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Single and Grateful
By Eve Waites

She had peed on her feet, something the taxi driver had no way of knowing. Indeed he had no way of knowing that she had peed on her feet for the first time ever in her life, and had done so while wearing sandals and shorts, in a public convenience with poor ventilation, trillions of fat flies, and all the unpleasantries found in and around popular municipal lavatories at the zenith of summer. The taxi driver also had no way of knowing that her freshly-urinated toes had spiced-up a day that began with insufficient deodorant and, since noon, had been oozing rapidly into an August afternoon of blotchy foundation, sub-sartorial swampiness, frizz, and a hair-trigger mood. Nor did he know that his gravel-in-the-mouth northern accent was grating on my singed nerves nearly as much as his barrage of probing questions about myself, my partner, and our relationship (rather untimely given the circumstances). He could not have known that I had no desire to discuss international relations from his very particular and troublingly nationalistic perspective. He could not have known any of this, and could not have known that I wanted to throttle him.

The fare rang-in at 19RMB, and I slipped him two tens through the gap in the plexiglass shield which - for the past three kilometers - would have impeded my efforts to choke him had I attempted to do so. How, then, to describe my feelings when he forced one of the tens back through the gap, thanking me with a broad smile for a stimulating conversation and congratulating me on my spoken-Chinese and pretty belle?

Embarassed. Humbled. That’s exactly how I felt as I mumbled a string of penitent and ashamed thank-yous and stuffed the tenner into my shirt pocket. The taxi driver could not have known how complex my feelings were at the moment, or that the issue of the pee-feet (for which somehow I was responsible) had not yet reached its climax. Eventually it did, nine months later. This 11 November I will be celebrating Single’s Festival (guanggun jie, 光棍节).

Over the course of my 13 years in China, this would be the first and only time that a cabbie had insisted I take considerably less than the fare on the meter. (Would this happen in any city? In any hemisphere?) It was also one of the few times that I felt genuinely grateful for any courtesy extended to me in this country. I’d said xiexie millions of times, of course, and meant it. But sincere semiautomated thanks-saying is to the expression of gratitude what a McDonald’s cheeseburger is to, well, a cheeseburger.

The Chinese word into which one typically translates grateful is ganxie (感谢), a compound of gan (feeling, as in ganjue, 感觉), and xie (to thank, as in xiexie, 谢谢) -- literally: the feeling-to-thank, or, feeling-of-thankfulness. This is a little different from gan’en, as in gan’en jie, the American holiday Thanksgiving. Gan’en has the same gan as ganxie, and the en (恩, which can be translated a number of ways) approximates favor or grace – the latter in the sense of There but for the grace of the gods go I. Why was I grateful to the taxi driver? Because there was no norm, rule, or convention that required the taxi driver to benefit me – or: to aim intentionally to benefit me. He was not repaying a debt, making good on a promise, or luring me into a transactional reciprocal relationship – odds were between slim and none that I’d ever be in his cab again. He had nothing to gain by being weirdly, spontaneously generous. And that’s what made my last few seconds in his stationary cab so moving.

One thread of enquiry into these sorts of circumstances focuses on the taxi driver’s actions, on his seemingly altruistic behavior. What has long attracted my attention, however, is the other side of the coin: the experience of being the beneficiary of seemingly genuine altruism, and the resulting experience of a feeling of gratitude.

Ganxie consists of two characters which I have known for as long as I have been wrestling with Putonghua and Chinese-languages, and when I arrived here ganxie was immediately added to my new and tiny quiver of poorly-pronounced Chinese words on the assumption that I’d be using it with regularity – feichang ganxie for this, hen ganxie for that. Feichang ganxie is in fact a phrase you’ll hear a lot at the beginning of speeches, public addresses, and in the prefaces to oratory honorifics. But off the dais and in the humdrum of every-day existence, you’re unlikely to hear it being used with the same frequency as the English word grateful. As my language-skills approached proto-conversational, its absence from discourse was conspicuous.

Which is odd. Chinese antiquity – like that of the Occident – consistently celebrated gratitude as a virtue. In The Book of Odes (诗经) we find this: 投之以桃,报之以李 . (Tóu zhī yǐ táo, bào zhī yǐ lǐ. “Don’t forget the good others have done you and seek to return the favor”.) The arrival into China of Buddhism and its subsequent flourishing only reinforced indigenous traditions (folk, Confucian, Daoist), which, in their characteristic ways and in varying degrees, were principally oriented around ren (仁), yi (义), and li (利) – humanity, righteousness, and (ritual) propriety. Whereas yi and li are sufficient for formalized-reciprocity and debt-fulfillment, it takes ren (and lots of it) to get anywhere near kenotic altruism (and debt forgiveness), which are much nearer to the spirit of gratitude. Apparently, it doesn’t take too many generations of strategic and mercenary guanxi-calculation to beat the gan out of ganxie, leaving behind only a hastily-reiterated xie. Ten thousand spoken xiexie’s weighs less than a single felt ganxie.

