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Tiers for Fears
By Jack Cameron

Rising Up, Rising Down, and the Folly of Rankings

According to a “comprehensive business index” formulated by CBN Weekly, Hangzhou “is now recognized as a super city with comprehensive capacity and potential.” Fourteen other municipalities are in fact now recognized as "new first-tier cities" including Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Xi'an, Chongqing, Qingdao, and Dalian.

But recognized by whom, exactly?

And, like: So what?


DON’T MIND THE GAP. SHOW US YOUR UNIQUE GLOW!
Congratulations, Hangzhou. You are now a “new first-tier” city. Officially. Well, not really “officially.” It depends entirely on your definition of official. And as for the legitimacy or plausibility of the new designation – well, that depends entirely on how one qualifies “first-tier.” And how one defines ‘city.’

CBNweekly [sic] ranked 400 Chinese cities other than traditional metropolises like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen across 10 categories including brand density; number of premium brands entering; GDP; per capita income; number of colleges and universities; number of companies ranking on Fortune's Global 500; and airport throughput.

On the basis of the 10 individual rankings, CBNweekly has calculated the comprehensive business index for each city.

In China, when people want to rate a city's development level, the first consideration would be its administrative level. However, in accordance with the international understanding, a city in the modern sense of the word is a product of commercial and industrial development and a land for capital, talent, goods and information exchange (1).

Chengdu, Nanjing, and Xi’an made the (new) premiere league. The same maths also makes Ningbo (Zhejiang) and Hefei (Anhui) “new second-tier cities”.

The New Atlantases
The word “new” is essential to these new titles, and indeed CBNweekly's proclamation is so new that the American Chamber of Commerce seems not to have had time to adjust its website:

While various criteria exist for defining a particular tier, the tiers of cities in China usually refer to key characteristics of the city, including its economic development, provincial GDP, advanced transportation systems and infrastructure, and historical and cultural significance. China’s first-tier cities usually refer to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen which make “The Big 4.” Second-tier cities include Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen. Third-tier cities include Hangzhou, Chongqing among others (2).

On the subject of tiers and rankings generally, the New Zealand-China Trade Association website offers a little analysis of the matter:

We often hear of China’s first or second or third tier cities, yet what actually makes a city tier? The terms are so often used, yet there is actually no official formula for determining what tier a city falls in. Instead, everyone makes up their own rules. There are a few common views on which Chinese cities fall in which tier, often pointing to population, development of services and infrastructure, and the cosmopolitan nature of the city. First tier cities are naturally the fewest and easiest to find common ground on. China’s four city municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing) are candidates as a clearly-defined group of leading cities. Yet this group doesn’t hold up in terms of the development and stature criteria mentioned above, and in their stead a different quartet is often put forward: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – four huge metropolises with well-developed property markets.

It becomes much more trickier [sic] when we move down to second tier cities (3).

Although the NZCTA item states that “A China consumer study published in 2009 by consulting firm McKinsey, for example, recognized the limitations of using city tiers”, Business Week reported last month that many [luxury retailers] are focusing on China’s second-tier and third-tier cities — which McKinsey Global Institute predicts will be home to 45 percent of China’s middle-class and high-income earners by 2022 (4).” Thinking in terms of tiers – or in just in case it’s not exactly the same thing: generating metrics by which to ranking Chinese cities - seems a difficult habit to break.



Given Business Week’s angle on the arrival in Chengdu of Lane Crawford, and AmCham’s caveat (“Don’t let city tier rankings restrict your business outlooks. Even third-tier cities have populations in the millions and represent a promising potential market for your business”), one wonders what, exactly, motivated CBNweekly’s analysis, what need it fulfils, and what value they (or anyone else) see in its announcement. So-called “second-tier” cities are supposed to be where all the action is these days, and where all heavy-hitters want now to be; and so while the tag might be good for metropolitan self-esteem (the Marco Polo thing is a bit stale), but it might be the worse branding idea since New Coke.

MUMFORD AND SUMS
Human beings have been creating entrepots, flocking to them, gathering in them, and building walls around them for a very long time. There’s nothing new in distinguishing cities from non-cities, urbanites from perioikoi (5), and citizens from non-citizens. The differences among cities, and between cities and non-cities, did not escape antiquity’s notice.

The city as a purely physical fact has been subject to numerous investigations. But what is the city as a social institution? The earlier answers to these questions, in Aristotle, Plato, and the Utopian writers from Sir Thomas Moore to Robert Owen, have been on the whole no more satisfactory than those of more systematic sociologists (6).

