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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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Hot-Pot King Haidilao Pilots “Do Not Disturb” Service

The Chinese hot-pot restaurant chain Haidilao is known for a lot of things, except being moderate. They will give you a free manicure and clean your shoes while you’re waiting for your table, provide a big stuffed animal to keep you company if you’re lunching alone, and perform an acrobatic dance if you order noodles.

Haidilao is the epitome of the “client comes first” mentality that will go to great length to provide you with first-rate service. However, as experience shows, some clients find that the best service is when they are left alone and not bothered by pesky over-the-top courtesy.

At one time Chinese Internet was replete with articles titled along the lines of “Don’t let Haidilao know your birthday, it’s too scary” where users would detail their experiences dealing with the restaurant’s overblown birthday service that included singing and dancing waiters holding LED lights and more. Some have even joked saying “If you hate your friend, go to Haidilao for their birthday.”

To tackle the problem and better cater to the needs of different groups of customers, Haidilao recently introduced a witty solution. Tables in some of the chain’s restaurants are now equipped with “Do not disturb” flip-boards. Customers who do not want to be approached too often by waiters can use the sign to fend off their insistent advances.

The flip-board also provides other options such as “I’ll serve dishes myself” meaning that the waiter does not need to help with the dishes frequently or “detailed services are not required” telling waiters that they are only wanted to bring dishes and clean the table.

According to Haidilao, the service is still in the pilot stage, and it will be tried in some stores. It will continue to be optimized according to the needs of customers and different situations. Stores and employees will be continuously encouraged to innovate and provide customers with more personalized services.

Though Haidilao's service has always been known as "perverted", but sometimes it is too intimate and it can cause embarrassment. A while ago, a post named "Don't let Haidilao know your birthday" went viral on the internet.

“I went to Haidilao with my girlfriend, we just asked if we could get a discount on birthdays, then a group of people appeared with LED lights and sang the birthday song, they even gave us a ‘Most Beautiful Girlfriend Reward” and asked us to read the girlfriend vows to each other.’

“Two of us went to celebrate my friend’s birthday at Haidilao, we hid the cake in our bag and sneaked some scoops every now and then, just because we were so scared that the waiters would find out that’s her birthday, then we would be the super star of the night.”

“Look at me, I looked so surprised and happy!”

Therefore, for many customers who like Haidilao, the appearance of "Do Not Disturb" flip-board is simply a relief and has been unanimously appreciated by everyone.

Top 10 Easy-to-make Winter Drinks

From a steaming glass of traditional mulled wine, brimming with spices, to an indulgent mudslide cocktail, our winter drinks recipes are perfect for seeing in the festive season. Curl up in your fluffiest jumper with a creamy peppermint hot chocolate, or get the party started with a batch of our marvellous mulled gin.

Keep everyone's glasses topped up with our favourite festive drinks, and mouth-watering non-alcoholic drinks for every taste. Find top mixology tips, reviews of our favourite products and even more triple-tested recipes in our cocktails & drinks hub.

Spiced Apple Syrup with Clementine & Cloves

Our spiced apple syrup with clementine and cloves will add a burst of fabulous Christmas flavour to any drink. Try adding to hot apple juice or mulled wine for festive fruit and spice. It's even delicious drizzled over ice cream for an upgraded frozen treat. It will keep for about a month, so store it in the fridge ready for impromptu gatherings.

200ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole allspice
1 mace blade
2 whole cloves
Small strip fresh ginger
1 clementine, zest finely peeled with a vegetable peeler
100g golden caster sugar

1.    Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.
2.    Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.

Mulled Wine

It wouldn't be winter without a steaming mug of mulled wine, complete with a glug of sloe gin for a sweet twist. Simply leave your wine, (we recommend an unoaked tempranillo) to infuse with seasonal spices like star anise and cinnamon and a little citrus zest. Keep a batch warming on the stove and let guests top up their glasses. Want to try something different this year?

750ml bottle red wine
1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones
2 star anise
4 cloves
2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml sloe gin (we used Gordon's) (optional)

1.    Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
2.    Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
3.    To serve, heat without boiling, stir in the sloe gin (if using) and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.

Winter Whisky Sour

Warm up from the inside out with our simple winter whiskey sour. Give the classic sour a couple of delicious tweaks and it's ready for the festive season. Add a splash of orange juice to your favourite bourbon, a little sugar syrup, some fresh fruit and some sparkle. Need some more help getting into the spirit?

