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Cause for Paws Pet Project
By MORE Hangzhou Team

For the past quarter century, China has undergone a sustained period of economic growth and development, giving rise to a middle class hungry for all the accouterments that come with accumulation of excess income. Just look at the development in our cities over the past ten years. Gone are the utilitarian 6-story walk-ups. In their place are luxury high-rise apartments and freestanding homes that wouldn’t look out of place in any Western suburb. Gone as well are the rickshaws and pedi-cabs that once shared street space with city buses and smog-spewing agricultural conveyances. Replaced they’ve been by a gridlock of gleaming new BMWs, Mercedes, Volkswagons, Peugeots, Ferraris, Fiats, and, inexplicably, Buicks. Revolution area uniforms have been pack away to make room for European couture, and old peasant homes have been renovated to house French restaurants and tapas bars.

So it should come as no surprise that pet ownership has become increasingly popular. Be it for status or snuggles, more and more people are looking to other, arguably cuter, species for companionship and class. It wasn’t long ago that the idea of a little old lady leading her St. Bernard around for an evening walk would be unheard of. Today, stylish young women match Pomeranian with Prada, and Shih Tzus with Chanel. Exotic animals from birds to boas have become en vogue as well.

In much the same way the car boom led to a car wash on every corner, you can’t walk a block without passing a storefront catering to your cats or pampering your pups. And why not? Pets are great. Don’t believe us? Read what these people have to say about their little bundles of joy!

Your name: Jane Lin (Resort Owner)
Your pet’s name: Roots
Type of animal: Alpaca
Pet’s age: 1.5 years


How long have you had your pet?
Roots arrived at the Roots Resort on May 30th of this year.
Did Roots have any problems with his new environment?
We believe physical, mental, and emotional ailments are cumulative result of our own actions, lifestyle, and disregard for the laws of nature. Roots Resort is a place providing colon hydrotherapy, fasting, meditation, and organic vegetarian food that helps us to detoxify the “diseases” of our physical and mental realms.
Roots was a bit shy and curious when he first arrived. However, after around half a month, he became so vivacious! Now he’s climbing stairs and finding cool places to relax in our garden! We do not really confine Roots. We let him to discover his own peaceful places and enjoy the surroundings.
How did you find each other?
We found Roots through a broker on the Internet and imported him from Australia! The whole procedure took about a month and that included selection, insurance, booking his ticket to Beijing for quarantine and after all that we got him!
What’s good about your pet?
Roots is a cute, polite, and curious boy! He is not afraid of new challenges. He can climb stairs and enjoys engaging with people and posing for photos, and taking showers in the pet house which we believe is a first for him. Roots is one of our family members and is one of the main attractions at our resort. We do not really confine him but just let him walk freely. Sometimes people scream when they see him, but he still keeps his temperament and waits there for compliments.
What’s bad about your pet?
He’s too quiet? He never complains! If he did, then we can at least know his emotions.
What makes your pet unique?
He always stays cool, always wearing a poker-face. However, when facing a camera, you can sometimes see a smile or a wink.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet.
The hair cutting! Like I just said, he ever complains. However, just two weeks ago, we were afraid he wouldn’t be able to stand Hangzhou’s crazy summer heat, so we sent him for a haircut. From 3:00pm to 8:00pm he was making a mooing sound. For the whole five hours! This was the first time we heard Roots!

Your name: Haohao (TV Host)
Your pet’s name: Mitt
Type of animal: Garfield (cat)
Pet’s age: Ten and half months


How long have you had your pet?
7 months How did you find each other? I have been looking for him online for about a year, and finally he came to my house on Armageddon, December 21, 2012.
Is this the pet you always wanted?
Yes, it’s just as same as my imagination.
What’s good about your pet?
He is a cute and sweet boy, maybe too sweet, he is a little sissy, but I love his sissy ways. He is an indoor boy and his favorite thing is to kiss his mom who is me.
What’s bad about your pet?
He’s got a huge interest in eating! Sometimes after finishing his dinner, he will dash towards me and try to grab my food.
Does your pet share or complement your personality?
He is an indoor animal and very introverted in public.
What makes your pet unique?
We communicate a lot. It makes him a little bit human.
What other pets have you had?
A guinea pig and a rabbit
What have you always wanted as a pet? Real or imagined?
A talking animal, like Stitch.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet.
One morning, I was just waking up. My room was filled with hazy sunshine and I was still sleepy. I stretched my arm but it was too cold outside of my bed covers, so I kept sleeping. Suddenly, something warm and soft got into my hand. It was him, my sweetie, Mitt. He felt like a hot water bottle. It was like that. What was interesting was he started stroking my hand gently, like a little sun calling me, “Wake up! Wake up!” He is so warm and sweet. He is my sun.

