53
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    Eric and his fiance (will be wife) will be using that club while on a layover in the winter. He'd appreciate the details. ;)
     
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  6. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Boarded my flight about 12:45am to find I was not on the upper deck. I was in the last row of the lower deck on the right side at a window (those that have flown with me on AA know that this is the seat I ordinarily select with them as it gives you a view of the entire first class/business class cabin there depending on aircraft). Must have mixed up the lower deck seating chart with the upper deck seating chart. Although you are next to the window, your seat faces the aisle and you have to turn behind you to look out the window.

    Departed SFO at 1:20am. (4:20pm Hong Kong time). The pilot had to remove the bags belonging to one passenger that did not show (might have been across the aisle from me as there was an empty seat come departure). Once in the air we were offered bottled water and a menu with drink and meal options. The drink cart came by and I selected the Deutz Champagne.

    Stayed awake the first 4 hours of the 13 hour flight which was my original plan That would have me asleep at 8pm Hong Kong time. I slept on and off for the next 7 hours, and woke up 2 hours before landing (3:30am Hong Kong time). There was some minimal noise from the galley at this point as they prepared for the breakfast service which started at 4a.m.but otherwise they were pretty quiet during the night and it did not impact my flight experience.

    From a seated position your elbows are really constrained because of the walls that adjoin your seat. I'm used to stretching out and the seat configuration made it impossible to extend your arms to the side. Nice that the seat goes completely flat when you are ready to sleep. Much more comfortable in that position.

    [​IMG]

    I only watched one movie, and there were surely 100 or more to choose from (Unknown with Liam Neesom). The monitor looks about 17 inches. In addition to movies you can watch the flight map or select from CDS (I only listened to a Beach Boys CD the hour before arrival). Seemed to be something for every taste.

    STARTER
    Seasonal salad with marinated portobello mushrooms, prawns and balsamic vinaigrette

    [​IMG]

    MAIN COURSES
    Grilled USDA Prime beef tenderloin with balsamic demi-glace, roasted parsley yukon gold potatoes, sauteed spinach and carrots

    Braised abalone with chicken, steamed jasmine rice, baby pak choy, carrot and mushroom

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    CHEESE AND DESSERT

    Cambozola, Cheddar, Munster

    Fresh seasonal fruit

    Kahlua coffee cream chese cake with vanilla sauce

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    TEA AND COFFEE

    PRALINES

    A LIGHT MEAL was also available (mushroom soup/ grilled marinated prawns with salad/ fresh seasonal berries/ Cheese cake)

    SNACKS
    Roasted beef with sun-dried tomato horseradish mayonnaise on sour dough bread

    BREAKFAST

    STARTERS
    Orange or apple juice
    Strawberry and banana smoothie
    Fresh season fruit
    Fruit yoghurt
    Assorted cereals

    MAIN COURSES

    Smoked salmon and Fontina cheese omelette, apple wood smoked, sauteed potatoes with peppers and asparagus

    Imperial fried noodles with dim sum

    Abalone clam and mushroom clam and congee with spring onion pancake

    [​IMG]

    BREAD BASKET
    Assorted breakfast breads served with preserves, honey and butter

    TEA AND COFFEE

    WINE LIST

    Champagne
    Champagne Deutz, Brut Classic

    White Wines
    Geyser Peak Alexander Valley Chardonnay
    Domaine des Malandes Chablis 2009

    Red Wines
    Estancia Paso Robles Meritage Reserve 2007
    Chateau de Maison Neuve Montagne Saint-Emilion 2009

    Port
    Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005

    Signature Cocktails
    Orinetal Breeze
    A sour-plum tea and cranberry juice based non-alcoholic drink with honey and fresh lemon juice and a hint of rose water

    Cloud Nine
    A refreshing combination of vodka, Cointreau and Sprite with a refreshing touch of lemon flavour

    Additional photos in my gallery related to this section start HERE.
     
  7. tommy777
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    Great stuff, as usual. Thanks for posting these great reports.

    Looking forward to trying Cathay First for the first time in February.
     
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  8. tom911
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    In F or business? For right now the First Class lounge photos are going to stay with this trip report. When I get home I'll spin them off into the lounge gallery. I did finish uploading the business lounge photos and they're in the lounge gallery HERE.

    Enjoying the AC at my Shanghai hotel. I now recall what the humidity was like at the Beijing Olympics three years ago. Going to camp out here a bit. 33C/92F on arrival.
     