The Greeks and Romans of antiquity were fixated with the idea of gratitude (or rather: ingratitude), and the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (4bce-65ce) went so far as to say of ingratitude that there was no vice more odious. This was the title of a lecture I gave in 1999 at a very small philosophy colloquium at a university you’ve never heard of. It was based on my research interests at the time, and it focused mainly on a question raised by Seneca in On Benefits (63ce): Can children bestow upon their parents benefits greater than those bestowed upon the children by the parents, on the assumption that the parents “benefitted” the children best and most by creating them in the first place? It is in this context that Seneca gave Western letters one of the earliest explorations of gratitude and ingratitude. My bagatelle of a paper was an incomplete and imperfect attempt to resurrect discussion of a subject which (to my thinking) was receiving far too little attention.

I had no way of knowing at the time, but psychologist Michael McCullough (University of Miami) had been working on a similar topic, and in 2001 McCullough and Emmons (et al.) published “Is gratitude a moral effect?”. Had this paper only helped to legitimate scholarly interest in the phenomenon of gratitude, all would be well; but what it did was yank the subject matter away from belles lettres and philosophy and slam-dunk it into the overrated but fashionable mosh pit of the experimental behavior sciences. McCullough’s long-time collaborator Robert A Emmons (University of California/Davis) explains, in lovely prose, his take on “the new science of gratitude” in his 2008 book Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

Gratitude is an important dimension to our life as we interact with one another in our everyday affairs. It is impossible to imagine a world don’t receive and give gratitude on a regular basis. Binding together people in relationships of reciprocity, gratitude is one of the building blocks of a civil and humane society. Georg Simmel, a prominent early-twentieth-century Swiss sociologist, referred to gratitude as “the moral memory of mankind”. He wrote that “if every grateful action… were suddenly eliminated, society (at least as we know it) would break apart”. We need gratitude in to function in relation to others.

McCullough and Emmons (editors of the 2004 The Psychology of Gratitude) continue to do research in this domain. Both have websites which cite their work and celebrate its importance in the domain they (individually and collectively) helped to create.

My notes from May, 2008: I am sitting in a well-known chain coffee shop which at the moment smells more like scalp and wet Labrador retriever than Arabica beans and cacao. I am awaiting the arrival of a friend, and have just held open the door for an incoming-patron who, due to what she was carrying, would not have been able to open it on her own. She does not say thank you (or xiexie), or acknowledge my efforts, or appear cognizant of my intention to help. This is the rule and not the exception in these latitudes, and although I’m used to it, it still annoys me. It’s not that it’s rude not to say “thank you” -- that’s a judgment based on cultural-norms for etiquette. It is the seeming failure to apprehend a conspicuous intention to benefit that has me wondering about her and her compatriots’ cognitive or visceral amenability to the feeling of gratitude. And I am wondering about the deeper implications of that.

Emmons’ book Thanks! was published in 2008. I didn’t know about it at the time. But by that year I had been thinking rigorously and conscientiously about the phenomenon (and the phenomenology) of gratitude for nearly a decade. As the scalpy smell of Starbucks churned the mocha-caramel latte in my stomach into something unpleasant and unmentionable, I was acutely aware of the fact that - eight years in-country - and I was still finding it very difficult to reconcile what I thought I know about ‘gratitude’ with what I thought I knew about ganxie and with what I thought I knew about human nature. When my (local, bilingual, and wealthy) friend arrived, I asked her what seemed to me to be a simple question: How often do you think about the things for which you are grateful? How often do you feel consciously gratitude? She paused for a moment, masticating the query with what appeared to be embarrassment. Almost never, she said, almost penitently. By appearing as if she is confessing a moral shortcoming, she redeems herself. She also helps confirm a working-hypothesis. She does not know about any of this.

Since 2004 I have been living in what Oriental Outlook magazine rated “The Happiest City in China”. (In 2009 the same publication ranked Chengdu as “The [Second] Happiest City in China”.) I learned only last year that McCullough and Emmons keep the bread of their research buttered with “happiness-studies”, and it occurred to me precisely ten minutes ago those who cut grant-checks seem to like happiness-research nearly as much as they do research related to childhood allergies, addiction, and Asperger’s. “Gratitude”, Emmons opines,

is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. We are engaged in a long-term research project designed to create and disseminate a large body of novel scientific data on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its potential consequences for human health and well-being. Scientists are latecomers to the concept of gratitude. Religions and philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an indispensable manifestation of virtue, and an integral component of health, wholeness, and well-being. Through conducting highly focused, cutting-edge studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences, we hope to shed important scientific light on this important concept.