Mumford says that “in its various and many-sided life, in its opportunities for social-disharmony and conflict, the city creates drama; the suburb lacks it.”

Mumford, we suppose, had never personally witnessed the social-disharmony and drama at a Lane Crawford sale in a suburban mall; but we’re willing to let that slide, if only because we like his characterization of a city as “a related collection of purposive groups and associations,” and the way the name ‘Mumford’ feels in our mouth and throat when we say it.

For us, there is an immediate, unfortunate and possibly reprehensible tendency to read “first-tier” either as “cosmopolitan” or “international.” There is also an equally spontaneous and no less prejudicial inclination to equate “cosmopolitan” with the adjectives civilized, humane, tolerant, and open-minded, and “international” with things like: the gentility of a city’s native and imported inhabitants; the efficiency of public transportation; the degree of refinement (or threshold of crudity) of the average driver in the municipal livery fleet; how many good Indian restaurants there are, and whether any can make a good mango lassi; the likelihood that any given member of the uniformed constabulary will on any given day be wearing white socks; the likelihood that simple municipal ordinances for the communum bonum and salus populi are consistently and non-arbitrarily enforced; and whether there is more than one place to buy a half-way decent baguette. But we know better (7).

METRICS AND METICS
However fun (or silly) or thought-provoking (or bigotry-revealing) such metrics may be, they share the fault of applying to indigenous conditions an alien yardstick. Metrics like these seem also to conflate and jumble-together quantifiables with qualifiables – facts and values, or, facts and the preferences based in part on values. One can count airports and reckon their cargo throughput, tally GDP and FDI, and map 4G bandwidth coverage as easily as one can take a headcount of Uniqlo outlets and Bentley dealerships. That’s exactly what Esther Fung and company did in their Wall Street Journal ditty “What Makes a Tier-2 City in China? Count the Starbucks”. Seemingly they too didn’t get the memo from CBNweekly:

What exactly differentiates a tier-two Chinese city from a tier-three city? Officially no one knows, but it might help to start by counting the Starbucks.

China has more than 600 cities, which are often categorized into four tiers. The government, industry experts and analysts all use this classification, but there is almost no agreement about which city belongs to which tier.

Unlike almost every other Chinese economic indicator, the government doesn’t have an official definition for the tiers. Even the country’s official statistics department—which uses the classification system but notes that it was started by the private sector—said it doesn’t have a definitive list (8).

One could of course count instead the number of Meters/bonwe stores, Geely lots, and milk tea kiosks, or the number of cops in tube socks, or the average distance between litter on the sidewalk and the nearest rubbish bin. Or the number of Tom Ford counters. Or the percentage of counterfeit product in the Tom Ford counters. The point is that whereas developmental markers directly related to commerce, industry, and infrastructure seem to support some deductions and a few solid inferences about other quantifiable data, clever metrics are at best playfully probabilistic. They make us grin because of the correlations they propose: high mean net-income correlates with lots of branded coffee shops that sell muffins and ciabatta bread sandwiches; coffee, muffins, and ciabatta bread sandwiches are Western foodstuffs; therefore, high mean net-income is an indicator of how Westernized (or: how non-prejudical against Western foodstuffs) a city’s residents are.

But it’s not that simple. Fun “Freakanomics”-style metrics also wink at values, standards of taste, and the trajectory of possible convergences upon those Western consumer-preferences we’re now in the habit of calling “global,” while hinting that the correlations might in fact be symptoms of deeply meaningful causal relationships. But there’s a world of difference between the market-penetration of a global Western brand, and the kind of value-thick and norm-rich “internationalism” and “cosmopolitanism” we think of when these two words come to mind or slip off the tongue.

CRAPACCINO
Take Greater Hangzhou, which has 38 Starbucks outlets. Not long ago we were smoking outdoors just beyond the threshold of a city-center Starbucks in which we were having a coffee. (Uncivilized and anti-social behavior. We note the possible hypocrisy.) Advancing with a brisk wobble from seating inside the establishment, Granny Liu pushed open the doors with her shoulder and raced outdoors, across the threshold, and down the steps, carrying her splay-legged grandchild by the underside of its knees. There, two meters from the Starbucks landing, Granny Liu aimed the toddler’s southernmost orifice at a clean spot on the pavement, and with a firm but gentle squeeze and bounce facilitated the latter’s discharge of a formidable, non-viscous pile of toffee-colored baby waste. Granny Liu’s flight plan to the door had actually taken her directly past the Starbucks restrooms. A minute or so later, the toddler’s mother, with a reassuring look of mortification upon her young face, came outside with a wad of paper towels in her hand, and made an admirable attempt to clean-up the mess. She then carried the soggy wad of discolored and despoiled paper towels back into Starbucks for deposit in the rubbish bin just inside the entrance. She did not opt for the trash can two meters away from where her child A-bombed a family of ants.

