Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Cool Job

I’ve found the perfect new job for these times. Hope they’ll take me on!

As Liuzhou’s temperature hits 37ºC /98.6ºF, I could be quite happy to join this chap who is well wrapped up.

He is a worker in a Liuzhou refrigeration company and routinely works in temperatures of -18ºC / -0.4ºF. This means there is a 55º C difference between the inside and outside temperatures.

Gis a job. I can do that.

Cops’ New Toys

Liuzhou’s cops sure like their new toys. Three years ago, they took to patrolling the streets on those ridiculous self-balancing scooters which were all the rage at the time. It didn’t last long. Like petulant children, they threw them aside and searched for the next toy.

Now we are informed that the local constabulary has been provided with the latest fad – drones and selected officers are being trained in their use in crime prevention and detection.

According to their guff “Liuzhou City Urban Management Law Enforcement detachment is committed to creating “science and technology urban management”. The recent introduction of two high-end unmanned aerial vehicles, the establishment of an unmanned aerial vehicles brigade and air law enforcement, will achieve water, road and air three-dimensional law enforcement coverage.

Then we’ll all head off back to the cop shop for a nice cup of tea.

OK. I added the last sentence.

Child Near Drowns – Parents Playing Cell Phone

For the second time in two weeks, a child has almost drowned in Liuzhou while its parent is busy playing on their cell phone.

Liuzhou “Beach”

On Tuesday (25th July), a 5-year old boy fell into the river at 4:30 pm in Liuzhou’s artificial beach on the riverbank.  Local life guards saw him fall and went to the rescue. He had swallowed a lot of water and was choking, but otherwise unharmed if a bit green in the face.

The rescuers then went in search of the child’s father who was found 80 meters away, playing with his cell phone and totally oblivious to the drama.

With temperatures reaching into the high 30s C, more and more people are visiting the “beach” with their kids – and their phones. Sooner or later, one will be going home without their child.

Zebra Slogans

Almost exactly a year after their previous effort, the local authorities are again having a campaign to get Liuzhou drivers to pretend to be rational, intelligent, civilised human beings.

It sort of worked, for a bit last, time. Some drivers tended to stop to give way to pedestrians on crossings for all of the month long campaign, which included newspaper, radio and television coverage. As soon as that ended, most went back to their old habits and became crossing blind again.

This time round, they have launched their efforts with a training course for drivers zebra crossing slogan competition. Oh well.

The winner came up with this.


Hardly trips off the tongue and too long. It translates very loosely as “At traffic lights obey their sequence; at zebra crossings be civilised and give precedence.” It gets the key details in there and maybe it sounds better in Chinese.

So, as ever in China, once we have a slogan everything will be hunky dory. Or not.

Banned Bear – Winnie Not Welcome

The idiots in charge of China’s internet censorship have just made themselves look even more childish and stupid than usual.

They have banned Winnie the Pooh!

All mention of Winnie is being scrubbed from websites and social media even as I write this. What has poor Winnie done to deserve this? It seems to go back to 2013 when President Xi visited the USA and the cartoon below was issued and spread wildly and widely.

There is something deeply wrong with a government totally devoid of a sense of humour. They are sick. Laughing (even at ourselves) is healthy. China isn’t.


Website Wiped

Today, I finally did something I have been planning to do for a couple of years. I deleted all the Liuzhou Laowai website apart from the blog and a couple of small side routes. Should you try to access any page on (other than /wordpress) you should see something like this.

I have also deleted thousands of images – of course I made back-ups first. For all practical purposes, only the contact page should be functional.

I started the website 18 years ago as an information resource, because

a)  There was nothing on the internet about Liuzhou in English.

b)  I wanted to learn how to build a website.

Today, the site was looking very tired and amateurish – no surprise there – it was built by an amateur. A lot of the information was also out of date. And the whole caboodle was bloated and hard to manage.

So now begins the Herculean task of rewriting it from scratch. I’ll try to forget what was there before and make it more relevant to today. I’ll also change the format. I’m still deciding what to cover (all suggestions welcome.)