Your name: Jerry (Guitarist)
Your pet’s name: Le Le
Type of animal: Husky
Pet’s age: 6 months


How long have you had your pet?
We have been together for 6 months now.
How did you find each other?
I went back to my hometown last Chinese New Year, it was snowing heavily, my wife and I went out to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery when we passed by a pet shop. There she was, staring at me with that innocent look, and she ran to me after I walked in. I thought she must know me. I picked her up and hugged her. My heart just melted. She was so cute I decided to take her home. I named her, Le Le, which means happiness. She brings a lot of happiness.
Is this the pet you always wanted?
Yes, I always wanted a husky.
What’s good about your pet?
She’s got deep blue eyes. Every time I looked at her eyes, I forget about all the troubles and annoyances. She always wags her tail at me when I return to home and welcomes me with many warm kisses.
What’s bad about your pet?
She eats everything. She especially likes to eat flowers, and she runs around when she is excited, a month ago she broke my big vase. It’s funny but also makes me angry.
Does your pet share or complement your personality?
Her kindness and passion are just like me, plus we are both a bit neurotic.
What makes your pet unique?
I think it has to be her eyes. I can always see the innocence in her eyes.
What other pets have you had?
I have had ducks, pigeons, many cats, and a few Pekingese dogs.
What have you always wanted as a pet? Real or imagined?
A happy, and little neurotic, husky.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet.
It was a sunny day in the early summer. I went to a beautiful lake with Le Le. It was surrounded by mountains, very quiet. I lay on the grass, looking at the blue sky, listening to the wind whistle through the valley. I played my guitar, sung my songs, and Le Le was running around me. Sometimes she would lie down to listen to me play guitar. It was such a happy day and an unforgettable afternoon.

Your name: Samuel Wu
Your pet’s name: Robbie
Type of animal: Golden Retriever
Pet’s age: 7.5years


How long have you had your pet?
Almost 8 years.
How did you find each other?
He’s the best birthday gift I ever got!
Is this the pet you always wanted?
Of course! I always wanted a Golden Retriever.
What’s good about your pet?
He’s very clever! He can do a lot of tricks, and is very friendly with people. He has a very nice personality!
What’s bad about your pet?
Sometimes he is way too active! And he gets horny all the time! I regret that I not neutering him.
Does your pet share or complement your personality?
He has a better temper than me! But amazingly, I have to confess, we share a lot of similar personality traits like being impatient, curious, and active!
What makes your pet unique?
Eye contact! I can read his mind, and he can read mine! We don’t have communication problems after living together for so many years! I can easily pick him out from a group of Golden Retrievers just by looking at his eyes!
What other pets have you had?
No other pets.
What have you always wanted as a pet? Real or imagined?
Actually, I always wanted King Kong.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet. It’s a sad story.
It’s not between Robbie and me though! Robbie spent 6 months with his godfather. His godfather took him out one day. Unfortunately, this man had a heart attack in the park. After we found him, he had already passed away. We tried to find out what happened from CCTV footage. From the video, we found that Robbie was sitting beside his godfather, and barking very loudly to try to get any attention. But nobody passed by. So it’s Robbie who stayed by his godfather during his final moments. After I saw that video, I was so proud of Robbie. I was touched.

Your name: Tamlan (DJ)
Your pet’s name: Pepé
Type of animal: French Bulldog
Pet’s age: 1 year


How long have you had your pet?
Just under a year.
How did you find each other?
We met each other at a conference in Guangzhou. LOL! Nah, I asked around for a Frenchie and a few weeks later I got a call from one of the pet shops.
Is this the pet you always wanted?
Definitely! You can't beat a bulldog for a drinking partner.
What’s good about your pet?
He attracts women. But obviously I can't benefit from that or my missus would be mad at us both. I've also learnt to benefit from his snoring and flatulence; I just blame him when my lassie nudges me in bed, "it was the dog sweetheart!” He also lends an ear when I turn up at 5am after a heavy night and I don't think he judges me like my other mates.
What’s bad about your pet?
He snores and has bad flatulence! As mentioned earlier, it works to my advantage when my girl is around. He is also partial to a piss at 7am in the morning and won't take no for an answer if I’m sleeping. He also sneezes on me when I give him hugs.
Does your pet share or complement your personality?
I'd like to say no, but since I’m in an honest mood I’d have to say we are identical. He has short legs and a belly like me. He has baggy black eyes like me on most days and he's a bit of a moody c**t. We also love a minimal amount of exercise and the biggest portions at the dinner table. We are different musically, he likes soft rock but I’m an electro guy. This causes some tension.
What makes your pet unique?

Look at him! He looks like a cross between a pig, a panda, me, and a bulldog. I don't think you'll find too many dogs as individual as Pepé in this realm of teddy bear and poodle dogs. Why does everyone have one?
What other pets have you had?
I had a bald eagle when I was in the military that scouted ahead when we were on patrol but I lost him in a game of craps.
What have you always wanted as a pet? Real or imagined?
I'd love some form of sea mammal, but that's unrealistic. I guess if I was within the bounds of reality it would have to be an orangutan, like in that film with Clint Eastwood. He drinks, drives, and slaps people. It would save me a job.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet.
I haven't had him for long, but I do recall, during the Spring Festival, taking him to the train station to pick up my girl. The place was chock full of folks of a raw demeanour, the kind that constantly eat seeds and scream. Anyway, a group of them started to show interest in Pepé and then one of them walks up, spits on her fingers and proceeds to try and rub off his black markings around his eyes. They thought I’d painted them on in order to make him look like a panda. Pepé has never been back since.

