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.