This tollbooth in Lin’an is exactly what you’d expect a Chinese tollbooth to look like, isn’t it? Well, they don’t all look like this.
And they don’t all look like the viral photo of a huge traffic jam at a very wide tollbooth. That’s a photo taken during Chinese New Year, which I imagine causes the most and biggest traffic jams anywhere on the planet. Chinese New Year, known in China as Spring Festival, is when Chinese people all go back to their hometowns. (If you’re American, imagine Thanksgiving traffic, with about four times as many people involved.)
If you’ve travel(l)ed at all, you are of course aware that things are different in different countries. Among the most obvious differences are buildings, clothes, language, and, above all, food. Ya gotta eat. For most tourists, eating in local restaurants is a normal part of the travel experience, but not everybody goes shopping in a local market or supermarket. Perhaps they should. It’s an experience full of unknown unknowns.
Who would have guessed that the sale of eggs in China could be so gloriously chaotic.
When I lived in Singapore, I mostly walked and took trains and buses (sometimes taxis). Now I’m in a bigger city, one that has a big river cutting through the middle of it, and (at least for now) I’m traveling by car from one half to the other for work. That means I’m crossing lots of bridges. Since I’m not driving, I can take photos!
They look different depending on the time of day and weather. For example, the butterfly-shaped Jiubao Bridge (which China Daily claims is the ‘most beautiful’ bridge in the city), is white in the daytime but changes to a shifting rainbow at night. I’ve got gifs to prove it!
On January 3, 2023, I started work at Zhejiang Lab at the editorial office of Intelligent Computing: A Science Partner Journal.
My role, as a native speaker of English with a background in Computer Science and experience in academic publishing, is to help strengthen the reputation of the journal.
Zhejiang Lab (之江实验室) is a research institute established jointly by the Zhejiang Provincial Government, Zhejiang University, and Alibaba Group in September, 2017. (The name of the province is 浙江. That is, it uses a different ‘Zhe’ but the same ‘jiang’; the name of the lab is sometimes spelled ‘Zhijiang’.)
Intelligent Computing, launched in 2022, is an English-language Open Access Science Partner Journal published in affiliation with Zhejiang Lab and distributed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Want to know what my workplace is like? See below for some maps and photos of the lab campus.
There are English quotes and signs throughout this shop in a mall in Hangzhou, but I’m not sure I saw any books in English. I saw bilingual editions of the Harry Potter books, and LOTS of recognizable books translated from English and other European languages. I enjoyed looking around and soaking up the quiet atmosphere of words in ink on paper.
西西弗书店 (Xīxī fú shūdiàn)
Founded in 1993, this chain of over 360 shops in 80 cities across China is named after Sisyphus in the Greek myth. The website explains:
What Sisyphus is engaged in is a continuous movement, without purpose, without success or failure, good or evil. This action seems to be ineffective, but it contains awesome power. In the sense of stoicism, and with a touch of sacrifice, we hope to be the Sisyphus of the book and culture industry.