This might one of China’s most consistently happy cities – one with an increasingly affluent population, no less – but I don’t hear too many people talking about gratitude or the things for which they are grateful. Superficially at least, this seems a little at odds with core of the McCullough-Emmons hypothesis. I also would have thought that being affluent in a country which, a half a century ago, didn’t have enough kilocalories to go around (never mind Starbucks and Lamborghini dealerships) would be reason plenty to feel grateful, to be brimming over with ganxie-ness. But perhaps none of China’s happy cities are really happy. I’m sure there’s grant money somewhere for asking and attempting to answer that question. But then again, social and behavioural scientists are generally better at applying regression-analysis to data from questionnaires than they are at thinking up the right questions to ask in the first place.

I for one am grateful for many things, and the number of things for which I am grateful increases as I get older. I write, now, from a comfortable chair, snugly warm in a little café, sipping a nice California Merlot and nibbling on cheese cake that the immigrant teenage waitstaff here – in this twee boutique, in my happy city - cannot themselves afford. I walked here at a healthy clip and without the use of a crutch or cane. I have at no point in my life peed on my own feet, or anybody elses, at least unintentionally. I know that gratitude is not a feeling of indebtedness, but a feeling of wonder, and that feeling gratitude – as intensely as I do, as often as I do - does not seem to contribute much to my happiness. (To my eudaimonia? Maybe. To my happiness? No. On the contrary.)

And I know, too, that however we analyse, biologize, and demystify altruism it is still a wonderful thing, and that gratitude (whatever the psychologists say) is a feeling of smallness – the kind of smallness that makes one feel giddy, and summons to the frontal lobes appreciation of the fact that most of the best things in one’s life are, in one way or another, hostage to circumstances beyond one’s control. To be susceptible to the experience of authentic gratitude, one must appreciate acutely (and I think chronically, too) one’s fragility, and the ultimate contingency of one’s contentment – or better: one’s lack of discontent.

"Since you are mortal”, wrote Simonides (556-468bce), “never say what tomorrow will bring nor how long a man may be happy. For the darting of the dragonfly is not so swift as change of fortune." I suspect Simonides grasped and understood the essence of gratitude. I’m not sure if the maiden sitting nearish to me now in the café – the one with the iPhone, BV purse, and tuhao bling; the one posting on Weixin pics of her bare milky knees and creamy latte; the one who did not even ritually xiexie waitstaff for serving her the expensive beverage she photos rather than drinks – grasps the essence of ganxie.

But how would I know. She seems to have a nice grip on her latte and smartphone. And she seems happy enough. As well she should.

Still, I hope she accidentally pees on her Pradas.

Eve Waites is the author of a number of books which he has not yet written.

1 “Shiyi shiyi”, the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The series of ones (1 1 1 1) is, I’m told, suggestive of singleness.
2 Emmons (2008) Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, p.9
3 Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude, vide: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/highlights_fall_2003.pdf
4 See Lung Hung Chen et al. (2008) “Validation of the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ) In Taiwanese Undergraduate Students”, Journal of Happiness Studies, vide: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/Validation%20of%20the%20Gratitude%20Questionnaire%20(GQ)%20in%20Taiwanese%20Undergraduate%20Students.pdf. See also http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/Chinese%20GQ-6_Joyce%20Leong.pdf, and generally http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude_Page.htm.
5 See generally Martha Nussbaum (1986) The Fragility of Goodness.

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Jennifer’s Enchanting Rose Garden

Imagine a garden where roses stretch out before you in a sea as far as the eye can see, carved out from a backdrop of tea fields and bamboo groves, the heavenly, sweet scent of roses enveloping you in a fragrant cloud. Imagine going back to simpler times when you can fall asleep looking up at a sky full of stars and wake up at daybreak to the melodious cacophony of lively roosters. An enchanting place where friendly dogs roam around freely, joined at times by a stoic horse, fluffy llama and a preening white peacock.

Fortunately, there’s no need to stay in the realm of imagination, the dream has been brought to life at Jennifer Ji’s Four Seasons Rose Garden in Daixi (埭溪), less than 45 minutes from Hangzhou.

How the Rose Garden Came to Be

The roses at Seasons Rose Garden come from all over the world, over 500 species from Bulgaria, France, England, Japan, etc. Jennifer would collect rose cuttings while on vacation in different lands then bring them home to carefully grow in her garden. Friends would also send her rose cuttings from different countries. Over the next 4 years, Jennifer’s rose garden slowly began to take shape, a labour of love.

Most of the roses seemed to be vintage varieties which are highly prized for their fragrance. There are fuchsia coloured rosa rugusa shrubs, a crimson coloured Louis XIV specimen, peachy quartered roses and cream coloured shallow cups. I didn’t know the names or histories of all the roses I encountered, but what’s in a name? I can assure you they all smelled as sweet.

