The Great (fire)Wall of China

Hmm.  It seems Twitter is one of the banned sites this side of the Great Wall, so no direct tweets from me (who said thank god?).  Luckily my posterous blog cross posts to Twitter in the US!

Arrived in Shanghai after some cancelled flights nonsense.  Lovely hotel, and this is the view from my bedroom window.

It's not looking good for the weather tomorrow - I think we will have a rained-out eclipse, looks like I should start planning for Eclipse USA 2017.

Eclipse of the Sun

Here are my photos from from what I am told was a total eclipse of the sun.
We headed down a narrow lane just outside Shanghai to a small open park area where a few seats had been set out for us and other spectators.  We were all expecting cloud, and in this respect our expectations were met.
In the 70mins before totality, we given a few glimpses of the sun through the clouds.  it does kind of look like it is laughing at us.
of course it did go as dark as night.  All the crickets that had been chirping away about doubled the noise they were making, and it cot several degrees colder for about 20mins.
Just as it ended, it started to pour with rain.  I wonder if the temperature change had anything to do with it..?
I managed to get a quick shot of Shanghai city lights glowing in the distance, just as the sun came back.
Result: Fail.  Actions: USA 2017 (or maybe Australia 2012?).

Silk worms doing their thing

It was a visit to a silk factory (and adjoining shop, of course) this morning.  Actually I found it quite interesting to see the whole cycle, and how they make the finished product.
The first pic is a moth emerging from the cocoon (normally they are baked or boiled before this happens, as the moth bites and breaks the thread as it emerges.
Following images show the silk thread being teased from the cocoon and spun into thread reels.
Finally, workers are making a silk duvet filler by stretching out great wads of the stuff.  

Shanghai Maglev Train

This is the only commercially operating maglev train the world.  it operates between Shanghai's airport and the city centre 30kms away.  The journey takes just over 7 minutes, and gets up to a top speed of 431kph (or 268mph).  The train floats about 1cm above the 'track' so I was told.

Shanghai buildings illuminated at night (seen from the River)

These pictures were taken from a boat on the River Huangpu - quite difficult to take photos from a moving boat, and not have them all turn out blurry.  Old Shanghai buildings (from the British building days), vs. the new Shanghai buildings.
Almost no skyscraper here goes without some sort of decorative roof, or other interesting feature.

Not sure what my internet access may be like these next few days, so I may vanish for a bit.

Limestone caves at Guilin

This is a large cave inside one of the many limestone mountains of the Guilin area.  This particular one is in Seven Star Park.  The choice of lighting can be a little bit gaudy at times, but it was still an amazing place to be, not least because it was an even 20°C inside, and stays at that all year round (good for making very strong rice wine in the guide told us).
As I left I got a look at the park Panda enjoying his nap away from the mid-day sun, in his enclosure.  He fell asleep in the middle of his lunch, so the bamboo leaves are still in his mouth (a very a agreeable way to nod-ff I think).