Your name: Sola
Your pet’s name: Tolu (とる)
Type of animal: Pig
Pet’s age: 4 Years Old


How long have you had your pet?
I’ve had Tolu since August 2009, almost 4 years now.
How did you find each other?
When I was in middle school, I saw a pet pig in the bird & flower market. He was quite small, but his calm eyes surprised me. I have changed my point of view about pigs since. After graduation, I had my own place, the idea of having a pig was in my head, although I had little information about owning a pet pig, despite the possibility it might grow up to be a big guy, I still bought one on Taobao.
Is this the pet you always wanted?
Yes, for all I know, I’ve always wanted it. There have been many surprises since I got it. It’s been a bit more difficult to raise than I thought would be.
What’s good about your pet?
He likes to sleep and eat, never picky with food, never barks. My favorite thing is to watch him sleep, his mouth looks like he is always smiling, whenever I’m sad or tired, watching him sleeping with a smile can always make me happier and relaxed. A sleeping pig is an angel.
What’s bad about your pet?
If I say a sleeping pig is an angel, then a waking pig is definitely a devil. He’s got a bad temper. If he is unhappy, he really knows how to torture me. For example, he would chew on the sofa while I’m too busy to give a s**t, or he will make lots noise on the toilet to make me understand he wants to pee. He has the capability to divide his pee into many times, so I had to clean the mess and pay attention to him. And a horny pig is a nightmare, and it stinks so bad. In summer, pigs need to shed, so I will have pig hair all over the place.
Does your pet share or complement your personality?
If habit is a part of personality, I guess we are quite alike on diet. I don’t like vegetables and neither does he. He doesn’t eat vegetables, and he is so happy when he sees meat. We’re both afraid of being alone. We both like attention. I work very hard and want to make everything perfect, but my pig teaches me to sleep in and enjoy life.
What makes your pet unique?
He is a pig.
What other pets have you had?
This is my first pet, before him, I sometimes watch my parents’ dogs on the farm.
What have you always wanted as a pet? Real or imagined?
Something that doesn’t get horny, doesn’t shed, has a good temper, doesn’t chew things, doesn’t drool, isn’t curious about things, has a short round body, less wrinkles, and is smaller than a husky. If there is a pig like that, that will be my ideal pet.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet.
Pigs spend most of their time on sleeping. If I have to tell an unforgettable story it would be when he almost died. I didn’t know how to raise a pig. I fed him with congee and fruits in the beginning. After 8 months, he couldn’t stand up, and didn’t touch his food all day long. I realized something was wrong, but I had no idea what. I had to carry him to the toilet, he was so shaky to walk, it really hurt me. My husband thought maybe he lacked calcium, so we stewed some bones and fed him that, he seemed to really like it. After three days he magically stood up and walked around. I realized I know so little about him. Since then, I started to feed him really well, and he also started growing really fast. Now he has finally stopped growing, everything is more stable, no more surprises or expectations, but we are happy together.

Your name: Snow
Your pet’s name: Xiao Hei
Type of animal: Mynah
Pet’s age: A Year and Half


How long have you had your pet?
For more than a year.
How did you find each other?
I bought it at the bird & flower market. He looked very spiritual. His two big eyes just staring at me. Is this the pet you always wanted? No, I have to say it was fate. I had a dog before, but I never thought I would have a bird, but since I met him, I’m just so in love with him. A pet who talks, that’s amazing!
What’s good about your pet?
He is so human. Whenever I arrive home, I whistle downstairs, and he will always reply. When the door is opened, he shouts, “nihao, dajia hao,” and says, “good bye,” to me when I leave. He loves to eat anything, mainly worms and bird food, but also likes my food, such as coca cola, bread, and ice cream. He’s got a sweet tooth, but his favorite is the meatballs made by my mom. He won’t accept leftovers, if I give him something from my plate, he will be unhappy and refuse to eat it. When he is hungry, he says anything you want to hear. He calls you daddy and grandpa until you are sick of it and give him some food. He’s also very keen on learning new things, once I taught him to sing, “lalalalala” after that whenever he heard me singing, he would start “lalalala…”
What’s bad about your pet?
Well, most of the time he stays in his cage. We let him out when we give him a shower or play with him. Once he is out, he is the boss, he starts to shit everywhere, he loves to play with my keyboard and mouse, and he won’t let me touch them. He would fight with me until I’m really pissed off, then he will walk away. He has a bad temper. My mom is the one who looks after Xiao Hei, she feeds him everyday and washes his cage, but every time she goes out and says good bye to Xiao Hei, he always ignores her. My mom said he doesn’t have a heart and she will starve him. Then Xiao Hei will come to my mom, jumping around and talking to her, finally my mom would feed him, after he get fed up, he starts pecking at my mom again.
Does your pet share or complement your personality?
I think he is the opposite of me. He is crazy, and I’m quiet, but we get along well. He makes me and my whole family happy. The happiest time of the day is after I came home from work, he makes me forget all the unhappiness and pressure. That feeling is really nice.
What makes your pet unique?
He talks a lot! He can imitate different voices. The funniest part is when you give him a hard time, he keep talking back in Hangzhouese, saying, “ze sa la?” which means, “so what?” Maybe because I used to say this a lot, he learned it. He is also a vengeful guy, my brother use to bully him, once he is out of the cage, he would recognize my bro and peck him violently. My bro was so scared. He covered his head and hid in the other room. Then Xiao Hei would laugh out so loud in the living room. The sound of his laughter is really scary. It’s so funny.
What other pets have you had?
I’ve had a dog before. Xiao Hei is my second pet.
What have you always wanted as a pet? Real or imagined?
I’m very happy with my Xiao Hei. I don’t know what else I want. Maybe a parrot or a snake.
Tell us a memorable story about you and your pet.
One day, he was walking and jumping around in the house, and accidently hit the ceiling fan. We were so worried. He wouldn't eat his favorite worm, wouldn’t make any sound, and couldn't talk. He was very hoarse. I was afraid he wouldn’t make it. I started crying. Mom said if worse comes to worst and he can’t talk anymore, we will have to release him. Thank God, he was fine after, otherwise, who knows where he would be now.

