Category Archives: Crazy Chinese People

Wonderful Relatives: There Are Never Enough Stupid Questions

Every family has at least one odd person. In case of my wife’s family there are actually many of them and they all hail from her mother’s side of the family. Last year I introduced in this post Granny, Aunty, Uncle, little sister (cousin) and little little sister (cousin) and that there is certainly something weird going on in that family. The problem for my wife is that no matter how far away she is from them they can always contact her thanks to modern technology.

I Don’t trust Crazy Great-Grandma


Nearly every day someone from her family is contacting her. No, it is not about asking how her day was but about buying stuff or asking question about things they had bought in the past. The two worst of the family are MIL and Aunty. Those two seem to have no ability at all to actually to use their brain before asking certain things. The way they both think can not be understood by anybody else. Father-in-law gave up on that probably over thirty years ago as he does not care about anymore.

You tellin’ me that German shops don’t exchange expired products two years after purchase?

About two years ago Aunty bought some hair dye from Germany (we bought it for her and send it to China) and few weeks ago she starts asking questions about that hair dye. For one why the expiration date is so bad as it was only till end of 2016. Well, easy to answer for my wife as “Why haven’t you used it before?” and Aunty’s answer “I wanted to sell it here but no one wanted it”. Too bad for her but still why asking us about the expiration date…However the whole story went on as Aunty wanted to know how to use it exactly. Of course she expected my wife to know immediately how to use that certain kind of hair dye she sold two years ago. So my wife asked that Aunty takes a picture of the instructions. First two pictures where showing only a table and the third picture had the instructions in them but taken roughly from the other side of the apartment so you could not read anything. Aunty blamed then that the camera in her phone is not good enough. Then she wanted that my wife returns that hair dye and gets a new one. Really, she thinks that it would be for free to send it from China to Germany and that any shop would just return some expired product two years after it was bought? To this day she still does not understand why my wife is not doing it.

Not a skirt, her trousers!

Then let’s move to my favorite topic in this blog: My dear Chinese mother-in-law. Her stories are already legendary but there is always more. I mentioned in this post already briefly her interesting dressing style which is similar to a Circus performer. Recently she tortured contacted my wife about buying clothes. Apparently she was in some store and tried on several clothes. Some friend of her took pictures and those were sent to my wife so she could say which one was the best. As you might imagine the clothes were certainly very special. My wife’s comments where basically like “You look in this one like a begging monk from some mountain temple”, “You look like the clown we saw in the circus last year”, “Why would you wear a carpet?”, “How could they fit that much Brocade in that dress?”. MIL did not understand at all why her daughter didn’t like the clothes because “They cost each at least 1500RMB (~200 Euros), they are all great!”. Yes a high price always equals in her brain that it is great. Then my wife send her pictures of normal clothes she could buy but her concern was “What should I do when the clothes don’t look as good on me as on the model?” That was reason enough not to buy the clothes my wife recommended and she ended up with one of those weird dresses. Really I do wonder why she asks her daughter for her opinion when she does not really care about it at all.

Do you know someone asking stupid questions all the time?

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Getting Lost in Langzhong

Remember my blog post “The Time we actually travelled somewhere”? Back then I only mentioned the Jianmenguan Pass however we still had another destination afterwards. I guess I tried to forget about it as the bus trip (which already took 6 hours to the Jianmenguan Pass) did not improve while driving to our final destination. In fact it got worse as the driver got lost several times so the whole trip took instead of another 2 1/2 hours again around 6 hours.

One of the countless of Buildings we visited in Langzhong

At late night we arrived in  Langzhong and were hushed by the tour guide into the old town to our Traditional Inn. As we arrived so late they did not have any dinner left and nearly all restaurants had closed already as the Old Town is a tourist attraction and thus only opened during daytime. After searching for what felt an eternity we found one restaurant we could eat something. On the down side it was filled with drunken patrons, on the bright side they had food for us. The only memories I have from the first night in the room was that those old buildings certainly do not give you any rest as you hear everyone in the whole inn talking or walking around.

From the towers in the Ancient Town you have a wonderful view around

Because we were part of a tourist group it meant also a very strict timetable. Wake up was at 5:30 AM and by 6 AM we had to be done with breakfast and run around the ancient town of Langzhong. The place looks really amazing and it is full of history but running from one temple to the next ancient school to the next ancient tomb was very exhausting. Besides exhausting it was also very repetitive as after a while all those buildings were looking the same. Because of the strict timetable we had to rush to every location and we got lost several times as we could not keep up the speed together with Nathan. One good thing though was that the food was pretty decent unlike at the horrifying experience from the City Tour Extreme a year later.