Roses were not the first thing on Jennifer’s mind when she was given the opportunity to develop this 500-acre piece of land. She first thought about growing herbs such as lavender, since she had already developed a status as the “Essential Oil Queen of China” with her acquisition of French aromatherapy brand Lampe Berger in 2014. 

Hangzhou residents may also be familiar with J Spa, her elegant beauty spa on Yangongdi next to West Lake which has been bringing a supreme level of relaxation to clients for over 11 years.

Then it was found that herbs did not grow so well on this land but roses thrived. As Jennifer delved further into roses, she discovered an interesting fact - roses originally came from China and they were first cultivated in China 5,000 years ago. It is poetic then that Jennifer has brought roses from around the world back to their origins, to grow here in her garden. Her goal is to create the most comprehensive rose garden in China for future generations to enjoy the beauty of the rose in all their captivating varieties, colours and scents.

A Lady and Her Vision

The Rose Garden is still taking shape but foremost, it will be a happy, spiritual place where people can come to unplug, spend time in nature with friends and family and let go of stress and anxiety.

“ We work very hard in these modern times, so we must also enjoy and relax to the fullest, by indulging all 5 of our senses. My ultimate ideal treat is to slip into a warm bath scented with roses and essential oils, surrounded by flickering candles with meditative music playing… and also drinking a glass of red wine! Then all the worries of the day would dissolve away!"


“ I wanted that more people can experience that kind of enjoyment and that’s why I created J Spa, a beautiful, calm space where people can go to clear their mind."

“ But you know a spa treatment can be expensive and not everyone can afford that. My next plan is to create mini-spa treatments that everyone can afford, especially today’s students and young workers who are under a lot of stress. I want to let them experience that relaxation and enjoyment too. They greatly need to relieve their pressure and they are the future of China. I want to do something to support them.”

Luxurious Rose Facial for Just 99RMB

“ I always tell my beauty estheticians to treat every customer with the utmost care and love, like they are a family member. The customer has trusted us with their valuable time and money, they come to us to get relief from their daily stress and we owe it to them to do our best to relieve their pressures and worries. Regardless if they pay thousands of yuan or 99 yuan, we will give them the same level of treatment."

Jennifer’s words were proven true as I went to the mini-spa at Seasons Rose Garden to experience their 99RMB, 30-minute rose facial. The esthetician’s delicate, reverential touch and gentle soothing voice are more likely to be found in spa treatments 10 times this price.

Throughout the facial, the esthetician explained the steps that she was doing. First beginning with a ritual to deeply inhale essential oils, followed by cleansing, prepping my skin with pure rose water that protects against free radicals, applying a rose essential oil that quickly penetrates into the skin to repair and revitalize and then massaging my face to drain the lymph nodes of toxins. Next she applied a sheet mask infused with the potency of 52 roses.

While my face was absorbing the nutrients from the mask, she massaged my neck, shoulders and did that favourite maneuver of mine where she carefully nudged her fingers under my back till they were between my shoulder blades then she lifted up with her fingers and held for a moment, arching my back. Ahhhhh….tensions melting away! I even drifted off into a restful sleep, all the while inhaling the divine fragrance of roses.

After removing the mask, she gently patted the essence into my skin and applied a rose moisturizing cream. The 30 minutes felt more like an hour because of all the intricate steps performed and the level of relaxation reached. My face felt refreshed, hydrated and soft as velvet.

The rose products used in the facial were developed by Jennifer and are all-natural, gentle and non-irritating. I have been dealing with eczema on my face recently, which makes my skin sensitive and prone to allergic reactions, and the products did not cause me any problems. The rose water is even so pure and gentle that you can spray some in your eyes and it won’t hurt.

That rose water was actually developed in co-operation with Paris Hilton and is marketed under her brand as “Paris Hilton Limited Edition Unicorn Mist”. On Paris’ website, it says that ‘this is the exact rose water extract spray that Paris uses to keep her skin glowing and fresh all day long!’

In the coming year, Jennifer plans to open mini-spas around China offering these facials as well. I told her that when the Hangzhou mini-spa opens, I will be the first customer lined up and will get a facial every day!

Future Events and Directions

Besides coming to get a facial, there will be many cool events happening at the rose garden in the future and More Magazine will be sure to tell you the details as soon as we get them. Coming up around May 20 will be a celebration for the International Rose Culture Festival. It’ll be a great time to visit as the roses will still be in bloom. I can’t wait to get back there myself, walk around the roses and be immersed in that lovely, natural perfume.

To get to the Seasons Rose Garden, take the high-speed train from Hangzhou East station to Deqing Station, a 13 minute ride, then grab a taxi or arrange a Didi to drive 30 more minutes to the garden.

New RMB Banknotes Series Set to Release 新版人民币来了!

