Being English, the idea of my typical summer holiday is a stifling drive to the beach. Well, not a proper beach, as it’s England. You could certainly say it was sandy, but it takes the cheek of some over-zealous busybody working for the council to call it a beach. Like clockwork, upon arrival the dark clouds inevitably roll over and the family arguments begin. Perfect.
Here in China, my natural cynicism is swiftly disposed with when faced with such a vast and bewildering array of options of unique experiences and sights. The question of where to go can be a confusing one when armed with a Lonely Planet that looks twice as daunting as War and Peace and three times as big. Many foreigners are drawn to a familiar itinerary of locales – Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yellow Mountain, Guilin. Everyone ostensibly returns with similar stories, so last summer I decided to do something a little different.
If you’re happy to get a little out of your comfort zone and cast the net a little wider, a whole other world awaits you. Another China sleeps out there, somewhere beyond the leering megacities and rustling bamboo. Verdant meadows of wildflowers too numerous to count, desolate deserts where the dunes rise up as mountains, skies so big they stretch on forever. So what are you waiting for?
Xinjiang, which translates as New Frontier, is aptly-named. If you ever look at a map of China, Xinjiang is the big empty space in the northwest corner. It’s bigger than Tibet. It’s bigger than France, Spain and Germany combined. It’s bafflingly huge, and yet more people live in Shanghai’s metropolitan area than in the entire province. Xinjiang is universally gorgeous, and our first destination, Kanas Lake (喀纳斯湖), took us to the very edge of the Heavenly Kingdom.
There is an old proverb in China: Heaven is high and the Emperor is far away. Nowhere does that feel truer than at Kanas Lake, a dormant watery brute nestled between the towering Altai Mountains. Getting there is no easy task. It took thirty-six hours from our little flat in Hangzhou to the alpine valleys. After flying to Urumqi, a bus sped us into the sunset, the desert sky erupting in a bloody crimson, and when we awoke we found ourselves trundling through the sweeping foothills, a sea of grass punctuated with the white tents of Kazakh nomads. We reached the lake in the afternoon and took up an offer of accommodation inside a Kazakh family’s ranch – a little group of rugged log cabins perched above the valley basin. Each morning we awoke to the gentle sounds of grandpa’s lute playing and the cries of eagles, and threw open the cabin door for that first breath of crisp country air.
The peaceful lake is bordered by mountains carpeted green with grass and trees, and in the distance looms Friendship Peak, where the borders of China, Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan meet. Many of the visitors and staff here are Siberian or Kazakh, and all incredibly friendly and curious. The glacial valley at Kanas defies description: so big that a camera lens can’t capture it all, dwarfing the little Kazakh and Tuvan villages that meekly crouch below.
A range of hair-raising activities are now opening up at Kanas, including whitewater rafting, rock-climbing and paragliding. There are lots of hiking trails around the lake, and campsites for those who can go without a warm bed and don’t mind the high altitude’s cold nights. Just don’t expect to be going swimming – I decided to go for a dip and nearly froze inside two minutes. I was lucky not to fall victim to one of the monstrous fish that live in the depths of the lake. The local legends of mysterious creatures dwelling beneath Kanas have recently been given credence by several shaky handheld videos that have surfaced in recent years, so if you come, come with a video camera! Kanas is recommended for its placid alpine beauty, the circling eagles, the still quiet and the sunset at midnight. Devoid of foreign tourists, it has that indefinable sense of detachment from the rest of China.
Back to Urumqi then, which is a great stopping-off point and the centre of Xinjiang’s transport network. You can expect to go back and forth to the capital city a few times if you spend a long time in the province as the city’s bus and train routes connect the province’s disparate urban pockets.
Our next stop was Turpan (吐鲁番), which at 154m below sea level is the lowest place in China, and having been originally settled thousands of years ago is the cradle of civilization in this part of the world. Famous for its grapes, the Turpans grow them by the million in their little oasis town to make wine or dry them in one of countless dusty brick outhouses to make raisins. Over the years Turpan has proven to be a veritable treasure trove for archaeologists, who have discovered hundreds of dinosaur fossils throughout the county, well-preserved by the dry desert climate. Many of these can be seen in the wonderful (and free) museum.
The Turpan people are largely Uyghur, and the pace of life is lazy to say the least. Residents dress in colourful clothing, donkey carts shuffle languidly through the dusty streets, and families sleep outside in the open air together, all sharing one oversized bed. There are a wealth of places of interest near Turpan. We hopped on a minibus for an hour to Tuyoq (吐峪沟), a tiny oasis village in the shadow of the Flaming Mountain (火焰山) and surrounded by scorching desert. Tuyoq is an ancient holy place for Muslim pilgrims – the first Chinese man to convert to Islam is buried here – and it is said that seven trips here is equivalent to one trip to Mecca. Settled over 1500 years ago, to this day only 300 people live here, eking out a living from their modest vineyards, selling dried fruit and mulberry juice. The Uyghur locals insisted on taking us into their homes to stay for lunch with them. I’m not sure what we ate, as their Mandarin was just as bad as mine, but it was quite palatable. If you’re looking for a very special experience where you can really engage with local people and their culture, this is the place.
Later that day we had time to check out Jiaohe Ruins (交河故城), a must if you are into ancient cities. The largest, oldest and best-preserved earthen city in the world, a visit to Jiaohe is like stepping into a time machine. Perched atop a natural fortress of towering cliffs and settled over 2000 years ago as a major trading station on the Silk Road, the city was one of the busiest and biggest in the world at its peak. Strolling around the immense buildings you can really imagine a bustling city of merchants and traders, but don’t stay too long, as the intense heat will melt you into a puddle!
