About Electric Cars

There are some electric cars that don’t travel so fast as to require a driver’s license on the streets of Guiyang. A friend of mine sells motor scooters and also has a line of electric cars. I had a chance to talk to Sarah about her little car products and made a short video about these surprising vehicles. The two  things I found most interesting  about these cars are the low price and the range of these “hybrid” vehicles.

Youku       About Electric Cars

Youtube    About Electric Cars



Covid-19 March 26 Update

On March 23 I went to dinner with some Chinese at a restaurant here in Guiyang. It’s the first time that I went out to dinner here in China in the last two months. About ten days ago I was in a very significant traffic jam. Guiyang, China has an expression “Cool. Cool. Guiyang, traffic jam heaven.”  (It actually rhymes in Chinese.) I hate the traffic jams. There are way too many cars and not enough capacity in the roads. When the virus hit  there was about 4 weeks when the roads were almost empty. There was a car or truck every two or three seconds on a six lane road , a road that ofen has traffic backups. It is strange how the emotions work. I actually really enjoyed my first traffic jam. It meant that the worst was behind us in the quarantine. Since that time there have been almost no new cases of Covid-19, except for the imports of people returning to China from overseas.  

 As I write this, I remember a young lady I worked with in 2003, my first teaching gig in China. She complained a lot about the relatively harsh conditions we experienced as teachers in a new school. That school wasn’t set up for foreign teachers. We were in lockdown for the SARS quarantine. A doctor came to our room every morning and tested our body temperature. We were told that Guizhou was the only province in China to avoid getting the SARS virus. This was attributed to the large amount of Zheergen (a fish smelling herb – yuxingcao 鱼腥草) eaten by the locals, as well as a large amount of Moutai a favored drink of the locals. Moutai is a 106proof liquor produced locally in Guizhou. No matter how much you drink, you don’t get a hangover because of it’s purity. It is possible that there is a point between very drunk the next morning and dead, where you might get a hangover, but I never found that point. I accidently tested that limit one evening, but that is another story.  

Getting back to my original digression, the complaining young lady refused to honor the lockdown and against the “recommendation” of the school leaders, she travelled to another city. Upon returning she was locked in her room for thirty days and had no teaching responsibilities for the duration (I think it wasn’t a full thirty days, as the administration relented). She wasn’t paid for that time off. My room was next door to her and I spent time with her, even though she didn’t like me and the reverse was also true. We did have a TV with very few English language shows. I will never forget her excited laughter when we turned the channel and found a football game (football season was over). She said, “Wow! Its football! I don’t even like football! The moral to the story is that we can all adjust our thinking as times require. It is nothing to fear. 

As of March 26, travel is getting more convenient, but the entire situation is monitored. Most public places test your body temperature and your cell phone scans report your location when entering buildings or using any public transport. Everybody still wears masks. You can feel that the country is starting to roll again. I offered a toast at the dinner the other day congratulating China on behalf of the American People for being almost free of the virus. Oops. I didn’t get the reaction I had expected. They all drank to my toast, but I could tell that the extreme quarantine had taken its toll and and that the pain of this “fight the virus” was still fresh. Also, there is a lot of propaganda about blaming America for this bio-attack on the Chinese homeland and it’s people. There will be a lot of work to do if we are to recreate an ongoing work relationship here. It will be hard to accomplish, but the US and China together can help humanity advance. If we don’t,  we won’t.

If there is a takeaway from this rambling narrative, I have been locked up twice over the 17 years, and it isn’t so bad. There is an incredible solidarity of people working together, empathy for each other. There is a lot of free time, with not very much to do. It is good to have some time to think, to remember what is important. My point is that China has come through this challenge in about a six-week period after taking a massive hit in Wuhan, a transportation hub with a population of eleven million. The coordinated counterstrike by the Chinese Government has the virus on the run. The Chinese are still vigilant, but we can see the economy picking up rapidly. The people are getting more confident. China has survived the same hardship that the US is facing. As long as you have electricity, food, sewer and water, access to health care, and the other necessities (cell phone and internet) by working together you can survive. The fear of the unknown is holding the US leadership back from doing what is necessary in my opinion.  

