Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Category Archives: China

October 2020

Here we go, year 3 of the monthly summary posts. These started on my WeChat as a reminder for me to observe the details and notice the small delights of everyday life, which are often overlooked especially during hard times. Then I began to realize that I do a lot of these things – write, photograph, share – because it gives me joy to just record even the most random things. And it is important, for far too often we entangle ourselves in the battle against the reality that tries to devour us and forget to live. So it continues – maybe I will stop at the end of three years, as I did for several of my previous projects. We’ll see in a year…

At my workplace, the yueji flowers (Chinese roses) growing next to the entrance to the building across from us blooms each year in around April and November, from what I’ve observed. The bright colours always bring an air of delight to a depressing work campus.

A lone flower encountered during a lunch walk around the work campus. I don’t know what type of flower it is, and a plant recognition identified it as begonia, but I’m still unsure…hmm.

Roots of a huge tree wrapped around the corner of what seemed to be a mock city wall in Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou. I wasn’t sure if the tree was real or artificial but…it looked real enough to me. I had visited Yuexiu Park many times but only noticed this during my recent visit. Looks fascinating when lit up during the night!

Another small discovery during the lunch walks (still doing them while the autumn weather is nice enough to neither sweat nor freeze). Mr. Cool-Propeller-Duck – yes the propeller spins – looks swaggy with his retro sunglasses and gold chain – dang!

Photos of spectacular cloud formations often appear in my monthly summaries because they are always a product of serendipity. The dome at the subway station seems to be a common place where they appear, probably because I usually exit in the morning at the right time to catch the post-sunset show put on by Mother Nature 😛

Chilling with long-lost friends from Glasgow! Well, only about three years, not so long relatively. These two Wuhan natives came home for the Golden Week holidays and J and I were able to meet up with them.

Mr. J imitating this sculpture of a baby/toddler with a huge head in Yuexiu Park. Keep your balance and don’t topple over!

Another photo featuring Mr. J…or is that him at all?! Our feline friend here has taken a liking to Mr. J but didn’t seem to be impressed that the camer was pointed toward her. Classic feline what-are-you-looking-at expression >o:(

And this…was the most random photo ever. It seemed like Mr. J was tired or maybe he was pretending to be sleepy so that he could avoid having to deal with whatever shenanigans I was up to…O_o

Just a side note: US election is the most exciting and worrisome event to happen in a while. I’ve never been into US politics and I’m not even a US citizen, but this seems like the biggest show on Earth of 2020 and I’m eager to see how it turns out. I still remember waking up in Glasgow four years ago to find shockingly that the UK voted yes to Brexit, but this time, because of the time difference in China, I might be able to follow up-to-the-minute reports on the US election…not sure if I want to. All will be revealed tomorrow…

September 2020

September has historically been my favourite month of the year as it marks the beginning of autumn as well as my birthday 😛 This year, September was extra-anticipated because I took my five-day annual leave at the end of the month, giving me two weeks off work when combined with the eight-day National Week holiday at the beginning of October. Still, let’s see what Annie had been up to this past month.

I’m constantly discovering new places in Wuhan and this time it was a walking path near the Huanglongshan (literally “Yellow Dragon Hill”) area. Who would have thought that there’d be this “I ❤ U" sign in the middle of nowhere! So Jian and I had some fun with it, heh 😛

And at the same time, there is a “I LOVE HUST” sign in front of the HUST (Jian’s university) library. Can’t say I myself love HUST that much but J is a loyal faculty member indeed 😀

Weekly fellowship combined with a birthday party this time, at my place.

Birthday girl making a wish upon a star…or upon a cake?!

Sleep vs. grumpy cat, with that “what are YOU lookin’ at O_O” look. It’s OK, I still like you.

Cat #2 here, looking photogenic as passersby stop to admire the gorgeous beauty.

Dramatic sky one afternoon, with the clouds trying to mask the radiating sun. But Mr. Sun’s like, “Nah bro you ain’t taking the highlight away from me” as it attempts to burst out of the sombre clouds…

The baking experiments continue, this time with…classic banana bread! First bite was like OMG this is delicious but it ended up being too sweet…AGAIN, even with reduced sugar content. I guess I didn’t take into account how sweet ripe banana themselves already are…need to work on my sugar control!!!

