Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Enjoying the Water Not Far from Nanning's Changyou Pavilion

Oh boy, I definitely didn't plan on taking such a long break since my previous post, which explained how a photo of the Changyou Pavilion in Nanning could be mistaken as a view of Nanchang. So to get back into the swing of things, hopefully, here is a view of the Changyou Pavilion from the other side of the Yong River.

people swimming and boating in the Yong River with the Changyou Pavilion in the distance

This photo was taken from a designated swimming area at the Jiangbin Leisure Park. As the photo suggests, people were taking advantage of it on yet another hot and sunny summer day in Nanning.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Deceptive Pavilion: The Answer to Latest "Which City in China is This?" is Nanning

I was going to wait longer until revealing the answer to the most recent edition of "Which city is this?", but I will provide it now since I already have the most excellent answer:

The answer is excellent because Arnauld chose the option I provided which could have tripped me up before too and he chose it for the same reason.

Nanchang's iconic Pavilion of Prince Teng stands next to the Ganjiang River. I last visited Nanchang in 2011, though I am not sure whether I visited the pavilion then. I definitely visited it in 2008. The nearby bridge in the photo I shared might have given me pause, but China can build a lot of bridges in 11 years. Off the top of my head, the pavilion in the photo would have looked quite similar. And the river!

But instead, I took the photo in central Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Yesterday when I first saw Nanning's Changyou Pavilion (畅游阁), which stands next to the Yong River (邕江), it puzzled me because I had no memory of it. This later made sense when I discovered the pavilion wasn't opened until 2016 (link in Chinese). The last time I was in Nanning was 2011.

So a genuine congrats to Arnauld on his most excellent wrong answer.

And now you can see why I went with a set of cities to choose from that all began with "nan". I first thought of Nanchang as what I might guess instead of Nanning and then decided to stick the "nan" theme. And yes, I made up Nannannan'nan.

To continue the theme of tough photos, here is a one of one of the first scenes of Nanning I saw during my most recent return to the city:

a view of central Nanning, Guangxi

I definitely wouldn't have been able to identify the city from this photo.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Which City in China is This?: The First Multiple Choice Version

I haven't been posting as much as I would've liked lately, but I hope to change that soon. More on the way about my last full day in Yulin, which very much didn't go as planned, and some things from my more recent time in Macau, which also didn't go as planned but all still went quite well.

To make sure I post something pronto, today will be a return to the "Which city is this?"* challenge — fitting since it is a city I returned to after several visits years ago. I arrived yesterday afternoon and have kept myself rather occupied since.

Here we go:

Nice try

I chose this photo I took today in part because the scene struck me as one that shouldn't be too hard to figure out, yet I suspected I wouldn't have recognized it even yesterday. So I will make this a little easier than past challenges by making it multiple choice.

Here we go:

A)  Nanchang
B)  Nanjing
C)  Nanning
D)  Nanyang
E)  Nannannan'nan
F)  Nan of the above

Super-smart readers will notice a pattern in the options. One wrong answer first came to mind because it would have especially tempted me.

I will divert back to earlier topics next, so you have some time.


Update: Answer here.

* I thought about whether to go with "which" or "what" here. I first went with "which" based on instinct. I then found an article on the topic that offered support for my choice, at least for today.

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

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

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 . . .