Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Internet Outage

Once again, Liuzhou’s branch of China Telecom lost all internet connection for several hours today. It remains hideously slower than normal.

There I was at 11:30 this morning, happily wasting time when I noticed that my computer wasn’t playing along. A brief glance at the ADSL thingy (technical term) showed that I was no longer connected to the rest of the world. Poking and hitting things made no difference.

By 3:30 pm I was so bored, I went for a walk. On my return half an hour ago (5 pm),  I found they had relented and allowed me back in again.

Whether the work experience kid accidentally pulled a critical plug or whether it is a sign of something more sinister, I have no idea.

Of course, Telecom have apologised and refunded the connection fee for the non-service period. In my dreams.

Random Picture No 76 – Liuzhou Electricity Bureau

I”ve said many times before that there are very few pre-1945 buildings in Liuzhou, especially in the city centre. Most were destroyed in the war, either by the Japanese taking the city or by a Chinese-American coalition army retaking the city. What wasn’t destroyed then has nearly all been eradicated since by “development”.

One interesting building which does remain, although it is very run down, is this.

electric bureau 1929 - 1

Back in 1916, this was the HQ of Liuzhou’s Electricity Bureau, then known as Liuzhou Electric Light Company.

electricity bureau sign

Although it bears this information sign bestowed by Liuzhou Historic Buildings, today, it is abandoned and crumbling. It can be found just to the west of the city centre on the corner of 斜阳路 and 景行路.

map2

Fluttering Culture

Not content with their ridiculous Dreams, Liuzhou’s planners have unveiled their blueprint for a new Culture Square to be built in the same area. This, they tell us will resemble a fluttering butterfly!

cultture_square

Due to be completed in 2017, the building is to be built in East Liuzhou New Development Zone, otherwise known as “Disney World Without the Subtlety”.

What are these people on?

Missing Liuzhou Student

Police are searching for a female college student from Liuzhou who has been missing for almost a fortnight, after disappearing in strange circumstances. The second year student, named Qin Xiu, studies in Songjiang University Town, Shanghai. She bought a ticket for a Shanghai to Liuzhou flight for January 24th, but on January 20th, took a bullet train from Shanghai to Guangzhou. Since then, there has been no trace of her. She did not take the booked flight.

Update: It has now been reported that the girl went to Hangzhou and not Guangzhou. She has now contacted her parents and informed them that she is safe. (4th Feb)

Blowing Hot and Cold

Anyone who is in Liuzhou today no doubt enjoyed the unseasonable warm day. The last few days have been warm but today peaked at an astonishing 23º C / 73º F.

I went out this morning for a bit of shopping, as you do, and nearly passed out half way through. I was dressed for January but the weather was pretending it was April or May. I was boiling.

But don’t break out your bikini just yet.

Temperatures are set to drop over the next week. If the forecasts are anything to go by they are looking at a high of 9º C / 48º F by Friday,  as the wind direction swings from the north-east to the north.

As I’ve no doubt said before, I find the Yahoo weather forecast to be the most reliable.

weather

Dreams

Dream Castle

Dream Castle

This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. I read about it last night, but decided to sleep on it and see if it went away. Unfortunately it didn’t.

American company IdeAttack (stupid name) has unveiled plans for the next instalment in Liuzhou’s descent into madness.

If it is to be believed, we are going to have a huge (224ha / 553 acre) theme park on the east side of the city. The article refers to this place called ‘Liudong’ as if it were a city in its own right. In fact, Liudong (柳东) just means East Liuzhou. The project is expected to cost a mere 3,408,238,774元  ($550million USD, £361,010,700, €467,077,514).

They tell us work has begun on phase one of the project, the Five Dreams Kingdom complete with the Dream Castle above. The five dreams are a Fantasy Promenade, Future Zone, Auto-World, Adventure Land and Cloud Garden.

Five Dreams World

Five Dreams Kingdom

The fantasy promenade, I am told, “is the main pedestrian artery of the park, meandering from the main entrance gate to the Castle viewing plaza. The architectural style of the street is inspired by unique textures, colors and motifs of the Liuzhou stones.”

Fantasy Promenade

Fantasy Promenade

The Future Zone is probably the weirdest. It will feature a “Disaster Experience Theater” “The façade of this attraction is themed as the entrance into a fallout shelter in a devastated city surrounded by wrecked buildings, freeways, signage, a taxi, a train, a bridge and an airplane. At night special lighting will create burning effect in the background. The attraction highlights potential end of the world scenarios for Planet Earth, either man made (global warming, nuclear disaster) or natural (giant volcano, meteorite, earthquake, tsunami).

What?

1

Disaster Experience Theater

The list of “attractions” goes on and on, getting stranger all the way, just as the images get more lurid and ghastly.

Cloud Gardem

Cloud Garden

We are also promised yet another conference centre, hotels, shopping malls, corporate villas, water rides – everything including the kitchen sink.

Themed Hotel and Conference Center

Themed Hotel and Conference Center

Where they are going to find the money to pay for this is not explained. They couldn’t even afford to finish building the insane revolving statue of Liu Zongyuan with a restaurant in his head.

I’ve seen plans like this before which came to nothing.

For the brave, the full details in all their manifestations are here. Read at your own risk.

Jumping Jumper

I don’t know. Is it pathetic attention seeking? Or genuine mental illness? I am not the one to judge.

But some seriously disturbed young man decided to contribute to the weekly list of people grinding the city to a halt by pretending to threaten to jump off one of Liuzhou’s many bridges.

This one climbed to the top of part of Wenhui bridge, one of Liuzhou’s main thoroughfares. And prettiest bridge.

jumper

But, for once, he actually did jump.but only after the rescue type people laid out their big pillow to catch him.

14461420843841888

There will be another one next week

Up You Come

10921420673519492The ancient and noble Liuzhou art of falling down holes has once again been resumed. At around 10:40 am on Wednesday.

A 69 year old woman named Wei () fell into an uncovered manhole on a pedestrian footpath.

The local constabulary pulled her out of the one metre deep hole which was apparently intended to allow access to electricity cables rather than accommodate pensioners.

Ms Wei had failed to notice the aperture (probably reading her text messages or WeChat).

I am happy to report that apart from some skin abrasions, a knobbled knee and severe bruising to her dignity, she is relatively OK.

Friday Food 140 – Cockscomb

Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week combing the depths.

CockscombAs I’m sure I have mentioned before, Chinese cuisine dives down alleys many other cuisines don’t. Where “nose-to-tail” has become fashionable among western chefs, thanks largely to Fergus Henderson and his London restaurant, St. John, the Chinese have embraced it for millenia – and not in fancy restaurants. This is basic, down to earth home style cooking.

With animals being rare in the past, no one was going to throw anything away if it was even only barely edible. In the case of domestic fowl, everything but the beak and toenails are used. All for food except the feathers. In times of famine, they possibly ate the feathers too.

So, when I was in the supermarket this morning and saw these, I had to pick them up. ¥9.80. Bargain!

cocks comb

Known in Chinese as 鸡冠 and in English as cockscomb or  cocks’ comb they vary in colour from the deep red in the example above left through pale pink and on to black in the case of the silkie and some other breeds.

I’ve had them simply stir fried (a bit chewy) and in hot pots. Slow braising does tenderise them. There are some good suggestions on how to use them on this site.

Je Suis Charlie

charlie


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