  9. bowdenj
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    Nice to see the trip report on milepoint - first one I've viewed.
     
  10. tom911
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    Day 2 in Shanghai

    Greetings this Saturday morning from Shanghai. Seemed to have dealt with jet lag really well on this trip and didn't go to bed until midnight last night and was wide awake at 7 this morning.

    FRIDAY
    Arrived in Hong Kong at 6am and went through security for my connecting flight to Shanghai on Dragonair. I have a choice of three different lounges, but the easiest for this one was Cathy's “Cabin” which was down a flight of stairs across from my gate. They offered some breakfast items and had a deli where something could me made up for you. I had no appetite at all after the food at SFO and on my 13 hour flight so was happy with some orange juice. Free wifi was offered and I worked on my report during my 40 minute stay in a quiet corner

    Boarded my Dragonair A330 flight in business class which departed on time at 8a.m. During this 2 hour flight they had a pretty decent breakfast service consisting of fresh fruit, cereal, and hot dishes. I selected a dim sum plate rather than eggs (I can always whip up eggs at home – can't do that with dim sum when you have limited cooking skills like me).

    Left the aircraft at 10:25am. in Shanghai and after at ATM stop, and a convenience store stop to break a 100RMB note with a bottle of water (2RMB- 30 cents), I was on the MAGLEV train for the 7 minute trip into the city, at speeds up to 180mph, for 50RMB ($7.50). Exited the station and sorted out the Metro ticket machines. Paid 4RMB (60 cents) for the five-stop journey and arrived in Pudong a block away from my hotel located atop the Jin Mao tower (office building floors 1-53 topped with a hotel, then hotel runs up to 87 with check-in on 54). I could see the hotel in the skyline and was there in 10 minutes. I've since found a shorter route that only takes about 5 minutes coming in from a different direction.

    It's hot and humid here. 92F (33C) on arrival and anytime I'm outside it doesn't take too long to get covered in sweat. Reminds me exactly of our Beijing trip this years ago in August.

    Here's where Tom's travel nightmare almost played out. I stopped in the hotel driveway next to a low marble wall to pull my wallet out of my bag, knowing I needed ID and credit card to check in. I put the wallet on the top of my rollaboard as I put other items back into my backpack. I walked into the hotel entrance ready to board the elevator and realized very quickly that I wasn't holding my wallet. Back outside I go and pass a couple that asked me if I had lost a wallet. They had just handed it over to a hotel employee holding an umbrella and I could see him holding it in his hand. Once he verified it was me and that the contents were intact (they were—credit cards, dollar, yuan) he handed it back to me. Crisis averted. That could have played out very differently. Back to carrying my travel wallet in a front pants pocket. Blame jet lag or just that I let my guard down, but I can't let something like that happen again.

    Made my way to the 54th floor at the Grand Hyatt and was offered the option to check in with the Regency Club on 83. Different elevator up there and I was promptly checked in just after noon and given an 80th floor corner room with a view right down on the Bund on one side and the Oriental Pearl Tower and office buildings on the other side.

    Stopped in the lounge at 3pm for a cold Coca Cola Light and headed out to explore the neighborhood. There are two malls nearby, one below IFC that's only two stories and has a gelato shop (International Finance Center) and other other across the street from it (Super Brand Mall, 9 stories). At IFC there is a supermarket where Brooklyn Lager and Australian organic milk is available (about $4 for a liter of that milk). A coco cola light from South Korea is three times the price of a made-in-China version (don't know why). I also scoped out a number of restaurant options in that building including two Italian restaurants. Back at my hotel at 5:30, a quick lounge visit at 6 for a Tiger Beer and snacks (a cold pickle never tasted so good, also had chips and some appetizers), and then over to People's Square to meet to meet the Coughins at 7. Or so I thought.

    I came out of the People's Square Metro station at exit 5 on Nanjing Road at 7 on the nose (the station has 20 exits and reminds me of mile long walks in the Hong Kong Metro). The train was jam packed as was the station. You cover a lot of terrain underground here. Came out to the street and could not get my bearings at all. I couldn't find street signs in English and could not pick out the Coughlins hotel from the skyline. I knew I was close but that just wasn't working. I was approached by an Asian man who asked if he could help me and I asked him where the hotel was. He said “follow me” and took me back into the station and out the opposite side into a pedestrian mall packed with people. Figured I'd give him a tip for helping me. We walked a good 10 minutes and turned onto two side streets, still with lots of people around, and we stopped at an unmarked door that he knocked on. I knew I was not at a hotel, let alone the Coughlins hotel. They wanted to sell me a suit.

