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Archives for 2018

Not Paris

China has a bit of a thing for building extravagant replicas of western landmarks. One I found out about recently is this Paris-alike in the outer suburbs of Hangzhou, complete with Eiffel tower. And these residential buildings modelled on the Champs Elysees. I actually rather like it, it transforms what would otherwise be an utterly […]

All Rain All The Time

I’ve discovered something very important about the summer here: every day it’s either 30+ degrees, or raining, or both. This rather limits the potential for outdoor activities so I’ve been going to a lot of museums recently. Which is a shame because I actually found some really good places west of Hangzhou to go hiking. […]

Carefully Slide

Here’s an interesting machine translation fail I’ve seen a few times recently. Actually “carefully slide” is a valid translation of 小心地滑, but presumably the sign writer meant something like “careful, slippery floor”. 小心 means “careful” and 滑 is either a verb meaning “to slide” or an adjective meaning “slippery” depending on the context. The problem […]

Nanxun

When I went to Wuzhen a few weeks ago I missed the last bus on the final leg of the journey and had to take a taxi. I asked the driver if there was anything interesting in Huzhou, the nearest city, and he told me there was nothing there. Actually he was telling a bit […]

Some Walking Near Longjing

Last weekend I felt like doing a bit of walking to went to a village called Longjing which is just outside Hangzhou and easily accessible on the local buses. This place is quite well known for its famous green tea, which you can see growing in all the photos below. There was entirely too much […]

Anniversary

Someone reminded me recently that doof.me.uk has been pumping out content for over ten years now. Let’s take a moment to remember the heady days of 2008… Although judging by my visitor stats most of what I’ve written since has been read by almost no one. As of April 2018 my most popular articles are: […]

Nick Samples the Peasant Life

I’m doing a language course here at the moment and the school lets you take some optional courses. I’m doing one on Monday afternoons called 茶文化 “tea culture”. In common with other courses here, most of the time is learning vocabulary, but this one has tea sampling as well. And our teacher organised a field […]

Wuzhen Ancient Town

I’ve spent the last two Easters in China visiting these 古镇 “ancient towns”. In 2016 I went to Tongli near Suzhou, and this time last year I was in Anchang. It would be bad to break with tradition so this Easter weekend I visited 乌镇 Wuzhen, which is about halfway between Shanghai and where I’m […]

Xixi Wetland

After I finished class today I went to a nearby nature reserve called Xixi Wetland Park 西溪湿地. It’s a very large area of wetland to the west of Hangzhou. I didn’t have time to explore it all, but there were a lot of spring blossoms out, and a Qing-dynasty-style old street with a little pagoda […]

Technology Gone Too Far

I remember when I went to university in the UK the washing machines in the laundry were simple coin operated affairs. But because China has ALL THE TECHNOLOGY the washing machines here are exclusively controlled by chat-program-turned-app-platform WeChat. You are basically screwed if you don’t have a smartphone.