Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 135 – Water Shield

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

Water shield (莼菜Brasenia schreberi is widely distributed around the world from North America and the Northern parts of South America, eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea), Australia, the Indian Subcontinent, and parts of Africa. It should not be confused with ‘Carolina water-shield’, a different plant.

In China (and Japan) it is cultivated as a vegetable.

Here in Liuzhou, I’ve only ever knowingly seen it sold preserved in bottles such as this:

Water Shield Bottle

The bottle contains the chopped vegetable preserved in a spring water and acetic acid solution. In order to reduce the acidity of the preservatives, the instructions advise rinsing the vegetable 2 to 3 times before use. They note it is usually used in soups. Hangzhou’s “West Lake Water Shield Soup” (西湖莼菜汤) is a classic of Chinese cuisine. It can also be served cold with a dressing (凉拌) as a side dish or starter.

The vegetable has a slimy texture, though not unpleasantly so, and a sweet, grassy, mildly acidic flavour. The acidity isi partly from the acetic acid used in its preservation, but also partly because it prefers to grow in slightly acidic waters.

Strained and Rinsed Water Shield

Strained and Rinsed Water Shield

Water shield is available in 500g bottles (60% vegetable minimum) for ¥22 from here.

The Revolution is Over

before it even began.

I am devastated to hear that the insane revolving statue of Liu Zongyuan which was being erected beside the river bank near the Liujiang Bridge and the floating stage, as part of the development to that area, is now being demolished before it was ever finished.

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I said from the beginning that the whole idea was lunacy, but I was looking forward to this ever-lasting monument to their madness and to spinning around inside Mr Liu’s head.

I had noticed that no work was being done, but thought little of it. They have been working on those buildings there forever.

However, it seems that they have simply run of money and are unable to raise further funding.

So they are abandoning the project and tearing him down, despite already having spent 70 million Yuan ($11.4 million US or £7 million) of taxpayers money so far. What a waste.

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Previous posts Revolver  Revolver 2  Revolving Update

Piss-up in Brewery?

I have received the shocking news that Liuzhou organised a “Speciality Beer Culture Festival” and no one turned up.

Beer Festival?

Beer Festival?

Due to run from the 3rd to the 10th of this month complete with street food and various activities such as dance competitions, beer quizzes, the festival attracted 20 beer producers (who paid around ¥4000 for a stall). After two days they packed up and went home, as there were zero customers.

It also seems that Liuzhou Food and Drink Administration weren’t happy with the situation and may have hastened the close down. Or, at least, that is what the organisers are saying.

After negotiations with the organisers (from Nanning) exhibitors were refunded their stall fees, but not given compensation for other losses.

The fact that there was zero publicity before the event hasn’t been mentioned.

Idiots. Were they drunk?

On Yer Bike!

Liuzhou has proudly announced that is introducing its first dedicated “first pedestrian and bicycle path system. (Of course, “bicycle” legally covers those pesky e-bikes, or e-donkeys as the local parlance has it.)

Bullshit! We used to have dedicated pedestrian and bicycle paths all over the city – they were called sidewalks.

red road

The first phase of the scheme, they say, is to be implemented in Liushi Road and Liudan Road area, but eventually to be expanded across the city. Note that the illustration (above) accompanying the announcement shows someone on a push bike in the middle of nowhere. Any chance of a scheme which goes where I want to go? Like shops and stuff.

Oh ! Yes! We used to have such a scheme! Sidewalks!

I give it three weeks before it is clogged with cars mistaking it for a car park or racing circuit.

 

Liuzhou Bridges 6 – Hudong Bridge

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North (downstream) of Wenchang Bridge there is a small island in the river. This is 萝卜洲 or Radish Island, presumably  so-named for its shape which roughly resembles that of a Chinese white radish or daikon.

Luobo Island and Hudong Bridge

Luobo Island and Hudong Bridge

Beyond it lies our next bridge of the series – Hudong Bridge (壶东大桥). Hudong means “east of the pot” , the pot being the peninsular area of central Liuzhou, which in some people’s eyes resembles a plant pot, specifically one of those used to hold bonsai trees. I can’t see it myself.

hudong map

The locals (and Liuzhou Bus company) refer to the bridge as No. 3 Bridge as it was the third permanent road bridge (1986), after Liujiang and Hedong Bridges. Although of little architectural interest, the rather plain bridge is another important link between the east of the city and the northern part of the city centre. It runs 695 metres from Tanzhong East Road (潭中东路) into the “pot” on Tanzhong Road, (潭中路) which leads to Huxi (west of the pot) Bridge (壶西大桥) which takes traffic into the west of the city.

