They did this last year, too.
For the second year running one of the gold and jewelry shops on the city centre pedestrian street is pretending to have just opened. Again, they have festooned the place with those artificial flower bouquets they always have at shop openings; again, they have found a bunch of not too ugly girls to stand around in smart clothing; and again they have found the same girl as last year to get her tits out.
She sits there suitably masked, naked from the waist up in a body painting display. Her, er, front is decorated in the privacy of the shop or somewhere, then she sits looking bored to death while another young girls paints her back. Not many people pay attention to that.
Quite what the relevance to selling jewelry may be escapes me. But she draws a crowd. Outside the shop. I didn’t see anyone looking at her perfectly serviceable tits and thinking “That reminds me. I better buy some gold.”
I’ll check again tomorrow.
Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week we are getting horny.
A few supermarkets and specialist fruit shops (but none of the markets I use) are stocking this odd looking fruit.
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, it is Cucumis metuliferus, also known as horned melon, African horned melon or African horned cucumber among other names.
To my amusement, it came accompanied by a sachet of honey, a drinking straw and a set of instructions. The pulp is somewhat tart, hence the honey. They suggest opening it by standing it upright and slicing off its top, like a soft boiled egg, dribbling in the honey and sucking out the pulp and honey together.
Instructions and Honey
Being perverse, I cut it laterally to get a better look inside.
While it looks interesting, I was unimpressed by the taste. Sort of like a slightly tart but otherwise flavourless cucumber. Not fruity in any sense I recognise. I didn’t use the honey. Or the straw.
At ¥12.80 each, I wouldn’t bother again.
Mayor Xiao Wen Sun
Liuzhou police have announced that the body of the city mayor, 肖文荪 , was found in the Liujiang River late last night. He was confirmed dead at Liuzhou People’s Hospital.
Fence which mayor climbed over
Local media say that the mayor, age 51, apparently fell into the river at 21:47 after climbing a fence on the riverside walk near Hudong bridge. A search was instigated and a body found at 23:20. His identity was ascertained and the cause of death found to be drowning.
An investigation is continuing into how he came to be in the river.
I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the Lord above for mercy, “Save me if you please.
I knew it would happen eventually. And it will happen more and more.
China and Liuzhou’s insane rush to take to cars finally brought the city to a total halt today. A gridlocked mess at the crossroads where 三中路, 北站路, 解放北路, and 友谊路 meet, left the city paralysed. This is right beside Liuzhou city centre’s main fire station. Thankfully, there were no call outs at the time.
I don’t know what started it – probably the usual stupidity. It was already blocked when I arrived at around 12:30 this afternoon. Idiots were still piling into the mess attempting to find a way through, but just tightening the knot. Taxis took to the sidewalks and they too became totally congested.
I stood there for about half-an-hour observing the mayhem and not a cop in site. Eventually, as I was leaving, two cops turned up on one motorcycle looking confused.
I wandered off up 三中路. The traffic was backed up all the way to 白纱路口, something I’ve never seen before in the many years I’ve lived on 三中路. I guess it was the same in the other directions.
I regret that I have no photo.
a) It was pissing with rain.
b) Only an aerial shot would have done it justice.
Can I buy a drone on Taobao. Probably. Then I can take a photo next week when it happens again.
Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week we see if we cut the mustard.
I am surprised I never covered this before. It is possibly the second most common vegetable around here (after water spinach). Brassica juncea is a variety of mustard plant grown for food and for the oil obtained from its seeds. In Chinese it is 芥菜.
The leaves are stir fried as a green vegetable or added to soups and hot pots. They have a slightly bitter, peppery taste. A very popular soup is 车螺芥菜汤 / clam and mustard green soup. Almost every restaurant does it and supermarkets often sell pre-wrapped packs of the leaves with clams.
Here is one I prepared earlier.
Clam and Mustard Green Soup
The leaves are also dried while the root (tuber) is used to make the Sichuanese pickle zha cai.
Mustard Greens drying in the sun outside my apartment.
The bunch at the top of the page cost ¥2.20.
Feeling the drought?
Large parts of the city have been without water since yesterday morning. This is due to work being carried out on the installation of new mains water pipes.
Supplies are due to be resumed by 7 pm today (28th).
It would have been nice if people had been told beforehand. Liuzhou Veolia Water Co wouldn’t have had to deal with so many calls asking what was going on, either.
I am happy to report that I have learned that the yellow house built in 1903 and owned by Liuzhou post office is to reopen as a postal museum, as it was many years ago.
Not that I’m in the least interested in stamps or any other aspect of postal history. I just want to see the building from the inside. None of these yellow houses are currently open to the public.
No date has been given for the re-opening, but as soon as I know, I’ll pass it on. Admission is expected to be free. The house is behind the east gate (东门). Access is through the gate’s entrance..
East Gate (东门)
Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week we are getting passionate.
The first time I saw a passion fruit plant was in a tiny village on top of a hill near Verona in Italy. Perhaps appropriate with Verona being the home of Romeo and Juliet (well, fictionally at least). What struck me most was the beautiful flowers.
Only later did I discover the fruit. I grew the plants in London and although I got the flowers, they never fruited.
Recently, a couple of Liuzhou supermarkets have been stocking them (Bubugao and Century Mart). Passion Fruit (Passiflora Edulis) is known in Chinese as 百香果.
The pulp and seeds are all edible and are somewhat sweet, but also tart. Use a teaspoon.
I’ve also used them to make a sweet and sour sauce to accompany pan-fried duck breasts.
Pan Fried Duck Breast with Passion Fruit Sauce, Garlic Steamed Loofah, Rice and Basil Leaf
It was a couple of days ago, but I’ve been away.
I come back to learn that, on Thursday, a 66-year-old man climbed to the top of Hongguang bridge with three days rations and tied himself to the infrastructure.
Of course, the emergency services arrived fairly promptly and soon abandoned their initial theory that it was yet another suicide attempt*, and therefore didn’t deploy their usual giant inflatable mattress, but instead held out this net. What were they going to do with that?
It turned out that the fellow was unhappy that his local neighbourhood committee weren’t taking his complaints seriously and was staging a protest. After a three hour standoff (and massive disruption to the city’s traffic, he eventually climbed down by himself.
He is being held in ‘administrative detention’ for disturbing public order. Apparently, this is the second time he has staged this.
*The vast majority of bridge related suicide attempts fail.
Suspect Wei Yinyong’s ID card
According to official reports, the suspect in the Guangxi bombings, rather than being in custody as some earlier reports suggested, in fact died in one of the explosions.
33-year-old Wei Yinyong, from Qinjian Village, Dapu (Liucheng’s county town) is said to have hired street vendors to deliver parcels containing the explosives. The packages exploded when they were opened.
It is also being suggested that Wei was an ex-quarry worker and, as a dynamite manager, had easy access to explosives. He also had a grudge against the local government and villagers over a quarry he co-owned with his in-laws. He had previously been imprisoned for disturbing public order by posting radical comments on on-line forums calling for deaths. Comments are said to have included “It’s time for killing. It’s the local government which has forced me to resort to this.”
South China Morning Post has a lengthy article on the background to Wei’s grudge.
Scene of Bombing in Liucheng
NOTE: All the information in this post is from official sources. But, with the chaotic manner in which they are (mis)handling information, it could all change. See updates here.