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Latest 5 Stories

My journey from West to East

Inspired by the skills of martial artists Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, 18-year old Tim Vukan and his friends were intrigued by this ancient art. After seeking guidance and training from Ving Tsun Gong Fu instructor Jan Hantelman, a connection was made for life. He shared with us stumbling across a tiny Chinese bookshop and discovering hundreds of books detailing the very art he loved. Intrigued by the images he found within the pages, he often went back to look around. It was here that he found the book that would change his life: Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu. Being the only book he found written in German, it became a part of him, attached to him day and night. After watching a live performance from the Shaolin monks in Hamburg he knew it was time…

After six years of intensive training and teaching in Hamburg and Münster, Tim took the plunge and moved to Dengfeng, Henan to practice directly at the source. Home to many academies and thousands of students, he chose to study at Wushu College where a little girl took him by surprise: “The best teacher I had was a nine-year old girl. She taught me high kicks and how to perform very difficult techniques. She taught me to be honest and kind to people.”

 

What was the most difficult part of your course?

The most difficult part was we had to train very hard every day no matter what condition our bodies were in. Training started at 5:30am and continued all day until 6-7pm. After three weeks of intensive training, I couldn’t walk up the stairs and suffered from heavy muscle tension pain in my legs. Once I was lying in bed, I felt calm and peaceful until the loud Chinese march music woke me up in the morning and it started all over again. This pain is necessary to understand your body. If you want to perform Shaolin Gong Fu and to reach a high level we must go further to feel what it means to have focus.

In Chinese there is a saying 先苦后甜, which means after hard and bitter work there will be sweetness. It means that we have to work hard if we want to achieve something. Everything we do is to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and to learn how to control our body and our mind in different situations. Our body is sometimes weak. Learning Gong Fu is a way to train our minds to tell our body what to do and when to stop. I learnt jianchi 坚持 – it doesn’t matter if we fail or succeed, it is more important to go on. Our body and mind each have their own language and we are able to control our body with our mind. If there is a strong mind and a clear heart, there is a strong body. Many diseases are based on an imbalance of our body and our mind. If we stay focused in the moment, we can prevent illnesses and have a happier life! Gong Fu is a way to choose health and happiness in your life.

 

After Henan, Tim moved to Yangshuo, Guangxi province to continue with taiji quan classes. There he met a woman who was offering taiji sword lessons and became her student, learning taiji next to the Li river. She taught him many things like Chinese cooking and the art of bartering. He felt happiness getting to know a culture which he had always wanted to learn more about.

During his travels in 2004, he really enjoyed Hangzhou. Growing up in Hamburg, he was a part of nature. In Hangzhou, he found he could still have that in the beautiful mountains and bamboo forests surrounding the city. From the beginning of his martial arts career, he often came into contact with Chinese medicine. In 2005, he decided to start studying it. In ancient times, masters of Gong Fu were often also doctors of Chinese medicine – it was a natural progression. Zhejiang Chinese Medical University offered him a place.

 

We hear a lot about the pressure of education in China, did you feel a lot?

The Chinese education system can be very challenging for foreigners. First to master the language and then to get used to the way of teaching. Asking questions doesn’t have much space in classroom; it’s very different to the west. Chinese students are not used to communicating with their teachers, only listening to gain information. This caused a lot of pressure while studying. Preparing for a test required memorizing and repeating facts instead of putting the theory into our own words like back home. Every culture has its own specialties, especially when it comes to education. Now, I often meet young people in the clinic telling me about their life and study and that it made them sick. Young students are often overwhelmed with pressure. I start telling them my story, hoping to inspire them to find their own way to learn.

 

You’ve founded your own company, how has that been? Do you have good support?

