Tag Archives: New North District

This is Not a Skatepark

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As far as I know, Changzhou has only two actual skate parks. One is in Qingfeng Park in Zhonglou. It has ramps and rails and the sort of thing you might expect from a skate park in America or Europe. The other is in Wujin, and it’s a spray painted concrete ditch / snake run. This one is closer to the College City, and it’s in the park next to a Holiday Inn. In both instances, I have never seen anybody with a skateboard at these places other than myself.

And then, there is something fundamentally misleading in Xinbei. Next to the Changzhou North Station, there are two ecological parks split by Huashan Road. Both are named for the high speed train that glides by overhead: Changzhou High Speed Rail Ecological Park 常州高铁生态公园,

For the most part, both the east and west parts are ecologically well maintained and manicured. There are also wide concrete paths that make the park excellent for bike riding — both pedal and electric varieties. What caught my attention, however, was a sign that said “Skateboarding Plaza.”

I spent an hour walking and riding around both the east and west sections. At one point the signs and the arrows began contradicting each other. And, no matter how many times I looked at the park’s posted map, I just couldn’t seem to find it. Eventually, I did, and it was utterly disappointing.

Many parks in Changzhou have amusement areas and rides for children. This place was no different. Only, the concrete in this area was very hard, and it had some twists, turns, and painted lines. Sure, you could ride a skateboard here, but it wouldn’t be any fun. It’s all just flat. And, then I realized something. This place was probably planned for Chinese kids on inline skates, not for middle aged Americans who still like riding a skateboard from time to time. IMG_20160518_145850

Candle’s Mediocre Jeager Schnitzel

Changzhou’s foreigner population contains a high number of Germans. They tend to be engineers — logic dictates that they would not be English teachers. This demographic reality can be seen on high-priced restaurant menus meant to attract expats and their money. And by this, I do not mean Jeagerwirt or Chocolate’s in Wujin — both actually boast themselves as “German Restaurants.” Rightfully so, too. Both are great.  I am talking more about the generally themed “foreign” eateries that want to be everything to everybody.

Candles in Xinbei is such a place. Their menu tries to excite Australians, Americans, Brits, Germans, and more. This is a place often championed as “The Place” to hang out in Changzhou. And that’s true — but only if you live in Xinbei.  The people who champion this place the as the greatest ever are people who live in Xinbei and think Wujin is a waste of time.

I now live in Xinbei, and I can tell you that when it comes to German food, Candles is mediocre. It’s great, because, well, there is nothing else in the Xinbei district that competes. When you have nothing else, and you only have one option, mediocre is quite awesome. Think about it. What other choice do you have? You don’t.

I thought about this, because I ate a Jeager Schnitzel at Candles for lunch, and it was nice. But. But! But, Jeagerwirt  and Chocolate’s in Wujin do this particular dish much better. Please don’t assume this as “hating” on Candles. I would eat this again and eat it again at Candles.