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Everyone loves KTV. Everyone. If you don't like sitting in a dark, enclosed space, listening to your friends murdering classic mandopop hits at ear splitting volume, there has to be something wrong with you.
I've heard people ask what the point of learning to read Chinese is, what with the use of pinyin as a phonetic system, and the ability to use your phone to translate text. The answer is obvious: if you can't read characters, how will you sing Chinese songs at KTV? In China, and across Asia, KTV culture is huge and, if you want to engage with life here, learning to sing a couple of songs in the local language will get you a lot of kudos.
At Liuzhou Meet & Learn, we organise regular KTV evenings, and I'm always surprised by how good people are at singing, particularly our local Chinese members - unfortunately, us foreigners don't always hold up our end of the bargain and I've witnessed some performances that made my ears bleed.
I admit to being a bit of a…
Recent posts

帆船 - Sailing

One of the great things about Liuzhou Meet & Learn is the variety of people that get involved; not just in terms of nationality (though we have members from nearly 20 different countries) but in terms of people's backgrounds, employment and interests. One of our members is a sailing fanatic and president of the local sailing club, allowing us the opportunity to go sailing on the 柳江 Liujiang river as it winds it's way through Liuzhou.
Following a late decision to get out on the water, due to an earlier thunderstorm, we made our way to the riverside at 3:30pm. Though the rain had moved on, the high winds remained and, coupled with decent cloud cover, made for perfect sailing conditions.
This being China, where they aren't huge on health and safety, we got just two pieces of advice before setting off: 1) the boat can't capsize, so don't worry; 2) keep your head lower than the bottom of the sail. Right, off we go!
All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon with the …

烧烤 - BBQ

One of the great things about living in a smaller city like Liuzhou is that the countryside is never too far away; it's so easy to get away from the city and relax.
The Chinese say 民以食为天 which could be roughly translated as "food is the god of the people" and this really stresses how important a part of the culture food is here - it permeates all aspects of life in a way which could never happen in the UK. Most social activities revolve around food so, when the weather is good, what could be better than going to one of the nearby national parks to have a BBQ with friends? Luckily, the local government here provides 烧烤场 spaces for residents to BBQ surrounded by the stunning local scenery.
At Liuzhou Meet & Learn, we chose 三门江国家森林公园 Sanmenjiang National Forest Park which is to the east of the city. Building on our previous success, our second big BBQ event had more than 30 members in attendance and it was a great afternoon. On the menu this time, an obscene amount of f…

啤酒在中国 - Beer in China

Summers in Guangxi are long and hot so you're going to need to keep your fluids up; beer is scientifically proven to be the best way to do this. Besides, spirits and wine are best avoided in Chinese bars and I highly recommend staying away from the local poison of choice, 白酒 white alcohol, the taste of which could generously be described as somewhere between vodka and paint stripper. So here's a quick guide about what to drink when you're in Liuzhou...

As well as better known Chinese mass produced beers such as 青岛 Qingdao and 雪花 Snow, the most popular brand in Liuzhou is 漓泉啤酒 LiQ Beer from nearby Guilin. They have a few types available, including 漓泉1998 and 漓泉新1代纯生, which are their premier offerings. The 1998 variety appears to celebrate a visit to the province 20 years ago by ex US president Bill Clinton and includes a patently false quote from the man himself (I'm fairly sure Clinton didn't speak Chinglish).
Whilst the taste is definitely not on a par with our B…

礼拜六的聚会 - Saturday Night Meetup

Ephesians 5:18 says: "and do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit." If you've ever been drinking in China, you'll likely doubt the word of god here and agree that it's best to stay away from the spirits - they're almost certainly fake! Actually, and as if you needed another excuse to hit the beers, remember that wine in China is generally fake as well. I'm not sure where I was going with that quote. Anyway, founded around 4 months ago, Liuzhou Meet & Learn has quickly become the biggest and liveliest social event in Liuzhou. Whilst definitely not debaucherous, there are certainly some drinks to be had every Saturday night at our regular meeting. We have over 30 attendees every week, and a total membership of nearly 100 people, ready to meet new local and foreign friends, to share their language, their thoughts and more.
When we first arrived in the city, we found there wasn't really an opportunity for the…