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Thursday, July 18, 2019

More Macanese Casino Architecture: A Mocha at Night

Some recent posts include photos of architecturally intriguing buildings, such as the Morpheus Hotel, that if I were seeing them for the first time in Macau I would guess they must be part of a casino resort. There was a building in Macau Peninsula I recently passed at night, though, with a design that caught my eye yet I didn't even consider it might be a casino.

Mocha Inner Harbour casino in Macau at night


Honestly, if people hadn't entered the building while I was near the front door I might have not paid attention to the Chinese name over the door "摩卡娛樂" and left assuming it only had a cafe inside based on its English name "Mocha". But after getting a peek of the interior, I realized there was a bit more going on than I had thought. The Mocha Inner Harbour, one of several Mocha locations Macau, does offer coffee that "can refresh the senses and relax the mind", but presumably the casino makes much more money from people gambling.

Nifty building either way.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Girls Power Mural Outloud in Macau

Recently I shared some art on display in Taipa, Macau. For a contrast, here is a mural I stumbled across at night on the street Travessa da Assunção just off of Rua do Almirante Sérgio in one of the historic areas of Macau Peninsula that feel like another world from the casinos not far away:



The artist Rainbo was born in Hunan and now lives in Hong Kong. You can find out more about her and her work here.

Friday, July 12, 2019

A View of Academics and Casino Architecture from the Grand Taipa Hiking Trail in Macau

The view from next to the Baía de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Viewing Zone in Avenida da Praia, Taipa, isn't the only one which includes the uniquely designed new Morpheus Hotel. In fact, the more elevated Grand Taipa Hiking Trail offers a perspective from which the hotel's external voids can be better appreciated.

view of the Macau University of Science and the Morpheus hotel from the Grand Taipa Hiking trail


In addition to the Morpheus hotel, the above photo also captures other casino-related buildings, but the nearest structures, including the sports field, are part of the Macau University of Science and Technology (M.U.S.T.). I visited the University Hospital (the greenish building on the far left) there multiple times four years ago thanks to gashing my shin down to the bone in neighboring Zhuhai — a story I may tell in greater detail another day.

In any case, for a better look at the hotel's architecture, here's a cropped version of the above photo:

view of Morpheus hotel from the Grand Taipa Hiking trail


I ended up spending far more time on the Grand Taipa Hiking that I had planned (actually, I hadn't even planned to go there in the first place) so here's the same view at night:

view of the Macau University of Science and the Morpheus hotel from the Grand Taipa Hiking trail at night


And once again, here is a cropped image for a better look at the Morpheus Hotel:

view of  Morpheus hotel from the Grand Taipa Hiking trail at night


Honestly, I thought the hotel would be lighted in a way to better feature the external voids and the bridges which connect the towers. Perhaps it works better from ground level close up.

Finally, another cropped version of the nighttime photo:

cable car passing in front of Wynn Palace's Performance Lake at night seen from afar


I share this one because not only can you see the fountain at Wynn Palace's Performance Lake but you can also see one of the Wynn Palace's cable cars passing in front of it. I didn't realize I had captured such an exciting moment until taking a closer look at the photo.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Changing Gambling View at a Wetland in Macau

More than seven years ago in a post about Macau's gambling world I shared a photo of several of Macau's casinos as seen from the other side of the Baía de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Viewing Zone. Here is another photo I took at the same time from a slightly different vantage point:

Baía de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Viewing Zone and casinos in the distance in 2012
2012


I chose the above photo because it captures almost exactly the same perspective as a photo I took last week while walking in Avenida da Praia, Taipa, where I also saw some colorful artwork on display.

Baía de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Viewing Zone and casinos in the distance in 2019
2019

The photos were taken at different times of the day under different lighting conditions and with different cameras and lenses. The more recent photo includes more greenery and Macanese clouds as well. But perhaps the most remarkable difference is the additional buildings in the second photo. Most notably, the architecturally intriguing Morpheus Hotel on the far left now blocks the view of another building of the City of Dreams resort and casino.

There are many other similar significant additions to this part of Macau, including the boxy MGM Cotai, the Wynn Palace with its gondola lift, and The Parisian Macau. If you know what to look for, you can find slivers of each of those three casinos resorts as well in the second photo. I'm not sure what this view will look like in another seven years, but the casino resort construction in this region of Macau certainly continues — just not in the wetland.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Colors of Macau and Hong Kong by Artist Francesco Lietti

I will be continuing the theme of recents posts about Yulin, but I suspect some readers would appreciate a break from all of the dogs and such. I know I could use a change of pace. So for the next two posts or so I will share a bit from Macau, a city I have visited many times and where I spent a couple of days recently. To say the least, Macau and Yulin are quite different.

