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Tencent have released a new version of their Weiyun 微云 Windows app (build 1027). Updating to this version gives you access to notes which can be shared across devices, and fixes some other bugs. I’ve followed suit and translated any new strings. Find the file here: weiyun_2.1_1027 or at this Weiyun mirror. For installation instructions, please refer to my earlier post.

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Tensions in the South China Sea mount over an oil rig in disputed waters. Recent enforcement of territorial claims are likely to disturb peace and stability in the region, cause domestic trouble in Vietnam, and sour China’s relations with ASEAN members and the US.

On 14 May 2014, Vietnamese protesters vented their anger at China’s claims to contended territorial waters and its recent enforcement of those claims by defending the construction of a Chinese oil rig (the Haiyang Shiyou 981), destined to drill a mere 120 km off Vietnam’s shore. Over 20,000 rioters vandalised factories in Binh Duong province, Vietnam’s industrial heartland just outside Ho Chi Minh City. The mob attacked anything with Chinese script on it, but ended up also damaging many Taiwanese and Korean properties. Several Chinese workers were killed in the tumult, up to 21 according to some sources. Chinese citizens react outraged.

All anti-Vietnamese protesters in Kunming
All of the anti-Vietnamese protesters in Kunming on 18 May

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Tencent have released a new version of their online storage software Weiyun 微云. The new version fixes bugs and certain strings seem to hint at the coming of notes to the software in a future version. I have translated the software strings from Chinese to English so those who do not read Chinese can now also use the software. Download the files here (mirror) and follow the instructions below.

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This article was originally written for Belgian newspaper De Tijd and published on 20 December 2013. I have now translated it for any English-speaking readership.

Belgian beer is hip in China. In many places, Belgian brands are growing more strongly than others. Duvel-Moortgat wants to conquer the Chinese market with its Vedett “Penguin” and “Polar Bear”. Chinese especially appreciate the higher quality of the beer.

Duvel

A normal business day in Kunming, the capital of south-western Yunnan province. On the patio of O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, a group of Chinese in a noticeably advanced state of happiness make each other laugh. Nothing special in itself. After all, drinking is a popular pastime in China. But the fact that they have traded the classic watery liquid for Vedett Extra White or a glass of draft De Coninck, is noteworthy. Especially because this city is over 2,000 km away from hip metropolises such as Shanghai and Beijing, and mainly surrounded by poor rural areas.

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We wake to the sound of a dozen Chinese voices preparing for the big ride. Some of them have rolled in at 10 last night but are the first to get up. At their rate, they’ll need it. Only the Hunan group is still around when we finally make it down the stairs. Of our plans to get up at the crack of dawn is not much left.

We put our sweaty and dirty riding gear back on, wipe the sleep grime off our faces and stumble into the kitchen where we’re supposed to get breakfast. And breakfast there is: the owner’s lovely wife (who could really be his daughter) serves us two large helpings of noodles and wraps up a large, freshly-baked baba (a dry wheat cake) for our trip. The neighbouring shop complements our supplies with some drinks and a smile wide enough to allow a small truck to pass.

Pete enjoying breakfast in the inn's kitchen
Pete enjoying breakfast in the inn’s kitchen

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Having rested for a full day, we make another early start into what is now really unknown terrain. A cartload of steamed buns (包子 baozi) and soy sauce eggs (卤蛋 ludan) fill our stomachs and what doesn’t fit goes into a lunch bag. Skies are clear, air is crisp, perfect day for a bike ride.

Leaving Shangri-La in the morning
Leaving Shangri-La in the morning

As we’re climbing out of the messy outskirts of Shangri-La, we’re accompanied by a cloud of ominous buzzards, lazily circling above our heads. Traffic’s relatively busy and we’re hoping to hit the actual old road to Deqin soon. We’re not too sure whether it still exists. On one hand, constructing a new second-class road requires making much more level roads, an ice-free surface and there are certain requirements as to how sharp curves are allowed to be. (more…)

We’d had a rest day at Baishuitai to explore the terraces and the forest around it further because it was so pretty. It also allowed us to get a good night’s rest and to leave early on what was supposed to be one of the hardest rides of this trip.

Leaving the hotel at 8am
Leaving the hotel at 8am

No surprises for me this time. I had ridden the murderous 131km from Haba to Shangri-La in one day before and I had literally fallen asleep on the bicycle from exhaustion and altitude. And that was after 4 months of continuous biking. With a lot fewer kilometres in our legs this time, I thought it wiser to cut the distance by 30km by staying in Baishuitai instead of Haba, and also to leave early enough. By 8am we’re on the road.

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After a night in the smoky torture chamber next to the Mahjong-loving photographer crew from Henan, we’re feeling surprisingly fresh. The sun’s out and it promises to be a lovely day. Whatever remains of our headache and grudge towards the rowdy neighbours is quickly fixed by a large bowl of noodles. We get the owner to boil us some eggs for the road and will rely on Dali bars 达力粑 for the rest of the day.

'morning!
‘morning!

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At 7:30am, we disembark the stuffy train and breathe the crisp Lijiang air. Ahead of us looms the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang’s undisputed landmark which attracts gazillions of tourists to its much over-hyped new-old town. Yet behind the city walls, adventure lies in ambush. We’re stoked to surprise it right where it expects us.

Leaving the station
Leaving the station

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I have translated the strings in Tencent Weiyun 腾讯微云 from Chinese to English so those who do not read Chinese can now also use the software. Download the files here (mirror) and follow the instructions below.

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