Our last stop in Xinjiang was the gorgeous Nalati Grasslands (那拉提草原). It is said that Genghis Khan discovered the thin valley hidden in the west of the province when he was leading an expedition through the cold and barren mountains. The freezing temperatures and lack of food almost finished off his exhausted and famished army, until one day they were confronted with endless green pastures. Nalati is picturesque enough when you’re a tourist with a bellyful, but to Khan’s troops it must have seemed like heaven itself. It is recommended you travel here in June to August, as this is when the blue skies and green alpine forests are complimented with the countless yellow dots of wildflowers dancing in the sun. Cast your eyes up and you’ll see the clouds heaving their bones over the mountaintops. A sight to behold! The valley’s foothills are inhabited almost entirely by Kazakh nomadic herders whose tents sit lethargically every kilometer or so, interspersed with flocks of goats and cows. If you are lucky, you may even see the nomads hunting with trained eagles – a traditional practice handed down from generation to generation.
We pressed on to Zhangye in Gansu province, a beautiful overnight train ride past the Tianchi mountains, 100km of wind turbines spinning languorously and a heart-stopping sunset over the desert. This Silk Road city was the birthplace of Kublai Khan and home to Marco Polo for a year and maintains a sleepy feel despite its size, with young children splashing in the fountains. The main draws here are the Reclining Buddha Temple, the statue of Marco Polo and the beautiful park, where a local man asked me to marry his daughter. No thanks, chief. The main reason people come to Zhangye is to see the Danxia landform: 500 square kilometres of arresting rainbow-coloured mountains, formed by sandstone and mineral deposits over millions of years. It’s a singular, psychedelic spectacle. The best time to go is a sunny day after rain, where the mountains shimmer gloriously in the sun. Unfortunately when we went, there was a terrible storm. Despite this, the landform was still unearthly and preternatural.
Our next stop was the big one: Badain Jaran desert (aka Badanjilin desert 巴丹吉林沙漠). If you’re sick of busy, ugly cities, then this is the place for you. Mysterious, miraculous and utterly isolated, the desert is difficult to get to but so, so worth the trouble. First you must get to Alashan, a one-horse town at the edge of the desert, and then rent a driver who will take you into the desert. Good research is a must here. I travelled with Mr. Fan, who was born to camel herders in the depths of Badain Jaran forty-five years ago. He’s lived there all his life. The rollercoaster ride through the desert is something I’ll never forget. The first hour is a rally race across scrubland and gravelly sand, but the following seven hours are where the real fun begins. Some dunes reach up to 500m high and every uphill struggle is rewarded by a sweeping vista as you clamber over the apex, followed by a terrifying plunge back down the other side. Our driver took absolute delight in using the dunes as skateboard ramps for his 4x4, tearing up the side, skidding 180° and diving back down.
The desert is a dreamlike place: constantly shifting and too vast to comprehend. Without any trees or buildings for context, it’s difficult to get an impression of just how big everything is. The dunes are really mountains in their own right, and there is nothing but sand, sand, sand in every direction, yet even here there is life. As we were enjoying a swim in an oasis, two wolves appeared on the crest of a high dune, eyeing the herd of goats watering with us. Later, camels plodded in to drink and cool down from the baking 45°C heat. After an 80km drive we pitched up and watched paralyzed as the sun tumbled down behind the horizon, burning the sands a golden red. A calm came over us all. We hadn’t seen a single soul all day and were completely alone in this gorgeous wilderness, the luckiest people in the world. In Mr. Fan’s one room house beside a mirrored lake, his wife cooked us dinner made with a grass that grows in the oases. In the soundless desolation of night the sky was so clear you could see the silvery belt of the Milky Way silently gliding across the black. The sunrise over the lake was even more extraordinary, and we felt utterly alone.
It took us a day to get to Hohhot (呼和浩特), Inner Mongolia’s capital, and from there we went straight to Xilamuren grasslands (希拉穆仁草原), staying in yurts on a working farm. The trip was organized by Anda Guesthouse in Hohhot, and they come highly recommended by many who have stayed there. There were about six people in each yurt, and while this sounds like a lot, it really helps at night when it gets very cold indeed. The grasslands are flat in every direction – no hills, no trees. In the afternoon we strolled up to a crude stupa, so crude it was practically a pile of rocks. Entire flocks of birds paced and twitched by a lake and then scattered and took off in unison as we approached. Herds of stocky chestnut horses and cattle roamed freely through the grasslands, and we were soon to find out that the cows weren’t just used for food.
As Xilamuren is devoid of trees, the nomads who have lived here for thousands of years need an alternate fuel source. I was unaware of this, and was quite surprised when in the early evening we were instructed by the Mongolian farmers to grab a bag and snatch up all the festering cow dung we could find. Meadow Muffins, it seems, are rich in undigested plant matter and burn up a treat. The bag becomes surprisingly heavy once you’ve got a few cow crepes in there.
Being a holiday of magnificent sunsets, Xilamuren had a lot to live up to and did not disappoint. As it fell, the sun painted golden light across the endless plains, and the immense Mongolian skies were lit with every colour from a vivid cerise in the west to royal purple in the east. Sadly, it was to be the last sunset before our return to Hangzhou.
And so the holiday was over, but what a trip it was. The whole thing was done on the cheap, without much sleep and at a dizzying pace – 10,000km in 14 days! My aim with this article is to introduce another side of China that you may not have heard of, to inspire you to go out that door. It’s not just the scenery; it’s the people, who could not be more happy and interested to meet you. In places that are really off the beaten track, many people may have not had contact with non-Asian people, and they just want to talk to you and show you their life. We met a Kazakh man named Atay on the way to Nalati, and he had nothing to his name, but immediately he left the bus to buy us lunch when it stopped, despite our protestations. He insisted we stay at his house and meet his family. The owners of our hostel in Nalati told us we were the first Westerners to ever stay there. They really make the time in these faraway places twice as special; their openness and kindness melts the heart and always makes it hard to leave. I’ll say it again: What are you waiting for?
