Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Wedding Muso's

Almost every day in Shaoxing, there are processions lead by a strange group of six musicians who sit in the back of a unitlity - crammed in, in fact - playing music as they tour the streets of the city followed by a strange entourage of vehicles. The vehicle immediately following the musicians is a black car with a person holding a movie camera standing up though the skylight.

The next car - usually decorated with flowers often held on with sticky tape, is the car with the bride and groom. Following - and there are always 6 or 8 cars (never 5) with various family members.

This happens rain, hail or shine (although I've never seen it hail here!)

On this occasion, it was raining and miserable. The muso's had stopped - which was good to take a photo, and they were playing Oh, Susanna - click here to hear it. Although our brass band on the back of the "ute" did not sound like this.

Soon we three Aussie English teachers were having an impromptu dance on the footpath, much to the amusement of the band and the passers by. At the same time a tricycle and a bus passed, and then the street cleaners gathered laughing to see what these strangers were doing in the midst of Shaoxing.

In the end we were all laughing!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


It is not uncommon to see one of these three wheeled cycles travelling through a city in China, loaded, or overloaded with strange things. I've posted many here, but find that I can not always get my camera ready in time to take the photo, and often I am passing in a crowded bus with no hope of getting the photo.

This laod was empty plastic crates of some sort. I have no idea what might have been in them. There was no sign of the cyclist. He was probably behind a bush!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sugar cane time

At this time of the year the local Chinese people eat lots of sugar cane These great stalks of cane appear in fruit and vegetable markets. They are cut into pieces about 1/2 meter long, the outside "skin" is peeled off, and the students and others hold the base of the remaining stalk with a piece of plastic and bit off pieces of the cane.

They chew it and then spit out the hard whitish strands - onto the road or the footpath. The whole process leaves quite a mess but no one seems to care. The roads are covered with the peeled skin, and the chewed over and spat out dregs.

The photo is near Anchung, where the vendors sit with great piles of the cane, and peel and chop it to hand to customers.

What a wheely funny day!

Out in the backblocks, lost, we find a taxi cab - and negotiate terms to return us to the campus. The taxi driver, a young woman told us it would be about 80 RMB back to the college, but in the end it only cost 60 RMB. The easiest, and safest way to get back to the college for three worn out exhausted English teachers!

All sorts of wheeled vehicles travel back and forth all the time - hard to tell what is carried in some of them!

The tut-tut rescued us from the village, the name of which we have no idea. It was a most uncomfortable ride with our long legs finding little room in the back of the vehicle, as it bumped and shook us for about 15 minutes.

A load of brooms being delivered - probably picked up from the village where they were made!

Huge trucks with great white bags often overloaded and bulging out over the road, ply their way back and forth. I have no idea what is in the big bags - though many are delivered to a big factory near the college. A chemical of some sort, but other than that have no idea.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Watering the gardens

Watering the gardens here are done in rather a curious and dare I saw "primitive" way.  In this photo you will see a cart which is being pulled by a senior lady.  The cart is full of water which she will have been filled with water from a nearby canal.  She pulls the cart to the pots or garden and then using the long handled pan will scoop the water out of the cart and then pour it onto the plants.  

Actually when you think about it, it is not a bad idea, but obviously labour intensive.  It does rain frequently here, although we have not rain for several weeks, but in reality most gardens are watered by rain, and this method is used for the many pots of plants around the college.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hangzhou Road Cleaners

In Hangzhou there are many workers - men and women - working on the streets at any time. They are very busy in Autumn and Winter as the leaves fall from all the trees in the streets and they are swept up along with all the other flotsam and jetsam that is discarded on the roads.

These blue carts with workers with their home made (or made in a local village) brooms sweep non stop, and load the carts with the rubbish which is in due course collected by a large rubbish truck.

Hangzhou is a clean city - so much better than Shaoxing, although there are workers in both cities cleaning non stop.

The people that do these jobs are often poorly educated, and even disabled people earning a small income from the government for the work they do. As well as clean and sweep, they must dodge the cars and bikes that run rampant in the streets. Once again Hangzhou is much better organised - for a start the streets are wider, but regardless the traffic is much more orderly.

However, you would get the impression that taxis do not have to obey road rules, and they seem to drive through red lights without any concern.

I love it that despite all the plastic things that are used - they still use the stick brooms that are in fact very effective and I am sure much better for the environment in more ways that one!

There are whole villages where the people are employed making these brush brooms and you see them everywhere.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sweet potatoes are very popular right now, and these carts roam the streets selling freshly roasted sweet potato. The are roasted in the 44 gallon drum, and opened up to reveal the hot sweet yellow flesh, that is somehow scooped out and eaten.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New plantings for winter

It is time to put in new plantings around the City Square in Shaoxing - neat rows are already planted by the hard working gardening teams.