New 50-, 20-, 10- and one-yuan banknotes and coins of one yuan, five and one jiao (0.5 and 0.1 yuan respectively) will be released by the central bank with improved anti-counterfeiting features on August 30.

This will be the third edition of the fifth series of renminbi, which was introduced by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) in 1999 for 50-, 20-, 10- and one-yuan banknotes and one jiao (0.1 yuan) coins, whose second edition was issued in 2005. This is the first upgrade of the one-yuan banknotes and coins and five jiao (0.5 yuan) coins since 1999.

Another two parts of the fifth series are the 100-yuan banknote, which was first changed in 2005 and last changed in 2015, and the five-yuan banknote, which was not upgraded this time as it is used to study how to further promote anti-counterfeiting ability and extend the service life of renminbi due to its smaller denomination and circulation, according to the PBOC.

Notably, the 2019 edition of the renminbi’s fifth set seems to contain more color than previous bills. In the comments section under a Weibo post by Caijing, one netizen joked that the new paper money looks like it was enhanced with filters, while others caught up in the cashless world of payments claimed to have forgotten what the renminbi looks like.

In addition to the latest set of banknotes, the copper-colored five jiao coin is set to get a new silver makeover, while the size of the RMB1 coin will be reduced.

How is the anti-counterfeiting ability improved?

Color-changing ink will be applied to the pattern of the number in the center of the new bills to make it more difficult to counterfeit. For instance, the color of the numeral "50" will change between green and blue and a band of light can be seen to roll up and down when the angle is adjusted.

Other new features of these three kinds of notes include a security line on the right of the bill, which will change from hot pink to green with a bright band rolling up and down when the viewing angle is adjusted, and where "¥50", "¥20" as well as "¥10" can be respectively seen in the light.

As for the coin, a "¥" and "1" are hidden in the numeral "1" at the front of the new 1-yuan coin, which may be respectively seen from specific angles when spinning the coin.

What's the major change?

To be more portable, the diameter of the new one-yuan coin has been narrowed to 22.25 mm, 2.75 mm less than before with dots ringing the inner edge on the front.

There are six serrated segments, equally distributed around the edge of the new five-jiao coin, each of which contains eight isometric serrations with the coin's color becoming nickel instead of golden yellow inside, and the inner edge of the coin is changed into a polygon from circle, making it more identifiable to people with poor eyesight.

All four new bank notes will feature additional decorative patterns on the left-hand side and the tactile lines on the right have been removed.

Zhang Meng, deputy head of PBOC's Currency, Gold and Silver Bureau said that with major elements have remained unchanged from the previous version, and this new issuance strikes a balance between security, durability and elegance.

He also added that the central bank would collaborate with other ministries to ensure a smooth transition that help residents and vendors get used to the new currency.

The bank said it has already arranged for financial institutions to do the preparatory work, including upgrading the existing currency detectors to verify authenticity.

Great Places for Spring Getaways Around Hangzhou

The dreary months of rain may have you hankering for a vacation, and spring is the perfect time to take a quick weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for the bustle of a city or the calm of the countryside, there are plenty of easy weekend trips that will feel like a much-needed escape.

With ideal temperatures, smaller crowds, and a true locals’ scene, spring shoulder season is arguably the most underrated travel time of the year. Here are five destinations to hit in April and May—before everyone else does.


Suichang, Zhejiang
Hongxingping Hot Spring Boutique Hotel

After 10 months re-renovation, this hotel reopened in the end of last year. Hidden in a small town called Suichang which is 4 hours driving from Hangzhou. To get there, the best way is to take a train to go to Longyou station (about 1 hour), then a 30 minutes bus ride to Suichang, once you are in Suichang, then you can get a Didi taxi to take you to the hotel.

As the name says, hot spring is the highlight of this hotel. The hot spring water associated with fluorite mine is introduced from the bottom of Hushan fluorite mine, which is two kilometers away from the hotel. The water temperature is about 41 degrees. It is one of the few natural hot springs of fluorite mine. You can chill out in the vinegar spa, rose spa, herb spa, or fish spa, if you want to be more private, a few rooms come with a spa. Make yourself a pot of tea, leave the stress and worries behind, pamper yourself in the nature.

There 22 rooms with different designs. The Family Friendly Room has a slide for the child to come downstairs and a glass ceiling to gaze at the starry sky; Hot Spring Room is facing at the Huangzhao mountain; the Husky fridge and Marshall blue tooth speaker are icing on the cake.

The hotel locates on the upstream of Wuxi River, everything comes from nature. The ingredients used in the restaurant are local chickens from Huangniling, vegetables and fruits from Gaoping, fish head from Shangping or rice from Zhulong. These ingredients either come from pollution-free areas at high altitudes or from areas with clear water quality at the source of Wuxi River.

The tea mountain just a few minutes away, you can also pick up the freshest fruits and vegetables in their own garden, or go sweat your self in the tennis court and gym, after enjoy a salt bath and hot sauna. 