A couple of (hopefully) useful notes on travelling through Xinjiang. Due to terrorist attacks in 2014, you should be aware that all roads between cities have mandatory police checkpoints to check your documents. Enforcement is fairly arbitrary – at some checkpoints you will be waved through without even checking your passport, but others will be more thorough. Always make sure that you have a valid passport, a valid visa and a ticket to show where you’re heading to. Secondly, sleeper trains are a necessity here. The vast distances between places may mean up to twenty hours of travelling, so overnight train journeys mean you don’t waste your days travelling and also allow you to forgo the cost of a hostel or hotel. Book tickets in advance whenever possible and to avoid sleeper buses, which are smellier, less comfortable and slower. Thirdly, good command of Mandarin is really helpful too as few people speak English in the remote parts of China. Indeed, some may not speak Mandarin, so a Uyghur phrasebook may be helpful. Fourthly, pick your time of year carefully – winter is exceptionally cold. Check online for details of local festivals: there are lots of interesting cultural experiences that you can be a part of if you choose the right time to go.
Lastly, before travelling to Badain Jaran desert, check online if permits are required, as on occasion foreigners are asked to hold one before entering the area. When I travelled, the requirement had been lifted, but it could come back at any time in the future.
International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology has become an important part of many areas of biology. ICBCB conference series will be held annually to provide an interactive forum for presentation and discussion on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. The conference welcomes participants from all over the world who are interested in developing professional ties to and/or exploring career opportunities in the region. The conference should serve as an ideal forum to establish relationships from within China and other regions of the world.
Time: 8am - 6pm, Mar. 21st - 23rd
Location: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus
2019 4th International Conference on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid (ICRESG 2019)
International Conference on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid. ICRESG is co-organized by Auckland University of Technology, American University of Madaba (AUM) and Hong Kong Society of Mechanical Engineers(HKSME), technically sponsored by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Zhejiang University.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Mar. 28th - 31st
Location: Hampton by Hilton Hangzhou Binjiang
Asia Conference on Power and Electrical Engineering
The Asia Conference on Power and Electrical Engineering. ACPEE is co-organized by Auckland University of Technology, American University of Madaba (AUM) and Hong Kong Society of Mechanical Engineers(HKSME), technically sponsored by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Zhejiang University.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Mar. 28th - 31st
Location: Hampton by Hilton Hangzhou Binjiang
Asia and Oceanian Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Congress
Asia and Oceanian Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Congress is a platform to facilitate communication between clinicians and researchers in the region, disseminate updated knowledge about movement disorders, improve quality of life and independence of movement disorders patients and caregivers, promote research and facilitate research collaborations in movement disorders and expose clinicians, researchers and healthcare professionals in the region to movement disorders initiatives.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Apr. 12th - 14th
Location: InterContinental Hangzhou
Food & Beverage Innovation Forum
"Promoting the positive development of the food & beverage industry"
FBIF2019 is themed as "Gaining New Momentum from Open Innovation". The three-day FBIF consists of Plenary Session and two awards ceremonies on Day One, five sub-forums on Day Two and Day Three including Product Innovation, Marketing Innovation, InnoPack and Food & Money. At the same time, there will be interactive activities at FBIF exhibition area. Food and Beverage Innovation Forum (FBIF), founded in 2014 by Simba Events, is one of the most influential industry forums in Asia-Pacific. It is dedicated to promoting the industry development through sharing the most updated successful cases and communicate upcoming trends across the globe in the F&B industry.
120+ global speakers and juries communicating the latest trends and successful business cases
7700m2 exhibition area with both exhibition and exclusively organized interactive activities
Time: 8am - 6pm, Apr. 23rd - 25th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre
"The oldest exhibition in the pharmaceutical field."
API China is the one-stop hight efficient industry platform for thousands of pharmaceutical and health care products manufacturers both at home and abroad. It will help pharmacy colleagues at home and broad fully understand the development trend of China pharmaceutical and healthcare products industry, meet industry friends and find new business opportunities.
Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 8th - 10th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre
China International Pharmaceutical Industry Exhibition
China International Pharmaceutical Industry Exhibition will focus on areas like pharmaceutical machinery, packaging machinery, biological engineering, biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical water treatment equipment, fluid engineering, cleaning technology & equipment, process technology & control system, etc.
Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 8th - 10th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre
China Hangzhou International Tea Industry Expo
China Hangzhou International Tea Industry Expo convenes famous tea, artisan and experts at home and abroad from top tea industry, big coffee, and tea lovers Gather together to create a grand tea feast.
Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 14th - 19th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre
"VeggieWorld. The fair for the vegan lifestyle."
VeggieWorld Hangzhou is a platform to discover products that are not available in your supermarket and get to know vegan pleasure. Enriched with tips and tricks from creators, producers, chefs, and faces of the scene. Even vegetable-produced clothing and cosmetics that make no compromise in terms of shape, color, and style, you can find with us.
Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 14th - 19th
Location: White Horse Lake Jianguo Hotel
International Congress on Thermal Stresses
International Congress on Thermal Stresses aims to provide a forum for scientists and engineers from academia, research laboratories, and industry from all over the world who are involved in the field of thermal stresses to exchange ideas and to extend further cooperation among participants. The Congress should forge cooperative links between researches and engineers by bringing them to one place where they present their achievements and conduct discussions.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 1st - 5th
Location: Zhejiang Hotel Hangzhou
International Content Summit
International and Chinese companies to develop new programming across all genres. The most direct & easy way to find the right co-production or co-development partners.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 5th - 7th
Location: Grand Hyatt Hangzhou
Electromagnetic and Light Scattering Conference
The main objective of this conference is to promote the communication of new research on various aspects of light scattering including theoretical developments, numerical simulations, and laboratory measurements, and applications in scientific and engineering disciplines. The conference is expected to provide a congenial atmosphere for in-depth discussions as well as a learning platform for young scientists and students to experience the frontiers of these areas of research.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 9th - 14th
Location: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus
International Conference on Physics of 2D Crystals
The International Conference on Physics of 2D Crystals will cover a variety of topics ranging from fundamental physics to applications of new two-dimensional crystals and crystal structures including Graphene, Boron nitride, Transition metal dichalcogenides (MoS2, WS2, ...), Hybrid Perovskite, Photonic crystal, BN nanophotonics, and much more.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 10th - 15th
Location: Zhejiang Hotel Hangzhou
EAI International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services
The EAI International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services focuses on the topics such as Innovation in Mobile Apps, Networking, and Computing, User Interfaces and Interaction Technologies for Mobiles, Location and Context Sensing/Awareness, Mobile Computing and Internet of Things, Smartphones and Wearable Platforms, and much more.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 14th - 15th
Asian Regional Association of Home Economics International Congress
The theme of this congress is The Aging and The Development of Home Economics Industry: For the Aspirations of the People to Live a Better Life, starting from the responsibility which home economics should assume while Asian countries and the community are developing rapidly. We hope that through home economics research, we are devoted to attaining the goal of family members' having a healthy, sustainable and long life We expect that in this very commemorative ARAHE International Congress, we will discuss this significant theme with many researchers of home economics from all Asian countries.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Aug. 20th - 23rd
Location: Zhijiang Hotel Hangzhou
11th Edition Conference
International Conference on Intelligent Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics
"New applications for Human-machine interfaces"
International Conference on Intelligent Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics aims to provide a forum for exchanges of research results, ideas for and experience of application among researchers and practitioners involved with all aspects of Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Aug. 24th - 25th
Location: Zhejiang Zijingang Hotel
IWA Odour & VOC/Air Emissions Conference
The IWA Odour & VOC/Air Emissions Conference will focus on the subject areas such as Policy and associated regulations for odour and air quality, Odour/VOC measurement, monitoring & sensor technologies, Odour/VOC perception, impact, formation and dispersion, GHG emissions, particulate matter and industrial emissions, Source characterisation and odour/VOC mapping, Odour/VOC abatement, mitigation and neutralization, Odour/VOC from wastewater, sewer systems and livestock, etc.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Oct. 14th - 17th
Location: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus
China International Automobile Aftermarket Fair
China International Automobile Aftermarket Fair not only witnesses the rise and prosperity of China Automobile Aftermarket Industry but also sets up the most direct business negotiation platform for industrial enterprises. It will be the comprehensive industrial event that focus on providing product and technique solutions for automobile service industry, automobile dealers and all levels of selling agents
Time: 9am - 6pm, Nov. 23rd - 25th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre
International Conference on Signal Processing and Machine Learning
International Conference on Signal Processing and Machine Learning are meant for researchers from academia, industries and research & development organizations all over the globe interested in the areas of machine learning methods/ algorithms, signal processing theory and methods, data mining, artificial intelligence, optimization and applications to human brain disorders like epilepsy etc. The conference will feature world-class keynote speakers in the main areas. Machine Learning usually plays an important role in the transition from data storage to decision systems based on large databases of signals such as the obtained from sensor networks, internet services, or communication systems.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Nov. 27th - 29th
Location: Hangzhou Dianzi University
Universal Tourism Exhibition
Universal Tourism Exhibition is a large outbound tourism trade platform and an itinerant exhibition. It is a B2B platform for Chinese outbound travel agencies and overseas inbound travel agencies, hotels, resorts, scenic spots, tourism platforms, cruises, tourism bureaus, other related tourism.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Dec. 5th
Money 20 20 China
Money20/20 is your opportunity to mix with an electrifying blend of global financial leaders, showcase new ideas, forge new partnerships and build brand awareness. This market-leading event showcases domestic and international companies from across the entire payments, FinTech and financial services industry, from financial giants to the rising stars of FinTech. Become a sponsor and make the most of this incredible opportunity.
Time: 9am - 6pm, Dec. 4th - 6th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre
Lantern Festival marks the last day of the Spring Festival and officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations. This fun festival is mostly celebrated at nighttime to see the colorful lanterns flying high in the dark sky. In addition to seeing the lanterns flying, during this festival, families gather to attend four other major activities on this special day.
The belief during this festival is by lighting a lantern, you make a wish. So Chinese families light their lanterns and pray for health, fortune, wealth or make even more precise wishes. It is said that if you want your wish to come true, you must walk under a hanging lantern and pray for what you want.
So, at the end of the day, people light their lanterns and watch them fly away in the dark sky, accompanied by fireworks. Releasing the lanterns, which are red for good luck, symbolizes people letting go of their past selves and embracing new identities for the coming year.
Another popular activity during the Lantern Festival is to guess lanterns riddles.
Lantern riddles are called 灯迷 dēng mí in Chinese, where 灯 dēng is a lantern, lamp, or light, and 迷 mí refers to a puzzle, riddle, enigma, or conundrum.
The lanterns’ owners write riddles on small strips of paper they attach to the lantern they have hanging outside their home, so visitors can try to guess and solve the riddle.
If the visitors come up with an answer to the riddle (they are usually pretty tough to guess!), they can take off the paper and give it to the lantern owner. If the visitor guessed the right answer, then they win a little gift, given by the owner.
And this is how you change your casual stroll in the streets into a delightful moment by solving riddles. Fun, right?
Lastly, a big Lantern Festival tradition is to eat 元宵 (yuán xiāo) and these sticky balls are so yummy you’d be sorry to miss out on this excuse to eat sweet stuff.
元宵 (yuán xiāo) are sticky rice dumplings that can be stuffed with white sugar, brown sugar, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, rose petals, bean paste, and jujube paste, or any combination of two or three ingredients. For Chinese people, the roundness of the dumplings symbolizes the togetherness as it is a great time for family gatherings.