I founded Wushan TCM, a Chinese medical network, with the goal to connect the east with the west and to offer Chinese medicine education to students and current practitioners. There are live webinars and recorded online courses about the theory and practice. I also arrange local treatments for foreigners with Chinese medicine and take care of the language translations and clinical arrangements. I work in cooperation with Chinese medical doctors whom I’ve met during my studies and practice over the past twelve years. I want to help people to come to China and to gain their individual experiences.

 

You’ve studied tai chi, TCM and lots of other ways of healing. What would you say is the best medicine?

In our modern times a practitioner has to have knowledge from both western and Chinese medicine to offer the patients the most accurate and suitable diagnosis and treatment. Even though western and Chinese medicine are very different from each other, they can be combined in many different ways. While western medicine is treating the illness, Chinese medicine is treating the symptoms of the patient and finding the source. An example of how they work in harmony would involve undergoing surgery for an external injury (western) followed by Chinese medicine to strengthen the patient help to recover in a more comprehensive way. Both medicines have their limitations and their benefits.

I won’t say that TCM is the best medicine. I believe Chinese medicine can help a lot of people, where western medicine cannot. Above all, the best medicine is when people take better care of themselves and gain more understanding of how we can keep healthy and prevent illness. It’s about our lifestyle, our emotions, our living and working environment, our family situation, our nutrition and so much more. I want people to gain more sensibility about their lives and what makes us ill.

 

What plans do you have for the future?

I would like to combine my life in China with the life in the west. At the moment, I am preparing the German natural license test to be allowed to work and to treat in Germany with Chinese medicine. In the future I want to offer more lectures, seminars and tours in Hangzhou and to give more students the great opportunity to learn from professional doctors. More and more foreigners are interested in coming to China to study TCM. I want to help them however I can. The world will become more connected. Let’s become a part of it!

 

Tim Vukan has been studying and practicing Chinese medicine for more than ten years at the Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou. He founded Wushan TCM in 2008 to connect Chinese medicine practitioners and students by offering Chinese medicine online courses and training tours to enable an authentic education in the theory and clinical field of Chinese health cultivation methods. To learn more, visit the website at www.wushantcm.com.

Campbell House

I first visited Georgetown, the capital city of Penang Island, Malaysia, in 2008. This was just before Georgetown gained Unesco World Heritage designation. I vividly recall the beauty of the decaying historical buildings dating back to the late 18th century British colonial rule. The multi-coloured shop houses with peeling paint stood stoically, telling countless stories of the centuries gone by.

In 1786, Britain established Georgetown to rival the Dutch trading port Malacca in a bid to gain control of the important trade routethrough the Straits of Malacca which connected Europe, the Middle East and India to the west with China, Southeast Asia and Japan to the east.Georgetown began attracting Chinese, Indian and Malaysian merchants and settlers. Each group broughtalong their language, food and religion making Georgetown a very special mix of cultures living together in harmony.

Georgetown’s Unesco World Heritage zone is a compact, easily manageable area that you can walk around in two to three hours. Start at the grand KapitanKeling mosque, built in 1801 by Indian Muslim settlers with its Mughal-style domes and Indian-Islamic minaret, from where the call to prayer can be heard five times a day.

Then wander around Little India with Bollywood music blaring from shops and colorful silk saris on display. Tantalizing skewers of tandoori meattempt you to stop and nibblewhile tables piled with samosas and Indian sweets are hard to resist.Then further to the north, near the coastline are the British colonial buildings that now house banks, western bars and restaurants.

Turn a corner and head towards the Chinese area with colourfulclan houses, temples and shops. Bustling hawker stalls line the streets, selling Penang’s famous street foods like CharKwayTeow, Chee Cheong Fun and HokkienMee. The Chinese community has roots from Hokkien, Cantonese and Hakka and they here are a linguistically talented bunch who easily switch between conversations in Cantonese, Mandarin, their own Chinese dialects, English and Malay.

By the time I visited in 2008, much of the historic area had fallen into disrepair. Then came the Unesco World Heritage designation breathingrenewed life to Georgetown and historic buildings were restored and converted into cafes and boutique hotels. Previously, Georgetown mainly offered budget guesthouses and one very top end hotel. Now, there’s a growing range of boutique heritage hotels for visitors to choose from.

Campbell House was one of the first boutique hotels to open in Georgetown, and work on converting the building into a hotel began even before the Unesco World Heritage listing was announced. The owners, wife and husband team Nardya Wray and Robert Dreon, both saw the potential in Georgetown and had faith in its future. Nardya has a personal history with Penang, having been born in Malaysia before moving to UK andthen often returning to Penang to visit family.

Robert and Nardya bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience, both coming from successful careers in London’s luxury hospitality industry.The couple embarked on restoring the hundred-year-old corner shophouse, completely gutting the building down to the original beams and structure.Working tirelessly over three years, they lovingly restored the building and filled their dream hotel with antique furniture sourced from around the region.