This is normal and SOP in our city, a “new first-tier city” with a Lamborghini dealership, the highest-grossing Lancome counter on Earth, and a pretty good Starbucks-to-Chipster ratio (9). One might be inclined to conclude that “first-tier” is therefore not a designation synonymous with “civilized” (said the public-smoker), whatever else the phrase purports to denote or intimate. But we have no fears for tiers. We are wondering in earnest, though, whether one should even use the word ‘city’ to refer to an administrative jurisdiction in which this sort of thing is de rigueur, the rule rather than the exception.

For a while now we’ve been publically pooh-poohing straight-faced claims that our adoptive city is in any meaningful sense “international”. But what makes, or would make, a city “international” anyway? Should we simply look for a certain density of shop-fronts for “global brands”, or retail outlets for imported luxury goods? Or should we consider instead the sales volume of whichever foreign brands have a retail presence in the city in question? Is a city more international for having four non-profitable GAPs, or for having one highly profitable GAP in which men strip in the retail area to try-on t-shirts and shoppers with kids are not discouraged by sales associates from allowing their children to piss in the potted plants?

Perhaps a city is “international” to the extent that it has a large and diverse non-native population -- long-term residents, or immigrants, or both, the majority of which contemplate themselves as legitimate stakeholders in the city, and are welcomed by the natives to think of themselves thus. But what should count as “a large population”? Shanghai is arguably China’s most “international city” on the mainland, and yet the roughly 173,000 resident foreigners there (out of +/-23 million) account for no more than three-quarters of one percent of the total population. So maybe we should instead measure the influence of non-native peoples upon the character of the city – say, the net effect of their presence upon indigenous folkways, mores, and practices, or, the extent to which the presence of non-natives results in a palpable cultural diversity and productive heterogeneity? Wow. Just try and create a formula for that.

The Metic
In this extraordinary society [5th-4thc BCE Athens], a peculiar but vitally important position was held by the resident aliens or metics. The so-called metoikoi were in fact a small but special sub-group… of a much larger group of free migrants or katoikoi. [T]hough the majority were Greeks from practically every part of Greece…, by the fourth century they included Thracians, Phrygians, Carians, Paphlagonians, Celts, Lydians, Syrians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Arabians, Scythians, and Persians. … The concentrated above all in Athens, the city which aspired to economic supremacy. … The anomaly was that they had no political rights: constitutionally, the polis was the state of the citizens, the politai, and no one else. Nor could they own land… [B]ut they had personal freedom, protection of the law, liberty of worship, and almost unlimited work opportunities.
                                                                           - Peter Hall (1998) Cities in Civilization, pp. 58-59


And so to the heart of the matter: what would any metric cooked-up especially for the sole purpose of rankings really establish? What would it really tell us about the character or quality of any given “related collection of purposive groups and associations”?

With respect to Occidental non-natives looking-in on Chinese cities – even when the observer is a well-adjusted and patriotic metic – evaluative descriptions, whether in terms of the presence of Western-trained doctors or the absence of vino verde, are in the final analysis bourgeois euphemisms for the adjective good. Concede that one point, and let it be Archimedean. Hangzhou is a “good city” in respect of this, but not so good in respect of that; Shanghai is a “great city” on account of X, but a pretentious overpriced hellhole on account of Y. Make a frank confessional of one’s private portfolio of priorities, and the devil with the rankings and qualifiers of others. Try and make a falsifiable proposition out of a statement like “Hangzhou is an international/cosmopolitan/first-tier (&c.) city”, and you’re back immediately to teasing-apart a tangle of objective facts and subjective sentiments --- so, why bother?