Here are the locations where you can watch the Lantern Festival:
Grand Canal Spring
Time: Feb. 19th
Location: Streets in Gongshu District 拱墅区各街道
Time: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Jan.25th - Feb. 20th (5:30pm - 10:30pm on the 19th)
Location: Cheng Huang Ge, Wushan 吴山城隍阁景区
Tickets: 30RMB/adults, 15RMB/children
People's Square, Xiaoshan
Time: 1:30pm - 3pm on Feb. 18th - 20th. Variety performances including singing and dancing, magic, acrobatics, etc.
Location: People's Square, Xiaoshan 萧山人民广场
Time: Feb. 3rd - 19th
Location: Xiang Lake, Xiaoshan 萧山区湘湖景区
West Lake Culture Plaza
Time: Feb. 18th - 20th
Location: West Lake Culture Plaza 西湖文化广场
Qiantang Lantern Affair
Time: Feb. 19th - Mar. 4th
Location: Dengxin Lane, Tianshui Street 天水街道灯芯巷
Time: Feb. 5th - 19th
Location: Song Dynasty Themed Park 宋城景区
If you gained a few pounds over the holidays, you’re not alone. The good news for seniors looking to get back on track is you can bring about weight loss by cutting 500 calories daily from your diet. That’s the equivalent of one bagel with cream cheese.
The bad news, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, is most people don’t lose the one to five pounds they gained during the Christmas and Chinese New Year’s season. Aim to follow these suggestions on this list over the course of a week, and you'll be well on your way to reclaiming your waistline before you've even had a chance to pack up the holiday decorations.
The topic about sugar can go on and on, how bad is sugar? The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 6 teaspoons (about 22 grams) of sugar per day. This seems easy to control, but in fact, if you drink a bottle of any sweet drink, you will exceed the standard.
If you want to know more, we suggest you to watch this film That Sugar Film by Damon Gameau, here is a trial:
Damon Gameau becomes a human guinea-pig when he puts himself through a grueling 6 week diet consuming the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. That Sugar Film is one man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as “healthy.”
Sugar is Sweet or white “poison”?
People often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume and weight to your meal.
Try An At-home HIIT Workout
Try this 25-minute HIIT workout to torch 500 calories: 1 minute, 30 seconds of burpees; 1 minute, 30 seconds of squat jumps; 1 minute, 30 seconds of pendulums; 1 minute, 30 seconds of band jumps; and 1 minute, 30 seconds of bicep curls with bands. Repeat three times with a minute of rest in between. This sequence hits your whole body and the fast transitions keep your heart going. That way, even when the workout is over, you'll still be burning calories.
Opt For A Low-calorie Breakfast
Swap out your regular morning bagel, baozi, youtiao, fried dumplings to immediately slash 240 calories from your breakfast. And instead of flavoring it with spreading some ripe avocado on the whole wheat bread. You'll save yourself another 25 calories and benefit from the "good" monounsaturated fats in avocados, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Do this twice a week to cut 530 calories.
Don't Just Sit There
The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Make a point of being on your feet for at least two hours every day, and you could slash an extra 560 calories by the end of the week. Bonus: Taking frequent breaks can help prevent your risk of developing anxiety, heart disease, or certain cancers—all potential side effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Go Easy on the Alcohol
Remember that alcohol is a source of calories. A 12-ounce beer has 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85. A margarita packs a bigger caloric punch. Even worse offenders are creamy cocktails, such as brandy alexanders and mudslides—equivalent to drinking a rich dessert. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water. Follow these simple tricks to cut back on alcohol.
Dress Your Salad with A Fork
Prefer your salad dressing on the side? Lightly dip your fork into the dressing before stabbing your greens instead of plunging an already-loaded fork into the condiment (which picks up more) or drizzling it on top. You'll get just enough to flavor each bite and will cut about 500 calories. Another tip: Always opt for balsamic instead of Caesar to save yourself another 70 calories per tablespoon.
Say Goodbye to Soda
There are plenty of reasons to give up your soda habit once and for all. Studies have linked consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to tooth decay, diabetes, and poor bone health. And diet soda doesn't fare much better—artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose trigger insulin, which could cause you to gain weight. Start by replacing your daily 12-ounce can with a glass of water for a week, and you'll cut 980 calories. This is probably one of the easiest and best swaps you can make.
Up Your Protein (A Little)
Research suggests that protein prolongs the feeling of fullness better than carbohydrates or fats do. Studies in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, and England found that people who ate a high-protein breakfast or lunch were less hungry at their next meal. Protein also requires a few more calories to digest. Just don’t go overboard. Stick to low-fat protein sources like low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, low-fat soy drinks or snacks, or thinly sliced turkey breast.
Go For A Run
Running may be one of the most efficient workouts when it comes to blasting fat. Lace up your sneakers and go for a 60-minute run at a 10-minute-per-mile pace to burn about 600 calories.
Hit the Stairs
Not a fan of long runs? Work off nearly the same amount of calories in half the time by running up and down the stairs in your home. Do this for 15 minutes, and you'll lose 270 calories. Repeat twice a week to torch over 500.
Grab A Jump Rope
We know, we know—it gives you flashbacks to elementary school gym class. But jumping rope is a serious calorie-burner that strengthens your quads, calves, core, and shoulders. Spend 20 minutes jumping rope and you'll burn 240 calories; do this twice in a week to torch nearly 500.
You may think of it as a health food, but one serving of pita bread contains about 13% of your recommended daily sodium. For a healthier fix, pair hummus with crunchy red pepper slices. This fiber-filled veggie is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, and will save you 135 calories. Do this four times a week to burn 540 calories in total.