Campbell House offers eleven suites, each with an individual character representing a different element of colonial Malaysia, such as the Colonial Room with a four poster bed or the Sari Room graced with a headboard made from sari silk.

The rooms are luxuriously appointed and feature modern fixtures and technologies like flat screen TV’s, Nespresso machines, chilly central air-con, rain head showersand newplumbing. You may be staying in a heritage hotel with antique furniture, but you will not lackfor any modern comforts.

Campbell House is located on Campbell Street, right in the heart of Georgetown and makes a great base for exploring the city. The next street over is LebuhChulia, one of the main roads of Georgetown, where you’ll find many bars and street food.

Leaving behind the chaotic colourfulstreetlife and stepping into the peaceful tranquility of Campbell House, the first thing you will notice is the lovely lemongrass scent. Then the friendly receptionist will get you checked-in and pull out a map to show you where to find the best food and attractions.

Respecting the original architecture, there are no elevators in this three story house, but the hotel staff will use a clever pulley system to get your luggage to the top floor. Smoking is not permitted indoors, but you can do so on the rooftop terrace.

As is the tradition in Malaysian houses, guests have to leave their shoes in the public area before proceeding upstairs to the rooms. This ensures that the living areas are immaculately clean and you get the warm feeling that you are an honoured guest in a private house. Each guest receives personalized attention and you can even make special requests for breakfast to suit your dietary needs. The library invites guests to lounge and chat with each other and we had many lively conversations with our fellow travelers there.

Rooms are cleaned twice a day, and atnight they will leave iced tea and some sweet treats in the fridge. The soft and fluffy king-sized feather-topped bed is so comfortable, there seems to be a magic spell around it because as soon as you lay down you almost immediately fall asleep.

Breakfastis served in their Italian restaurant from 8am-12pm, so guests can leisurely sleep in or go out for an early morning walk before temperatures get too hot and still have ample time to return and enjoy breakfast.The breakfast spread includes a basket of freshly baked bread, a selection of housemade jams like coconut, orange marmalade and pineapple, a large platter of fresh fruit and a choice of entrée such as Eggs Benedict or Welsh Rarebit.

Their Italian Restaurant, Il Bacaro, draws on Robert’s Italian roots and offers an alternative to local cuisine. As much as I love curries and fried noodles, sometimes you just crave a fine Italian meal. It’s become a trendy dining destination for travelers and locals alike.

Georgetown is a city you can come back to again and again and never grow tired of.The Unesco World Heritage designation came just in time to save many heritage buildings from demolition. Though developmentis bringing about changes, its soul and authenticity still remains, just a scratch beneath the surface. The introduction of a heritage hotel like Campbell House means you can now visit Georgetown and stay in style and comfort.

Campbell House is a World Luxury Hotel Award winner and is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor for B&Bs in Georgetown. Rooms range from 600-800RMB per night.Air Asia flies from Hangzhou to Penang, transferring in Kuala Lumpur.

Bon Provecho!:

The Hyatt Regency welcomes Raul Avendano, a 31-year-old chef from Chile, to “spice up” their restaurant and buffet. This South American hottie creates a flavor so refreshing it will whip your taste buds into shape and wake you up from a world of slumber. This talented chef started his career in the hotel business studying administration, but after one year he decided it wasn’t for him. He changed majors to be in the kitchen and everything fell into place.

“When I put on my uniform and take my knife, I feel different. I get this intense feeling, just taking the raw ingredients and transforming them to something incredible.”

Raul has been cooking in top hotels all over the world. After four years traveling in Mexico, he moved on to Macau to open a new branch of the Banyan Tree. He was also the chef in the pre-openings of Dubai’s exclusive beachfront bar and restaurant Zero Gravity and the Grand Hyatt Casino Hotel in the Bahamas.   

His Mexican Flautas are a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with Latin cuisine. Succulent chicken breast cooked in a tomato base and wrapped in a crispy flour tortilla, topped with sour cream and fresh salad. Next, we tried the Pork Loin Roulade with onions, garlic, dried cranberries, nuts and apple sauce, pan seared and finished to perfection in the oven. This was served with roasted potatoes and a chorizo-like sausage. If that wasn’t tantalizing enough, the final surprise was the Green Lamb Chops marinated with lemon and served on a bed of creamy quinoa risotto that really got our tongues tingling! We managed to have a chat and find out ‘more’ about the man himself for all you readers of MORE Hangzhou.

So Raul, you have quite the resume! Can you tell us which of your experiences have been the most rewarding so far?
A great place for me to work was Dubai. It was challenging at first because of the religion and restrictions. In Chile, we like to cook with red wine and experiment with new ingredients and spices, but there I could not use alcohol or pork. But, the supply of fresh meats, vegetables and spices was endless and we had good contacts with the suppliers. In the end, I really honed in on other techniques and flavors. It was a memorable time.