NOUN AND COUNTRY
Cities, by definition, have always tended to have more nouns than non-cities. Ur, Jericho, Babylon, Athens, Persepolis… Markets, bazars, harbors, quays, docks – where there is produce and trade, there are nouns. The quest for insulation and the desire for fortification end at last with decoration, public beautification, and private accumulation. Nouns billowing out of baskets and spilling out of gourds and amphorae; nouns hanging from hooks, hanging from earlobes; nouns dangling from wrists and hips, twisted into one’s coiffure, pinned to one’s cloak. Nouns traveling from East to West, West to East, in caravans; across seas, up and down rivers; nouns carried on poles, locked in chests, wrapped in leaves or skins. Nouns for sale. Nouns for rent. A city can have an abundance of blind, deaf, or mute beggars, but not merchants. The more nouns, the greater the mercantile dynamism and economic fecundity of a city. Strip a polis of its nouns, and it is a polis no more.

But of course, a bustling bazar and animated agora all presuppose one thing, the one noun sine qua non. People. Unless we contemplate a city as a hive – as some soulless collective of anonymous iterations, a colony of furtive hymenopterae - a city –proper is (as Mumford says in elegant understatement) an intentional aggregation of individuals. And it is through individuals that we should try to evaluate any flock or herd of human biomass --- intra or extra-mural.

So much for nouns. What, then, are the adjectives that matter most to most citizens, in contemplation of their chosen settlement --- their habitat? And what if anything are the citizens doing – purposefully, deliberately - to increase the frequency of positive adjectives, and to decrease opportunities for the flourishing of negative ones? We are back, of course, to subjective metrics of a kind; but the very best of cities are those in which the majority of the citizens embrace the fact hat we are subjects of and for one another, and that in a city-proper we like it that way. Cities are not simply villages with more people, fewer ungulates, taller buildings, and public sewerage. Where most of the inhabitants of a metropolis have carried into the city the folkways and habits of their ancestral encampments beyond the walls, and in so doing have given to urban space a character and tempo inimical to the very idea of the city, there is in fact no true city at all. As Marcel Mauss might have put it: every city worthy of the name has refused or rejected something.

The true measure of a city – rank it as you will – is neither the volume of its nouns, nor the number of extravagant, smiley-faced adjectives which either Officialdom or media wags stick to the metropolis, or append to descriptions of its natives. And given the diversity cities – and the pretensions of some residents in some highly-populated megarural enclaves - we conclude that while we may rate, we might not want to rank.

1. http://www.china.org.cn/travel/qingdao/2013-12/24/content_30994444.htm. Consulted Tuesday 22 April 2014.
2. http://sme.amcham-shanghai.org/faq/what-meant-first-tier-second-tier-and-third-tier-cities
3. http://www.nzcta.co.nz/chinanow-general/1486/what-makes-a-city-tier-in-china/#sthash.d0KB0pz4.dpuf
4. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-25/foreign-brands-shift-focus-to-chinas-second-tier-cities
5. Perioikoi, Greek, lit. “dwellers about/outwith”.
6. Lewis Mumford (1937) “What is a city?”, Architectural Record. An interesting aside, and good point to consider given Mumford’s reference to Plato and to More, sis that there’s not a whole lot of the utopian genre in China’s long and fascinating literary history. See Geng CM (2010) “Old state and new mission: A survey of utopian literature during the late Qing dynasty and the early period of the Republic of China”, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, September 2010, Vol.4, Issue 3, pp.402-424 – vide http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11702-010-0105-7
See also Chang H-C (1986) “Literary Utopia and Chinese Utopia Literature: A Generic Appraisal” -- vide
7. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8612022/. “In about 1732, ‘civilization’ was still only a term in jurisprudence: it denoted an act of justice or judgment which turned a criminal trial into civil proceedings. Its modern meaning, ‘the process of becoming civlized’, appeared later, in 1752… Hence the first inevitable question: was it necessary to invent the word ‘civilization’ and encourage it in academic use, it is remains merely a synonym for ‘society’?” Fernad Braudel (1987/1993), A History of Civilizations, Part I, Chapter 1, “Changing Vocabulary”. This is hardly cutting-edge scholarship today, but Braudel’s gloss on the etymology of the word civilization, and its conceptual relationship to the word culture, is still worth reading.
8. http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/04/16/what-makes-a-tier-2-city-in-china-count-the-starbucks/
9. Chinese hipster = Chipster
FURTHER READING: In addition to the above sources, see generally Bell and de-Shalit (2011) The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in the Global Age. The editors of this volume convened a workshop in May of 2012 (The City, Identity, and Political Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Workshop) at Jiaotong University, Shanghai. Daniel A. Bell is the Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Arts and Humanities at Shanghai Jiaotong University and professor of political theory and director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing. We heard from an acquaintance of ours who attended that the paper presented by the delegates from Chengdu (we forget their name[s] and affiliation) was among the most interesting. See http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9544.html. Broadly related to the subject, we also like Niall Ferguson (2008) The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World; Azar Gat (2006) War in Human Civilization; Feher & Kwinter (2002) The Contemporary City (Zone Series, 1 & 2); Christopher Alexander et al. (1977) A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction; Jane Jacobs (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Henry Adams (1918) The Education of Henry Adams.