Work Out For Just 10 More Minutes
Whether you're on the treadmill, walking around your neighborhood, or swimming laps, tell yourself to continue on for another ten minutes after you're ready to end your workout. Those extra minutes could help you shed an additional 100 calories. Repeat for five of your weekly workouts to burn 500.
Only 4 months to summer, good luck to you, and we hope you'll get to see a new you in the year of 2019!
2019 is a Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac, and it's an Earth Pig year. Years of the Pig include 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, and 2031. In Chinese astrology, each year belongs to a Chinese zodiac animal according to the 12-year cycle.
“Pigs have a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life.”
Recent years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Pigs are diligent, compassionate, and generous. They have great concentration: once they set a goal, they will devote all their energy to achieving it. Though Pigs rarely seek help from others, they will not refuse to give others a hand. Pigs never suspect trickery, so they are easily fooled.
General speaking, Pigs are relatively calm when facing trouble. No matter how difficult the problems are Pigs encounter, they can handle things properly and carefully. They have a great sense of responsibility to finish what they are engaged in.
Pigs in the Year of the Pig (2019)
The year of one’s zodiac sign is their 本命年 (ben ming nian). It is traditionally the most unlucky year with trouble and danger lurking at every corner.
Career: Earth can absorb Water. Earth gives Water the pressure. Earth represents your career. Pig contains Water and Wood, without Earth. That implies you don't care too much about your career development at this time. You are focusing in exchanging and discussing new ideas with your partner. You enjoy the current working environment. Therefore, your career opportunity is okay. But you won't have too much career changes in the near future.
You will meet your business partners or competitors. If your current job is very busy, then your coworkers will help your heavy workloads or someone will guide you how to make your job easier. If your current job is too light and you don't have any job pressure at all, then you need to watch out your position. Someone might take over your job. If you own a business and many business opportunities make you busy, then you will find new business partners working on the opportunities together. If you are a business owner and your business is slowing down, then don't expand your business to new territory during this period.
Job Change: Earth represents you career. Pig contains Water and Wood, without Earth. Your career opportunity is not promising. You probably are not strongly thinking a new job at this moment. If you are looking for a job, you will see many peers looking for the same job. If someone is offering a new position and you don't have too much passion on it, then you can skip that opportunity.
Wealth: Water can extinguish and conquer Fire. Fire represents your money. Pig contains Water and Wood without Fire. That means you don't have significant moneymaking opportunity during this time. You need extra energy and time to earn extra income.
Fire is hard to survive in the water environment of two pigs. Both pigs will compete to own the money of Fire. That's a sign of robbery, overspending or money loss. You need to carefully invest your money. You can ask people born in year of Horse to help your money management.
Love: When a Pig meets another Pig, your social activities will increase. But Pig and Pig have only friendship, not love relationship. If you are female, the Earth represents your boyfriend or husband. If you are male, then Fire represents your girlfriend or wife. Pig contains Water and Wood, without Fire and Earth. Therefore, you probably need more time to find your love relationship.
Pig is connected to your siblings, coworkers, classmates or cousins. If you are single and looking for love, then you will see your competitors out there. You need extra courage and creativity to show your sense of humor and cordial attitude to the potential companion. You will have better chance to meet the ideal soul mate by attending outdoor social events. Also, you can try your love on people born in year of Horse or Tiger.
If you are in love, you need to prioritize your love relationship first. You can look for more romantic time with your lover to avoid someone getting into your relationship. If you are married, then you need to reserve enough time for the family to avoid quarrel at home.
Social Circle: Your social activities will be increase a lot. You will be busy to meet with your siblings, old friends, coworkers or relatives. Therefore, you have good people relationship. Many of them are interested in money topics. If someone invites you to join a business or financial investment, then you need to diligently do the homework before making the decision.
Quarrel: If you have a lawsuit, a dispute or a quarrel with somebody, then you will face a strong equal. This case will last for a long time. It will be time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly. The outcome of this dispute is unpredictable. Therefore, to reconcile with your rival is a good approach.
You can find people born in year of the Horse as your mediator. Horse and Pig have double attractive relationships. Horse can make a settlement with your opponent.
Health: When Pig meets Pig, the disappointment, self-condemnation and negative thinking might often come to your mind. You can have more outdoor activities under sunshine. Walking, hiking, jogging, cycling, sunbathing, gardening, bird-watching and fruit-picking are good outdoor events to bring back your positive thoughts.
Pig is connected to the water in the winter. When it's too cold, then you should pay attention on your kidneys, bladder and the urinary system. Strong Water is unfavorable to Fire. When Fire is too weak, then you watch out for your heart, blood, and the cardiovascular system.
General Fortune: Pig meets its gang with many similarities. They have the same target. But we don't know they are partners or competitors. Carefully dealing with people relationship and diligently managing your money investment is the top priority.
After the analytics of zodiac pig, let’s take a look at the rest of zodiacs.
Rats (Years of the Rat: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020)
Rats will be lucky in their careers. There will be many chances for Rats to achieve their goals. Employees will have a chance to get a promotion. Rats should embrace their good opportunities.
Rat’s health prospects are average in 2019. Rats are suggested to pay more attention to keeping up an exercise routine and have a routine medical checkup.
Rats’ financial prospects are not bad in 2019. They will probably get a salary increase. In addition, Rats can look forward to being lucky with unexpected rewards.
Rat’s love prospects are not that good in 2019. Discord will happen in their love relationships and it will be hard to meet a suitable partner.
Ox (Years of the Ox: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021)
Oxes will be under more pressure but will also earn more. They will need to persevere and be open-minded to understand the situation. They should not be too passive or they will miss out on opportunities.
Oxes don’t have very good health prospects for 2019. There could be hidden problems with their cervical vertebrae. Smoking and drinking are not recommended.
In 2019, Oxes will have good luck with money. Their salary or benefits will improve. Oxes will do well in their investments and be well rewarded.