So for today, here are two of the mixed media paintings by the Italian artist Francesco Lietti on display at the Taipa Houses Exhibitions Gallery as part of the Art Macau International Art Exhibition. The first painting below captures a side of Macau and the second Hong Kong. Lietti has lived in Hong Kong since 2006 and many of his pieces feature the city. More about Lietti and his art can be found online at his website.

Mixed media on canvas "Macau International" by Francesco Lietti
Macau International - 2019


Mixed media on canvas "A Palette of Flavours" by Francesco Lietti
A Palette of Flavours - 2019

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Camphorwood Dog Meat Rice Noodles Food Cart in Yulin

After checking into my hotel the first night I arrived in Yulin, Guangxi, and before finding a special location, one of the first things I came across when I set out to explore the city were several outdoor food carts. Appropriate for the city, a couple of them served dog meat.

Camphorwood Dog Meat Rice Noodles (樟木狗肉米粉) street food cart


Like the restaurant I later saw in Yulin that had Budweiser advertising, the food cart in the above photo featured camphorwood dog meat, though in this case with rice noodles (樟木狗肉米粉). And though the food cart is smaller than that restaurant and much smaller than Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant, it is yet another sign of the everyday nature of eating dog meat in Yulin.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A Brief Look at Yulin's First Crispy Skin (Dog) Meat Restaurant

Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant on both sides of Xinmin Road

While walking around Yulin on a Wednesday in May I stumbled upon a restaurant which has locations on both sides of Xinmen Road (新民路) at the intersection with Jiangbin Road (江滨路). The signs indicated the name of the restaurant was Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant (玉林第一家脆皮肉馆).



In many parts of China the Chinese character for "meat" (肉) without any specific indication of the animal would suggest the restaurant features pork. But Yulin isn't one of those parts, and it is common, though not universal (for example, a dog meat restaurant with Budweiser advertising), for restaurants that feature dog meat (狗肉) to not explicitly indicate the animal involved in their name. Soon I had little doubt that this was a dog meat restaurant, though, since there were several locations where they were carving dog meat outside.

men bringing out cooked dogs to be carved


The restaurant's website is more explicit and uses the name Yulin's First Crispy Dog Meat Restaurant (玉林第一家脆皮狗肉馆).

Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant website explicitly using "dog meat" in its name


And the website also provides info about their dog meat.

information about dog meat


It was probably too early for big crowds at the time, but the plentiful outdoor seating in addition to the seating inside the restaurants indicated they were prepared for them.

outdoor tables at Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant


I later learned that the intersection where I found this restaurant is not so surprisingly a popular location for people to celebrate the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in June.

So some simple points that are relevant in general and will provide some context for a story I will tell about my experiences at that festival:
  • The restaurant is one of many signs that dog meat is plainly available year round in Yulin.
  • Of course, the restaurant having two locations at the same intersection and the ample seating suggests it is (or at least was) doing quite a bit of business. And it is far from the only dog meat restaurant in Yulin.
  • The hanging dog meat at outdoor carving tables shows the degree of openness about eating dog meat.

cooked dogs hanging at an outdoor carving table at Yulin's First Crispy Skin Meat Restaurant

  • At no point was I asked not to take photos. I never even had a sense there was concern. In fact, the photo above captures a moment during which one woman who works at the restaurant was laughing about my interest. She soon jovially invited me to order some dog meat. I declined, politely saying I was already full. Later, based on my actions she apparently recognized I was wondering whether the locations on both sides of the street were truly the same restaurant. It's not something I see everyday and imitators aren't exactly uncommon in China. She helpfully approached and said they were indeed the same restaurant.

I wasn't surprised to find a big dog meat restaurant in Yulin. And I wasn't at all surprised to see dog meat hanging outside. These are both things I've seen plenty of times elsewhere in China. But what happened during my next visit to this location and what followed did surprise me.

I definitely didn't take as many photographs. More about that later.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Yunlong Bridge on a Sunny Day in Yulin

I had planned to post more context by now for a story I will tell, but I have been derailed. To get back on the rails, here is a photo of Yunlong Bridge (云龙桥) on the hot and sunny afternoon I observed Yulin's Lychee and Dog Meat festival not far away.

Person holding umbrella while riding a motor scooter on Yunlong Bridge (云龙桥) in Yulin


More later of course . . .

