Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Mobile Madness

Yesterday at noon,  I noticed that my cell phone was no longer working as nature intended. I had no service. Attempting to call anyone resulted in a voice message telling me that my service had been suspended but gave no reason.

I headed to the China Mobile office where I was told I needed to re-register and this time give my passport details. I pointed out that I gave them my passport details three years ago and that they photographed my passport, and me, and me holding my passport.

“We don’t have that.”


I had to go home and get my passport and return*

They then went through the whole procedure again and finally my phone service was reactivated.

Utter waste of time.

They also told me that they had sent a message to tell me it was about to be suspended. I pointed out that I have added them to my blacklist because I was sick of the ten text messages and spam calls I received from them every other day.

*According to China law, we should carry our passports with us at all times. However, many years ago, the local police advised me not to, so  I never do in Liuzhou.

Gaokao Games

Yesterday evening, across China, China Mobile sent this message to its subscribers.

Basically says that the 2018 dreaded Gaokao (高考) is being held today and tomorrow (June 7th and 8th). They are warning that, In order to curb cheating in this all important exam, exam centres are employing blocking systems which may have repercussions for non-high school kids..

They specifically say that call reception and internet access may be impaired, but that “normal service” will be resumed after the exams are over.

For those that don’t know, the gaokao is China’s all-important College/University Entrance Exam. It is cruel, pointless and ineffective, but potentially life changing. Cheating has been a huge problem over recent years, often with teachers and parents collusion.

Most education experts in China have been calling for its abolition for years, but nothing changes. Teachers often complain that they do not teach their subjects, but only teach students how to memorise enough to pass the exam. It stifles creative and original, independent thought, which may well be why it never changes. They don’t want free thinkers.

Yesterday Once More.

Liuzhou Information

Last summer, after thirteen years, in a moment of madness, I deleted all the Liuzhou information from my website, only leaving this blog. It had become bloated and out of date and I thought I could reasonably quickly edit it and put it back in a leaner and more up to date form.

Life intervened and I got busy. But now I am more free. I have updated most of it and reloaded it to the internet.

If you are terminally bored, you can have a look. If you see anything ridiculous – either in the information or in coding problems – or have any polite suggestions, please let me know by commenting here. I will be adding more categories and expanding existing ones over the next few weeks.

Old Liuzhou in Pictures No. 4

In the autumn of 1928, a fire broke out in Liuzhou destroying two thirds of the city. Over 200 people were killed and hundreds injured. Over 2,000 homes were destroyed and the disaster is said to have affected 20, 000 people.

This is referred to in Chinese as the “1928年柳州著名的  “火烧半边城” 事件” (The 1928 Liuzhou Famous “Burning Half the City” Incident.

This is a map of the city shortly after the fire. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Cincinnati – Liuzhou Sister City 30 Year Celebration

Liuzhou has been celebrating 30 years as a “sister-city” to Cincinnati. The very active partnership has long been focused on teacher exchange, library cooperation, parks planning and even chef exchange. In addition to celebrating the past, the two cities signed a memorandum of understanding to extend the partnership over the next ten years.

Cincinnati – Liuzhou Sister City Committee Chair, Joe Hamrick and Zhang Jialei, Deputy-Director of Liuzhou Governments Foreign Affairs Office at signing ceremony.

Beth Hoffman, Founding President of Cincinnati-Liuzhou Sister City Committee speaking in Longtan Park where there has been cooperation on park.

Old Liuzhou in Pictures No. 3

On the night of November 8th, 1944, the Hunan-Guangxi Railway Administration ordered that the railway bridge over the Liujiang be destroyed to prevent its use by the approaching Japanese army. The iron bridge was blown up into several sections.

The bridge was rebuilt in the 1950s and is still in use.

Melted Butter

For several decades, this shop has been situated just off Longcheng Road (龙城路), in the city centre. I have certainly been shopping there for over twenty years. Known to most laowai as “the butter shop”, back then it was the only shop in Liuzhou to sell anything vaguely western: cheese, butter, olives, canned tuna, anchovies, capers, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce etc. It also carried an excellent range of flours, including high gluten bread flour.

When I passed today, I found it gone! Melted away in the night. Initially I was hoping they were just refurbishing, but a peek through the awning revealed the entire building to have been totally gutted.

In retrospect, I had noticed that lately they weren’t re-stocking some things when they sold out, but as this is quite common all over Liuzhou, I didn’t read too much into it.

I hope they reappear somewhere, but I’m not optimistic.

Fortunately we have more choices now, and there is always Taobao.

Clinton Beer

Guilin based brewery, Liquan, producers of the most available beer in Guangxi have issued a premium beer to mark 20 years since then President Bill Clinton made a very brief visit to the city. Spent around 5 minutes in Yangshuo.

Oddly, on the rear label, is this supposed quote from Clinton (in his hand-writing?) which makes no sense.

The Chinese makes sense. The English doesn’t. “Acting a good example?” Maybe Bill just spoke great Chinglish?

Anyway, you want to know about the beer. Tastes the same as all their beer does. Nothing special.

It comes in a 500ml bottle or  a 965ml bottle. Bizarrely BuBuGao is selling the 500ml for ¥6 and the 965ml for ¥13.50. Save money and get more by buying two small bottles instead. Duh!

Smoke Weed

I am fairly certain the owners of this shop in the underground mall beneath the city centre have no idea what this means.

Supreme! I am especially glad the designer was too stoned to spell “Every Day” correctly.

Still,  I’ve seen worse over the years. The girl walking along the street with the T-shirt proclaiming “Great Boobs”. They didn’t appear so. Or the other young lady who was announcing to the world “I Fuck!” Whether that was true or not, I never ascertained.

Toilet Untroubled

Some in the Bureau of Excretory Affairs obviously reads this blog. Not 24 hours after I posted my last effort about the public loo, this morning I walked past and found

a) It has re-opened.

b) They have had a second attempt at  spelling TOILET and, this time, got it right.

c) Sort of corrected the ‘third party’ nonsense to say it is the “Third Public Toilets” Not sure what the yare trying to say, but it is the third version of this particular toilet, I’ve seen.

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