2019 will be a lucky year for Oxes in their relationships. They will easily meet an attractive partner this year.
Tiger (Years of the Tiger: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022)
Tigers have good career prospects in 2019, with great chances for a promotion. For employees, 2019 is a good year to build a career base. Tigers will get a lot of support from officials or management.
Tigers don’t have very good health prospects for 2019. There could be hidden problems with their digestion system. Tigers also need to be aware of their families’ health.
Tigers have good luck when it comes to finances in 2019 and also have some chances to get unexpected financial gains.
Tigers are not lucky in love in 2019. Female Tigers will fare better than male Tigers but will easily be misled when building a relationship. Male Tigers will be under pressure when communicating and the relationship will be unstable.
Rabbit (Years of the Rabbit: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023)
Rabbits have good career prospects in 2019 with great chances for a promotion. They will be helped by seniors or leaders.
There are no serious health problems predicted in 2019 for Rabbits and they will have an easy year physically.
In 2019, Rabbits will have good luck with money with an improved salary or benefits. All investments will be profitable.
On the relationship front, it will be a rough year and there may be no good news at all for single Rabbits.
Dragon (Years of the Dragon: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, and 2024)
Dragons will be lucky in their careers. There will be many chances for Dragons to achieve their goals. Employees will have a chance to get a promotion. Dragons should embrace their opportunities.
Dragons don’t have a very good health forecast for 2019.
They are recommended to have their health checked regularly and exercise more.
Dragons are destined to have good luck in their finances in 2019. If you are a Dragon, you will enjoy a stable source of financial revenue.
Dragons have good prospects in love in 2019. They will be popular in 2019. It will be easy for them to settle down in a relationship with a loved one.
Snake (Years of the Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, and 2025)
Snakes won't easily get a career promotion in 2019. The first half of the year will be a tough time for Snakes but their prospects should improve in the second half.
Although it's not a good year to get a promotion, it will be an easier year with a chance for Snakes to improve their skills and achieve more.
Snakes don't have very good health prospects for 2019. There could be hidden problems with their respiratory system. To obtain a healthier and stronger body, they are recommended to train in a fitness center.
It's not a good year for Snakes in 2019 regarding finances. They will have to do a lot of legwork with their investments to get ahead.
2019 is not a good year for male Snakes as they will encounter many competitors. For female Snakes, it's not a bad year and they will be popular. It will be easy for them to settle down in relationships with their loved ones.
Horse (Years of the Horse include 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, and 2026)
Horses have good career prospects in 2019 with a great chance for promotion. Their work will also be relatively easy and flexible. They will achieve great progress in research publications, building their reputation, studies, and job portfolio.
Horses do not have good prospects regarding their health in 2019. They might suffer from mental strains for some time. They are advised to have health examinations regularly and to take the time to adjust their minds.
Horses have a good financial forecast for 2019. They will have good returns on their investments but still need to avoid high-risk investments and judge things on their own.
2019 is not a good year for male Horses. Female Horses, however, will be popular in 2019 and will find it easy to settle down in a relationship with a loved one.
Goat (Years of the Goat: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027)
Goats' career prospects are unstable in 2019. Goats will endure a lot of stress in their careers and it’s not a good year to get a promotion.
Goats are not forecast to have very good health in 2019. They will be under pressure and there will be hidden problems with their stomach and gastrointestinal system. Goats are advised to do regular health examinations and to adjust their mind.
Goats’ financial prospects in 2019 are average. There is no big fortune to be made and they might even suffer financial losses.
Goats will have good prospects in love in 2019. They will have an active love life.
Monkey (Years of the Monkey: 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, and 2028)
Monkeys will be lucky in their careers. There will be many chances for Monkeys to achieve their goals. As long as they are careful and work hard, everything will go well for them.
Monkeys’ health prospects are average in 2019. They are advised to maintain an exercise routine and have routine medical checkups. In 2019, Monkeys will have good luck with money. Their salaries or benefits will improve. Monkeys will do well in their investments and be well rewarded.
2019 will be a lucky year for Monkeys in their relationships. They will easily meet attractive partners this year.
Rooster (Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029)
Roosters will be lucky in their careers. There will be many chances for Roosters to achieve their goals. Employees will have a chance to get a promotion. Roosters should embrace their good opportunities.
Roosters will enjoy stable financial revenue but there is no big, unexpected fortune to be made. Roosters are destined to have good luck in their finances in 2019.
Roosters' love prospects are good in 2019. They will easily meet an attractive partner this year. Female Roosters will have more luck than male Roosters.
Roosters are not lucky with their health in 2019. People born in a year of the Rooster are typically active and enjoy sports, such as hiking and swimming. Therefore, Roosters should take more exercise to strengthen their bodies.
Dog (Years of the Dog include 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, and 2030)
2018 is classed as an Earth Dog year.
Dogs' career prospects are average in 2019. Dogs are ambitious but it will not be easy for them to get a promotion. Therefore, they are advised to focus on their current work.There are no serious health problems predicted in 2019 for Dogs.
Dogs are advised to pay more attention to maintaining an exercise routine and to have routine medical checkups.
Dogs' financial prospects are not bad in 2019. They will probably get a salary increase. In addition, Dogs can look forward to being lucky with unexpected rewards. Dogs like to gain benefits by using strategies.
Dogs' love prospects are lucky in 2019. Dogs are likely to meet a nice person who will reciprocate their feelings. Sometimes, however, they might have conflicts with their partners.
It was a rainy day on April 10th, 2015 when Jake Silbert and Seydi Yougo Ba, two passionate football enthusiasts got together to discuss their plans for a new football team right here in Hangzhou. Two days after that fateful meeting, the Hangzhou Generals had their first ever practice. Fast forward three years and the Hangzhou Generals are one of the twenty teams in the American Football League of China (AFLC). The Generals just had their first ever official league game versus the Wuxi team and even got their first W in that game.