We all know how difficult it is to get certain ingredients here. Why did you choose China?
The fascination came from when I was a kid, you know. Growing up, I loved the Chinese movies with Jackie Chan, and I was amazed by the different culture and, of course, the food! Then I worked Macau and I learnt so much! I thought “I’m here! I’ve done it.” China is a place that people from the west think they know until they arrive here and it all opens up. It’s a whole new world. After I left Macau and went back to South America, I thought… “Something is missing in this kitchen… the woks!” Working on a line with these tools and producing a different taste was incredible, and I am happy to be back working with a talented group of individuals.

What’s the greatest difficulty you have here?
It has to be the language. I’m learning slowly but it will take time. I always say “I have no problems, just challenges,” and because I have no problems, I have more time to find solutions. I love working in this team. To these chefs, it isn’t just a job, it’s their passion and that’s what make this food very special.

Where did your motivation come from? Did your mum cook at home?
Oh no, my love for cooking comes from my Dad’s side of the family. My aunt and my Grandmother, they have good taste. My teachers too, they really inspired me to do more. I hope the people in Hangzhou can be open to try new flavours and enjoy eating my food as much as I enjoy creating it.

If you would like to join the taste fiesta, then head down to the Hyatt Regency hotel for their Latin Festival which lasts until April 10th. The buffet, which includes the dishes we tried, will run you 348RMB from Sunday to Thursday and from Friday to Saturday 368RMB (both prices have a 15% service charge).

Raul is in the process of creating a whole new a la carte menu that will be available after the festival with other dishes of Latin taste to tease you too! For more information on this, go ahead and contact the hotel or pop by for a sneaky peak at Raul himself hard at work in Café at the Hyatt. Buen Provecho!

CrossFit:

To be honest, this is not exactly how I saw my Saturday morning going. After a good deal of persuasion, I had given in and decided to come to CrossFit Qiantang to see what all the fuss was about. Standing in a room full of about twenty-five athletic-looking sorts limbering up, little did I know that I was about to experience what would be one of the more intense twenty minutes worth of exercise I had done in my life.

In the car on the way to the gym, after having signed up for the class, we found out what the WOD (workout of the day) was. That day it would begin with 150 Burpees, a movement which involves going from standing to lying, to standing and a jump to finish. Then, 100 Wall Balls, requiring you to throw a medicine ball to above a line high on the wall. These two exercises were to be completed as a team, shared and in rotation. The final part, 5x200 meters, would be an individual effort.

After stretching and warming up, we were put into teams of three, our team name placed on the board, thereby riling up the competitive spirit in each and every athlete present. As the countdown began from ten, the crowd erupted, and as the music got louder, the tempo in the room sky-rocketed and the anticipation became unbearable.

Then, the room exploded as the battle for supremacy began, each team pitted off against each other in an effort to achieve the best time. During the next twenty minutes, I found strength in me that I didn’t know existed as my team and trainers (and even the opposition!?) spurred me on to reach the finish line in as fast a time as possible.

So this was my experience of CrossFit, a way of working out that has taken countless countries by storm and is now rapidly spreading through the mainland of China. For a better explanation of what CrossFit actually is, I spoke with the founder of CrossFit Qiantang, The General. Summing up my experience perfectly he told me, “It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone. CrossFit is fun, but at the same time it can be brutal because it pushes you to your limits. The purpose of CrossFit is to train at your threshold area, which means you need to push your margin out.”

What is CrossFit?
CrossFit has three core fundamentals: constant variation, functional movement and high intensity. The first, constant variation, aims to improve your overall fitness, offering new and completely different workouts each time, using muscles you never knew you had, in contrast to a more focused improvement that some sports or traditional gym training offer: “We want every single one of our athletes to have a great general, broad fitness, which means they are prepared for the unknown,” said The General. In addition, you only find out the WOD after having booked the class, so if it’s something you don’t like, there’s no backing out: “You have no idea what you are going to be doing that day, just like real life. Life is unpredictable... CrossFit is the same thing.”

Functional movement involves using non-artificial movement – many gym machines promote a movement that is not entirely natural, whereas functional movements are more daily-life based and can therefore be used more in everyday situations.

High intensity is fairly self-explanatory, the benefit being you can put in less time but get more benefit. Rather than spending countless hours on a treadmill, CrossFit can condense this into around fifteen or twenty minutes of actual workout time (not including warming up or down), and yet offers results to match and even surpass longer, less intense workouts.

Why do CrossFit?
Aside from obvious health benefits, the most valuable thing CrossFit can offer is community. Looking lost on my first time in the gym, I was warmly received by trainers and members alike, as they approached me to introduce themselves and confess their great love for CF. Jenny had been CF-ing for around six months and was quick to praise the social aspect CF offers. She’d been working out in traditional gyms for years, rarely meeting anyone new: “I would be next to a guy on a treadmill every week for five or six years and have no idea about his name or who he was. Coming to CrossFit, there is a real feeling of community; everyone is very friendly and a strong bond is formed.”

This bond can only serve to improve your workout input as when you are making that final push, those around you shouting your name are sources of admiration and inspiration, team members who want nothing more than to see you do that extra rep, sprint that last 100 meters. They expect nothing less than 100%, and that is exactly what you should give them.