Tricycles arrive with the seedlings in individual pots, and the workers get too and plant. Soon the plants will flourish and the flowers blooming. Pansies are being planted, as well as other varieties of seedlings.

Here comes Postie!!!

This is the postman delivering mail in the narrow streets of Shaoxing. It is hard to tell he is a postie - but I saw him delivering China Post mail into the boxes along the lane way.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


We have been told that these are not rickshaws - rickshaws were the carts with seats that were pulled by fit and healthy Chinese men - usually in more traditional clothes with a straw "triangle" hat, and their hair in a long "pigtail" or queue.

When I first saw these carts in Shaoxing, I immediately thought of "rickshaws" but I'm told they are called "tricycles". In any case they are familiar especially round the city streets of Shaoxing. I've not yet ridden in one, as I have not had reason to. They are quite a challenge in traffic which is chaotic anyway, and these guys (oh, and there are some ladies who ride them) are usually used for short rides around the city.

One day I will. I promise. But so far I have had not real need to.

These were all lined up near the markets - where my favourite dressmaker, and coffee shop can be found!

From this story it appears that they are called rickshaws in Beijing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wheels in Shanghai

One always has to have the camera ready - and it is not always easy to do that! The photo above was taken in the streets behind old Shanghai Town, the man on the left was deliverying flour in huge bags. He had white flour all over him - his clothes, and his hands and face. Looked quite odd really as he weaved his way through people on foot and on wheels.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cardboard cut out.

Very little that is recyclable is wasted in China, methinks. This man was loading cardboard cartons onto his vehicle right in the midst of busy Shaoxing city. If you have ever wondered why the cardboard boxes that you see items for some shops as being a little battered, you will understand why! Many smaller goods for export are packed into these boxes that have probably done a few tours around China before they left for overseas.

Recycling again

Down a dingy lane in downtown Shaoxing I saw this recycling man loading his tricycle up with an odd assortment of items that he will ride somewhere and offload for a few Yuan to keep him and his family going.

The lane was a pretty old lane, but with thriving businesses along either side of it.

The lanes are pretty narrow - and this type of vehicle is certainly ideal for removing rubbish and unwanted items in these old villages.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Been carting?

Another small business - this man with his home made cart is selling either beans or peanuts in the village near the college.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More carts and their way

Back and forth they go - carrying any items that need carrying. One day I'd like to sit on a street and just keep the camera rolling as things pass by. Sadly I miss many photos of strange items as I do not have my camera "at the ready" all the time.

Can you work out what is in the carts? I certainly cannot.

Oil on wheels

These little vehicles run back and forth to restaurants - they take "the slops" or the old oil. They have on board out 6 rather gruesome looking barrels - most of which have some sort of smelly slime spilling over the sides, and they go back and forth each day.

I can imagine there is some sort of oil recycling system - though have no idea what it would be and I am not sure that I really want to know. These little "tricycles" carry all sorts of tings back and forth. In some places there are many men with these carts sitting on certain street corners waiting for work.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another strange vehicle

This little truck was at the Lanting Park where I went with students for a picnic or "bake" as they called it. I am always impressed with the engenuity of the Chinese people who seem to find use for something that is no longer wanted elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Monster outside my window!

What is this? This strange thing is just outside the window of my apartment. If I open the window and look out this is what I see.

Is it some sort of monster? It does not seem to have eyes or nose, but it is there all the time. Well, sometimes it completely disappears, but then it comes back again. It has big ears!
Look below and you will see. As many of these vehicles (this is actually an e-bike with its raincoat on) do not have shelter of any kind and are often left out in the weather, they are often covered with a rain coat to keep rain and dust away.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Strange green transporters

These green carts can be seen around the city of Shaoxing. They seem to be people movers and near one of the bus stops not far from the college there are often several waiting for passengers. No doubt if someone has some heavy parcels and some distance to travel these will be great little vehicles to use.

They don't travel at high speed but seem to just putter around to their destination. i've not travelled in any of the smaller strange vehicles, as I am somewhat cautious about using "light" transport and would prefer something heavier. I don't know the significance of the colour as I think all the vehicles of this shape, size, and model are green. Like little green toy carts in a way.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carting Glass

With the way the traffic is in any place in China, you'd wonder the wisdom of carting a sheet of glass on the back of a tricycle.
He obviously is a worker planning to put the glass in somewhere, but he has no protection if he should be involved in an accident and the glass break.
We look at amazement at things like this here. I have seen several tricycles that seem set up to carry glass - this man had a ladder and was probably on his way to install the glass somewhere.