    Quick 180 and I'm back at the Metro station coming out the same entrance I was at before. Walked along Nanjing Road there and saw a tall building that I thought could be there hotel and headed that way. Along the way I passed two Australians who verified I was heading the right way. In the lobby at 7:25pm, just 25 minutes late. Worked out O.K. As the Coughlins were not in their room until 7:10pm after landing at 5:30pm and coming in via shuttle van.

    We visited for a while, discussed travel plans, and then went and walked around for a while to check out restaurants in the area. We were all too tired and just went back to their hotel and had some Australian wine instead. Megan, Natalie's sister who is along, had a cheese plate from the 38th floor lobby bar. I left them at 10pm, walked around the area a bit and found Raffles City which is a mall similar to what's around my hotel. Had to get in line for a Metro ticket and when I got to the front the coin box was full and it was not allowing purchases. Got in another line of 10 people and that machine worked. Was back at my hotel at 11 and sound asleep by midnight. Pretty full day.

    New photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Asia/2011-11-Day-Trip-to-World/18084380_LF2JsS#1396263710_wPG7RrF

    Some photos from this section:

    Dragonair business class cabin

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    Super Brand Mall (Camaro has something to do with a new Transformers movie):

    [​IMG]

    Grand Hyatt on the left

    [​IMG]

    Metro to People's Square at 6:30pm

    [​IMG]

    View from Hyatt lounge

    [​IMG]
     
  11. dhammer53
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    I love it that you can get Brooklyn Lager in China. The dim sum in your photos remind me of our trip to HKG. Nothing in America is as good as dim sum in China.
     
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  12. tom911
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    You know who I took that photo for. Those were about $3 a bottle. A half gallon of Florida orange juice, in the same store, was $11, and a bottle of Mondavi chardonnay was $40. Popped in today with the Coughlins before coming to my hotel and got two bottles of cold flavored vitamin water at $1.25 a bottle.

    Did you notice the chicken feet?

    I can't access some of my own photos today. Hope my site stays up for this trip and is not blocked. Just added 5 photos to today's portion of the trip report.
     
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  13. dhammer53
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    Thank you very much. ;)

    Whenever I see chicken feet, I think of belle3388. :D
     
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  14. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Nice report so far. CX J gets you in the BA F part of the SFO lounge? (The SFO Business part of the lounge is a nice space with subpar food/drink offerings - I've been there during the LA/CX midday departure time on several occasions - don't know what the spread is for the BA pax).
     
  15. tom911
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    EXP gets me into any One World F lounge on any fare or award (can't do that with UA). That comes in handy at places like SYD for the QF F lounge with table service.
     
  16. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Day 3 in Shanghai-- first day of swimming

    The heat and humidity here are starting to take its toll on us. On Sunday, Jim and Zennie joined me for a walking tour from People's Square over to The Bund (Megan, Natalie's sister, and her grandparents did a bus tour). Along the way we stopped at Raffle's City shopping mall (they have a Carl's Jr, Papa John's Pizza and a Coldstone creamery, as well as lots of Asian restaurants and shops). Best part was the air conditioning. Just as we left the Coughlins hotel we stopped for cold water (1.7 yuan, about 27 cents, an essential for walking around here.

    Took about 30 minutes to walk over to The Bund and at that point it was pretty clear we needed to limit our outdoor time. Hopped a ferry from The Bund across the river to Pudong (2 yuan, 33 cents) and walked a few blocks to the IFC mall to visit their market. Much like Costco in the U.S., they had employees throughout the store giving out small samples of different juices and even an area to sample wine (we each had 2 one-ounce samples). Grabbed some drinks and then over to my hotel to cool down. We won't be doing walks like this again as it's just not comfortable to be out and about for any length of time.

    One thing you learn real quick here is red lights don't mean “stop” and green lights in pedestrian walkways don't mean “walk”. You really have to be on guard when crossing the street as cars just don't stop.

    Coughlins cabbed back to their hotel and I joined them later at 6 (me by train, 3 yuan, 45 cents)) for a reception in the 40th floor bar at their hotel. I enjoyed my cold mojitos. A lot of the U.S. families were there including someone from water polo who are also here competing. Dinner afterward was in their hotel restaurant. I had a Thai chicken curry with rice that was very good and others in our party (Megan, Natalie's husband and Megan were there) had various noodle or soup dishes. No Western food at our table! Most main dishes priced at $15-16 so not too dear for hotel food.