Tidbits of street food in Chaozhou in Guangdong province, a small trip taken at the end of September before going to my hometown Guangzhou. Top left: beef and tripe soup noodles; top right: glutinous rice stuffed in pig intestines; bottom left: a variety of street snacks in Chaozhou; bottom right: matcha shaved ice milk. Food heaven! ❤

There are two and a half months left in the peculiar year of 2020 but we’ll see if it could get any more bizarre…see you in November with the next monthly update!

August 2020

The coming of September means that there are only four months left in 2020 – what! Heck, what a year 2020 has been not only for me but for everyone in this pandemic-stricken world. Hopefully we are still keeping a positive outlook as we step into the final trimester of the year. August was also REALLY hot and I’m glad I survived another Wuhan summer…!

Leisurely cycling after dinner one evening after a short period of rain, a rainbow appeared above us. Nearly everyone stopped to take a photo and so did we – I think it was my first encounter with a rainbow after moving back to China!

We continued cycling and when we reached Yujia Lake, we saw fiery clouds in the distance that illuminated the dusk over the horizon, like an oil painting coming to life. Nature is too beautiful!

Photo taken at the exact same spot as the last photo, with the golden globe getting ready to sink into the horizon beyond Yujia Lake. Yep, we are frequent visitors to Yujia Lake, alright.

View from the bus from Hankou station as we crossed a bridge over the Han River (not the more well-known Yangtze, which also traverses Wuhan) on our way home.

Amazing cloud patterns seen outside my workplace as I was getting ready to go home.

Group photo after weekly gathering at my place – it’s great to finally be able to see friends face-to-face again!

Fooooooooooooood! Summertime (plus COVID) means that J gets a break from teaching and so we cooked a lot more at home in August than we’re used to. Apparently taking a photo of every home-cooked meal has become a habit and a ritual. I’m so thankful to have such an excellent cook as my husband! ❤

Despite cooking more, we still ate out from time to time, especially during our weekly date on Friday nights. Top left: pizza and curry chicken rice with friends; top right: sizzling-grilled steak with pasta and egg; bottom left: best beef noodles ever in Xiangyang; bottom right: Thai sticky rice with mango and coconut milk. Yum yum!

I usually end these monthly posts with a selfie of Mr. J and me and here we are – my husband is really the most adorable human being ever ❤ ❤ ❤

Other than my job (which I hate and can’t quit yet for not-so-obvious reasons), I dare say that I’m enjoying my currently lifestyle more and more – beautiful sceneries, amazing books (only thing not mentioned in this post), delicious food, and the best companion in life. Two milestones – ten-year anniversary of this blog and one-year wedding anniversary – are coming up and I plan to write corresponding posts reflecting upon these in the upcoming month – if I don’t become lazy or distracted!

July 2020

Well there goes July. This month, Wuhan experienced an excessive amount of rainfall and as a result, the hot temperatures were slightly delayed and we got flooding in return, blah. In other news, J and I just came back from a short getaway to Guilin, a popular tourist destination in the province of Guangxi in southwestern China. It was good to finally be able to get out of the familiar for a bit – definitely a much-needed break.

Impressive cloud formations outside Guanggu 7th Road subway station in Wuhan, early in the morning.

View of villages and surrounding mountainous areas in Yangshuo, Guilin, during a motorcycle ride. Guilin is known for its beautiful karst hills and landscape that look like oil paintings.

More karst hills near Yangshuo, this time as seen with the setting sun from the Gongnong Bridge over the Yulong (meaning “meeting dragon”) River, a tributary of the famous Li River in Guilin.

View from my perspective as I was laying down to rest in a pavilion during a long(ish) hike in 36-degrees-Celsius weather…lots of stops and sweat required.

Evening falls in Yangshuo, which is relatively quiet because of COVID-19. Normally this town would be full of tourists, especially foreigners, but the tourism industry has really taken a heavy hit this year all over the world.

Lights hanging from the ceiling at the guesthouse that accommodated us during our stay in Guilin.

Brief pottery experience in Yangshuo! In about an hour I only got the hang of moulding the clay into a simple circular bowl/dish – fun but not easy!

