Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Random Photograph 79 – Fen Fun

Twenty years ago, when you changed foreign currency into Chinese, they calculated it down to the last . One fen is 100th of one Yuan. Utterly worthless, so they have all but disappeared. The banks no longer issue them, but they remain technically legal currency.

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I took all the fen notes I had back to England one trip and distributed them to my little nieces and nephews. In my recent packing for house moving escapades, I came across one bit of cash I had forgotten about. A 2 Fen note/bill. I kept this one specifically because it was issued in the year I was born. So, ancient.

My guide to Chinese currency is here.

Friday Food 144 – Qing Ming Cha

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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 we’re having a cuppa.

Liuzhou isn’t particularly famed for its tea, although tea is grown. Guangxi’s most reputed tea is 西山绿茶 which is grown near Guiping in the east of the region. It is a simple green tea. Pleasant enough but not mind-blowingly so. But cheap.

Xishan Lucha

Xishan Lucha

Liuzhou’s best tea is probably this.

Liuzhou Qingming Tea

Liuzhou Qingming Tea

柳州清明茶  is picked in Spring around the time of  清明, the Tomb Sweeping Festival which usually occurs in April, and so the name.

Liuzhou Qingming Tea (before brewing)

Liuzhou Qingming Tea (before brewing)

Liuzhou Qingming Tea (after brewing)

Liuzhou Qingming Tea (after brewing)

Now, I hear you complaining. Tea is a drink! Not food!

You’d be wrong. Tea is not infrequently used as an ingredient in dishes. One of my many favourites is Prawns/Shrimps fried shell-on with green tea.

Prawns with Green Tea

Prawns with Green Tea

Radisson Retractions

I’m baffled – as usual.

The often confused Radisson hotel sent me this spam email at 11:52 this morning.

Personal details have been obscured.

They had sent me something about the event earlier, but I deleted it. But I remember thinking at the time that May was a bloody stupid time to arrange anything on the river. It seems they are surprised that the river levels are high. They always are in May. Perhaps they should learn a little about the city.

So, they have postponed the event to April. Wasn’t that last month? Or do they mean next year? Or 2027?

Then, less than an hour later, at 12:46, I get another e-mail telling me that the author ‘would like to recall the message, “ON THE RIVER”.’ What does that mean? The event is unpostponed? What is going on?

Not that I care a lot. I won’t be going anyway.

I’m constantly amazed at the effort they put into trying to attract a handful of foreigners to their overpriced hotel. Surely they are going to make 99.99% of their money from the locals.

Hard Rain

It seems to be a statutory requirement that, during the rainy season which hits every May or June,  the local media should carry a picture of some sort of vehicle driving through mild flooding in 广雅路, which is to the west of the BuBuGao side of Liuzhou People’s Square. This time we get a no. 18 bus.

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Liuzhou is a pretty flat city. Few hills other than the karst pepper-pots dotting the city. But at street level it’s flat. Guangya Lu is unusual in that it has a short but definite depression outside Guangya Market and here it floods easily.

It is also apparently necessary to run a picture of someone crossing the road. In the rain

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These images show how little we really suffer here in the city. Images and stories coming from other parts of Liuzhou Prefecture are less cosy.

Rongshui Miao Autonomous County lies north of the city, but is under Liuzhou jurisdiction. It has really suffered from the rains. Houses have collapsed as have roads. Several people have been injured. One death has been confirmed and a number are still missing. Liuzhou’s Party Secretary travelled to Rongshui to oversee search and rescue efforts and the army has been drafted in to assist.

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Elsewhere in Guangxi, three people have been struck by lightning and died.

And the rains aren’t over yet.

Green Man Sprinting

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There is something seriously amiss with the programming of Liuzhou’s traffic lights. Pedestrians (worthless scum that they are) are being given less and less time to cross at major junctions. You stand there waiting for the green man to appear.  That takes a while, but eventually you can cross. Sort of. Sprinting is possibly the only way.