    At 10 I headed back to the hotel and was sound asleep by 11. Up at 5:45 this morning to finish this segment, upload photos, and get down to breakfast about 6:45. Want to be on the train to the pool by 7:30 (11 or 13 stops on Metro depending on route). Prelims for today start at 9. We expect Natalie to be swimming in a relay event on Sunday night (which might be on TV in the U.S. on NBC which airs Sunday morning there). They use alternate swimmers for the qualifying heat this morning.

    New photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Asia/2011-11-Day-Trip-to-World/18084380_LF2JsS#1397350151_s4Dwt7r
     
  17. tom911
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  18. tom911
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    From Saturday:

    Along the Bund
    [​IMG]

    Pudong, where I'm staying, viewed from the Bund
    [​IMG]

    From today (Sunday)--morning prelims at the pool DAY 1 of Swimming:

    Tom in front of the pool Oriental Sports Center

    [​IMG]

    Interior of the pool:

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. tom911
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    Recap of Day 1 of Swimming

    Hello this Monday morning from Shanghai. Just after 6:30 here. Last night (Sunday) Natalie and Team USA brought home the silver medal in the 4X100 freestyle relay. Natalie was first in the pool and gave the U.S. the lead, and the two swimmers behind her kept that lead. By the time the 4th swimmer entered the water the Dutch took took the lead at the turn, and they kept that lead until the end and won the gold medal. The Dutch women have always been a powerful force in freestyle.

    Natalie swims prelims for 100 backstroke this morning, and then back for semifinals tonight. The medal event will be Tuesday night. This is the event she has back-to-back Olympic Gold medals in, a record she alone holds..

    On Sunday I had a quick 20 minute lounge breakfast here at the Grand Hyatt (Muesli topped with blueberries and cherries in yogurt, muffin, OJ). Was out the door at 7:20am, on the platform for a train at 7:30, and arrived at the pool at 8:06, so 36 minutes actual train time (4 yuan, 60 cents). I had no idea how long the train would take so allowed plenty of time.

    Swimming starts at 9. The main event here for us Sunday morning was the qualifications for the relay event Natalie swam in on Sunday night. Team USA placed second after France at prelims with the top 8 teams going to finals.. Alternate swimmers are used in the prelims and Natalie only swims the finals.

    An interesting note: the U.S. Consul General saw our group waving U.S.A flags and stopped by for a quick visit. She had a seat on the opposite side of the pool from us.

    Left the pool after noon and trained back to the Coughlins hotel near People's Square. (they have a shuttle as part of their package rate, but an extra passenger, like me, travel on miles and points, would be charged a pretty high daily rate , so Metro works fine for me). Arrived just a few minutes after (21 min train time) and walked over to a Subway for quick sandwiches in the rain (there was also thunder). We got underground in the passageways that connect all the Metro exits so didn't get too wet, and the rain had stopped when we left the store. Was back at my hotel at 3 for a break, then back out again for finals at 4:45.

    I came back to my hotel directly from swimming and stopped in a mall next to the train station for spaghetti and a Diet Coke for 45 yuan (about $7 in a restaurant on the 4th floor). Coughlins headed back to their hotel for dinner.

    New photos including silver medal award ceremony start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Asi...929693_MtwWP5b

    Featured photos from Sunday:

    Natalie on the blocks for start of 4X100 freestyle relay

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    Natalie after competing in 4X100 freestyle relay (two photos)

    [​IMG]

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    award ceremony 4X100 freestyle medley

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    award ceremony 4X100 freestyle relay (this is as far as my zoom will go and we're on the complete opposite end of the pool)

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. tom911
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    Just in at 11:30 Monday night. Natalie has advanced to finals of 100 backstroke on Tuesday night. Details and recap of the day when I get back up in the morning. Sleeping in as we don't need to be at prelims on Tuesday. :)
     
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  21. tom911
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    Recap Day 2 of swimming

    Hello this Tuesday morning from Shanghai. So much for wanting to sleep in this morning. I was up at 6:30a.m. and wide awake. We don't need to be at the pool as Natalie only has an event in the evening.

    Out the door at 7:45am. on Monday. I took a different set of trains to the pool to avoid the long walk between connecting train platforms at People's Square. New route makes three more stops, but balance that with a short connection, and it's taking the same 45 minutes from hotel room in Pudong to pool.

    Natalie swam in prelims of 100 backstroke and came out #1 overall. Good start to the day.