Football preparation is crucial for the players and coaching staff. This group takes practice seriously. The drills are fast paced and highly intense. At Hangzhou Jiayang Football field (佳杨体育足球场) they practice on brand new AstroTurf every Wednesday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m and Sunday morning from 9 to 12. The fee to join the team is 300 RMB for three months which helps cover field costs and practice and equipment. Beginners first learn the basics, then after the two months of player evaluation the coaches will decid which position is suitable for their skills. It is approximately 3000 RMB for the full equipment set which includes a helmet, practice pants, team jersey, shoulder pads, football cleats, and gloves.
Off the field, two highly qualified training coaches conduct Saturday morning workout sessions from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Enjoy Fitness, located at the sports training center on 201 Kai Xuan road. The trainers can help to create the right workout program for you and your position.
The Generals philosophy is to be a tough family. Team Members are taught to grow as a group, not as an individual. Seydi once said in a huddle, “I love you all and I hope you love each other”. The players still say that in the huddles now. They comprehend that football is a rough sport, so everyone needs to be as tough as possible. If a player needs to leave the Generals, Seydi really hopes that they can remember the positives of being a General. The Generals are made of players from America, Cameroon, China, Congo, France, and the Ukraine.
When Seydi was asked what’s the three-year plan for the organization, he said confidently ‘to win a championship.’ I felt the seriousness in his tone, this coach means business. He understands that they need to keep raising the bar. They want to be the most competitive team in the league.
Seydi and YOUGO SPORTS are making an impact in youth football right here in Hangzhou. Together they operate American football programs. Four years ago, opportunities for young children to play American football were close to none. Now, children from all ages are getting the chance to be more active and meet new friends from different parts of the world just by playing youth football. Seydi realizes the challenge here, but to him if it is easy, then it is not worth doing. He feels that kids need to be involved in sports, and they must understand how their bodies work.
Q & A with Seydi
More Hangzhou (MHZ); Seydi (S)
MHZ: What drives you to put so much energy into what you are doing? How do you remain on task?
S: Always improve, a lot of hard work. I must stay focused. People only compliment you when they see results, but I didn’t hear anything when I was in the dirt. Now that the team is growing, people on the outside want to take it more seriously. They see us growing and constantly raising the bar. I need to be patient. I want to help more people and help the community, grow the city and get people together.
MHZ: Tell us a little about the interactions with the fans. Every time there are pictures it is noticeable that the Generals have a good number of supporters.
S: It makes me happy. It makes me proud. A Hangzhou TV program is going to start making a documentary about us and more people will see us and that bring more awareness to the Generals. This means more excited families, friends, and children. More people will be involved. When people bring their kids, it gives them options. It is good for everyone.
MHZ: Explain your journey, you must’ve gotten into sports somehow. What got you into sports and eventually into being one of the founders of the Hangzhou Generals?
S: I grew up in Senegal for many years. I loved sports, swimming, horse riding, and martial arts. I love contact. When I got older I got more into boxing such as Chinese boxing and Thai boxing. I then went to France for school where I got a degree in sports. My brother was also in France playing football. That was the first time I saw the sport. I wasn’t into basketball or soccer. So, I thought I could learn football to play with my brother. Unfortunately, because of bad timing, him and I would not be able to play together, so I didn’t sign up in France. I eventually started to learn more about sports management. I was in Shanghai for two years. I was looking for a team sport and found the Shanghai Warriors, I eventually got a good job offer in Hangzhou and decided to move to Hangzhou. At the time American Football in Hangzhou was just emerging, and that is where I met Jake. After some time we discussed starting a team.
MHZ: You being the friendly person that you are and one of the most competitive coaches around, how do you balance coaching and friendship? Because you guys often train together, but you often spend time together off the field.
S: The players understand that I am one of the leaders and coaches on the team. On the field they respect me as a coach. They understand the difference. They know our relationship on and off the field won’t conflict.
MHZ: I am going to mention a couple of players on the roster, please tell me what pops in your head first.
S: Fast. One of the first players from the start. I think he is the only player who has been here forever and still doesn’t have his own gear. He is amazing though. What he does on the field is spectacular. He is a great guy for the team. He is always smiling and chanting. I am glad to have him on the team.
S: He is focused. He does everything he can to reach his goals. Good athlete. Understands the game. We need more people like Him.
Li Han Tao
S: Puts in so much work. He was shy at first. When we first offered him to be a captain he was humble, so humble. He does a great job, he shares everything. In a game he is the first guy on the ball. Defence and offence. He has that natural desire to coach other people. Always wants to get better, he wants to help any way he can. He helps recruit and helps spread the awareness of our team. We need more people like that. He made the difference to get the ball rolling with our team. He brings so much energy. He now does the team huddle chants. Just a great leader.
S: First thing that comes to mind is coach. I called him coach first time I met him. He was my first football coach. I slowly got to know him better and better. He started off as my coach, then teammate, and finally my brother. Great guy. I want him to come back. I know he wants to come back. Jake is the reason we have the team. He has helped pioneer development of football in China. He helped Hangzhou and Wuxi. He has had a huge impact growing the sport and bringing people together.
Xiang Wei Yang
S: She is the only female captain in China. She is one of our trainers. She plays cornerback and she is a beast.
MHZ: Sports in Hangzhou is growing. How do you feel of the current level of sports in Hangzhou?
S: Hangzhou sports market is growing, and that’s good because the city needs more sports teams, sporting goods shop, and sporting events. Hopefully Hangzhou keeps building sporting facilities and fields. It will create more jobs. It is an interesting time. Hangzhou is going more international. Hangzhou will probably soon be on Shanghai’s level. The city wants to attract more foreigners here, so by having more sports and qualified individuals it will be great for Hangzhou.