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Around the World China

Living together …

… if you want or not đŸ™‚

Here in Hainan it can become very hot in summers. Easily temperatures like 40°C are reached and normally these periods come together with a lull in the wind. Most appartments don’t have air conditioning so what can people do, they leave all their doors and windows open.

This leads to the, for an european like me uncommon, situation that you are more or less living together with people which you don’t know, and don’t talk to apart from the hello in the elevator when you stumble upon each other.

From Switzerland I was used to keep doors and even windows shut if I wanted to make my music a little bit louder to not disturb my neighbours. Here in Hainan the people don’t know such considerations. You can easily follow their conversations, listen to their TV or even be aware of what they are preparing for lunch. Luckily or unfortunately I don’t understand a word of the local Hainan dialect  đŸ™‚

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Around the World China

Haidian Island Beach

On Haidian Island in Haikou we have our own beach which is about 20 min. walk from where I am living. It is not the most beautiful beach on Hainan nor the cleanest but people like to come out to watch the waves, play in the water or search for mussels between the stones on low tide beside the beach.

During Spring Festival the beach was even crowded with people who came out to enjoy the sunshine.

One day suddenly these huge sand vacuum cleaners arrived on the beach and started sucking away the sand.

Since this day it became clear why they built this long contrete wall in the sea because the machines are working nearly night and day sucking away the sand spraying it over the wall into the huge basin they cut from the sea with the wall. Soon this basin will be filled with sand and they can start building more appartment houses on the newly recovered land.

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Around the World China

Suzhou, City of Gardens and Channels

A very beautiful city in China is Suzhou. You can find it about 80km west of Shanghai. Even if it is not so easy to find it on a normal european map it has about 6.7 million residents together with its suburbs. Suzhou is surrounded by lakes and channels and the city is famous for its parks and gardens.

If you are brave enough you should  travel around in Suzhou by bus. I can promise that it is worth giving a try đŸ˜‰ Even though the busses might be very full sometimes the people are always very polite and patient. When the bus starts please make sure you have stable hold! Even in China I have never before seen bus drivers driving as if they take part in the Paris-Dakar Ralley but in Suzhou you find them đŸ˜€

When I came to China the first time I was still living in Switzerland. With this background it was quite amazing to see the chinese traffic. There is only one word which could describe it: Free Style! It took me some time to recognize that the freestyle driving didn’t seem to result in many more accidents because I could hardly see any damaged or scratched cars driving around. It seems to work if everybody is driving with the same idea of traffic in his mind. But until now I could not find statistics which could confirm my feelings.

There are two things you should do when you visit Suzhou. First of all visit some of the beautiful gardens.

And if you have some time left make a boat tour on the channels which surround the old city center.

A walk in on of the older quarters of Suzhou is very nice too.

When you are lucky you can see a Chinese Opera in the street for free. If you have a good stomach buy a snack from the dealers which are probably around and have a relaxed opera evening.

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Around the World China

One Child Policy

China is a big country with more than 1.3 Billion people.

The rate in which the population used to be growing according to chairman Mao’s policy that every family should have as many children as possible for the chinese revolution turned out to be quiet problematic.

To counter the uncontrollable increase of the population Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese Kommunist Party established the One-Child Policy in 1979 which is still effective and seems to control the population growth quite well.

But to live with this policy is not always easy for the people. China is a country with very family oriented people where the family has a strong social responsibility. If someone has no job or is retired he is supported by his family because the social system in China can only be described as basic up to the time of this writing.

When two people get married in China, traditionally it is said that one family looses a daughter and the other family wins one because the wife belongs to the family of her husband now. This is one reason why most chinese families love to have sons. The establishment of the One-Child-Policy amplified abortions in families who got the news that they will get a girl.

This was such a bad practice that nowadays doctors are not allowed any more to tell the becoming parents the sex of their offspring in advance.

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Around the World China

Empty streets in China

Once a friend who had a look at my China pictures asked me how much time I have spent to erase all the crowds from my images using Photoshop. đŸ™‚ Actually when you grow up in Europe you always think China must be crowded beyond belief because the cinese population is somewhat around 1.3 billion people. But since I traveled through China and live here I cannot understand this idea any more.

You can find places which are crowded and there are times when all the people seem to be on the street at the same time but this is not different than in Europe. If here its crowded around the chinese Spring Festival it is about the same as if you try to go shopping in Europe on a saturday before christmas.

I have assembled some street impressions from my photos:

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Around the World China

Winter in Hainan

Hainan is the southmost province of China and lies at the same height as Vietnam. A tropical region you could say an no one built heatings into houses and appartments.

Last winter was my first to live in Haikou and I can tell you that never in my life I had it this cold before.

First of all naturally I was not really prepared for a “winter” on an tropical island. All my wintercloths are still in Europe. We had temperatures around 6°-8°C. Now you may think “hey what is this guy complaining about?” but please take into account that the outer temperature equals more or less to the temperature in my appartment! The cold really creeps into your body step by step … some days I spent more or less in my bed, the only warm place đŸ˜‰

This was before the chinese Spring Festival a month ago.

During the last day we had 34°C. A real change from winter to sommer within 4 week.

Haikou beach in Winter
Haikou beach in Winter