Eating bubbles because why not

Langzhong is a very interesting city as the ancient town is well-preserved and has an over 2.300 years of history. One of the main points I still remember is the ZhangFei Temple which is also where his tomb is located. On a funny side note I have to mention that MIL did not dare to enter the temple as she thinks that God will punish her for that. No idea where she got that from but in all our travels she never entered a temple due to her fear. Nathan became quickly an attraction on his own when we walked around wearing his monk costume. At one point there were several dozen people following him and taking pictures with him. Needless to say that MIL tried to be in each picture as well…

See, take picture of me and also the little guy in my arms

Our tour group allowed to have some little “freedom” by being able to select certain extras to visit. One of those extras was a performance on the other side of the river. It was a really wonderful perfomance and the only negative thing was the ridiculous amount of selfie-sticks being used to take pictures and videos. Due to that I had too often a huge tablet right in front of me. I tried my best but somehow I could not find the name of the performance online nor does my wife remembers the name any longer. All I know is that it is located right next to the Jinping Hill which is on its own already a great location to visit. We had a strict timetable when visiting the Jinping Hill and kind of got lost half way through. Especially carrying Nathan’s small pram up and down countless of stairs was a bit hard.

Entrance to the performance area

I can only recommend to visit Langzhong but without a tour group! Two to three days would be best as there is a lot to see already in the ancient town and in the surrounding area. The Jinping Hill alone can easily consume up to six hours when trying to really “see” everything there. What I can not recommend is the vinegar museum as it is just a tourist trap and of course everyone in my tour group bought plenty of vinegar in the store located at the exit of the museum.

Have you visited so-called Ancient Towns before?

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The Countryside Experience for the Wealthy

Over the years we have been several times to China. Xi’an is the place where we had spent most of our time so I also learned one or two things about the city. One of those things I learned is where you want to have an apartment in case you got a bit more spare money on you. Yes I am talking about the Qujiang New District 曲江新区which was at first only for tourism but evolved quickly into a real district. What makes the place so interesting for people with some money? It looks just great with parks around, a lake and tons of shopping malls growing like mushrooms here and there. Also the apartment blocks are bit more luxurious than the standard ones you find in other city districts as they even have their own parks in the inner yard with ponds and tiny temples.

Ain’t a bad place to have an apartment at

One friend of my wife had the luck and got one of the apartments there and now my little story starts. That friend is someone my wife knows since Elementary school and was always a bit wealthier than others around. She married a prince charming who studied in the UK and these days they live in the above mentioned area. Now what is so interesting about the younger generation in China who grew up in big cities is that they kind of lost the connection to nature and rural life. Sure it is wonderful to take walks around the parks in that area in Qujiang New District but it is not really a natural landscape. So what do younger people do when they get bored with going around shopping malls, eating in luxury restaurants or buying food in overpriced supermarkets? They leave the city for a few hours to experience the village life, or what they think the real village life is like.

Nearby the guesthouse, you can see Xi’an in the background

This year we joined them for such trip into the rural depths of Shaanxi. Mind you I don’t complain here as it was a relaxing trip in a nice surrounding with wonderful food. However it is a bit amusing to see how these people think about life in rural areas. So what kind of place we would visit in order to experience village life? Of course a fancy guest house on a mountain slope just outside the city. With fancy guest house I really do mean a fancy guest house. We were eating in guest houses before and none of them got even close to this one. The whole little village was a bit better looking than what I had gotten used to over the years. While driving up the village road I noticed that nearly each building was a guesthouse with nice cars parking outside. Once we reached our guesthouse I was somehow not surprised anymore to see a collection of BMW’s, Mercedes and Audi in the yard.

Part of the Guesthouse

The building itself was not so different from the normal guest houses you might encounter in China just a bit bigger and very nicely decorated. The main attraction here was their garden which was turned into a small restaurant with big shady trees and a bamboo fence all around to keep unwanted eyes away from the wealthy patrons. There was even an interesting self-made bamboo waterplay going around next to the fence which caught the attention of the playing children. The patrons who were not busy eating or drinking coffee were lounging in the swinging seats or in one of the hammocks. The more adventurous people were even taking short hikes up the mountain till they reached some run down houses and turned back in fear. All this while taking tons of Selfies posing in this village surroundings.

Latest at this spot most visitors rushed back to their guesthouses

By now you might be wondering why there are not specific pictures of this village, the guesthouse or other things I described. I was not allowed! For one there was some strange tower/ bridge like metal construction with military personnel and I was not allowed to take really any pictures there and the second reason being that some of the patrons were people who do not wish to appear in any kind of photo making it impossible to do anything within the guesthouse. For me it is just so interesting how this all is happening. The friend of my wife and her husband were so amazed by the hammocks and that there were chicken on the street, it just blew my mind. I mean scenes which are for me just normal in China seems to be something the “upper class” has no contact with or idea about. It seems just so surreal that these normal things are something special for them and they even pay for it to see it. I must say that this particular village/ the guesthouses certainly found good way to make money, by simply giving wealthier people a polished version of the countryside life.

Have you ever experienced something similar? I just lack the words and can only sum it up as “fake countryside for rich people”.

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time