Crushed ice
50ml bourbon
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
½ tbsp sugar syrup
2 slices of oranges

To decorate:
Honey
Gold edible glitter

1.    Using a small paintbrush (or your finger), brush some honey around the rim of two tumblers and use another small paintbrush to stick edible gold glitter around each.
2.    Fill each glass with crushed ice. Put the bourbon into a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice, orange juice and sugar syrup. Shake and strain into each glass, and serve with an orange slice and short straws.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Nothing says 'indulgence' like a velvety-smooth hot chocolate, made with rich dark chocolate and double cream. Stir our peppermint hot chocolate with a striped candy cane and let it melt into the drink for a refreshing minty flavour. These delectable drinks are hard to resist. Got something.

200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
600ml milk
150ml pot single or double cream
Sugar, to taste
6 peppermint candy canes, to serve

1.    Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
2.    Divide the hot chocolate between 6 mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each. Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.

Cinnamon Buttered Rum

Once you're tried our super smooth, gently spiced cinnamon buttered rum, it'll be your drink of choice when the nights draw in. Serve up mugfuls of this buttery brilliance for your next party. Neither sickly sweet nor too citrussy, this perfectly balanced tipple will warm you up in no time. Whether you prefer white or dark, spiced or smooth, we have a rum cocktail recipe to get your party started.

25g butter
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
200ml spiced rum

1.    Gently heat the butter, golden caster sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2.    Stir in the spiced rum, then pour into four small heatproof glasses to serve.

Mulled Pear & Cranberry Punch

Our versatile mulled pear & cranberry punch can be served as a cocktail or a non-boozy version, simply miss out the sloe gin. The beauty of this all-in-one recipe means you can simply chuck your ingredients in a pan, leave to heat, then ladle out as needed. It takes just ten minutes to make, so no need to sweat it out in the kitchen.

1l pear cider
1l pear (or cloudy apple) juice
1l cranberry juice
Good handful fresh or dried cranberries
150ml sloe gin
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla pods, scored lengthways

Put all the ingredients into your biggest saucepan or casserole dish. When you're ready to serve, heat to just below simmering point, then ladle into glasses.

Mudslide

This creamy, coffee-flavoured cocktail is for adults only. Our mudslide is pure decadence, something to be savoured and sipped at your leisure.

50g dark chocolate
Ice
60ml coffee-flavoured liqueur
60ml vodka
60ml Irish cream liqueur
100ml double cream

1.    Put two small tumblers in the fridge to chill overnight. Put 30g of the chocolate in a shallow bowl and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Dip the rim of the chilled glasses in the melted chocolate, then stand them upright so it gradually drips down the sides. Return to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
2.    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour in the coffee-flavoured liqueur, vodka, Irish cream liqueur and double cream. Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
3.    Put a few ice cubes in the prepared glasses, then strain in the cocktail. Finely grate over the remaining chocolate and serve with a paper straw.

Winter Pimm's Punch

This archetypal English cocktail isn't just for summer. Our Winter Pimm's punch is paired with sweet brandy and light apple juice for an instant cocktail cabinet winner. You'll probably have most of the ingredients already lurking in kitchen cupboards. It can be served warm or cool, depending on what you prefer.

500ml Pimm's
500ml brandy
1½ l apple juice
Ice

2 cinnamon sticks
Apple, sliced
Orange, sliced
 
Combine the Pimm's and brandy with the apple juice in a jug filled with ice, cinnamon sticks and a sliced apple and orange.

Mulled Gin

Looking for something a little different than the standard festive fare? Move over wine, this mulled gin is our new favourite Christmas cocktail. Infuse apple juice with aromatic spices like bay, cloves and cardamom, a few crushed juniper berries and a little honey for sweetness. Cut through rich canapés and sweet treats with this more delicate drink.

100ml gin
400ml apple juice
½ lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
3 juniper berries, lightly crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp runny honey

For the garnish
4 bay leaves
2 lemon slices, halved

1.    Divide the gin between four small heatproof glasses or teacups.
2.    Tip the apple juice into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Heat gently until simmering, then strain into a jug. Pour the mulled apple juice into the glasses with the gin and stir gently to combine. Garnish each glass with a bay leaf and half a lemon slice and serve warm.

Irish Coffee

Perk up the after-dinner lull with a luxurious Irish coffee. A grating of fresh nutmeg on top of the thick layer of cream adds some seasonal fragrance. Need some help choosing the perfect dram? Read our review of the 10 best Irish whiskies, from light and smooth to rich and spicy.

