Joe's Cafe, 24/7 pit stop for ESL learners and teachers | June 2009
Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.
China Day 1: Maglev to Pagoda
A train without wheels - 21st century
The Maglev Train runs between Pudong International Airport and central Shanghai. MagLev is short for Magnetic Levitation, and this train that has no wheels literally “flies” along its 30 kilometre track in just 8 minutes, with a maximum speed of 431 kilometres per hour (see speed indicator above). We took the Maglev from the airport and were impressed by how quietly and smoothly it runs. In fact there was little sensation of speed, but we certainly arrived in downtown Shanghai very quickly indeed. As my first introduction to China, I was impressed!
A leaning pagoda - 10th century
In Shanghai proper we boarded our coach for a visit to an ancient building that reminds you of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This was the Yunyansi Pagoda outside Shanghai City at Suzhou. It was started in 959 AD and completed in 961 AD - just two years. This brick pagoda has seven floors and eight sides, with a height of nearly 50 metres. With a total weight of 6,000 tons the building has started subsiding unevenly, causing it to lean nearly 4 degrees to the north-east, as you may see in the picture on the right.
The Yunyansi Pagoda is built on top of a steep hill. Some of our party preferred to take the more traditional sedan chair approach to the top (see below)!
On the first day of our arrival in China we had travelled back 11 centuries from a flying train to a leaning pagoda!
magnet (noun): piece of metal that attracts other metallic objects
magnetic (adjective): behaving like a magnet
levitate (verb): to rise and hover in the air
levitation (noun): the act of levitating
pagoda (noun): a Buddhist or Hindu temple or holy building, often built as a tower with many floors
lean (verb): to not stand up straight
sedan (noun): an enclosed chair with poles for carrying one person (also called sedan chair)
Joe | Friday, June 19th, 2009 | Filed under Travel