Special Deal For MORE Readers
Price: 888RMB

Inclusions:
* 1-night stay of your choice of Courtyard Room, Sunshine Room, Family Room, Family Sunshine Room, Family Friendly Room (values 980RMB - 1,380RMB)
* Breakfast for 2 adults and 1 child
* Hot spring ticket for 2 adults and 1 child  (values 650RMB), unlimited entries during staying
* Free access to the gym with 1 hour personal trainer
* 2 glasses of cocktails at the bar, welcome fruit and free drinks at mini bar
* Ancient pagoda and tea plantation tour
* 30% off on the Hot Pot set menu (500RMB) for 2-3 people

Valid on both weekday and weekend till June 30th, 2019 (except for Apr.30th - May.3rd), if check in during the weekend, the 200RMB/room price difference need to be paid at the front desk. If change to other types of room, the price difference will be charged.

Add: Hongxingping Village, Hushan, Suichang, Lishui  浙江省丽水市遂昌县湖山乡红星坪村
Tel: 0578 8155 158
Website: www.schxp.com/cn/index.htm


Ningbo, Zhejiang
Camphor Tree Valley


Located in a small village called Li Jia Keng on Siming Mountain in Ningbo, Li Jia Keng means Family Li’s Pit. After 3 hours driving, you will arrive in this retreat away from the world.

In this spring, it’s time to get there to enjoy the private pool, the outdoor hot spring, and have outdoor picnic during the day and romantic stargazing at night, take a walk to the mountain which is covered by cherry blossoms and taste the rustic flavour from the countryside.

This is the season that cherry blossoms all over the mountain, there are two ways to enjoy the cherry blossom.

Tip 1: The Cherry Blossom Festival in Siming Mountain

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Siming Mountain (Zhangxi) of Ningbo is about to begin, it’s about 15 minutes drive from the hotel. This is a "cherry rain" for the tourists, you can walk among them or climb up to the cherry blossom sight-viewing platform to enjoy the amazing view. The Cherry Blossom planting area covers about 10,000 mu, there are more than 20 varieties of cherry blossoms in the field. In recent years, Zhangshui Town has extended the flowering period to more than 40 days by planting early cherry and mid-late cherry alternately. Generally, the flowering period can be extended from early and mid-March to the end of April.

Tip 2: Xiekenling Ancient Road

Xiekenling Ancient Road starts at Li Jia Keng and ends at Zhangxi village, it was the only way for Li Jia Keng people to reach to Zhangxi in ancient times.

It’s cherry blossom all the way from Xiekenling Ancient Road up to the mountain, total length is nearly 2.5 kilometers. The one-way journey takes about one hour, make sure you bring your camera, there will be a lot of inspiration for you all the way.

Now get the special offer for the Cherry Blossom Festival, only 588RMB for weekday, which includes 1 night stay + 2 breakfast + Chicken Soup Dinner (valid till Apr. 30th, 2019).

Add: Li Jia Keng Village, Zhangshui Town, Haishu District, Ningbo, Zhejiang  浙江省宁波市海曙区章水镇李家坑村
Tel: 136 1658 1771, 0574 8778 6682
Website: wx.miot.cn/i-95103


Anji, Zhejiang
Alila Anji 阿丽拉安吉


Alila Anji is a peaceful oasis situated on a hillside overlooking a lake, surrounded by the beauty of lush bamboo groves and tea plantations. With its clean air, mountainous landscape, dense bamboo forests and tea plantations, and ease of access from the major cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou, Anji offers a wonderful escape for city dwellers and nature-lovers.

Enjoy the outdoors, cycling, harvesting seasonal produce, or fishing in Tian Fu Lake. Grab your camera and uncover Anji's hidden beauty spots. Or enjoy cooking and crafting - great fun even for the little ones.

Weekday Lake View Room 
Price: CNY1,999net per room per night

Available on weekday stay (Sunday to Thursday)
Inclusions:
* 1 Lake View Room stay with daily breakfast for 2 persons
* 1 time 60 min Spa treatment for 1 person
* 1 time hot pot for 2 persons
* Free upgrade to Hill View Villa (subject to availability)
* 1 time hotel activity (choose from singing box, mahjong, archery, hiking etc)
* 20% off on extra consumption of F&B Spa

Weekend Lake View Room 
Price: CNY3,999net for 2-night stay

Available for weekend (Thu & Fri, Fri & Sat, Sat & Sun)
Inclusions:
* 2-night Lake View Room stay with daily breakfast for 2 persons
* 2 times 60 min Spa treatment or 1 time120 min Spa treatment
* 1 time hot pot for 2 persons
* Free upgrade to Hill View Villa (subject to availability)
* 1 time hotel activity (choose from singing box, mahjong, archery, hiking etc)
* 20% off on extra consumption of F&B Spa