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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

What To Do For Chinese Lantern Festival

Lantern Festival marks the last day of the Spring Festival and officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations. This fun festival is mostly celebrated at nighttime to see the colorful lanterns flying high in the dark sky. In addition to seeing the lanterns flying, during this festival, families gather to attend four other major activities on this special day.

The belief during this festival is by lighting a lantern, you make a wish. So Chinese families light their lanterns and pray for health, fortune, wealth or make even more precise wishes. It is said that if you want your wish to come true, you must walk under a hanging lantern and pray for what you want.

So, at the end of the day, people light their lanterns and watch them fly away in the dark sky, accompanied by fireworks. Releasing the lanterns, which are red for good luck, symbolizes people letting go of their past selves and embracing new identities for the coming year.

Another popular activity during the Lantern Festival is to guess lanterns riddles.

Lantern riddles are called 灯迷 dēng mí in Chinese, where 灯 dēng is a lantern, lamp, or light, and 迷 mí refers to a puzzle, riddle, enigma, or conundrum.

The lanterns’ owners write riddles on small strips of paper they attach to the lantern they have hanging outside their home, so visitors can try to guess and solve the riddle.

If the visitors come up with an answer to the riddle (they are usually pretty tough to guess!), they can take off the paper and give it to the lantern owner. If the visitor guessed the right answer, then they win a little gift, given by the owner.

And this is how you change your casual stroll in the streets into a delightful moment by solving riddles. Fun, right?

Lastly, a big Lantern Festival tradition is to eat 元宵 (yuán xiāo) and these sticky balls are so yummy you’d be sorry to miss out on this excuse to eat sweet stuff.

元宵 (yuán xiāo) are sticky rice dumplings that can be stuffed with white sugar, brown sugar, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, rose petals, bean paste, and jujube paste, or any combination of two or three ingredients. For Chinese people, the roundness of the dumplings symbolizes the togetherness as it is a great time for family gatherings.

Here are the locations where you can watch the Lantern Festival:

Grand Canal Spring
“运河之春”灯会


Time: Feb. 19th
Location: Streets in Gongshu District 拱墅区各街道

Wushan
吴山灯会


Time: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Jan.25th - Feb. 20th (5:30pm - 10:30pm on the 19th)
Location: Cheng Huang Ge, Wushan 吴山城隍阁景区
Tickets: 30RMB/adults, 15RMB/children

People's Square, Xiaoshan
萧山人民广场


Time:  1:30pm - 3pm on Feb. 18th - 20th. Variety performances including singing and dancing, magic, acrobatics, etc.
Location: People's Square, Xiaoshan 萧山人民广场

Xiang Lake
湘湖灯会


Time: Feb. 3rd - 19th
Location: Xiang Lake, Xiaoshan 萧山区湘湖景区

West Lake Culture Plaza
西湖文化广场


Time: Feb. 18th - 20th
Location: West Lake Culture Plaza 西湖文化广场

Qiantang Lantern Affair
钱塘灯会


Time: Feb. 19th - Mar. 4th
Location: Dengxin Lane, Tianshui Street 天水街道灯芯巷

Song Dynasty
宋城灯会


Time: Feb. 5th - 19th
Location: Song Dynasty Themed Park 宋城景区
Tickets: 290RMB

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Plan

If you gained a few pounds over the holidays, you’re not alone. The good news for seniors looking to get back on track is you can bring about weight loss by cutting 500 calories daily from your diet. That’s the equivalent of one bagel with cream cheese.

The bad news, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, is most people don’t lose the one to five pounds they gained during the Christmas and Chinese New Year’s season. Aim to follow these suggestions on this list over the course of a week, and you'll be well on your way to reclaiming your waistline before you've even had a chance to pack up the holiday decorations.

Cut Sugar
The topic about sugar can go on and on, how bad is sugar? The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 6 teaspoons (about 22 grams) of sugar per day. This seems easy to control, but in fact, if you drink a bottle of any sweet drink, you will exceed the standard.