2 tbsp double cream
150ml freshly brewed black coffee
50ml Irish whiskey
½ - 1 tsp brown sugar
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1.    Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside.
2.    Pour the hot coffee into a mug or heatproof glass, then add the whiskey and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gently float the cream on the top and sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream. Serve hot.

Source: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-winter-drinks

It’s Ok to Lose, Just Learn From It

My first encounter with Marco was through my friend’s WeChat moments. I can’t really recall for what reason we added each other, all I could remember were his big muscles and that bright smile hailing from L.A. Later on, we had more contact due to a few common friends who are involved with martial arts and I started to know him more.

Who is Marco

Marco has gained quite a reputation in the martial arts world since arriving in Hangzhou in 2018. He used to train at Checkmat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in USA, an international academy, competition team, and family of Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Founded in 2008 by Master Vieira, Checkmat now has affiliate academies in thirty-four American cities and sixteen countries worldwide. You can find world-class, hands-on instruction that has been tested on the practice mats and proven on the competition field.

In Hangzhou, Marco started his own brand - Marcola Jiu Jitsu. It offers Jiu Jitsu training classes to people of different ages, whether professional or not. As one of the few black belt holders in China, his classes are really popular. Marco’s lifelong love of competitive athletics has molded him into both a lover and a fighter. His passion for athletics and a genuine desire to help people reach their fitness goals motivates him to continue learning each day, and develop new techniques to challenge himself and his clients. You see doctors, lawyers, students, law enforcers, businessmen and women walk into his class for the same reason - to get better at Jiu Jitsu.

Marco’s full name is Marco Alvarado and his Chinese name is rather cute: 马可乐. His Chinese friends would just call him 可乐, same as Cola. Before we tell you more, take a look at his incredible championship records below, the man is a real fighter.

Bronze Medal at International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship Blue Belt
Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation All Americas Tournament Purple Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF Pan American Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF World No Gi Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF American Nationals No Gi Brown Belt
Silver Medal at Jiu Jitsu World League San Diego Championships Black Belt
Gold Medal at NABJJF All Americas Tournament Black Belt


Marco has been involved in many kinds of sports - boxing, taekwondo, karate, running, American football – and also physical rehabilitation. Like many other athletes, Marco’s first coach was his dad who was a boxer. Marco was just 5 years old when his dad introduced him to boxing. It was the classic story, his parents decided to put him in taekwondo and karate training when they found out that little Marco was being bullied in kindergarten. Six years later, he received his first black belt in taekwondo.

After that, he decided to move on to a new sport: running. From sixth grade till he graduated college, he never stopped running and he became one of the US national athletes in track and field.

Eventually, he knew he needed to find another new sport to challenge himself. One day, he went to a free Jiu Jitsu class at his college. Someone caught him in a choke, he had no idea what to do and that got him really interested. He wanted to know how it happened, how he did it, and how to do it back. He was 22 at the time. 10 years later, he won the Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Championships.

It’s Ok to Lose, Just Learn From It

As an amateur boxer who has only been training for 4 months, there was a question I really wanted to ask so I brought it up when we were having a lunch break at Blue Frog. “Before you had your first fight, how did you overcome your inner fear?” Marco took a bite of his big, juicy burger and said “My first Jiu Jitsu tournament was six months after I started training, I was very nervous. We sparred every week in college, so I learned how to deal with the fear, but this time was different. I knew who my opponents were, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I got destroyed badly in two fights, one guy caught me in the armbar in 20 seconds, the other guy beat me so bad like 20-0. I left deflated and frustrated, but I wanted to do it again, I wanted redemption. This gives you more motivation to go back to train harder and learn from mistakes. In the fights later on, I started to get into my rhythm and started doing well. Sometimes maybe you don’t want to tap and lose in practice, because it hurts your pride for a day or two, but you come back for more training. It’s ok to lose, just learn from it. That’s an important life lesson.” During Marco’s career, his arms were almost broken a couple of times, he tore some ligaments on his knees and he got two broken teeth. With all these injuries, he had to learn about physical therapy in order to fix himself.

“Martial arts is more about avoiding problems than anything else. These days, there are always those untrained people or the ones who watched too much UFC and are looking for trouble. If you trained a little, you’ll have respect for your body. This stuff is no joke, it can really be dangerous.” Marco continues, “My teacher used to say if there is a fight, he’ll just run away, because he would feel bad for the guys once he’s had enough. He would turn around and fight.”

Why Hangzhou?

