Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Visa Requirement Changes

I have received this notification from the UK government. I assume it applies to everyone, regardless of nationality.

I was required to have my fingerprints scanned when I returned from a short trip Vietnam back in May.

Escalating Failures

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m mentioning it again because it’s getting worse.

If I counted correctly, the underground shopping mall full of cheap crap under Longcheng road in the city centre has 13 escalators. For weeks now, the majority don’t work. They claim they are broken, but I don’t believe them.

At present only 5 are functioning. 38%. Which means 62% are out of action.

If they were genuinely out of order, there would be people working on them. There isn’t. I have long been convinced that they just shut them off to save money.

That may be the management company’s right, but when the mall was built, pedestrian crossing of the Longcheng and Wuyi roads at ground level was blocked.  The only way now is by going underground.

Obviously, with most escalators disfunctional, this is a great inconvenience, particularly to those with any kind of mobility issues, parents with babies, etc

Get the finger out.

Baisha Bridge Update

Here is a short video of crossing the new Baisha Bridge at night. (YouTube, so VPN necessary.

2018 Liuzhou Water Carnival Opens

The International Water Carnival Opening Ceremony took place at 9 o’clock this morning. I wangled an invitation. There were the usual speeches, then the Party Secretary managed to declare festivities open in just one sentence.

We were then treated to a display of water sport on the river. National and local television crews were in attendance.

Here a few pictures.

Local Television

Drones were also filming aerial shots

The Carnival runs until October 10th.

Azerbaijan Arrives

Not for the first time, I find myself baffled.

I read that Azerbaijan has opened a trade office here in Liuzhou.

The Trade House of Azerbaijan has opened in China’s Liuzhou, the Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan said in a statement Sept. 29.

It seems that their intent is to promote Azerbaijan food products. Why here?

It seems to me that there would be much better places to promote such foods. Larger cities for a start and  I think Azerbaijan cuisine would appeal to a more northern Chinese taste.

The competitive food and non-food products, including tea, mineral water, spirits, fruits and vegetables, etc. are demonstrated in the Trade House of Azerbaijan, opened with the support of the Ministry of Economy with organizational efforts of the embassy and trade mission of Azerbaijan in China, the authorities of Liuzhou, and Eastern-Allfriends.

If I ever find out where this place is, I’ll be checking it out. They rather stupidly forgot to say in their press release!

Full story here.

2018 China Liuzhou International Water Carnival

October 1 to October 10,  2018

Baisha Bridge Opens

Today, the city’s 20th road bridge across the river opened.

白纱大桥 (White Sand Bridge) connects the northern side of east Liuzhou with its counterpart in the centre. The bridge features a mid-section loop which is being represented as Liuzhou’s gateway.

Anyway, some pictures.

Forest City – Fake News

Stefano Boeri This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I mentioned back in July 2017 that  I had serious doubts about the so-called Forest City supposedly already under construction in Liuzhou by Stefano Boeri Architetti, an Italian company.

In February of this year, newspapers and magazines around the world reported that the “ground has been broken” on the project (some seven months after it was already under construction).

A pollution-fighting green city unlike any before is springing to life in China. Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, the first “Forest City” is now under construction Liuzhou, Guangxi Province. The futuristic city will use renewable energy for self sufficiency and be blanketed in almost 1 million plants and 40,000 trees—a sea of greenery capable of absorbing nearly 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants annually.

The similarities in the story wherever published convinces me that it is being taken from a press release by Mr. Boeri.

Recently, along with an acquaintance, I set out to discover exactly where this place was being built and determine whether any work had really started. Almost everywhere we asked, we were met by blank faces  professing total ignorance.

Finally my acquaintance visited Liuzhou City Urban Planning Bureau, who had supposedly commissioned the project and was total very clearly that it was untrue and the project doesn’t exist.

The word used, 谣言 means ‘rumour’, ‘groundless accusation’, or ‘unfounded report’, so the official answer is that no such project exists or has started, despite all the claims on Mr. Boeri’s website and in the press.

The website also claims that other such cities are planned or being built not only in China, but around the world, yet the only one illustrated by anything other than artists’ impressions that I can find is two relatively small tower blocks in Mr. Boeri’s home city of Milan, Italy.

Despite his qualifications as an architect, Mr. Boeri’s career seems mainly to have been in magazine publication and event promotion.

This is not the first time, this sort of things has happened. In 2010, it was announced that Dutch architecture firm MVRDV was planning to build 2,700 new homes on the karst mountains in the south of the city. Again, artists’ impressions were widely publicised and the project came to nothing.

If anyone has any real information on any “forest city” really being built anywhere, I’d love to know.

Song of the Sirens

Anyone who is in Liuzhou (and elsewhere in China) will have heard sirens wailing repeatedly, beginning at 10:30 this morning. Don’t worry! -Trump hasn’t tried to invade China just yet!

The sirens were marking the 48th anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix, who left us on September 18th 1970.

One of the last pictures of Hendrix. 48 hours later he was dead.

Or perhaps not. There is an alternative theory.

Japanese troops in Shenyang, 1931

On September 18th, 1931, The so-called Mukden Incident took place in what is now Shenyang (沈阳), signalling the full scale invasion of China by the Japanese. The occupation led to the horrors of the Nanjing massacre and much more. Liuzhou was also occupied for a short time in 1944 -1945.

This history has never been forgiven  and the sirens are sounded every year to remind everyone what happened.

Refuse To Eat

Over the weekend, some animal protection type people outside Bubugao shopping hell have been urging people not to eat!

I’m guessing they mean dogs and cats. While over the last few years, the new middle classes’ desire for status symbol pets has increased exponentially and the consumption of “pet meat” has declined, they seem to me to be  somewhat selective in their objection list. Presumably, all other animals are fair game.

Whatever, this is the first time I’ve seen even such mild active resistance in Liuzhou, although it has been common elsewhere. PETA types have succeeded in giving what was a tiny, much ignored event in Yulin world wide publicity. Well done.

For the record, I have eaten dog, but wouldn’t recommend it. Not for emotional reasons – it just doesn’t taste very good. I haven’t eaten cat to my knowledge, but I do know where to buy it. The meat of carnivores (other than seafood) is seldom very good.

Pass me another snakeburger!

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