Check-in at my workplace – that’s my expression of “it’s too early and I’m not ready for work”. Yep, not embarrassed at all posting this selfie – sometime I like it in its most natural, rawest form, heh.

Selfie time with Mr. J <3, at a Japanese restaurant that was decorated with abacuses on the wall.

In summary, Guilin was great aside from the fact that we went in scorching heat. August will (should) be an entire month of monstrous heat in Wuhan – bring it on, summer!!

June 2020

The Japan honeymoon series was the longest I’ve written in a while – check it out if you haven’t yet! But back to the monthly summary posts. The end of June marks the halfway point of 2020…WHAT! Half of 2020 is over…how did this happen…huh. So far this hasn’t been the best of years for obvious reasons, and one wonders what the second half of 2020 will bring. Let’s first recap the month of June and see what we’d been up to.

The term “retaliatory consumption” (or “retaliatory” anything) has gone viral in China during the COVID-19 outbreak. The term is used to describe the act of spluring in spending, after the outbreak ends, in response to forced reduced spending during the outbreak. Here we see what I think is “retaliatory going-out”. Once everything has been restored to more or less a “normal” state in Wuhan, people can’t wait to go and find themselves in the all-too-familiar comforts of the crowds of the big city (near the Jianghan Road commercial district here). Ah, cars, shoppers, street vendors, no discrimination, everyone gets a spot on the road even though there is no order to be seen! I guess it ain’t really Wuhan without the crowds and disorder…

J and I went to Jianghan Road to see if the city has recovered but we didn’t expect to see THAT many people, though we shouldn’t have been surprised. We did by chance stumble upon a place that sold amazingly delicious crispy beef buns. I only have a photo of the process of making these buns and don’t have one of the finished product (I do, it just doesn’t look SUPER impressive) but trust me – they were SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD. Street food doesn’t get better than this and I’m gonna have to go back to Jianghan Road for this very bun again!

So, has the outbreak ended in China? Hard to say – “experts” will say that it will not end completely and we’ll have to anticipate living with face masks in the long run. Not exactly too pleased by the restrictions but you gotta do your best to be a law-abiding citizen and not create fears…most of the time 😉

Wednesday morning, 7:40 am, arriving at the office for a meeting at 8 am, *yawn*. The sun was only beginning to wake up so forgive me for not yet being fully awake @_@

This classy bookstore was a new discovery in June. I only went because I had a ¥50-off coupon for any purchase over ¥150 that only worked for vendors in the “culture and tourism” category (I was too late that week for the dining coupons), which included bookstores. Anyway, in addition to buying several books, I took my time enjoying the rare tranquility that was in the bookstore (there were perhaps only two others there aside from the store employees).

Entrance to the station where I sometimes take the subway home from work. I don’t often do this as the station is approximately 2 km from my workplace, and I usually take the bus with my coworker. But when I do pick the subway, I scan a shared bike and cycle there within 8 minutes.

A major event that happened in June was moving in to the condo that we bought! This would have happened in March if it weren’t for COVID-19, but there are no “ifs” in life, so June it was. Here’s one of the shelves that I’ve set up so far, mostly with random stuff so that the shelf doesn’t look empty. Hopefully the place doesn’t get too cluttered too soon 😛

So…food??? Yes, food. I mentioned earlier that there were coupons that could be claimed, and that’s actually the Wuhan government’s way of encouraging economic recovery by promoting consumption after the city began opening up again amidst COVID-19. Coupons of four categories (dining, retail, supermarket, and culture/tourism) are released every week and if you’re quick to click, you may be lucky enough to get one. J and I usually go for the dining ones because well, one must eat (not to mention that I love food too much 😛 ) That explains why we had so much good food this month…

…and if you thought that was all, you’d be wrong. We still cooked at home a couple of times a week, but those coupons were certainly great incentives (*ahem* excuses *ahem*) to dine out. I guess the plan to encourage spending really worked…at least on us. Contributing to the economy, can’t go wrong with that!

July so far has brought us a lot of rain – A LOT OF RAIN. This is the storm before the calm (AKA the period of flooding before the hottest summer days arrive). To myself – endure and survive, then enjoy!

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