Back in L.A, Marco was teaching in a big chain gym where he soon became friends with a Taiwanese trainer. He followed his friend’s journey that brought him to Hangzhou to continue teaching for Checkmat and he became aware that there are a lot of blue and purple belt holders who opened Jiu Jitsu schools in Hangzhou, but there were only 2-3 with a black belt teaching here. Marco thought that he can bring people more advanced technique and professional training. So in June, 2018, Marco came to start his first job in a gym in Xiaoshan, teaching conditioning and creating a Jiu Jitsu program.

MMA vs. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts

I couldn’t help asking what Marco thinks about this outspoken Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong a.k.a. “Mad Dog”. Mad Dog has made it his mission to expose fake kung fu over the past two years by pulverising fraudulent traditional martial arts “masters”, but his actions have drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. “In my point of view, Bruce [Lee] was the first MMA fighter in the history of martial arts, because he was always so open minded about everything. He took things that he thought were useful and added on something unique of his own. I think Xu Xiaodong’s mission is to show that not one martial arts is dominating. If you know a bit of everything, that is more effective. I think Jiu Jitsu is very useful and complete, cause you go from standing to the ground, you can also go back up to defend yourself, knowledge is powerful. Martial arts is changing, and you need to keep yourself updated. Back home, some guys can use their chi to make someone fall. This is not video games, we call it McDojo.”

The Distance Between China and the World

Many are also immersed in the joy of Zhang Weili who won China’s first Gold Belt in MMA. She is now gearing up to defend her UFC strawweight title against the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk on March 8, 2020. Marco thinks that China has started to close the gap with the other western countries and now there are more and more young Chinese fighters in UFC. Marco told me, “With Jiu Jitsu, specifically, China is a little bit behind. Brazil and US now are the two countries with the best fighters. There are a lot of 15-18 years old kids that have been training since they were 5. That means they have over 10 years of experience on the mat which is more than me. They have all those tricks that I have never seen, the level is just incredible. Even though China has a lot of catching up to do, they are doing a good job.”

How Did My First Jiu Jitsu Class Go?

I joined Marco’s class at R8 a few weeks ago. I was not only impressed by his superb Jiu-Jitsu skills, but also his passion in coaching. When a fight moves down to the ground, it can be quite brutal, especially in Jiu Jitsu where there are so many different kinds of chokes. It seems that getting bruises, breaking teeth or arms are normal in this sport. Plus, did I mention that if you are practicing with a guy, you’d better get used to some rather odd positions? Even Marco himself admitted that Jiu Jitsu positions can sometimes be awkward. 

So I didn’t go in with a lot of confidence, but Marco’s explanation and demonstration of each move made everything seem possible. It is a grappling-based martial art where the central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Jiu Jitsu is centered around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless. All those awkward positions can be very effective; the basis behind it is all about leverage. It’s about using the whole body on another body part, even if your opponent is a bodybuilder, he can’t win. If you are skilled in Jiu Jitsu, you can definitely hold yourself against 95% of the population; most people don’t even know how to fall down properly.

The Beauty of Jiu Jitsu

Marco has about 30 tough students at the moment and he’s determined to stay for a much longer time. Recently he took 7 people to attend the Shanghai Tournament and got 10 gold medals, this shows that this tiny team is going in the right direction. For the next step, Marco wants to create a kids’ program. He wants to share what he has with the next generation.

"It's important to stay focused and keep an open mind when it comes to learning Jiu Jitsu." The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle goes beyond just training. It's about taking care of yourself, making friends, and striving to put your 'best foot forward'. Setting your mind to learning and improving every week will help you to improve mind, body and soul. His over-all team goal is to improve at least 1% every week and this requires a positive attitude.

Ten Hard-to-Find Bars and One Restaurant

While there might be a certain amount of irony in writing an article about hard-to-find bars. I decided that the value of sharing these unassuming venues far outweighed the underlying irony. After all, each of the bars listed below have gone without the usual crowd-drawing tactics (flashy look-at-me signs, foot traffic-orientated locations etc.), surviving instead on their good work. That makes the following bars more than just a collection of hard to find bars, but also one which features some of the best tasting drinks in Hangzhou.

Using Didi? In most cases I would write the bar name in English, otherwise I’d copy and paste the Chinese address into Didi for either language version.

Coordinate: East
Dr.Ink S
(Same name for Didi)

Shop 3-4, Building 13, Maozuo Plaza, 95 West Genshan Road 
艮山西路95号茂宸金座13幢底商3-4号

Once you’re inside though, see if you can spot the hidden guest rooms and bar. Usually the English service is excellent and for an awesome variety of highballs OR a serious list of twists on the classics, Dr.Ink have great service and style. (There is also a Dr.Ink at 168 Nanshan Road but you have to go upstairs to find it!)

