Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

250 Idiot

The BBC is reporting that a man in Wales has paid £518,000 ($813,828 USD; 5,002,686元) for a vehicle registration plate reading “25 O”

250

Earlier in the day he had paid £130,320 ($204,708; 1,258,408元) for the number “250 L”.

Very appropriately, in Chinese slang 250 (二百五)  means “idiot”. ‘Nuff said.

Bees Buzzed

800px-Honeybee_landing_on_milkthistle02

Less than a month after I mentioned what appeared to be a case of deliberate poisoning on a Liuzhou fish farm, comes this news.

A few days ago, a master bee keeper named only as 韦师傅 in Liuzhou’s Liujiang county went to inspect his 100 hives, only to find the vast majority of his bees had died overnight. The few which remained were certain to die very quickly as the queen bees had been killed.

Again, it is being suggested that the catastrophe is down to deliberate poisoning. Bees have been suffering from pesticide use by local farmers, but neighbouring hives were not destroyed overnight. Whatever caused the deaths seems unnaturally selective.

The disaster has caused Mr Wei direct economic losses of 50,000元 in the form of the loan he took out four years ago to buy the hives and stock.

Police have taken away samples of the dead bees for examination and, as ever, say that enquiries are continuing.

(Bee image by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au under Creative Commons Licence)

Gatsby in Liuzhou

I mentioned this outfit a while back when they sent me some spam email telling me they were opening Liuzhou’s first French restaurant, which came as a great surprise, because I remember another one fifteen years ago.

Today I get another dose of spam informing me of an utterly bizarre upcoming event.

It turns out they are offering a “Gatsby in Paris” evening this coming Saturday (29th November 2014). They have clearly never read the book. The novel is very firmly set in New York. And the “Great Gatsby” was a rather seedy bootlegger who made his fortune through his Mafia connections. Nothing whatsoever to do with Paris.

Anyway, we are in Liuzhou not frigging Paris!

indulge2 pixed

What’s more they are offering a “French Special Buffet” at a mere 268元 a head. They give absolutely no indication of what this buffet consists, but they do offer dancers, DJs and a lot of other surprises.

Worst of all, they impose a dress code. In China? Which planet are these people on? There are people who enjoy dressing up in Liuzhou. Mainly kids with their “cos-play” who certainly ain’t in the 268元 unidentified dinner market – more KFC-clone style. At least they know what they are going to get.

If you are reading this, let me tell you that when I go to a restaurant (sorry, brasserie) you give me food of my choosing from a menu which you supply. I eat it and give you money. If I enjoy the experience, I come back. It’s a simple concept which has worked for a very long time.

What I am wearing is none of your god-damned business. I am a reasonably civilised person. I’m not going to turn up in my pyjamas (although the locals might).

Finally, let me say that once again, you got your own address wrong. A different wrong from the last time. Classy! I’ve removed it. Wouldn’t want any customers to get lost, would you?

They don’t know where they are or what they are doing.

Smoke and Mirrors

Liuzhou’s amateur Bailian airport has, in the last few days, admitted that it has cancelled or delayed over 2o flights because of the deplorable weather conditions. The fog, they say, makes it impossible to fly.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am in Liuzhou and the weather the past week has been mild and fog-free. Yesterday was a lovely, warm, clear autumn day.

The local rag celebrates the news with a jolly cartoon.

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Thank the heavens that there was no fog back in 1945 when American and Chinese air forces used the old airport, otherwise we would all be speaking Japanese now.

The old airport was to the SW of the city, but the area has since been swallowed up.  It lies immediately to the west of Longtan Park and is now a designated “development zone”.

Liuzhou Old Airport

Liuzhou Old Airport – 1944

Pity there is little development at the new airport.

Time Difference

This has puzzled me for years. Why is that clocks in China always use the Arabic numerals 1-12 when they have their own numeral system? In fact, they have more than one!

You can find clocks with Chinese numerals on-line, but you certainly can’t find them in any clock shops. Believe me. I’ve searched all over China. Clock shop operators look at me as if I’m mad.

The internet available ones tend to come from Japan.

my clock

Anyway, I finally acquired one last week and all my Chinese friends find it strangely fascinating.

To be fair, I guess I could also ask why so many western clocks still use Roman numerals. That is even stranger. At least Chinese numerals are still in daily use. Roman numerals are pretty much archaic.

romanclock

By the way:

  1. Few, if any, Chinese people understand Roman numerals.
  2. Do not under any circumstances buy a clock as a gift for a Chinese friend, associate or casual acquaintance. Not even for a lover or a spouse. They are taboo as gifts as they signify the ticking away of time and so, death. It’s the Chinese equivalent of the horse’s head in the bed.

