Chongqing Migratory Birds

Once a remote land for banishment in ancient times, the topical island that is Hainan Province海南省 has long been a destination of choice for mainlanders keen to escape the depths of winter, with Chongqing no exception. While spared of the harsh wintry conditions up in the far north, the months of cold, drizzle, fog, and … Continue reading Chongqing Migratory Birds

Mandarin Tips – Classic Novels

In my youth, I knew about all the classic novelists, such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Laurence, Jane Austin, Victor hugo, just to name a few. Yet, somehow, I admit now to going through life without ever actually reading one of their original works, cover to cover. Brute honesty drives me to say it … Continue reading Mandarin Tips – Classic Novels

Scooters and Mango Bikes

A reader asked me whether it's feasible to explore the reaches of Chongqing by scooter, to which I replied it won't happen past your neighourhood limits. Ever since that message, I have awaited the chance to share the vicissitudes of two wheeled transport in Mountain City, from early days to present. In the first decade … Continue reading Scooters and Mango Bikes

An ‘Overseas Daughter-in-Law’ in China

Here is the second installment of my international marriage posts. I began yesterday by describing my own personal experiences, along with some cultural tips I believe anyone considering marriage to a Chinese woman should consider. Like I said, the vast majority of international marriages involve Chinese women, yet there is a sizeable number of couples … Continue reading An ‘Overseas Daughter-in-Law’ in China

Marriage to a Chongqing Lady

I have a double header of international marriage in Chongqing for you. The first today is from my own perspective, the experiences of an Englishman married to a Chongqing lady, which should generalise well enough for males from western countries. Though international marriages in Chongqing involve foreign men and Chinese women, as is the case … Continue reading Marriage to a Chongqing Lady

Tour Group Experiences

I have always been a keen proponent of independent travel throughout my years in China, the reasons for which are two-fold. On a personal level, I love the freedom to choose my own route, schedule, mode of transport, accommodation, where to explore, or whether to simply kick back and relax. From a pragmatic viewpoint, there … Continue reading Tour Group Experiences

Fun with Hotpot Menus

Hotpot is the most famous delicacy associated with Chongqing nationwide. No matter where you travel in China, you will almost certainly find a 'Chongqing Huoguo (Fire wok) 重庆火锅' restaurant in town. There are countless avenues for us to explore with hotpot; the history, key ingredients, utensils, varieties, specialties, brands, social culture, homemade versions, entertainment, games, … Continue reading Fun with Hotpot Menus

Mandarin Tips – Crazy English Reader

One day around 2004, well before the advent of smart phones and internet speeds exceeding snail pace, Shapingba District, my first vaunt in Chongqing, abounded with shopfronts, kiosks, and makeshift stalls offering pulications to all mainstream tastes. Keen to find better resources for learning Chinese, the eye-catching glossy cover of Crazy English Reader疯狂英语阅读版 caught my … Continue reading Mandarin Tips – Crazy English Reader

Learning Mandarin in Chongqing

Chongqing is a fantastic base for learning Mandarin. The vibrant city offers a colourful mixture of advantages, whilst also harbouring a few pitfalls that are navigable once you understand the landscape. In this first examination, I want to tell readers on how they can gain the most from a language orientated stay here. It would … Continue reading Learning Mandarin in Chongqing

Yangshuo Adventure

The famous Chinese saying goes 'Guilin shanshui jia tianxia 桂林山水甲天下,' the scenery of Guilin is unmatched beneath the heavens. Perhaps, that is, except for Yangshuo, an hour's drive further south. Tomorrow, we shall embark on a 5 hour bullet train journey direct to Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, a distance of around 780 kilometres. There, we will … Continue reading Yangshuo Adventure

Interaction – Toasts

Love it or hate it, the culture of toasting repeatedly over banquets is an art form that men should pay attentive care. In Chinese, the term for a toast is 敬酒 (Jing jiu), and the way you propose a toast to somebody is by calling their name or title, followed by 我敬你(Wo jing ni). Other … Continue reading Interaction – Toasts

The Golden Eagle

From any unobscured point in the city, especially on a clear sunny day, it's possible to spot the golden eagle perched upon one of the countless peaks of Nanshan, 'South Mountain.' While tourists might imagine it could be there as a symbol of power and prosperity, it's purpose is really to serve as a viewing … Continue reading The Golden Eagle

Interaction – Going AA

Going AA is the younger Chinese generation's choice expression when going Dutch, ie; sharing equally the cost of meal, an unspecified number of alcoholic beverages, a karaoke suite, the list goes on! Overall, the culture of hosting and covering the expense personally is still very popular. Outward impressions of generosity aside, people like to develop … Continue reading Interaction – Going AA