Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

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.

Liuzhou Times

China’s “Global Times” claims to be an English language tabloid newspaper of sorts. It fact, it is an often hysterical mouthpiece of the Chinese communist party. When not denouncing all things not Chinese and red, it runs photos of scantily clad young women displaying their communist assets. Alongside stupid, unbelievable stories of unlikely heroes of the revolution. You know the sort of thing.

Today, they have published a set of photographs of Liuzhou, purporting to show Liuzhou at Night. The pictures are ludicrously over-Photoshopped and utterly irrelevant to anyone’s life in Liuzhou. According to the article a couple were taken in July and a couple last week.

Of course, they can’t bring themselves to publish photographs of anything real. People might think that Chinese people don’t sit at home all evening reading the collected thoughts of Xi Jinping, but instead go out and have fun.

No one really reads the rag other than professional China watchers wondering what wisdom they will serve up next.

Predictably, they did go nuts over Trump’s recent dalliance with Taiwan, but then the lunatic is fair bait.

Dumper Truck E-Bike Death

It will come as no surprise to learn that Liuzhou has seen yet another fatal accident involving an e-bike, but this one is particularly gruesome.

While it’s not clear exactly what happened to cause the accident which took place at 8 am on Sunday morning in the north of the city near Sanmenjiang bridge (三门江大桥), a 41-year old male e-bike rider identified only by the surname was hit by a dumper truck and dragged for some 50 metres before the truck stopped.

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The victim was in all likelihood killed instantly as it was reported that there were body parts strewn around the accident scene and that the rider’s head and one leg were crushed beyond recognition. He was identified from documents he was carrying including his national ID card and a bank card.

Police are, as they always say, investigating.

One day, they will follow the example of many cities around China and ban the things. But many more will die first.

Liuzhou’s Latest Lei Feng?

Lei Feng, Chinese propaganda poster by Qiu Wei (丘玮). Caption reads:

Lei Feng, Chinese propaganda poster by Qiu Wei (丘玮). Caption reads: “Follow Lei Feng’s example; love the Party, love Socialism, love the people”.
via Wikipedia

One of the more amusing pastimes to follow in China is watching car drivers attempt to reverse their vehicles. They haven’t a clue. Every car park is equipped with attendants to relieve the drivers of a couple of yuan and to guide them into or out of their parking spaces. Few of the attendants can drive themselves, so it all gets a bit messy. I once stood for a full 15 minutes watching some mumpty tried to park his rather small car in a space where I could have parked a bus (yes, I have driven buses). Several Chinese friends have been astonished to learn that in the UK and most other countries, there are no reversing guides and that you can’t pass a driving test until you learn to do it by yourself.

But guiding reversing drivers is a dangerous job. China’s most famous do-gooder, the probably fictional Lei Feng was killed in 1962 at the age of 22 while guiding a reversing truck. The truck hit a telegraph pole which fell, killing the saintly Lei. For those who don’t know, Lei Feng was a young soldier in the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) who devoted all his free time to doing good deeds and being a good Maoist. He is still regularly trotted out by the party propagandists and every school kid is taught to follow his example. I’m not sure if that includes being a figment of the imagination and reversing trucks into fatal telegraph poles.

朱常明

朱常明

Recently, a Liuzhou man has been described as a new Lei Feng (it happens regularly). 朱常明 has been praised for taking it upon himself to buy the necessary cement and other materials and fill in potholes left in his locality by construction vehicles. He was concerned, we are told, that residents were kept awake by the noise of cars bumping along the road; that a number of elderly residents found walking dangerous; and that one woman had been seriously injured when her e-bike hit a hole. It is also reported that about a year ago, he was responsible for saving the life of a man who had collapsed in a toilet after suffering from a stroke.

Let’s hope he doesn’t take up guiding reversing telegraph poles or the like.

One thing the news doesn’t mention is why the holes have been left unattended by the local road authorities or whether the construction companies are liable for the costs of repairs. Why ask questions when you can churn out the usual empty propaganda?

Liuzhou “Bird Flu” Victim

chickens

“The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (December 1) received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Guangxi from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.”

The case involves a 30-year-old woman in Liuzhou, described as a farmer. The report is unspecific about location, but the implication is that the victim is in the countryside of Liuzhou prefecture rather than the city. Not that this is any comfort to the woman or her family.

The woman, who is said to have had contact with dead poultry before falling ill, apparently developed symptoms on November 8 and was hospitalised on November 18. She is now in a serious condition.

The authorities make the following recommendations, most of which are common sense or normal practice:

  • Avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings;
  • If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
  • Avoid entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered and contact with surfaces which might be contaminated by droppings of poultry or other animals;
  • Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
  • Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, handling food or eating; after going to the toilet or touching public installations or equipment (including escalator handrails, elevator control panels and door knobs); and when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
  • Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, hold the spit with a tissue and put it into a covered dustbin;
  • Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients;
  • Wear masks when respiratory symptoms develop or when taking care of fever patients;
  • Stay clear of KFC

OK. I made up the last one, but good advice, anyway!

Information courtesy of 7th Space which has more details.


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