Lost Lard

When I first read this, I kind of dismissed it as intrusive tabloid crap. But then I thought “No.”

The interweb has been carrying this story in the last few days. We learn that a man once described as “Guangxi’s Fattest Man” has been stripped of his title after losing 135 kg in body weight.

39 year old Wen Bishan (温必善) was morbidly obese to the extent that even a short walk of 100 meters required two rest stops and I don’t mean for a wee. When he sat down, he wanted to lie down. When he lay down, he just wanted to sleep.

fat1

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Eventually, his survival instincts kicked into gear and he decided to do something about his condition.  Various diets, exercise, so-called “slimming aids” and acupuncture helped a little at first, but soon failed.

In 2013, having reached 224.9 kg, underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, in which doctors remove up to 85 percent of the patient’s stomach and reshape the remaining stomach into a tube.

Sounds like fun. Not.

However the technique worked and Mr Wen is now looking like this and no longer suffering from the respiratory and kidney problems which previously troubled him.

thin

Mr Wen has decided to publicise his plight and its resolution in order to encourage others in similar difficulties, and I ain’t going to knock him for that.

He offered this advice to overweight Liuzhou people on how to lose weight:

First of all, you should choose a scientific and healthy way. Practice it under the guidance of doctors,” he said. “Second, you should have an optimistic and positive attitude during the whole process, to carry out the weight loss plan consistently. Third, you shouldn’t rely on diet as the only means to lose weight because if you go on an extreme diet, it’s not healthy.

Obesity is a growing problem in China (no pun intended) and is a major health risk, leading to diabetes, kidney and heart problems among others.

Random Picture No 74 – A Lot of People

A Lot Of People

This place lies under the northern end of the Liujiang Bridge on the western side. It used to be an excellent Lanzhou hand pulled noodle joint, but in the last couple of years seems to change every two weeks. I have no idea what it sells today.

But I love the irony of the English name. The place is clearly devoid of people. A lot of people don’t come here?

Acidic Hole?

I am delighted to be able to report that the ancient, noble Liuzhou sport of falling down holes is not dead. It’s been a while, but…

acidhole

It seems that a Mr Zhu, a waste recycler originally from Hunan, decided to certify his Liuzhou credentials by falling into a hole.

He was with his brother, looking through a decommissioned warehouse belonging to Liuzhou railway company, seeing what was reusable, when he fell about two meters into a hole.

Fortunately Mr Zhu was pulled out by his brother and others and rushed to Liuzhou People’s Hospital.

There was some concern as the bottom of this particular hole was full of an unidentified liquid, which was suspected to be sulphuric acid. However, no acid burns have developed and Mr Zhu has made a good recovery from his heroic Liuzhou resident initiation ceremony.

Liuzhou Bus Fire

At 6:20 pm yesterday evening (Friday November 21, 2014), a moving No 9 BRT bus caught fire on Pingshan Avenue. Of the 40-50 passengers on board at the time, 18 were injured and hospitalised. Six have since been discharged, but ten are said to be in serious condition, three of whom are said to be in critical condition with over 50% body burns.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, but arson has been rumoured, although not confirmed.

busfire

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Soho 10

soho bar 2

Liuzhou’s Soho bar on the pedestrian street up from McDonald’s is today celebrating its 10th anniversary. They don’t mention the years before that it took to finish building the place. It seems they kept running out of money and all work would stop for months at a time, before starting up again. Over and over. There were rumours that the company’s accountant had run off with the loot. It is astonishing how often that happens in China.

The company behind it is Nanning based and the Liuzhou bar was the second they opened. They now operate around 12 in various cities.

soho1

But it finally opened and rapidly became known as a huge, overpriced, noisy meat market.That was when it was at its best. Thereafter it slid downhill and garnered a reputation as a bit of a sleaze hole.

It is, like so many bars in China, more of a disco or club than anything I would call a bar. Loud dance music and drunken, under-aged girls throwing up sums it up.

soho3

Soho Bar, Liuzhou

They hold regular ‘special’ nights on festive occasions – Valentine’s Day, New Year, etc and it was the first place I saw the newly invented Single’s Day advertised. They also had a reputation for displaying the worst Christmas tree in town each year, but have improved in that respect recently. Starbucks now hold No 1 position in that respect.

All things considered, they have done well. The average lifetime of Liuzhou bars is more like ten months. It isn’t the oldest though. I think that distinction falls to the (much quieter) branch of Time Bar on 北站路. I certainly remember drinking there about 18 years ago.

soho2

Soho Bar, Liuzhou


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