I walk at about twice the speed of the average local – friends are always complaining about it. Yet, I still find it impossible to cross some roads in the time grudgingly allocated to the car-less.  I’m often half way, when the red man reasserts himself. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that even when the green man does appear you can’t cross until all the jackasses who are too important (in their tiny minds) to stop at red lights go past you, then watch out for those turning right against the lights.

And they wonder why no one pays any attention to the lights. It’s often safer to cross against a red man.

Of course the people who plan these things never walk, so what do they know?

Modern Art

Liuzhou Museum

Liuzhou Museum

Liuzhou Museum is yet again holding one of its temporary exhibitions in the dedicated temporary exhibition hall on the first (ground) floor.

This time it’s a collection of modern paintings by local artists. Well worth a look, I’d say. Here is a selection. There are many more.

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Some are recognisably Liuzhou settings; others less so. One artist has a door fetish – nothing wrong with that.

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The exhibition runs until next Sunday (24th May) The museum is closed on Mondays.

This is Liuzhou

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Over the weekend, Liuzhou Tourism authorities organised a street fair in the lower half of the city centre pedestrian area (roughly from McDonalds and the Red Star up towards Soho Bar.)

This mainly consisted of travel companies offering group travel deals to anywhere but Liuzhou.

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This I find utterly bizarre. If you are going to promote tourism in a city, isn’t it better to do so elsewhere. The people looking at a tourism exhibition in Liuzhou are probably Liuzhou people – not tourists.

Still, it’s nice of them to remind us where we live.

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Japanese Holiday?

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As part of the CCCP’s efforts to boost nationalism, it has been announced that China will have a national holiday on September 3rd to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in what we call “World War 2“, but China refers to as the”Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Against Fascism.” Catchy.

The holiday will be on a Thursday, but as usually they will tell people it’s three days by adding Friday and Saturday. People will have to work Sunday to ‘make up’ for the Friday.

This holiday will not apply to students or most teachers as they will still be on the summer vacation, anyway. Rather than celebrating by hating the Japanese, many web users are complaining that the holiday is too short, or complaining about the idiotic ‘make up’ system.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan has soared in recent years. I wonder how many will spend the anti-Japanese holiday in Japan. And how few Japanese will be visiting China in the same period.

Surprise Service

China telecomAs part of my efforts to move house, today I went off to China Telecom to set up a new internet connection for the new place.

Transferring my current account to a new place proved to be impossible. It isn’t in my name. It wasn’t easy 13 years ago for a foreigner to sign up, so I borrowed an ID from a Chinese friend. That friend is no longer in China. They won’t transfer the account without her ID card.

So I need a new account in my name. No problem. Just show my passport and hand over the cash.

About four hours later I received a text message to tell me that they had made an appointment for an engineer to come to the new place on Monday afternoon to install the required line. (It’s Saturday). Great, I thought.

Seven minutes later my cell phone rang.

“Hi, I’m the engineer from China Telecom. I’m here to install your internet connection.”

Two hours later he had done what was required, gave me his phone number and promised to return next week when I have actually moved my computer – in order to check everything is OK.

Nice guy. Great service.

I’m struggling to get used to this. A couple of weeks ago I took a train to Guilin. I was shocked by the attitude among the staff in Liuzhou station. They were polite, friendly, helpful and even spoke to me in English. Last time I used a train they spat at me.

Bus Cuts Cut

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In an extraordinary move, Hengda Bus company have swallowed their pride, lost face and partially reversed the bus cuts I mentioned here.

Following many complaints and pressure from the colleges involved, as of May 1st, Hengda bus company capitulated and restored the 20 minute service from early morning until 9am, then again from 3pm to 6pm. At weekends the 20 minutes service will apply all day.

Weekdays from after 9 am until 3 pm, an hourly service will apply.

In college vacations only the hourly service will be provided.

For once sense prevailed.


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