It’s springtime in China. The rapeseed flowers are blooming in Gaochun, Nanjing.

Gaochun, a rural suburb at the very southernmost tip of Nanjing, bordering Anhui province on its south, is famous for its beautiful yellow rapeseed flowers, which are in bloom now. I had written on my blog before:

South of urban Nanjing, the fields have just turned blazingly yellow this month. Rapeseed, which is used for cooking oil (canola) and cattle feed, is one of the major agricultural products of the fertile Jiangnan (江南, which means “south of the [Yangtze] river”) region. China is the number two producer of rapeseed in the world (behind Canada), producing 15 million tons in 2016. Taking the high speed train between Nanjing and Shanghai, I would see the yellow go by every spring.

Gaochun is one of the best places to see the flowers in easily-accessible fields. Walk or take a bike along a paved road through the fields, and get off to walk within the fields. Nearby, white-walled homes complement the timeless aesthetic.

Now I received the above video from a friend in Gaochun. Enjoy.

Empty shelves in China: Supermarkets running out of fruits and vegetables

In the wake of panic buying caused by the coronavirus outbreak, shelves in supermarkets selling fruits, vegetables, disinfectants, and, of course, face masks, are empty at many stores across the country.

Where I am residing, Nanjing, Jiangsu’s provincial capital and the former capital of multiple dynasties, about 190 miles northeast from Shanghai, the fruits and vegetables had been cleaned out from one Hema Supermarket in the Jianye district by afternoon of January 28. Most of them had been restocked by morning of January 29.

Meanwhile local convenience stores still stock packaged oranges and dragonfruit.

Some news outlets, authority figures, and friends have been advising the public to eat more fruits and vegetables to ward off the virus.

Passengers on flights from Thailand to Nanjing quarantined for two weeks

Passengers on two flights from Bangkok to Nanjing are being quarantined after having landed in Nanjing the night of January 26, according to CCTV News.

Up to 333 passengers on Thai AirAsia flight FD326 and Thai Lion Air flight SL922 were affected. Forty-eight of the passengers were discovered to have visited Wuhan before. After an inspection, the passengers were taken to a medical center to be quarantined for 14 days.

Tips for celebrating Spring Festival in the time of coronavirus

Coronavirus has caused Wuhan to be virtually quarantined from outside transportation, disrupted people’s plans and lives, and infected over 1,200 people. But while the situation is dire in central China, people in most of the country are relatively safe.

People are still taking precautions, though. Surgical masks are sold out at some pharmacies. Some people are hosting smaller gatherings than they had anticipated. Museums and public places across the country are closed to decrease the risk of the virus spreading.

But it’s still Chinese New Year, and, although I opted against traveling further afoot to celebrate, I’m still going to observe the festival here in Nanjing. I grabbed a bottle of bai jiu and shared it with some friends I met at the hostel.

Celebrating Spring Festival in a big city is always different, because most of the residents go back to their ancestral hometown. But here are a few tips that apply both in ordinary times and now with the disease spreading:

  • Bai jiu kills viruses, don’t you know. Drink up!
  • Unless you are seasoned in the appreciation of bai jiu (producer Derek Sandhaus says you need hundreds of drinks to develop a taste), most foreigners can’t tell the difference between two different brands of bai jiu. I say, select the cheapest.
  • Lots of restaurants in cities are closed during Spring Festival, but Lanzhou beef noodle restaurants are almost always open. (As are restaurants in mass tourism districts, like Fuzimiao and Laomendong in Nanjing.)
  • Take precautions and use common sense. One local village broadcast on its loudspeakers a call encouraging residents to tell their relatives working in Wuhan to stay home. But don’t go overboard. It’s still Spring Festival, after all, and nothing you worry about is going to decrease the likelihood of you getting sick.