I completely agree with the assessment of Bill Gates, who has been spending a fortune to fight sicknesses around the world. He says we can’t just ignore the bodies piling up in the corner. Restarting the economy without a China style lockdown probably won’t work as planned. People will overwhelm the health care system, all health care services. Health care professionals will get sick. The economy will fail anyway because the economy needs healthy workers. The “herd immunity” which is a central feature of the plan may not matrerialize for years. Also, anticipated vaccines might not be right around the corner. We know that a full commitment to fight the virus will yield favorable results within six weeks of beginning. We haven’t begun to fight. It is time.  (Come on US !) 

  Bill Gates Update

Virus Update from China, Personal Impressions

There has been significant social media on this Corona Viris problem here in China.  I have heard that there is a survival rate of about 98 percent, with the deaths occuring in vulnerable sub-populations like old people, very young people, and pre-existing conditions. I was here in China 17 years ago when SARS hit and I must say that the Chinese response has been impressive this time. The only criticism I have heard is that the government should have told the people how serious it was earlier.  In fact, if the government had done so, it would have encouraged everybody to get out of Wuhan, spreading the viris,  and probably limiting the effectiveness of the quaranteen. It is amazing how fast they can shut down a city of 12M people. That is bigger than any US city. It was very impressive.

Unlike the SARS epidemic seventeen years ago, the authorities seem to be in lock step with the World Health Organization (WHO). I understand there has been a shakeup in the Health Officials in Wuhan. I actually have some contacts with the Airport in Guiyang. It has very recently become certified by the WHO as an “International Sanitary Airport”. They proved to WHO that they had up to date procedures in place for exactly this kind of event, and many others.

In contrast to 17 years ago, those of us with access to Western News watched a lot of concern about SARS in China.  At that time China was in denial, still telling tourists that SARS was fully contained. Come to China, it’s safe! Then, just a little later, the new President, Hu Jin Tao, took office and had a press conference. He said that he knew there had been a coverup and from now on they would do exactly what the WHO told them to do. A Western news reporter asked the first question . . . “If there was a coverup, who was responsible and what are you going to do about it.” (Good old Western Media). President Hu said: “We are looking into that right now.” The next day the Mayor of Beijing was canned along with the leader of the Health Department. Wow.

The next day the news in China changed. Instead of denials, everything was all about SARS. I happened to travel between cities at that time and the police stopped the bus in the countryside. Two nurses got on the bus and  tested everybody’s body temperature. The response seventeen years ago was first telling us not to worry and then in a day it turned into SARS information everywhere and total commitment.

Now we are told to stay out of crowds, wear masks, and wash hands, a lot. I had trouble finding a mask to wear so I used a scarf when I went out. The police called to make sure I was where the records said I was and said to call them if I had any trouble.  The next day I did call them about how to get a mask. They took care of it.

I understand that the police are taking inventory of all foreigners here. That is a good thing. This event took place at perhaps the worst possible time, with Chinese cued up for Spring Festival. Spring Festival is like Christmas Vacation on steroids. It is a family time and people leave the cities to visit the parents, the largest human mass migration in the world. Maybe the vacating of many cities is a blessing, with Chinese getting out of harm’s way just in time. Anyway, people are staying put. With a gestation period of 10 to 20 days (I am told) we should be getting results about the effectiveness of the measures in a couple weeks.

During the SARS epidemic Guizhou Province didn’t get a single case. Locals attributed it to the relative isolaition of the Province, the widespread use of Moutai (the preferred spirits of 108 proof) and the local favorite medicinal tree root which  they put in everything.Although Guizhou appeared on the Viris maps early in the spread of the disease, it didn’t seem to spike like other outbreaks around China. This might be attributed to the lack of people in town. During Spring Festival people left and seem to be staying away.  We now have about ten known cases in a city of 5M people. Nevertheless, I plan to stay away from both bats and snakes, which were the original culprits in Wuhan.

John S. Porter  (AKA: Jack)

Sofia’s Russia Tour

If you have always dreamed about Russia, or even if you haven’t, consider Sofia’s Ultimate Tour. A native of St. Petersburg, she has many friends that can help.

St. Petersburg is considered one of the richest cultural destinations in Russia and has very beautiful countryside.

You can feel comfortable in a foreign country, with living conditions carefully adjusted to Chinese taste, right down to the hot and cold water machine. There are excellent ethnic Chinese restaurants and a variety of other countries’ foods represented.