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Day When Police Didn't Stop Me From Taking Photos at Nanqiao Market in Yulin, China

Yulin's Nanqiao (South Bridge) Market (玉林南桥市场)
Nanqiao Market (南桥市场) in Yulin, Guangxi


In numerous cities in China and elsewhere in the world, I often visit wet markets. Each one has its own character, and they offer a glimpse into local culture. They can also be a great place to pick up some cheap and tasty prepared food. Last month in Yulin I stumbled upon the Nanqiao Market (南桥市场) on Jiangbin Road (江滨路). I took relatively few photos, since the market was rather quiet and many stalls weren't in use at the time.

I hadn't planned to mention this market around now, but my first experiences there provide some useful context for a story I have to tell. So I will add that while I was there on the first Monday of May, no police officers stopped me from taking photographs and no strangers clearly prepared to block access to certain areas accompanied me uninvited. Instead, my time there was relatively uneventful, except for meeting two friendly boys excited to meet a foreigner. In addition to the one above, below are some more photos I took there that day, like I have taken without problem at many other wet markets in China.



Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
Wet market on a wet day


pork aisle at Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
"Pork row"


clothes for sale at Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
Some dry goods for sale at the wet market


Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
Many stalls didn't have any activity


two boys at Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
One boy does his homework. One boy provides entertainment.


Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
I of course freely roamed about.


vegetables for sale at Nanqiao Market in Yulin (玉林南桥市场)
Some color

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Almost Injured by a Motor Scooter While Being Closely Watched in Yulin

man riding a motorcycle the wrong direction on a road


I took the above photo of the crosswalk in Yulin because something unexpected happened to me there. As I attempted to cross it a woman riding a motor scooter passed so closely in front of me that our bodies touched. I didn't see her coming because she was driving the wrong direction on a portion of road used for making right turns at an intersection. She presumably saw me, though, unless she had taken things to another level by driving the wrong direction on a road and not looking forward. After I took two photos of the crosswalk following the incident, a man riding a motorcycle in the above photo kindly provided me an opportunity to capture a moment of somebody doing something similar to what the woman had done. Fortunately, he didn't feel inspired to include the almost-injure-somebody part.

Incredibly, something even more unexpected was happening to me during the close encounter, yet I didn't know it at the time. I was being followed by at least one person wearing plain clothes. Noticing something curious later caused me to become suspicious. Actions I then took confirmed my concern. And later experiences confirmed my belief this was not just some random person who was innocently curious about the rare foreigner they happened to notice.

Instead, the reason the person was following me was clearly tied to my observations that afternoon of the first day of the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin. I had had interactions, also unexpected, with relevant authorities and what I suspect were relevant unofficial authorities. More followed that day.

So, this touches on why I didn't post anything here on the first day of the festival. It also touches on why there was no post yesterday when I spent eight hours on the first relevant bus. Needless to say, I'm not in Yulin anymore.

Also, needless to say, I have a story to tell.

Now, I wonder what my follower(s) thought when I was nearly hit. I'm not even sure if a more unfortunate event had occurred whether it would've simplified or complicated matters for them.

More later.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

This Dog's For You: Budweiser Advertising at a Dog Meat Restaurant in Yulin

Tomorrow is a special day in Yulin, Guangxi — the first and biggest day of the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival. And for the first time, I will be observing the festival person. I hope to better provide some important context that I feel much past reporting in Western media about the festival lacked. So there will certainly be multiple posts here in the future about dogs in Yulin, the festival, and the more general culture of eating dog meat in China.

To get the ball rolling, in the spirit of highlighting the everyday side of eating dog meat in China I will first share a photo of one of the easy-to-find restaurants which feature or serve dog meat in Yulin year round like many (many) other restaurants I have seen across China — no festival required. So here is the Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant (樟木狗肉管) on Dabei Road:

Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant (樟木狗肉管) in Yulin, Guangxi


Restaurant signs with advertising for alcohol — typically baijiu or beer — are a common sight in (at least some parts of) China, and the Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant didn't pass up on this practice which at the very least helps save money on signs.

So if you want to wash down your dog meat with a cold (or outdoor / room temperature) American Budweiser beer, Camphorwood might be the perfect place.

Budweiser themed sign for the Camphorwood Dog Meat Restaurant


The signs with Budweiser advertising would really be something if they included Budweiser's retired dog mascot Spuds MacKenzie.

Regardless, the Budweiser slogan on the sign says, "Be Your True Self". So fear not if you don't want dog meat. According to the sign you can get assorted cow or pig innards & meat there too — also with a Bud.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Lingering Father's Day Display in Yulin

At least one sign of Father's Day in Yulin could still be found today at the Nancheng Department Store (南城百货).

Father's Day display at Nancheng Department Store in Yulin, Guangxi


It isn't unusual in China for holiday displays in stores or restaurant to remain long after the respective holiday is long past. The special Father's Day promotion was over according to the posted dates. But perhaps people could still get a deal if they asked.