Coordinate: North
Jason's Library 杰森图书馆
(Same name for Didi, might display 杰森图书馆)

Shop 529, Building 4, 515 Yuhangtang Road
余杭塘路515号矩阵国际4号楼1楼商铺529

This Jamie Oliver inspired venue is more restaurant than bar but they serve good drinks too. If you haven't been here yet - it's worth a visit. When you enter the main entrance of the complex, turn right and next to Mona Vale Café, pass through the library shelves for awesome Scotch Eggs, delicious roast beef or a very well prepared Beef Wellington as well as my favourite lemongrass Mojito and chili gin tonic.  Spoken English is very limited BUT language doesn’t affect service, food or environment.

Jason's Recommend Drinks:
Boys - Gentleman
Girls - The Windsor Gardens

Coordinate: West
Show Lounge 秀 Lounge
(For Didi paste秀 Lounge could display 杭州秀酒店 SHOW HOTEL)

B1/F, 381 Wen'er Road
文二路381号秀酒店B1楼

The first time getting here can be confusing so use the WanTang Road entrance of the SHOW HOTEL which is close to the corner of Wen'er and Wantang. When you pass the lobby, head downstairs to the basement where you will probably see the highest back bar anywhere. English service is usually ok. 秀 (Xiu or Show) often feature guest bartenders and regular singer songwriters.

Show's Recommend Drinks:
Boys - SHOWTIME
Girls - Midsummer Night Dream

Coordinate: Downtown
Spy & Smuggler
(Same name for Didi)

Shop A20, B1/F, Can High Centre, 208 North Huancheng Road
环城北路208号坤和中心地下一层A20

You want to find the steps down to the Water Bus Terminal. It’s easiest to walk out to the main road being Huancheng North Road. Walk beneath the pedestrian overpass and turn left at the driveway for Can High Centre. In Can High you can take an elevator to the basement or use the outside steps down to the wharf. At the wharf level, facing the canal, turn left to find Spy & Smuggler’s “gallery” of ill-gotten gains. Twist the correct “ornament” to open the secret door to one of two hidden bars. Spy & Smuggler have excellent English and their menu features fun and interesting twists upon classics.

Spy & Smuggler's Recommend Drinks:
Boys - Old Fashioned
Girls - Bees Knees

Coordinate: Downtown
Crossroads Whisky Bar
(Same name for Didi)

468 Yan'an Road
延安路468号

At the crossroads of Fengqi and Yanan, (Fengqi Station exit D4) you might find limited spoken English but the excellent menu, service and drinks more than make up for it. My sweet tooth loves their Foaming Midori or for a strong drink Crossroads has Myrcia and star anise flavoured bourbon with Drambuie. Head 100 meters down the driveway towards the hospital and you will see the Crossroads sign on your right. Lift the telephone to enter.

Crossroads' Recommend Drinks:
Boys - Rio de Janeiro
Girls - Nan Shan Road

Coordinate: South
染*Mist
(For Didi paste 染 mist 西湖礼物)

89 Nanshan Road
南山路89号

The car park and buildings might look very dark, it’s the address of the West Lake Museum. Go to the driveway on the right hand side of the museum building and walk 200 metres to the rear of the building where you will find Mist another 50 metres away on the left. English service is excellent and the bar offers tea in the day and a cocktail programme at night.

Mist's Recommend Drinks:
Boys - Like You For a Long Time
Girls - I Love You Too

Coordinate: South
Quarter
(Same name for Didi)

591 Qingtai Street
清泰街591号

When you go inside, don’t go to the “café counter” on the left but go through the dark narrow doorway straight ahead to reveal the candlelit stairway. Push the panel at the top to enter the century old Apothecary. Not always confident in English but the room, drinks and service are warm hearted and personable.

Coordinate: South
Xanadu
(For Didi paste品 Xanadu)

255 Zhongshan Middle Road
中山中路255号

You’ll see a large Muslim restaurant to the right of a narrow alleyway. Go into the alley a short way and turn left at the large white entrance. Play the arcade game Street Fighter to open the door to the stairs. Xanadu open a little later than other bars, usually from 8pm. There’s a fantastic range of spirits and creative cocktails based on your suggestions as well as excellent conversational English at all times.