Furthermore, CrossFit supports and encourages its members to leave their comfort zone behind and do things they never thought they were capable of. The General explained, “The vast majority of people in this world only want to do the things they can do well… we like to give you something that you’re not good at… just use four or five hours a week to do this and your life will change completely.” So rather than doing something which comes easily to you, something you’re used to and can handle with relative ease, why not improve yourself by doing something you’re terrible at. Makes sense, right?

Some go to church, others go to CrossFit
For most, CF is more than just a workout. It’s way of life, a way of thinking that seems to make people want more from themselves. For one member, Adriana, CF was the missing piece of the puzzle, and after discovering it, her life came together, leading her to quit her job and become a shareholder in the company. Like many of the members here, you too may find yourself starting a new chapter of your life. Discover a new you, meet new friends. There’s really no excuse, so go on down and meet the CrossFit Qiantang family.

Give it a shot
For those of you thinking of joining, the first step is to sign up for one of their trial classes, either on Saturdays at 10am or Wednesdays at 8pm. The Saturday morning class will include members, so you’ll have a chance to meet the whole gang, something I strongly recommend, whereas the Wednesday evening class will include prospective members only. Also, many different membership schemes are available depending on your availability, ranging from a one-off drop in fee to a five-times-weekly membership.

To play live is to feel carefree

Etienne Jeanne, guitarist with gypsy jazz band Three of a Kind, has been living in China for almost ten years. His Russian bandmates are based in Paris which means he mostly gets to play with them when he returns to France in the summer. This year however they are recording a new project in April and are hoping to embark on a world tour next year. I asked Etienne some questions about the band and the musical genre of gypsy jazz.

How did you meet your bandmates?
The three of us met in Paris in 2002. I had just moved to Paris when I was 18 in order to start my career as a professional musician, and met Aliocha and Vladi separately while doing gigs in Paris. It was the beginning of the "gypsy jazz revival" at the time. They were performing in an old Russian cabaret every week. I went to jam with them and found we had a strong connection right away so we decided to form a band. We've remained friends ever since.

How do you define gypsy jazz?
Gypsy jazz is a musical genre developed by the late great Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in the late 30's, on the initiative of Hugues Panassié and Charles Delauney who wanted to build and promote a unique type of European jazz. That is why the Hot Club de France were the first "strings only" jazz quintet ever, innovating jazz music with a totally new sound never recorded before.

Is gypsy jazz the hardest genre to play on guitar?
It definitely requires strong guitar skills to play gypsy jazz, but not only that. A certain knowledge about jazz and gypsy culture in general, and an acuity for improvisation are also important.

Do you think there is a large audience for this type of music?
There is undoubtedly a large audience for gypsy jazz as this type of music is getting more and more popular. When I started to play this music, it was kind of a geek thing known principally in France and a few countries around (England, Germany, Holland, Italy), and now there is a Hot Club in every major city in the world, such as San Francisco, and even in Beijing! This style of music is pleasing to the ear, non-aggressive, and visually strong as you can see guitar players and violin players going crazy on their instruments! Plus it involves the guitar, which is the most popular instrument in the world, so people tend to identify themselves with it even more, especially metal guitar players.

What's the best thing about playing to a live audience?
Two things; the reward of an intense practice at home for years when people are clapping their hands, and the freedom to re-arrange our tunes, improvise, and make people surprised with a brand new show each time. To record is to leave a trace in time, to play live is to feel carefree again.

Where's your favourite place to play in Hangzhou?
I personally like to play in JZ Club because the venue is well adapted for live performances. There are many other places in Hangzhou offering the possibility to watch live bands, but not enough in my opinion. That is why I still need to work in Shanghai regularly since there are more opportunities. Fingers crossed about more musicians coming to Hangzhou in the next few years.

Has Chinese music had any influence on the music that you play?
Chinese music had an influence on the way I write originals indeed, we also cover a few songs from the early 30's Shanghai jazz repertoire.

Which bands are you following at the moment?
In the field of gypsy jazz, there are a lot of good musicians upcoming from all around the world although I think this type of music is precisely the legacy of Django Reinhardt, and hasn't really improved yet. People tend to copy the "authentic gypsy style" too much instead of working on their own interior music, which I think wouldn't have been the wish of the creators of this revolutionary musical genre.

If you would like to see Three of a Kind playing live, you can check them out at the venues below.

April 2nd @ ABC Café (Starts at 7:30pm)
1/F, Changjian Mansion, 415 Huanxing Rd, Binjiang, 滨江环兴路415号长建大厦1楼

April 8th @ Amigo (Starts at 9pm)
8 Yugu Rd, 玉古路8号  

April 17th @ JZ Hangzhou (Starts at 9:30pm)
6 Liuying Rd (Nanshan Rd) , 柳营路6号(靠南山路) 

April 22nd @ Reggae bar (Starts at 10:30pm)
131 Xueyuan Rd, 学院路131号 

April 23rd @ Schänke (Starts at 9:30pm)
Room -3 and 2-2, Building 32, Qingchunfang, Qingchun Rd, 庆春路青春坊32幢1-3室和2-2室

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