Anta "Dare to Dream" shirt

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Motorcycles, Dinosaurs, and Drums: Some Father's Day Fun in Yulin, China

In the past, I have shared signs of Mother's Day in China, whether in Guiyang, Hengyang, or Zigong. However, I have never done the same with Father's Day. The main reason is that I typically don't see anything as dramatic in terms of types or amount of business promotions.

This year was the same. But I did see some children spending time with their fathers.*

So to bring some balance, I will share that this evening on Father's Day in Yulin, Guangxi, I saw a girl help her father win a motorcycle race . . .

daughter riding a fake motorcycle with father as he plays the Speed Rider 2 video game


. . . a boy help his father shoot some menacing dinosaurs . . .

Father and son playing Jurassic Park video game


. . . and another boy play a drum duet with his father.

Father playing drum video game while son play inactive drums next to him


And on this note, Happy Father's Day to the fathers out there.






*I didn't verify the relationships, but I consider this a low risk claim to make.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Economist Depicts a Handcuffed Hong Kong

The statement about the extradition protests in Hong Kong on this week's cover of The Economist is rather . . . arresting.

Cover of The Economist depicting the word "Hong Kong" using handcuffs
Source


It seems safe to say that it won't be easy to get a complete copy of this issue in China. The image has all the stronger of a punch to me given that I spend most of my time in mainland China. I often associate Hong Kong with the greater freedoms and protections available there. An article in the magazine helps to explain the use of handcuffs on the cover and how the extradition law could negate important aspects of what Hong Kong offers:
With the threat of extradition, anyone in Hong Kong becomes subject to the vagaries of the Chinese legal system, in which the rule of law ranks below the rule of the party. Dissidents taking on Beijing may be sent to face harsh treatment in the Chinese courts. Businesspeople risk a well-connected Chinese competitor finding a way to drag them into an easily manipulated jurisdiction.

That could be disastrous for Hong Kong, a fragile bridge between a one-party state and the freedoms of global commerce.
More at The Economist in "The Rule of Law in Hong Kong".

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Students, Tear Gas, and Masks: Today's Hong Kong Extradition Protests in 42 Tweets

people protesting proposed extradition law in Hong Kong
Photo taken by Chung-wah Chow of the protest in Hong Kong today before police cracked down

The march in Hong Kong two days ago against a proposed extradition bill was not the end.

Today in Hong Kong people continued to protest. Today in Hong Kong the police responded with tear gas and more.

Below is a series of selected tweets covering a variety of topics regarding the protests that I shared after checking into Twitter this afternoon. They are presented here in the order I shared them, not the order in which the tweets originally occurred, with the exception of the first two since they provide overviews of what has motivated then protests. As usual, if you are viewing this post through an RSS reader and the images, videos, or referenced tweets don't tweets appear, try viewing the original post.

The last tweet was made not long before publishing this post. As it indicates, the protests haven't ended. What will happen next isn't at all clear.

















































Added note: Although there were relevant reports, the word "blood" in the original title was changed to "masks" since none of the above tweets directly mention them.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Yulin Too Has a Horse Flying for Tourism

Some readers may have noticed that a photo of Yulin's Youth Square in a recent post included a sculpture based on the iconic Flying Horse of Gansu bronze sculpture similar to the one at the Ganzhou Railway Station in Ganzhou, Jiangxi, I featured last year. Indeed, as in Ganzhou, the horse is a symbol for the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the base of the sculpture indicates the city was identified as a "Top Tourist City of China".

Unlike the sculpture in Ganzhou, the one in Yulin is surrounded by area frequented by pedestrians — or on some days skateboarders.


"Top Tourist City of China" Flying Horse of Gansu sculpture at Youth Square in Yulin, Guangxi


My impression is that in their central districts Ganzhou offers more for tourists than does Yulin. However, I suspect Yulin's award may be for the many sights in its other districts. In any case, Yulin has its horse sculpture.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Protesting Against Extradition in Hong Kong

There was a big march in Hong Kong today:
Over a million people have joined a mass protest against the Hong Kong government’s controversial extradition bill, according to organisers. . . .

The protesters marched towards the legislature over an issue that has underscored divisions in society over trust in the legislature and the Chinese judicial system.

Hong Kong’s government first proposed legal amendments in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China and Taiwan.
To add to the many already out there, with permission I will pass on some photos of the protest shared by friends in Hong Kong. A few were shared publicly, and those are attributed. Most were shared privately, so out of care and such they aren't attributed.


"let Hong Kong be Hong Kong" sign


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill
Source: Chung-wah Chow


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill
Source: Chung-wah Chow


protest over Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill
Source: Chung-wah Chow