Both promotions are valid till 30 June 2019, exclude public holiday (5 - 7 April, 1 - 4 May and 7 - 9 June 2019)

You can book these two packages through: 
https://www.travelzoo.com/cn/local-deals/EastCN/Getaway/317161/?from=timeline&isappinstalled=0

Add: Fushi Reservoir, Meizi Wan, Hanggai Town, Anji, Zhejiang 浙江省安吉杭垓镇梅子湾旅游风景区赋石水库
Reservations: anji@alilahotels.com
Tel: 0572 5133 566
Website: www.alilahotels.com/anji


Deqiing, Zhejiang
Moganshan Solvang Village Boutique Hotel


Many of our readers may know that Mogan Mountain has increased in popularity over the past year as ‘the’ place to go for that weekend break, especially in those hot summer months to escape the heat. There are resorts popping up everywhere.

So why, you ask, or what makes Solvang so special? Nestled right in the midst of hiking trails, this family-feel resort has everything you could ask for to keep your blood pumping whether that be on a hike through bamboo forests, local farms for some fruit picking or to a serene waterfall or perhaps racing around on a mountain bike (available to hire at the resort for a daily fee). Not feeling the ‘sweat it out’ fresh air vibe? How about relaxing on a terrace with a good book, soaking yourself in a large bathtub or if you book on a special weekend, center yourself with some fresh mountain air outdoor yoga? Not convinced yet? With a fully stocked bar and restaurant, you can really relax, put your feet up and enjoy being looked after.

To get there is pretty easy, just take the fast train from Hangzhou East to Deqing station in just 15 minutes and the resort can arrange a car for you from there for a fee.

Room starts at 1,180RMB, to celebrate the arrival of the spring, they are offering an offer (200RMB down) from this week until April 30th.

Add: 112 Xiangdao, Reservior Side, Dazaowu Village, Deqing, Zhejiang 浙江德清县大造坞村112乡道水库旁
Reservations: booking@mogansolvangvillage.com
Tel: 136 6189 4469, 0572 8667 297
Website: www.mogansolvangvillage.com/


Deqing, Zhejiang
Gen Sinn Horseback Riding


Unleash your inner cowboy, the Indiana Jones or Lawrence of Arabia deep within, and hop in the saddle for the trip of a lifetime! Here in GenSinn Moganshan, you will make it come true.

Cross paths and forests, ride seemingly endless trails on the countryside roads, and stop on your way to enjoy the delicious country cuisine.

Gallop or trot alongside the streams and tea fields in the Moganshan. Ride far from those dusty roads filled with tourists, and go deep into the mountain for a pure bush experience.

Price: 498RMB/40 minutes

Add: Gaofeng Village, Moganshan, Deqing, Zhejiang (you can set your GPS to "浙江爵隐马术文化有限公司")
浙江省湖州市德清县莫干山镇高峰村 (导航浙江爵隐马术文化有限公司即可到达)
Hours: 8am - 5pm
Tel: 400 926 7833, 133 0571 5229, 150 8831 9562 

All About Tomb Sweeping Day

Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节, qīngmíng jié) is a Chinese holiday that has been celebrated in China for centuries. The day is meant to commemorate and pay respect to a person’s ancestors. Thus, on Tomb Sweeping Day, families visit and clean the gravesite of their ancestors to show their respect.

In addition to visiting cemeteries, people also go for walks in the countryside, plant willows, and fly kites. Those who cannot travel back to their ancestors’ gravesites may opt to pay their respects at martyrs parks to pay homage to revolutionary martyrs.

When Is Tomb Sweeping Day?

Tomb Sweeping Day is held 107 days after the start of winter and is celebrated on April 4 or April 5, depending on the lunar calendar.

Origins

Tomb Sweeping Day is based on the Hanshi Festival (寒食节, hánshií jié), which is also known as the Cold Food Festival and Smoke-Banning Festival. While the Hanshi Festival is no longer celebrated today, it has gradually been absorbed into Tomb Sweeping Day festivities.

The Hanshi Festival commemorated Jie Zitui (介子推), a loyal court official from the Spring and Autumn Period. Jie was a loyal minister to Chong Er. During a civil war, Prince Chong Er and Jie fled and were in exile for 19 years. According to legend, Jie was so loyal during the duo’s exile that he even made broth out of the flesh of his leg to feed the prince when they were short of food. When Chong Er later became king, he rewarded those who helped him when times were tough; however, he overlooked Jie.

Many advised Jie to remind Chong Er that he, too, should be repaid for his loyalty. Instead, Jie packed his bags and relocated to the mountainside. When Chong Er discovered his oversight, he was ashamed. He went to look for Jie in the mountains. The conditions were harsh and he was unable to find Jie. Someone suggested that Chong Er set fire to the forest to force Jie out. After the king set fire to the forest, Jie didn’t appear.

