Luzhou

Mar 10, 2020

Dance for zero

The latest craze celebrating human cooperation against a virus

We want you to #danceforzero, too!

This week, Luzhou hit zero active cases of Covid-19, so we wrote a song to celebrate. But, we realized, as the virus is still making itself known around the world, #danceforzero can mean many different things. Yes, we’re at zero cases, but we’re also cheering for the rest of the world to hit zero.

To that end, we invite everyone to join the #danceforzero. You can download our Bowie-esque tune at Bandcamp (for free) and make your own dance, either celebrating with us, or willing the world strength to make it down to zero. Upload it to YouTube, and hashtag it “danceforzero.”

In the meantime, keep washing your hands!

Mar 5, 2020

A brand new channel trailer

Now with Covid-19

I’ll say it: We look impressive!

Peter does a great job keeping our YouTube channel trailer fresh and current. He just uploaded a new version, which now includes footage of us goofing off in face masks during the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s important to stay current.

It’s fun for me to see these different trailers, because it makes our life in China seem so impressive and exciting. I mean, life is exciting and wondrous all, but it doesn’t always feel that way while your living it. We should all be so lucky as to have someone cut together a personal highlight reel.

Mar 2, 2020

Hanging out downtown

As seen in the New York Post

After more than a month away, we confirm that downtown Luzhou still exists.

As indoorsy of a person as I am, it was still pretty rough to not really leave the house for five weeks. So we we kind of giddy to get out and into Luzhou city center. Things are still much quieter than usual, and all the teahouses and KTVs along the Yangtze are closed. We’re on the way back to normal, but we’re not quite there yet.

Also, I wrote about my experience with the quarantine for the New York Post. During the editing process, they did keep pushing for more lurid details, like, “how many people died in your city” and “aren’t you scared to go to the hospital?” To which I answered, “no one” and “Please. I’ve been to the hospital.” It ran online only, and that may be why, but I’m pretty proud with how it came out.

Feb 27, 2020

The restrictions loosen, and we're both allowed outside the fence

Too bad the weather's still so dreary

We’re out! Within reason!

Via text message from my phone company, we were informed yesterday that the government is telling people to go outside and go back to work. We’ve still got to wear masks and all, but things are getting back to normal-ish. School is still closed for now, and if cases start spiking, I fully expect to be pushed back inside. But, for now, things are looking good.

Feb 25, 2020

But what is it that you DO all day?

Working in the time of Covid-19

Oh, yeah. I’m still an English teacher for babies.

The lucky thing that makes all of this staying inside feasible is that while the kindergarten at which I work is closed, I’m still on the payroll. We’re teaching all of our lessons by video, via our class’ private chat group. It’s a new set of challenges — not the least of which is my propensity for making things far more complicated than they need to be. But, at the end of the day, I really like making movies, whether it’s for adults or babies.

Feb 13, 2020

Iris is also OK

Checking in with our friends, part 1

My friend Iris talks about her experience with quarantine-not-quarantine.

Stuck inside talking about how bored we are got boring really quickly — so we got to work making more videos. But how can you involve other people while you’re prohibited from gathering in groups … and then prohibited from really leaving the house? Video interviews! So here’s Iris, an English teacher in Chengdu, talking about what she’s been doing to keep busy and healthy.

Feb 10, 2020

Staying indoors but staying positive

Dealing with 2 weeks of 2019-nCov

Some tentative good news: the spread of the virus appears to be slowing.

Whelp, and then the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia took over the Chinese New Year holiday. It’s a strange time to be alive; we’re not in the danger zone for the disease, but we are taking EXTREME PRECAUTIONS, and life has been pretty weird for it. It looks like it’ll still go on for a while, so, stay tuned.

Feb 28, 2019

Straight out of Luzhou

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

Find all of our music at Hello Foreigner on YouTube, or on SoundCloud.

Chill out with this music video that takes you on a ride throughout central Luzhou. It’s always more peaceful when someone else is doing the driving …

Dec 3, 2018

Walking around our Chinese neighborhood

Uncle’s Shorts #40

Our fortieth Uncle’s Short!

Tune in for the tour of our favorite neighborhood places, and stick around for friendly interviews about what makes a good hometown. City or countryside? I’m city all the way.

Nov 2, 2018

Yield when we die: Chinese traffic comes to a stand-still

Uncle’s Shorts #36

Never miss a video. Subscribe to Hello Uncle Foreigner on YouTube.

The road to where we’re going is long, and fraught with peril. Sometimes literally. But Luzhou is doing it’s part to make traffic more “civilized.”

Our opener this week features footage from Lijiang; our drive from where we worked to the “Old Town” that was the center tourist attraction for the city. If you watch very closely, you can see the Jade Dragon Mountain in the background.

As a small city, Lijiang public transport wasn’t quite sufficient for everyday living, and taxis were infuriatingly expensive. What should have been a 6 kuai ride, according to the meter, was regularly a 20 kuai bill or more. That’s life in a tourist town for ya.

So while we lived in Lijiang, I drove Peter and I around on a little e-bike. It was … an adventure.

On the open road, driving the bike was exhilarating! The roads were flat and the distance was full of scenery. But in town, the traffic was AGGRESSIVE. And so was I. You can see in the video, we almost get hit two separate times. This was unremarkable enough to me that I didn’t even notice it until Peter pointed it out.

Here in Luzhou, I’m back to being a full-time pedestrian. Occasionally, I wish that we had a car, for inter-city trips. But most of the time, vehicle-free is the way to be. It helps that I live one block away from work.

This week, we also unveil another new feature: the Dialogues. “Wear more clothes” is our first attempt together at crafting a fictionalized piece, and we learned a lot in this first go-round. From a writing perspective, it’s an interesting challenge to relate my thoughts to an actual location; writing essays and vlogs, those are much more in my head. Even if I’m interacting with an environment while I say them, the words are just really one train of thought. Whereas an actual dialogue, of course you have two people talking with (or talking past) each other, but you’ve also got to localize the characters in the space. Otherwise, all you’ve got is a Kevin Smith movie. So the writing goal with these pieces is to incorporate the physicality of the players, and locate them in time and space. No big deal. I’ll have it perfected by next week.

Anyway, we had a lot of fun putting together this week’s episode. So, we hope you like it … although, as always, we’re not terribly concerned if you don’t.