    We all headed back to People's Square by Metro and spent some time cooling down in the 38th floor lobby at the Coughlins hotel. Coughlins and their daughter Megan headed out by cab for foot massages (they did that in Beijing in 2008, too). I went to the Nanjing Road pedestrian street for a walk about the shopping area. I was approached by a man who asked where I was from and said he spoke my language and knew San Francisco (he mentioned Pier 39). He said I looked young and handsome. I told him I was old and retired (just couldn't resist). I was curious where this was heading. His next statement was “we go for coffee, make friends”. Well, having one person already lead me down a side road to try and sell me a suit on Friday night, I didn't want to see where this person was taking me or what the coffee would have ultimately cost. I was out of there and unlike all the watch and T shirt sellers this person did not try to follow after me when I left.

    I had a delicious Thai red curry with shrimp for lunch at the Super Brand Mall near my hotel. I was expecting peeled shrimp and was surprised to see them arrive in shell in the curry. Made a mess tearing those curry-covered shrimp apart. Next time I'm back to chicken. Total bill with a soft drink was $7, and this in a restaurant with table service.

    Back to the hotel at 2:15pm and was sound asleep in seconds. Good thing my travel alarm clock worked as I needed it this afternoon to wake me up at 4:15. Quick stop in the Grand Hyatt 83rd floor lounge for a Coca Cola light and I was off to the pool for semi-finals (top 16 broke into two heats) to 100 backstroke.

    There were nine swimmers that broke the one minute mark in this event over the two heats. By the time the second heat was over Natalie had placed 1st among the group of 16 and advances to finals on Tuesday night. The eight swimmers going onto finals all did this event in less than one minute. The top three swimmers are separated by 3/100th of a second each. It was a very fast event. Good luck, Natalie, as we head into finals tonight!

    A note about the weather. We're trying to avoid, as much as we can, being outdoors now. Local paper said there was 90% humidity over the weekend, with a high of 95F on Sunday and 99F on Monday. Just miserable outside.

    After swimming, back to the Coughlins hotel off People's Square. I took the train with Natalie's grandparents (21 minutes, 3 yuan, about 45 cents) and her parents, sister and husband came back via shuttle bus. We all arrived at the same time. Speedo hosted a reception for U.S. families with wine from Australia, beer and soft drinks as well as appetizers (mini-burgers was a popular item). I was back at my hotel at 11pm.

    New photos start here:

    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Asi...746504_7dLhxwp

    Featured photos:

    Natalie coming out of pool after 100 backstroke prelims

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    Natalie being introduced for semifinals 100 backstroke (I have a side view of this area- this is from big screen at other end of pool)

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    results from semifinals 100 backstroke (onto finals now seeded #1)

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    event mascots

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  22. MikeIAH
    Original Member

    MikeIAH Silver Member

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    Nice TR! Really enjoy reading about the pool experience.

    Those street vendors are tough with "getting coffee." Reminds me of my time in shanghai back in March with all the gawkers. At least you made it out alright.
     
    tom911 likes this.
  23. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    recap Day 3 of swimming

    Hello this Wednesday morning from Shanghai.

    Exciting night at the pool last night as Natalie competed in finals of 100 backstroke. You'll recall the top three swimmers in semifinals were separated by 3/100th of a second, with Natalie having a time of 59.38. In finals last night Natalie had the lead at the turn, and looked ahead as she approached the wall, but when the results were posted she placed third with a time of 59.15, faster than she had swam in semifinals and one of the fastest times she has ever swam this event. She was 1/10th of a second behind the Chinese swimmer that placed first at 59.05. Natalie posted that the only times she has swam faster than this time was at Olympic Trials and the Beijing Olympics and I'm pretty sure those were in the high-tech suits that are now banned, so this would be her fastest time ever without a high-tech swimsuit. It is also her 18th medal in World Championships over the years.
    http://twitter.com/#!/NatalieCoughlin

    She had a big smile on the award stand and is clearly happy with her time.

    We also had cheerleaders at the pool tonight that performed during short interludes between events. Pretty unusual for a swimming event (this isn't the NFL).

    Tuesday morning I took a walk around the neighborhood while my room was being refreshed, walking under the Oriental Pearl Tower and nearby Aquarium. Back to the hotel where I met with Mike, a frequent flyer from Seoul, and two friends, who were here to watch the swimming events. They enjoyed the view from the hotel. Had a nice Thai lunch nearby in the Super Brand Mall (I had Pad Thai noodle dish).