When the fire was extinguished, Jie was found dead with his mother on his back. He was under a willow tree and a letter written in blood was found in a hole in the tree. The letter read:

Giving meat and heart to my lord, hoping my lord will always be upright. An invisible ghost under a willow Is better than a loyal minister beside my lord. If my lord has a place in his heart for me, please make self-reflection when remembering me. I have a clear conscious in the nether world, being pure and bright in my offices year after year.

To commemorate Jie’s death, Chong Er created the Hanshi Festival and ordered that no fire could be set on this day. Meaning, only cold food could be eaten. One year later, Chong Er went back to the willow tree to hold a memorial ceremony and found the willow tree in bloom again. The willow was named ‘Pure Bright White’ and the Hanshi Festival became known as ‘Pure Brightness Festival.’ Pure Brightness is a fitting name for the festival because the weather is usually bright and clear in early April.

How Is Tomb Sweeping Day Celebrated?

Tomb Sweeping Day is celebrated with families reuniting and traveling to their ancestors’ gravesites to pay their respects. First, weeds are removed from the gravesite and the tombstone is cleaned and swept. Any necessary repairs to the gravesite are also made. New earth is added and willow branches are placed atop the gravesite.

Next, joss sticks are placed by the grave. The sticks are then lit and an offering of food and paper money is placed at the tomb. Joss paper money is burned while family members show their respect by bowing to their ancestors. Fresh flowers are placed at the tomb and some families also plant willow trees. In ancient times, five-colored paper was placed underneath a stone on the grave to signify that someone had visited the grave and that it had not been abandoned.

The Chinese joss paper “spirit money” known as Hell Bank Notes are commonly used in all manner of contemporary ancestor ceremonies. The most traditional notes bear the seal of the afterlife’s “Bank of Heaven and Earth,” while others are printed to resemble legal tender currency from various countries. Bills feature an image of the Jade Emperor, the Taoist monarch of heaven, and come in outrageous denominations from 10,000 to 1,000,000,000 dollars to help an ancestor purchase services, pay off the God of Death or escape punishment. Here are a few popular designs.

As cremation is gaining popularity, families continue the tradition by making offerings at ancestral altars or by placing wreaths and flowers at martyrs’ shrines. Due to hectic work schedules and the long distance some families must travel, some families opt to mark the festival earlier or later in April over a long weekend or assign a few family members to make the trip on behalf of the entire family.

Once the family has paid their respects at the gravesite, some families will have a picnic at the gravesite. Then, they take advantage of the usually good weather to take a walk in the countryside, known as 踏青 (tà qīng), hence another name for the festival — Taqing Festival.

Some people wear a willow twig on their heads to keep ghosts away. Another custom includes picking shepherd’s purse flower. Women also pick herbs and make dumplings with them and they also wear the shepherd’s purse flower in their hair.

Other traditional activities on Tomb Sweeping Day include playing tug-of-war and swinging on swings. It is also a good time for sowing and other agricultural activities, including planting willow trees.

Hangzhou

In Hangzhou, major activities for celebrating Tomb Sweeping Day Festival include sweeping tombs and going on spring outings. During the Festival each year millions people offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep their family tombs. Cemeteries are becoming more popular as a result of reform and China's opening to the world. This is particularly so in the areas outside Hangzhou, such as Suzhou and Jiaxing. Each year, more than a million people stream to these places, spawning traffic jams.

During the Festival it has become fashionable to blend brome grass juice with the flours of glutinous rice, and then to make them into pastes. The pastes are rolled into pieces of wrappers and stuffed with sweet bean paste and jujube paste. The stuffed pastes are put into a steamer, the bottom of which is covered with reed leaves. The freshly steamed pastes are green, bright and attractive with an appealing aroma. This kind of paste is the most unique local snack of the Festival. The local people also have a penchant for porridge cooked with peach blossom petals. Fish, whether for offering sacrifices or for a family banquets is usually saury. Local people consider the green pastes to be an indispensable sacrifice to their ancestors.     

Qingming Vocabulary

fénmù 坟墓= tomb / grave

mùdì 墓地 = cemetery (which sounds exactly like mùdì 目的 = “goal”)

sǎomù 扫墓 = to sweep tombs

bài zǔxiān 拜祖先 = to pay respects to ancestors

shāo xiāng 烧香 = to burn incense

shāo zhū 烧猪 = roast pig

gānzhè 甘蔗 = sugar cane

fàng biānpào 放鞭炮 = set off firecrackers 

qīng míng tuán 清明团 = green rice ball

All These Big Events You Need to Know - Coming Up in Hangzhou

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.

Highlights
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


API China

"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 Hangzhou

"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
Location: Hangzhou


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
Location: Hangzhou


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

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