Carts and more carts

This guy was pulling his cart in the college grounds. He was probably collecting things for recyclking. Anything that is recycled is collected by a variety of different people. We can never tell whether they are doing this just to make pocket money or they are paid to do so. Men with these sort of carts do seem to be workers on staff and they appear and empty all the bins around the college.

Mostly the "good" stuff has been taken by other workers. All bottles, cardboard, clean paper etc. will have been collected by the many staff who cannot pass a bin without checking its contents.

This guy was also wearing a "triangle hat" made of bamboo I think. He was happy to be photographed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fuyang Paper making place.

This home made cart was in the paper making place at Fuyang. At this place the ancient art of making paper from bamboo is still carried on. The paper is used for art, and there is much paper manufactured here.
No doubt, somewhere in Fuyang there is a factory where the process is automated.
This cart would be used to carry the big piles of paper, or books or other items.

Some odd wheels in Longmen (Dragon Gate)

I can only guess that this was the tricycle of a peddlar of some sort. In the basket as some sort of gluey rice paste, and I have no idea if it was for eating or some other use. There was a basked beside the tricycle that had a similar content, but different consistency.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My wheels

I do wear a lot of purple or lilac coloured clothes. Not exclusively - but I have a fair number in my wardrobe. When I went to buy a bicycle I was thrilled to discover this purple one in the midst of a range of other colours and so claimed it for me.
It is a basic bike but gets me to quite a few places. I'm not one keen to ride into the city on it, but am happy to pedal around the university and along the streets on the outskirts of the city. Even to the small supermarket here - when I don't need to carry a lot home!

Riding a bicycle with a baby?

While out riding my bicycle the other day I saw this young woman trying to ride her bike carrying a baby. It was not easy for her - in fact she spent most of the time walking holding the baby in one hand and wheeling her bicycle.
I just can' imagine attempting to do this on a busy road. Very dangerous I would have thought. What hope for the baby if she lost balance? Or something (a car or even an e-bike) ran into her?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Orange bikes

I'm not sure how it happens, but this semester there are new students all riding orange bicycles. All the same brand and there are rows of them. This lone cycle was near the bakery, and I received some stares as I photographed it.

What I thought was odd - apart from so many bikes of this colour on campus, is that few are "unwrapped" and still sport their bubble wrap packaging, just as they would have been at purchase.

So many are like this. For me, I was keen to remove all my packaging very quickly to reveal my new shiney bike.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chairs on bikes

Apparently these cane chairs are made by villagers, and the truck loads of these chairs come into the cities on a regular basis, and guys with tricycles load them on their carts and head off to furniture shops and markets. Some of the loads of cane chairs are amazing - and I have been unable to get a photo of them.

This one was in Hangzhou - not many chairs on board, but enough to see the challenges that the rider has, when negotiating the traffic.

Carting boxes

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The humble tricycle is a common "work horse" with amazing loads being carried over short distances. The myriad of different items placed on these tricycles is amazing. They are often overloaded, and the cyclist, (who must be very fit indeed) pedals his way around through vehicular and pedestrian traffic as if he has not a care in the world.

There are narrow alley ways to negotiate - places where bigger vehicles have not a hope of getting through. These guys are really the backbone of much commercial activity.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


China does not have a good record on the roads. There are many accidents but as we do not travel a great deal on the roads we seldom see an accident. However, this one was on the road between Hangzhou and Wuzhen.
The traffic travelling in the same direction as us was flowing smoothly until we came across this accident, which must have happened some minutes before we reached the spot. Luckily it appeared that no one was hurt, but the truck had swiped the guard rail for quite some distance, before it stopped, spilling its load of cardboard and paper across the road.
On the opposite side of the road was a huge backlog of traffic - a traffic jam that went on for miles. Trucks of all shapes and sizes, busloads of tourists and travellers, as well as private cars were stuck in the chaos. Many were out of their vehicles and on their cell phones trying to see what was going on I guess.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Modern Truck?

There are quite a few of these "modern" trucks around these parts. I love them. I must get a photo of me "driving" one - one day. You can hear them coming. They have a very loud engine, and the PUT, PUT, slowly along. These are the "workhorses" and usually carry heavy loads like bricks, cements, stone etc.
They are probably almost ancient relics, and rust has eaten away much of them, but they still put in a solid work day, as they PUT, PUT around the place. You will see them anywhere - especially building sites.

The water man

In China one does not drink tap water. It is just not "potable." Not safe to drink. Everyone drinks bottled water - not just the handy sizes from the supermarket, but most homes have a water heater/cooler machine. This is for drinking water.