It is important to me that the site carries information useful to anyone intending coming here – either for a week or to stay a while, but also useful to those already here.

Anyway, I hope to complete the bulk of the work by September, but it is, in a sense, an unending task.

Limey Lament

Despite sitting on Vietnam’s shoulder, we are strangely unable to source many of the key ingredients for their wonderful cuisine. I’ve never encountered lemongrass or basil, for example in Liuzhou. I grow my own mint, so that’s no problem.

One of my mint plants

I did, about three or four years ago find limes in Bubugao and had a few weeks of bliss, squeezing them everywhere, especially into my breakfast gin and tonic.

Liuzhou Limes

Of course, they didn’t last long. The locals couldn’t work out why the inside was green instead of the yellow they were expecting.

Last autumn, I was absent-mindedly wandering through Bubugao supermarket when I spotted this and a lot of others like it.

Ah, I thought, the limes are back and bought a bunch. Mistake. They are lime sized and shaped, but they ain’t limes. They are green-skinned lemons which haven’t turned yellow yet. Sit them on a shelf and they soon will. Now, the supermarkets are full of these lime impersonators.

A major problem is linguistic. The Chinese for ‘lime’ is 青柠檬 as opposed to the Chinese for ‘green lemon’ which is 青柠檬.

Yes, they are the same. Helpful! So, labelling doesn’t help (even on the rare occasions supermarkets get their labelling correct). You have to cut the damn  things open to be sure. Well, you would if they ever had them.

Of course, I’m hoping you are going to immediately inform me that I’m wrong and limes are on constant sale in your local market. Just make sure they are limes first. Green inside!

P.S. I do have a 4-foot tall lime tree growing on the shelf outside my bedroom window, but it’ll never bear fruit. Nice plant, but barren.

Liu Xibao Dead at 61

Plane Stupidity

Anyone actually in Liuzhou last night, the 12th July 2017, can’t have missed the military plane(s) which buzzed the city at low altitude for hours. As I recall, they started late afternoon and went on until well after dark.

How many planes were involved, I don’t know. And the image above may well be a very different Chinese plane.

The military air wing operate from Liuzhou airport (ha! you thought it was for passenger flights to and from Shanghai!)

About once a year or so, they put on this display of force. I’m not sure for whose benefit. I’m sure the pilot(s) had fun. They just kept me awake.

Fantasy Forest

An example of the bullshit which I read about Liuzhou and complained about in my last post has, in recent weeks, been floating turd-like across the media, nearly always in paid for content. In fact, the same story has been appearing and disappearing for years.

According to most versions, Italian design firm Stefano Boeri Architetti is poised to save Liuzhou from perils of pollution by building a forest city to replace the dump we know and love so much.

image by Stefano Boeri Architetti

They promise the city will have a carbon footprint close to or even under zero. They claim the city will be “fully self-sufficient and run on renewable energy, namely geothermal and solar energy“, improving “several environmental factors, including but not limited to: improving average air temperature, improving the local air quality, reduce all types of pollution, generate a wide range of habitats for local wildlife and improving the region’s biodiversity.

Once finished, the city will hold over a million plants and trees with a capacity to absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 and produce 900 tons of oxygen every year.

The city will have full electrical wiring with  commercial and  residential areas, hospitals, schools, etc. Only electric vehicles will be allowed, including a shuttle to the airport and rail station.

The sting in the lengthy tale is that the super-city will have accommodation for a mere 30,000 people. In a city with an urban population close to a million, that is but one turdlet in the bowl.

I’ve spoken to several people who might reasonably have all the gen on this, but no one has heard of the plan, never mind able to say where it will arise.

Still, they have announced that work has started and it will be ready for the government inhabitants to move in in 2020 – roughly the same time frame they gave when they announced the same scheme last time.

image by Stefano Boeri Architetti

All images are artists’ impressions – of course. They haven’t built anything in Liuzhou that’s real.

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