Contact Sofia at her Wechat:

Oops. Camellia Oil 山茶油 is San Cha You

Recently in the article about Jin Ping and Longli, Ancient City, we referenced a new oil called San Cha You. I believe this is also Camellia Oil 山茶油. I thought it was just a cooking oil with some medical uses. In fact it isn’t that new. Here is an article about the medical benefits: Oil Video #1 . I honestly don’t know if this is the same stuff that I took pictures of, but it looks the same . . . Here’s another hype kind of video that is claimed to have beautfying traits: Oil Video #2.This young lady seems pretty good . . . Oil Video #3  I don’t endorse any of this stuff, but this oil seems to be part of a poverty alleviation program. 

This is really funny because I got one bottle which I used to fry my eggs with because I thought it was just an expensive vegetable oil. It was ok with eggs . . . Here is the original article . . . LongLi Ancient City

Autonimous Vehicles (AV) and Testing

The following article relates directly to the testing and implementation of AV in Guiyang. It is worth thinking about:
Link to Original Story

Forget Self-Driving Cars. Bring Back the Stick Shift.

Technology meant to save us from distraction is making us less attentive.
By Vatsal G. Thakkar
Dr. Thakkar is a psychiatrist.March 23, 2019

CreditPaulo Keller/EyeEm, via Getty Images
CreditCreditPaulo Keller/EyeEm, via Getty Images

I was backing my wife’s car out of our driveway when I realized I wasn’t watching the backup camera, nor was I looking out of the rear window. I was only listening for those “audible proximity alerts” — the high-pitched beeps that my car emits as I approach an object while in reverse. The problem was that my wife’s car, an older model, doesn’t offer such beeps.

I had become so reliant on this technology that I had stopped paying attention, a problem with potentially dangerous consequences.

Backup cameras, mandatory on all new cars as of last year, are intended to prevent accidents. Between 2008 and 2011, the percentage of new cars sold with backup cameras doubled, but the backup fatality rate declined by less than a third while backup injuries dropped only 8 percent.

Perhaps one reason is, as a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put it, “Many drivers are not aware of the limitations” of the technology. The report also found that one in five drivers were just like me — they had become so reliant on the backup aids that they had experienced a collision or near miss while driving other vehicles.

The fact that our brains so easily overdelegate this task to technology makes me worry about the tech industry’s aspirations — the fully autonomous everything. Could technology designed to save us from our lapses in attention actually make us even less attentive?

Uber’s march toward a self-driving car hit a major speed bump last year in Tempe, Ariz., when one of its self-driving Volvos struck and killed a pedestrian. While a lot of focus was on how a vehicle with cameras and radar sensors could completely miss a human being on the road, less has been said about the failure of the most intricately programmed system in the vehicle — the brain of the human in the driver’s seat.

An investigation revealed that the driver was watching Hulu until the moment of the crash. Because the human brain is impeccable in its ability to filter out extraneous information, thistype of behavior should have been predicted. During normal driving, our brains are in a near-constant state of vigilance. But let someone or something do the driving for us and this vigilance easily fades.

Something similar seems to have happened with a handful of fatalities involving Tesla’s Autopilot mode. It seems that the drivers made little to no effort to intervene.

The introduction of safety technology has resulted in unintended accidents in other contexts as well. In December 2017, a patient died at a major medical center when a nurse searched for an anti-anxiety medication in an automated dispensing cabinet by typing only its first two letters. She chose the first drug that appeared in the results — Vecuronium, instead of Versed. Vecuronium is a paralytic drug that is sometimes used in executions.When it was administered, the patient’s vitals crashed and she died within days.

Technology seems to have turned against us once again in the deadly crashes of two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts. In October, pilots on Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia seem to have struggled against the plane’s supposedly lifesaving technology. Investigators suspect that sensors incorrectly interpreted the plane’s ascent as too steep, causing the plane’s “maneuvering characteristics augmentation system” to kick in. It brought the plane’s nose down, ultimately into the Java Sea at 450 miles per hour.

Boeing had begun to develop a software fix, but it wasn’t ready in time for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which just this month crashed, possibly because of the same bug, killing all 157 people on board. In these cases, no one can criticize the pilots for failing to pay attention. Still, the crashes were a wake-up call, especially because pilots weren’t required to be trained on the new technology.

Though a supercomputer will always surpass the human brain in terms of pure speed, the brain is beyond complex in its ability to reprioritize salient data inputs from multiple sources. If one input becomes less relevant, our cognitive systems shift their attention to the next most relevant one (which these days is usually our mobile devices).