The big heavy bottles are delivered on a tricycle, just like this one, and the waterman will carry (for a small fee) the water to your front door. At the college, we dial a phone number, say our room number - and shortly afterwards a man arrives with some full bottles on the tray of his tricycle.
At the college we do not have elevators - so these elderly gentlemen carry the heavy bottle upstairs to the apartment whose dweller has ordered the water, and he will leave it by the door, and carry down the empty bottle to take back to the "Water room." We sticky tape a 1 yuan coin to the top of the empty bottle, which the man keeps for himself.
The heavy bottles are then lifted by the dweller onto a "water machine" which will pierce the bottle and allow the contents to flow into the well of the machine. A hot and cold tap fronts the machine.
Many households collect water from a machine at the gate of their village, or grounds of their apartment. User pays. Ofcourse.
We do feel sorry for the elderly gents who struggle upstairs with these heavy bottles.

The cardboard box man

This loaded tricycle was in the college grounds. It is a new semester and many things (e.g. books, bedding etc) have come into the college in cardboard boxes.

I couldn't help myself - just had to take a picture of it. And I heard giggles from behind me when I stopped to take the photo. Three new students were following me along the pathway and thought it odd that I would stop and take such a photo.

"Where are you from?" they asked in good English. I pretended to hop like a kangaroo - and let's face it, it is not easy to do, but they shrieked with laughter and shouted "Australia." We all laughed and went on with our respective journeys.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bike Passenger

Yesterday when walking in the college grounds we came across two guards and a worker helping put a lady's bike onto the old tricycle. Maybe it ran out of puff - in any case, it was loaded on to the cart of the tricyle and taken somewhere.

When I took the first photo, the men looked up and laughed. So I took another photo. It has been very busy on campus as the first year students arrive over a few days and there is organised chaos with new students, parents, grandparents, and vehicles.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The crazy taxi man

On Saturday after we had dined on Peking Duck (well, we called it Duck Skin as there was little meat for an expensive dish!), we walked to the end of Nanjing Road to find a taxi back to my friend's home.

We would wave a taxi, but it would either not stop, or pick up some locals. Eventually one actually refused a local and chose to take us to our destination. I wonder why he did that? Wait and you will understand.

We gave him the address in Chinese characters, he nodded and set off. Along the route we noticed that he had 40 RMB on the meter. He had either not changed it from the previous passenger or set it because he was going to make some money out of foreigners.

In any case, we pointed it out to him. His English was not good - or it was and he played ignorant - but he refused to change it. Eventually it was clear that he was going to try and make extra money from us. Now my friend knew the cost of a taxi from the city to her place - she'd done it more than once before, so she knew it was far less than 40 RMB.

We argued with him, and let him know that we had recorded his taxi driver number (which we had). Without saying anything he turned the taxi around and took us right back to where he had picked us up. As it turns out, just before he turned into the particular street, he was stopped behind a bus, so we got out quickly. We obviously did not pay him.

We caught another taxi back eventually - after a short wait - and paid the right amount of money.

We thought he was a crazy taxi man. The photo on his ID card did not match the face of the man, so it will be interesting to see what happens when we do report him. At least we know that he tried to take on three ladies in Shanghai and at this point we can claim victory over him.


So much is delivered around China on tricycles - with the most extra ordinary loads. (Much fodder for this blog, I can tell you.) This deleivery was to a shed somewhere in Shanghai. I have no idea what is in the boxes, but they would be from a factory somewhere in Shanghai. Maybe storing for someone with a business selling these items.
It is amazing in heavy traffic with the amazing number and variety of trucks, cars etc, that these hard working men pedal their way through the myriad of vehicles in not too orderly fashion on the streets of China.
But, it is the way it is done. Of course their are trucks, but these seem to take much larger loads and on longer distances. It must be an effician way to deliver such items. In China.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The rubbish cart

This poor delapidated rubbish cart is in the grounds of the apartment block of my friend in Shanghai. Another friend from Shaoxing went to stay with her and on our first morning she had rubbish to deposit in this cart, which is taken away for recycling and disposal.
It was such a quaint and old piece of equipment, it just begged me to get my camera out and take a photo, much to the amusement of another Chinese gentleman passing who burst out laughing as he waved the French breadstick that he had apparently just purchased.
A good laugh all around, I think.

As the wheels on the train go round and round

The railway staff promote products for sale, during the train trip from Shaoxing to Shanghai. As the train rolls on it's 2 - 3 hour journey, the railway staff come through the train offering drinks, noodles, and fruit. Then they do slick presentation promoting a rang of products. One of the products is a torch (no batteries - is powered by hand - almost winding it up, so that it provides the power to turn on the LED light. They torch was great. I bought one.
There were toys and toothbrushes also on display - and many people purchases on the trip TO Shanghai, but the same demonstration on the return journey, two days later did not produce any sales.
It does break the journey - adds a little humour to the trip!