July 2019 Free Desktop Calendar - Alaskan Fireweed

We traveled to Alaska last summer with my parents and all my sisters' families to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. The fireweed that grows wild throughout Alaska gives the rugged landscape a pop of color and has become the most recognizable plant in the state. The blooms up the plant's stalk indicate how much longer summer will last - by the time the showy pink flowers reach the pinnacle, fall is right around the bend.



(We visited in August - still some summer left according to this plant)


To download the July calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> July 2019 - Alaskan Fireweed

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Shanghai Nights Along the Bund

If you have limited time or a long layover in Shanghai, a visit to the Bund is highly recommended.

As I noted in my previous blog post, I traveled to Inner Mongolia in China for work. I chose to connect through Shanghai (vs Beijing) to take advantage of a visit to that city. I last visited China in 2006 and spent a day and a half in Beijing, so Shanghai would be a new experience for me.

Due to my work schedule and available flights out of Wuhai, I had a very short turnaround in Shanghai - about 17 hours - not ideal, but more usable time than the 12 hours I had on my inbound flight, especially since I was no longer jet lagged.

I arrived back into Hongqiao airport around 5:30pm, got a taxi and was checked into my hotel around 7pm. I decided to head out to the famous Waitan waterfront, commonly referred to as The Bund. As evening had already descended, I knew the night skyline against the water's edge would be a great place for photos and people watching. Full disclosure - I was tired and hungry from my travels, and considered eating in the hotel restaurant and going to bed. I'm glad I pushed those thoughts away.

I grabbed a taxi from the line of cars in front of the hotel. I sensed my driver's disappointment that I only wanted to go 5K down the street to one of the most crowded areas. I think the cabbies feel pinched by the shorter rides and would prefer to take their charges out to Pudong airport. Or maybe more people use the Uber equivalent (DiDi) for these casual rides. Regardless, my driver dropped me off at edge of the crowds on the south, forcing me to walk a bit, but I didn't mind.

I found the stairs up to the river's promenade and knew I had made the right decision to get into the cab - the view of the sparkling modern skyline across the river to the west took my breath away.
The Bund at Night

The distinctive and modern blue Oriental Pearl tower anchors the view, punctuated by constantly changing designs displayed on the other skyscrapers from the electronic lightshow. As a contrast, the buildings on the east side of the river were uniformly lit to enhance their traditional European architecture and design.
The Bund at Night

The promenade undulated with the crowds taking in the sites; lots of selfie action along the river made for great people watching.
The Bund at Night

I had to partake in the selfie taking....
Shanghai Nights Along the Bund

I performed a search for places to eat and google recommended an Asian fusion restaurant close by. However, I didn't realize the restaurant would be located in one of the neoclassical buildings that look so bank-government-ish, so I wandered around the side streets of Huangpu district, along with a gazillion other tourists. I finally found my way back to the riverside, and found the restaurant, Hakkasan, located right in Building 18 on the Bund.

While the restaurant features tables with a view of the Bund skyline, without a reservation, I opted for the kitchen view over a seat at the bar.
Hakkasan Kitchen
Truthfully, I find this sort of table view to be more interesting and unique, as I watched the bevy of activity in and out of the kitchen

I chose the Crispy Duck salad. I love Peking duck and this dish offered up a great combination of greens and the duck I craved.
Hakkasan - Crispy Duck Salad

You can't visit a port city without sampling the seafood. The sea bass did not disappoint
Hakkasan - Sea Bass

Finally, a view of the building's staircase.
Bund18

I thoroughly enjoyed my meal in this upscale and contemporary setting, perfect to close out my evening in Shanghai.

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Travel To Inner Mongolia - Wuhai China

In May, I was given the opportunity to travel to China for work. I traveled there as a member of an audit team to verify the completeness of new manufacturing plant construction. My expertise lies in automation systems, so my audit focused on the installation of instrumentation devices, the electrical wiring, and validation of safety instrumented systems.

This new facility is located near the city of Wuhai, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. From the upper mountain ranges, one can see the desert, the valleys and the Yellow River. In 2013, as a part of The Haibowan Water Conservancy Project of the Yellow River, a water control dam was constructed resulting in the creation of the large, artificial Lake Wuhai. The hotel used by visiting employees sits along the lake and offers easy access to the walking path and other recreational areas around Lake Wuhai.

Settled in #shirleyruns #harbor #skyline #wuhai #china #sunrise
the tall buildings of Wuhai city in the distance at sunrise

Waves to Genghis #shirleyruns #postrun #wuhai #mountains #innermongolia
The Wave Pavillion along the banks of Lake Wuhai. The East Mountains can be seen in the distance. Atop the East Mountain, a Genghis Khan monument is under construction.

In the Calm of the morning #shirleyruns #seenonmyrun #smoothasglass #wuhailake #innermongolia #umbrellas
on a particularly calm and peaceful morning on Lake Wuhai

Scenes from China - Wuhai Inner Mongolia and Shanghai
Fishermen hanging out every morning along Lake Wuhai

After the audit, our team plus members of the start up team visited the Genghis Monument atop the Eastern mountains. We first stopped at the lower level - the gate to the road was closed, so we thought this was as far as we could go. At this scenic lookout, colorful Mongolian scarves or "khatags" adorned the perimeter.
Up The Eastern Mountains in Wuhai

To our surprise, we were granted access all the way up to the top of the monument. This entails taking a tram to the summit.
Scenes from China - Wuhai Inner Mongolia and Shanghai
Our team at the foot of the Genghis Khan Monument.

Scenes from China - Wuhai Inner Mongolia and Shanghai
While atop the mountain, a dust storm blew through, but we took shelter and it quickly passed. Afterwards, the blue skies and sun reappeared. In the distance, bits of the Yellow River / Lake Wuhai.

I also spent a little time in ShangHai - more photos from my 18 hours to come!

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