But there’s one feature available on some cars today that can increase a driver’s vigilance instead of diminishing it — the manual transmission.

A car with a stick shift and clutch pedal requires the use of all four limbs, making it difficult to use a cellphone or eat while driving. Lapses in attention are therefore rare, especially in city driving where a driver might shift gears a hundred times during a trip to the grocery store.

I’ve owned a stick-shift vehicle for the last 20 years. I bought my first upon graduating from med school — a used 1994 BMW 325i. Years later, my best man wrote “just married” on the back windshield, and the next year my wife and I drove our newborn son home from the hospital in it.

Sadly, sales of manual transmissions are falling, and many automakers, including Audi, are discontinuing the option in the United States. It appears that I’ll have to keep my 2013 S4 model until 2026 if I want to teach my kids to drive a stick.

When I bought that first five-speed BMW, my dad cautioned me about safety, thinking that driving a stick would be more distracting and less safe. He was wrong. Though research on the safety of manual transmissions is scant, one study on the driving performance of teenage boys with A.D.H.D. revealed that cars with manual transmissions resulted in safer, more attentive driving than automatics. This suggests that the cure for our attentional voids might be less technology, not more.

Tourguizhou Gets “Salute”

The tourguizhou.com web site and tourguizhou wechat group received a “Community City Creativity Award” on December 31, 2018. In front of 400 members of the Guizhou Community Alliance. Jack Porter received a commemerative certificate,trophy, and a picture with flowers and the lovely MC – Yusi.

Jack gave a little talk about his nearly twenty year history with Guizhou Province and the seven year history of Tourguizhou. He explained how to use the search box and menus to find exclusively local information, all English content, about Guizhou Province.




English/Golf Workshop Holiday Special for Kids

Raymond Lo Cohen USPGA Golf Professional

Raymond Lo Cohen, USPGA, is a retired golf professional from Hong Kong. He has 18 years as a USA golf pro. He has retired in Guiyang and is offering a series of golf/English classes. 

Golfing with Raymond English/Golf Workshop is an ideal way for kids to learn English and Golf at the same time. The first five hour workshop will be hour per week sessions will be fun and be a big boost in English proficiency for students. Jack Porter, sponsor of this web site About Tourguizhou, has helped organize the event and will work with kids as a volunteer.

The event is planned for either February 22 or 23, depending on the weather and client response. The workshop  is for grade school age kids (6-13). The first classes will be offered at the new Golden Tulip Hotel in Jinyang, just minutes from the Beizhan Train Station. Class will be from 10 AM to 3:30 PM, including lunch. This is a saturation English environment, five hours. Raymond has several locations throughout Guiyang where he will be able to offer classes. The first class will feature putting in addition to basic swing and golf English. Other classes will be on a golf simulator or at a local driving range.

This English emersion class will be roughly half in the classroom and half outside. The Golden Tulip Hotel has a fully enclosed courtyard and mini golf area. A variety of classrooms are available at the GoldenTulip and the classroom shown here is the VIP room off of the main restauant.

The Minigolf Area

The Classroom

 Raymond has several foreign friends with at least one volunteer English teacher (native English speaking teacher). Foreign teachers (native English teachers) that want to volunteer can get free golf lessons and/or gifts if they participate. Referral fees and discounts can be discussed if you have interested students. Contact Raymond directly at 13984086686 for information about referrals

Raymond is fluent in English, Mandarin, Guizhouhua, and Guandonghua. Although the class plan is flexible depending on student needs, the current class plan is listed below:

Golf Lessons English Lessons

The object of the game
The names of the clubs
The Setup
The Grip
The Swing

Greetings and Making Friends
Sounds of the Letters
Songs with Colors and Animals
Simple Nouns
Simple Verbs
Simple Sentences

Students will have a good basic understanding of golf and basic English sentences and pronounciation.

Transportation: While the location is easy to get to make sure you ask about transportation when you register. The Hotel is just opposite the Yang Guang Xiao Qu. That location is served by several busses. 

There are several different facilities in Guiyang that may be available to students for specialized instruction. For future classes Raymond will make arrangements for future classes at a driving range or golf simulator.

Please note: When registering make sure to let us know your age, how many years of English you have had, and what special English practice you feel you need.

Contact the Raymond at 13984086686 for details.