Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Year of the Rooster

Friday Food 174 – Alligator

chopsticks

Friday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are going reptilian.

The Chinese alligator (alligator sinensis), 短吻鳄 or, more colloquially, 鳄鱼,  although not common, is farmed for food. I’ve eaten it in street night markets and in restaurants, but you rarely see it in markets and even less rarely supermarkets. Recently Bubugao have been offering it.

It doesn’t come cheap. Alligator steaks are 69.80/500g, where as the tail or palms are 99.80/500g. The head is cheapest at 49.80 /500.

When I went past, someone had just requested the head so the beast was being decapitated.

Last Night Early This Morning

There was no way I was going to watch Turd being inaugurated, so I poured myself a large one (well two, maybe three) and listened to some music instead.

I had selected Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks (just to cheer me up) and it got to Idiot Wind. Damn if I didn’t hear Turd speaking!

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess

Then Dylan comes back talking about Turd.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
After losin’ every battle

You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzin’ around your eyes
Blood on your saddle

Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom

I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind

Well, actually I didn’t notice because I didn’t watch the ceremony, but it still seems to fit.

Spooky though!

(Selected lyrics from Bob Dylan’s Idiot Wind recorded 1974.)

Friday Food No. 173 – Yuzu Tea

chopsticks

Friday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are going abroad.

This is not Chinese, but I bought it in Liuzhou so, by my rules, it can go here.

It is Korean yujucha (유자차), or yuzu tea. The Chinese name is 柚子茶, although that is technically a mistranslation. 柚子 is ‘pomelo’, a totally different citrus fruit.

Whatever you call it, it is used to make ‘teas’ or cold drinks etc, by diluting it with water. However, as the instructions for use make clear, it also makes an excellent marmalade variation.

At first, I thought it was going to be too sweet for my tastes. The ingredients list says 28% sugar, but then the combined percentages in that list come to 117%. However, the acidity of the citrus cuts through the sweetness and leaves it well balanced. In other words, I like it.

Toast (home made bread) and marmalade for breakfast. Hooray!

I bought a 580g jar for around ¥29.90, but they also do a 1 kg jar for ¥45.90. From Bubugao, although I guess other supermarkets will have it. Probably cheaper!

writing abiolities

Anyone who runs a blog or website, and I do both gets all sorts of garbage in the email. Askimet, the anti-spam organisation catches most, but occasionally a few get through. Most are just annoying or boring, but occasionally one amuses me. They still get deleted though.

This one, received today,  amused me for its illiteracy while praising mine. I present it totally unedited. It also contained a link to the sender’s blog. Of course I didn’t open it, nor will I rebroadcast it here.

I am eextremely inspiured tоgether with yoᥙr writing abiolities
andd ɑlso ᴡith the format ߋn your blog.
Iѕ this ɑ paid subject matter оr did you modify it
yⲟurself? Аnyway kwep up tһe nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon tⲟ look a nice weblog lіke tһis one today..

Well, thank you for that, asshole. Shut the door on your way out. It’s the big bit of wood that goes in the hole beside it.

A Trip Over the Water

Liuzhou’s domestic and industrial water supply is controlled by  Liuzhou Veolia Water Supply Co, Ltd which is a joint venture between Liuzhou government and the French trans-national Veolia Environnement S.A. Liuzhou government holds a 51% share but the actual management is carried out by Veolia. They are responsible for everything from water and sewage treatment, to distribution and drainage etc. This also includes the installation and maintenance of supply pipes to your humble abode.

Over the last few days they have been installing new pipes to some of my neighbours’ apartments. I don’t why. Two days ago they connected the pipes running up the exterior walls of the building to the main supply by laying this pipe across the only entrance to the two stairwell, eight story block (32 homes). It is just the right height for tripping over and breaking your ankle at least or your neck at worst.


Then the cretins pissed off for the weekend. At least, I assume it’s only for the weekend. It could be for the entire Chinese New Year holiday.

The company  is currently facing legal action in Michigan,USA where Veolia has been accused of professional negligence and public nuisance, and fraud. There have also been explosions and fatalities at some of their facilities in the USA. There were also protests over the company’s alleged political stance over illegal settlements in Israel. In 2015, they sold their Israel admitting that the  international outcry had lost them billions in lost contracts.

Of course, they will be OK here. That 51% government holding in the company assures them that they won’t lose any damages claim when I break my neck. You can’t sue the government.

Top Visits

Here, for anyone interested is a list of the most visited pages on this blog (other than the home page) since it was moved to this server in 2011. So, it doesn’t include visits from Dec 2004 – Sept 2011. Hence I haven’t given the visit count figures.

The only difference I think including them would be that what is here showing as No 3 would instead be No 1. It was by far the most visited page. It has almost 20,000 hits in one day, nearly all from Japan!

It seems that people are more interested in food than in Liuzhou. The “Recent Popular Posts & Pages” table on the right echoes that, too.

1. Vegetarian or Vegan in China?
2. A Bite of China
3. Star Fucks
4. Friday Food 59 – Chinese Olives
5. Friday Food 128 – Lao Gan Ma Chilli Sauce
6. About
7. Friday Food 63 – Cherimoya
8. Beware of Beards
9. Attack of the Eat People Fish
10. Friday Food 93 – Prawn / Shrimp Crackers / Chips

-c-c-c cold

While we are finding it difficult to breath, it has been unseasonably warm recently. 24ºC at the moment.

However, don’t get too comfortable. If the city’s weather bureau have got it right, and they are much better than in the past, then temperatures are about to plummet next week. They are looking at a “high” of 11ºC on Wednesday.

OK. I know other places are much colder, but they usually have heating. I lived in Russia. I know what extreme cold is. I was never cold in Moscow.

When the temperature halves almost overnight, you feel it.

Keep warm.

Hold Your Breath

China Mobile, one of the two large cell phone service providers kindly sends each subscriber a free weather report/forecast which is updated throughout the day. Here is what is showing at the moment.

What I particularly would like not to highlight, but feel obliged so to do, is this:

Yes, the place is trying to kill us.

When I first came to Liuzhou some twenty years ago, the air quality was much worse than this. Then, in 2003, the local government closed the worst polluting factories and moved the rest from the city centre, mainly to the north of the city around the 鹧鸪江 area. The atmosphere rapidly improved.

I have mentioned before sitting in a long-gone open air noodle place, looking up and being astounded to see blue skies, something that hadn’t been seen in Liuzhou since Mao was lad.

All was well for a while, until about five or six years ago when the entire populace decided that they couldn’t possibly live without cars – preferably at least one each, and preferably as big as possible. I said back then that they were going to choke the city, both physically and atmospherically and I was right. No great prophecy skills were required.

Yet I still find many Liuzhou people in denial. Still blaming the factories as they sit in their traffic jams belching out the very pollution that they are complaining about. And the government does zilch.

The only advice that makes sense is “don’t breath”.

(To be fair, this is a China-wide problem and Liuzhou is relatively better off than many.)

Cherry, Oh Baby!

I have been given a rather nice Christmas gift. A 1.5 kg box of cherries. Clearly marked “Product of California”. So, expensive. Available in a number of Liuzhou supermarkets and shops.

Nice!

I mentioned this to a couple of online contacts, who were Californian and confused. “Californian cherries in December?”  they queried.

Sure enough, close inspection of the box reveals another label.

This indicates that the particular area of California responsible for the cherries is Mostazal, Cachapoal. This is in Chile, which unless Trump has set out for world domination slightly earlier than expected, is not exactly Californian.

But never mind. As you can see on the far left of the label, someone called Santa is involved so a very suitable Christmas gift.

Merry Whatever You Celebrate.


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