Hudong Bridge

Hudong Bridge

Hudong Brdge looking east

Hudong Bridge looking east

Hudong Bridge looking west

Hudong Bridge looking west

On the 7th of July 2000, 78 passengers (44 female, 34 male) and the female driver were killed when a number 6 bus veered off Hudong ( No. 3) Bridge and fell 27 metres into the river. The precise cause of the accident remains controversial, but the official version is that the bus was attempting to avoid some debris left behind by workers repairing the road surface. Indeed a number of road workers were subsequently imprisoned. The families of the victims have never accepted this verdict and still hold regular protests at  the spot where the accident occurred. Many of the victims were students of Guangxi Technology Institute returning to the school after spending the evening celebrating the end of term and exams. The bus company never paid compensation and denied all responsibility.

The accident became known as the 7-8 incident, as 78 passengers died on July 8th (7/8 Chinese style). Not actually correct. The accident took place at 10:30 p.m. on the 7th, but most people didn’t hear about it until the next day. The incident was reported internationally (My parents called from England to make sure I wasn’t on the bus!) Reports in the west blamed flooding but, although it was raining, the river was actually at a low.

The point where the bus broke through the raillings

The point where the bus broke through the bridge-side railings

Rescue attempts

Rescue attempts

Salvaged bus

Salvaged bus

Ramada BlahBlah

The media is full of the wonderful advertisement news that the Liuzhou East Ramada Plaza Hotel is finally open for business.

There is a strong implication that this is somehow proof of Liuzhou’s international importance.

Actually the hotel is owned by the Liuzhou East Investment Development Co. Ltd (also known as Liuzhou Government). The Ramada connection is that it is a franchise operation.

The hotel is in the east of Liuzhou (where else?) next to the “International” Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Just like the Radisson (also a LZ government owned edifice; Radisson only manage it) before them, they claim to be mere minutes from the city centre and the railway station.  They are correct – at 4 am. The rest of the time you will sit in traffic jams.

No stars have been awarded yet, but when the star awarding authority is also the owner, you can guess what will happen.

Bridge Jumper Busted

At last, Liuzhou police are taking action against attention seeking idiots who disrupt the city by pretending to want to commit suicide by jumping off the only bridges you can jump off and have a good chance of surviving.

Man on Bridge

Man on Bridge

A 30 year old man threatened on Friday to jump off Huxi Bridge in the west of the city, causing the bridge to be closed, which brought massive traffic disruption to the whole city.

Rubber-necking

Rubber-necking

After a seven hour plus stand-off (yes 7 hours!) the man was detained and, instead of being delivered to the local mental hospital as is usual, was charged with disturbing the public order and awarded 15 days “administrative detention”.

Busted

Busted

This means he was detained, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced and imprisoned by the police without troubling the court system or those pesky nuisances called lawyers.

Liuzhou Bridges 5 – Hongguang Bridge

bridges

Hongguang Bridge (红光大桥) lies upstream from Liujiang Bridge, halfway to the railway bridge.

hongguang map

Work started on the bridge at the end of September 2002 and it opened to traffic on August 8th, 2004. It is just over 1 kilometre long (1040m).

This is one bridge that really made a noticeable difference; prior to its opening, getting to the railway station from the city centre was a headache. You had to go over Liujiang Bridge, then traverse the full length of either Fei’e Road (飞鹅路), or go through Fei’e Road No. 2, which seemed to be permanently jammed even back in the days when there were a hell of a lot fewer private cars.

The eastern approach to the bridge is via Liantang Road (连塘路) which runs from the south-west corner of the People’s Square and on the western side it drops down to Fei’e Road, nearer the station.

Hongguang Bridge

Hongguang Bridge

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Hongguang Bridge looking west.

I tend to walk under this bridge more than I cross it. One of my favourite walks in Liuzhou goes under the eastern end of the bridge, passing through Binjiang Road (滨江路, literally River Bank Road) for a bit. Note the map above incorrectly gives the Pinyin as Bingjiang Road, one of many mistakes on the map – Liujiang Bridge is rendered as Liujianh, for example. Chinese people aren’t very good at Pinyin.

Hongguang Bridge as seen from Binjiang (Riverside) Road

Hongguang Bridge as seen from Binjiang (Riverside) Road

A few more.

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For an amusing aside on the name, see this old blog. Well, it amused me.

It’s a Dog’s Life

I’m not a great animal lover. Unless they are on my plate for dinner. But this pisses me off.

This guy has been around for years, although I hadn’t seen him much of late. But he has reappeared. Twice this week I have seen him. Once sitting on the wall outside the traditional medicine hospital and another time on the pedestrian street.

He walks along with this little dog following him, pulling this insanity wagon. The man has yoked the mutt to the carriage with a home-made harness. The wagon plays some bizarre music and is full of nonsense.

It is clearly too heavy for the dog which was limping and panting for breath in the heat. He used to have two dogs; they other has presumably died. No surprise.

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Unfortunately, the locals seemed to find it all very cute.

 

Beware of Beards 2

Last month, I posted about some posters which appeared in Liuzhou showing, in cartoon form, dangerous men with beards.

Here are more in the series.

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