Coordinate: Binjiang
Harbour Island Bar 哈珀酒吧
(Same name for Didi)

Shop 31, Chunjiang Licheng, Binjiang
滨江春江郦城31号商铺(春江郦城东门旁边)

To unlock the door, don’t spend your time spinning the wheel but put your attention on the world map. Upstairs you’ll find a well appointed bar with great service and reasonable drinks. If you end up heading (accidentally) to 324 Fengqi Road in downtown Hangzhou, don’t be alarmed – the similarly named bar HarBour is also a speakeasy – press the anchor to open the door.

Coordinate: Binjiang
MILL7
(Same name for Didi, might display MILL7酒吧 滨江店)

4317 Binsheng Road, Binjiang
滨江滨盛路4317号

The photographic art studio and gallery opens to a large whiskey and cocktail bar. This is spread across several floors including a hidden terrace bar. Try a drink from the secret menu if you feel game enough to ask. Service is always warm and personal. Look out for one of  Mill’s many other venues across Hangzhou.

MILL7's Recommend Drinks:
Boys - Why Women Kill
Girls - Macha Grasshopper

Coordinate: Xiaoshan
Siren
(For Didi paste SIREN 塞壬酒吧)

890-2 Jincheng Road
金城路万象汇890-2号

At the end of the Xiaoshan MixC Mall is a beautifully designed bar. The menu is creative and features twists on common elements. English might be reasonable depending on who is working. In any case, service is personable and friendly.

Get Lost in the Maze-like Concentric Rings of Buildings "Tulou”

Uncover the Secrets of the Fujian Earth Buildings

T I M E 


Tour Signup Deadline: December 20th
Tour Date: December 21st – December 24th

V E N U E 

Xiamen, Fujian
福建,厦门

T I C K E T S 

Price: 1,999RMB/adult
(Min 10 Pax, Max 16 Pax)

There’s no doubt – if your destination is Fujian and the south-east, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you miss these mammoth World Heritage wonders! Take four days to visit the Tulou closed settlements (pronounced “two”-“low”) for an encounter with China’s ancient Hakka culture, then let a local guide you to experience the real heart of life in Xiamen.

Highlights

1. Explore the Tulou and discover why these mammoth communal dwellings were deemed precious items World Cultural Heritage – study their wisdom to get a unique look into Hakka culture!

2. Spend the night in comfortable Tulou tavern room lodging at the Hongkeng Tulou cluster’s Renquan’yuan Lou, ‘Square’ Lou or Wufeng Lou.

3. Get lost in the maze-like concentric rings of buildings inside the “King Tulou”, or seek out the ‘slither of sunlight’ in the Gaobei Tulou cluster. Had enough of Hakka Tulous? Then explore a different mystery in the Da’di Southern Min Tulou groupings in Hua’an.

What's included

1. 8 Meals (Including Breakfast x3,  Lunch x3, Dinner x2)
2. 3 Night’s Stay in Comfortable Hotels(Double occupancy, for single supplement please add 550 rmb)
3. Activity costs and admission fares for all items on the itinerary.
4. All transportation costs for the itinerary (Airport and Station pickup not included)
5. Full travel accident insurance for the duration of the trip.
6. Full bilingual guide accompaniment.

Not included

1. Transportation costs to Xiamen and Xiamen Plaza Hotel
2. All additional costs incurred by the individual not mentioned in the itinerary above.

Important Information

1. This is a coupled Chinese-foreign tour, meaning your tour group will include both Chinese natives and foreign expats. There is a minimum 10-person (maximum 16-person) signup threshold that must be reached for this tour to go ahead. If you sign up and the threshold is not reached, the cost of the tour will be refunded in the means by which you paid.

2. Want to come? Signup can be completed through the TA mini-program. Once the group reaches the minimum number of attendees you will receive a message from TA customer support confirming that the tour will go ahead.

If after successful payment and signup you become unable to attend your booked tour, your refund will be processed minus deductions as per the following scheme by the Trendy Adventurer Financial Affairs team:

- 14 or 14+ days before the activity date: 1% of the signup cost;
- 7 or 14 days before the activity date: 10% of the signup cost;
-7 to 3 days before the activity commencement date: 40% of the signup cost;
-3 to 1 day(s) before the activity commencement date: 55% of the signup cost;
-Within 24 hours of the activity commencement date: 70% of the signup cost.

Refunds will be processed within 5 working days after the date of conclusion of the tour.
(if the air ticket is included in the itinerary and the air ticket has been issued, 100% air ticket loss shall be borne, because the group ticket cannot be changed or refunded)

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