    Dinner last night was at the Coughlns hotel where I had a Malaysian dish with rice, shrimp, chicken, beef and a fried egg. Back to my hotel to find a woman down in the front lot and a traffic cone marking off where she was. Police and hotel officials were standing off to the side. Didn't take any photos as I was not sure how Chinese police on scene would react. I watched for a while and didn't see her move, but then a police officer bent down to talk with her and she sat up. No idea what happened to her.

    New photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Asi...501357_kzWrt9s

    Featured photos:

    getting ready to start 100 backstroke finals

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    100 backstroke final results

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    Natalie receives Bronze Medal (two photos)

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    and, finally, the cheerleaders

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    Article in USA Today on Natalie's swim:
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2011-07-26-coughlin-FINA-swimming_n.htm?csp=34sports
     
  24. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

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    Natalie's father, Jim, can't access Natalie's Twitter feed at his hotel, and I brought my netbook over this morning and I'm blocked, too. No problem at the Grand Hyatt so far. I've copied her posts from the last few days and will bring them along to the pool tonight. Believe Natalie has a VPN working to be able to access and post to Twitter from her hotel.

    Natalie is not swimming today (day 4) but is due back in the pool tomorrow morning (Thursday here) for prelims of 100 free. She took bronze in this event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
     
  25. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Day 5 of swimming - afternoon recap

    Hello from Shanghai this Thursday afternoon. Natalie competed in prelims of 100 freestyle this morning and was seeded #12 going into semifinals tonight. Heading back the pool in 45 minutes. As the top 16 swimmers move onto semifinals #16 in prelims is just as good as #1 to get into that group.

    After attending swimming in the morning Jim and Zennie joined Tom for lunch over at the World Financial Center in Pudong (same building the Park Hyatt is in, across the street from Jin Mao Tower and the Grand Hyatt). This time we hit the restaurant that I had read decent reviews on with several Shanghai locations, Element Fresh. I had a huge tuna sandwich for $7 and Diet Coke for $4. Jim had a panini and Zennie had spaghetti. Everyone happy with their meals. Coughlins cabbed back to their hotel.

    Megan, Natalie's sister, was not with us today as she has flown back to the U.S. for a wedding in San Francisco this weekend.

    WEDNESDAY

    On Wednesday morning we went shopping near a couple blocks off People's Square in a 4 story arcade with individual vendors selling everything from software to clothing to iPad accessories. I was surprised how many merchants there were selling Rosetta Stone language software when the only place you really see that product for sale in the U.S. is at airports. They must have a better pricing deal here (or, perhaps, could they not be legitimate copies?). Also plenty of designer watches, backpacks, and luggage. I didn't buy a thing (can't say that for other members our our party). Lunch was at McDonalds with Jim while others continues shopping ($2.25 for a double cheeseburger, fries and Diet Coke). Just a matter of convenience in this case as it was along the walk back to his hotel. I jumped on Metro back to mine for a break and spent an hour in the 83rd floor lounge working on photos.

    Back to the pool at 4:45pm. We left after swimming around 8pm.(Natalie was not swimming finals Wednesday night). Coughlins had a group dinner included as part of their tour package, while Tom headed out to find what a Chinese Walmart looks like (after seeing a recent CNBC documentary on their growth here though it would be interesting to walk through one). The train station I went to, Tangqiao, was supposed to have one somewhere around it, but after looking about for a half hour I gave up. On arrival there there were about 100 people dancing to samba music in the plaza above.

    Back to the train station near my hotel, Luijazui, and I walked over to the World Financial Center, and found a nice collection of moderate restaurants on the second floor. It's right across the street from my hotel. Went into Blue Frog and had a cobb salad and iced tea for 100 yuan ($16). Back at the hotel at 11.

    Noticed another person down in the front lot of my hotel as I walked in. This person, though, was laying on his back in the driveway taking a photo of the World Financial Center. Instead of a traffic cone protecting him like the last person down I saw here, he was surrounded by friends making sure he was not ran down.

    The visibility when I woke up this morning was the best yet so I'll post some skyline pictures. More in the gallery.

    New photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Asia/2011-11-Day-Trip-to-World/18084380_LF2JsS#1404658937_T3kwJMt

    Featured photos:

    Grand Hyatt atrium viewed from the 80th floor down to lobby on 54

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    World Financial Center in Pudong

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    The Bund viewed from 83rd floor lounge at Grand Hyatt

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    Expo Grounds viewed from 54th floor Grand Hyatt lobby (couldn't see this the first few days)

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