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Investigating aubergines in China

2 Posts tagged with the nanning tag
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Staying in the Nanning Public Security Bureau's Science and Technology Hotel and guess what - there is free Internet in the room! We drove from Guilin to Nanning today via Liuzhou, and big industrial (very polluted - you could cut the air with a knife) city. In Liuzhou we went to a protected area, which turned out to the a public park with limestone karst hills - full of people celebrating the New Year! It always amazes me how the concept of wilderness is so foreign in China; in this park, on the top of one of the hills is an endemic species of the Aster family (Asteraceae) found nowhere else. Nature does its best to co-exist alongside people here, and sometimes does quite well in places one might not expect. These public scenic parks are heavily visited, but respected and loved.

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Fireworks in a shop

 

From Liuzhou we drove through kilometre after kilometre of sugar cane fields, all being harvested - by hand. This part of China is a main sugar growing region; we crossed over the Tropic of Cancer, so are now officially in the tropics. Nanning is a very large, thoroughly modern and amazingly clean city - the cleanliness of its streets puts London to shame. Still New Year - the firecrackers go off all night and everyone is having a great time.

We ate the leaves of the black nightshade, Solanum nigrum (a common British weed, thought to be poisonous, but obviously not very, at least in China), at supper tonight - still no aubergines, but I am hopeful for tomorrow!

GPS coordinates of Nanning: 22 deg 49.075 min N, 108 deg 20.330' E

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Arriving in China

Posted by Sandy Knapp Feb 20, 2010

Approximately twenty four  hours after I left London, I am at the first  destination in China! Tiangang and Jin Xiu met me in  the Beijing airport and we transfered to a (very)  late internal flight to Guilin in Guangxi Province. Everywhere is full of people, it  is the end of spring festival and Chinese New Year, a time when people go to see  their families and relatives in far-flung parts of China – everyone  is on the move and everywhere is brightly decorated in red and gold.

 

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Guangxi Botanical Garden

 

Guilin used to be  the capital of the province, but as it is in the NW corner, the provincial seat  was moved to Nanning, which occupies a more central  position. Flying into Guilin the most extraordinary landscape unrolled beneath  us – sharp, pointed bare rock mountains interspersed with paddy rice fields; all  very green, even though it is what feels incredibly cold (only about 12 degrees  C). It got dark shortly after we arrived, so we went to the Botanical Institute  where we have been given rooms within the grounds – tomorrow it is the herbarium  and a bit of planning.



Sandy Knapp

Sandy Knapp

Member since: Jan 21, 2010

I'm Sandy Knapp, a botanist here at the Museum. I'm travelling in China to study the origins and domestication of aubergines with my colleague Wang JinXiu from the Institute of Botany in Beijing. Let's see what happens.

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