If you want to know more, we suggest you to watch this film That Sugar Film by Damon Gameau, here is a trial:
https://v.qq.com/x/cover/yxmn5h9ya3rl2e9.html
Damon Gameau becomes a human guinea-pig when he puts himself through a grueling 6 week diet consuming the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. That Sugar Film is one man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as “healthy.”
Sugar is Sweet or white “poison”?

Drink Water
People often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume and weight to your meal.

Try An At-home HIIT Workout
Try this 25-minute HIIT workout to torch 500 calories: 1 minute, 30 seconds of burpees; 1 minute, 30 seconds of squat jumps; 1 minute, 30 seconds of pendulums; 1 minute, 30 seconds of band jumps; and 1 minute, 30 seconds of bicep curls with bands. Repeat three times with a minute of rest in between. This sequence hits your whole body and the fast transitions keep your heart going. That way, even when the workout is over, you'll still be burning calories.

Opt For A Low-calorie Breakfast
Swap out your regular morning bagel, baozi, youtiao, fried dumplings to immediately slash 240 calories from your breakfast. And instead of flavoring it with spreading some ripe avocado on the whole wheat bread. You'll save yourself another 25 calories and benefit from the "good" monounsaturated fats in avocados, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Do this twice a week to cut 530 calories.

Don't Just Sit There
The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Make a point of being on your feet for at least two hours every day, and you could slash an extra 560 calories by the end of the week. Bonus: Taking frequent breaks can help prevent your risk of developing anxiety, heart disease, or certain cancers—all potential side effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Go Easy on the Alcohol
Remember that alcohol is a source of calories. A 12-ounce beer has 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85. A margarita packs a bigger caloric punch. Even worse offenders are creamy cocktails, such as brandy alexanders and mudslides—equivalent to drinking a rich dessert. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water. Follow these simple tricks to cut back on alcohol.

Dress Your Salad with A Fork
Prefer your salad dressing on the side? Lightly dip your fork into the dressing before stabbing your greens instead of plunging an already-loaded fork into the condiment (which picks up more) or drizzling it on top. You'll get just enough to flavor each bite and will cut about 500 calories. Another tip: Always opt for balsamic instead of Caesar to save yourself another 70 calories per tablespoon.

Say Goodbye to Soda
There are plenty of reasons to give up your soda habit once and for all. Studies have linked consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to tooth decay, diabetes, and poor bone health. And diet soda doesn't fare much better—artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose trigger insulin, which could cause you to gain weight. Start by replacing your daily 12-ounce can with a glass of water for a week, and you'll cut 980 calories. This is probably one of the easiest and best swaps you can make.

Up Your Protein (A Little)
Research suggests that protein prolongs the feeling of fullness better than carbohydrates or fats do. Studies in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, and England found that people who ate a high-protein breakfast or lunch were less hungry at their next meal. Protein also requires a few more calories to digest. Just don’t go overboard. Stick to low-fat protein sources like low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, low-fat soy drinks or snacks, or thinly sliced turkey breast.

Go For A Run
Running may be one of the most efficient workouts when it comes to blasting fat. Lace up your sneakers and go for a 60-minute run at a 10-minute-per-mile pace to burn about 600 calories.

Hit the Stairs
Not a fan of long runs? Work off nearly the same amount of calories in half the time by running up and down the stairs in your home. Do this for 15 minutes, and you'll lose 270 calories. Repeat twice a week to torch over 500.

Grab A Jump Rope
We know, we know—it gives you flashbacks to elementary school gym class. But jumping rope is a serious calorie-burner that strengthens your quads, calves, core, and shoulders. Spend 20 minutes jumping rope and you'll burn 240 calories; do this twice in a week to torch nearly 500.

Snack Smart
You may think of it as a health food, but one serving of pita bread contains about 13% of your recommended daily sodium. For a healthier fix, pair hummus with crunchy red pepper slices. This fiber-filled veggie is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, and will save you 135 calories. Do this four times a week to burn 540 calories in total.

Work Out For Just 10 More Minutes
Whether you're on the treadmill, walking around your neighborhood, or swimming laps, tell yourself to continue on for another ten minutes after you're ready to end your workout. Those extra minutes could help you shed an additional 100 calories. Repeat for five of your weekly workouts to burn 500.

Only 4 months to summer, good luck to you, and we hope you'll get to see a new you in the year of 2019!

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