Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mr. Kim's visit to China

This week World Bank president Jim Yong Kim is in China to meet with high-level Chinese officials, visit Bank projects, and also launch some new initiatives and collaborations. Here's a report of Mr. Kim's visit. The World Bank also posted a few pictures.

A snippet from the World Bank news flash:

BEIJING, November 27, 2012 – The World Bank Group and China today launched a new knowledge hub to improve development outcomes, aiming to spread practical knowledge from China’s successes in reducing poverty both within China as well as to other countries. Initially, the knowledge hub will help find environmentally friendly solutions to expand urban transport in China’s cities.

And if you are wondering why this focus on urban transport is important:

Managing urbanization is a priority for China, with about 75 percent of its gross domestic product generated in the largest 120 cities, and 350 million rural residents expected to move into its cities over the next 20 years. The Bank is helping China introduce transport improvements in about 30 cities, focusing on low-carbon emission options such as public transportation, walking and cycling.

The new knowledge hub will speed up the process of analyzing the successes and lessons learned in implementing solutions to urban challenges. [....] The knowledge hub will also help Chinese cities learn from each other. An integrated corridor management approach was introduced in an urban transport project in several cities in Liaoning Province to improve people’s travel speed, reliability, safety, and security in a comprehensive manner, based on successful examples in London and New York. It is now making public transport more attractive in other cities including Taiyuan, Wuhan, Changzhi, Xiangyang, and Xining.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Wet Wild Wall

I heard some rumors that people were getting tired of looking at the red doors in my last blog post. True, both China and the U.S. have since moved on, with a new fearless leader, Mr. Xi Jinping, in charge of the world's second largest economy and most numerous population. (By the way, I love the story about him visiting Iowa in his late twenties.)

While I don't have any pictures of Mr. Xi, I do have a few photos of Paul and I and some friends at the Great Wall on a very rainy day recently. It's not much of a story, but at least it is something else to look at than those red doors...

It so rarely rains in Beijing, that we hadn't even prepared with the right clothing.

It's hard to even see the beautiful landscape.

A bit of "wild wall" near Mutianyu. The "wild" refers to the fact that this part has not been restored. You can see the tree growing in the middle of the wall!

The eighties' wet look is back.

This is the path we came through :-). The wild wall is not for the average tourist.

Slippery when wet.

One of the watch towers.

A final peak at the Fall colors, before we headed back cable car. It was the end of a wet adventure!

In het Nederlands: We hadden lekker "Hollands weer" toen we laatst met vrienden naar de Chinese Muur gingen. Het regent hier niet vaak, dus we waren niet echt goed voorbereid!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Leadership change

This week is a big week around the globe. Coming off the back of super storm Sandy, America is preparing itself for the final showdown in the fistfight that is called the U.S. General Elections.

Today, in the Netherlands, the new coalition government--Kabinet-Rutte II--was installed by Queen Beatrix.

And in China, my Internet is coming to a grinding halt because of the enhanced security related to the top Communist Party meetings in Beijing this week, at which the CCP (Communist Party of China) will reveal its new leadership.

What will the future hold for us?

In het Nederlands: Het zijn nogal wat wisselingen van de wacht deze week! Het kabinet Rutte II is geinstalleerd. In America gaat Obama kijken of hij nog vier jaar door mag. En in Beijing zijn de top vergaderingen van de communistische partij van China begonnen. Volgende week weten we ook hier wie de nieuwe leider wordt!

"Dancing in the Park"

There's something super endearing about all the activity in the public parks in Beijing. In the Netherlands, if you put out a volleyball net, chances are it will be used for anything but volleyball. Put out a table, and some vandal will carve his name in it. Here? People exercise using bright yellow and blue equipment, they dance on their own or in a group, and they play Mahjong or cards at designated little tables.

Pay attention and join in with the steps!

Here are some more pictures of the hutongs around this park:



This women could use a little dance in the park!

In het Nederlands: Het is altijd gezellig in de parken in Beijing. Er wordt gedanst en gezongen, er wordt gekaart, en de ledematen worden goed gestrekt.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shopping spree

Recently Paul and I went on a shopping spree. That is: We bought a random tie, some Halloween items, and a plate of noodles. I am sure you can't wait to see the pictures of our eventful half-day near the Hongqiao Pearl Market.

Size matters.


Chinese style tea cups.


Noodle man.


Super noodle soup.


Noodle woman.


Looking for a tie for Paul's Halloween outfit. I guess he only wears ties with Halloween!


Hongqiao, one of Beijing's indoor markets with a million stalls with clothes, accessories, (fake) pearls, and other miscellaneous items you are sure you don't need but can't resist to buy.


Street view in front of the Hongqiao market.

An important photo taken by Thomas.