Year in Review: Welcome to the 中国’s Least-Bad of 2012


The most-clicked picture of 2012.

Worldwide time-wasters in 2012

Worldwide time-wasters in 2012

The end is near! Judging from all the slap-dash lists-o’-links suddenly posted all over the internet, it’s that time of year — when news sites try to squeeze a little more traffic by re-posting a bunch of tired old content and calling it a year-end retrospective. (Here’s just one egregious example.) Well, here in the 中国, we don’t like to be outdone (and copying others tends to pay off). So here it is, what none of you have been waiting for: Welcome to the 中国’s Best Least-Bad of 2012.


We’ll start with our best posts. Admittedly, “best” is a controversial distinction on a hokey blog like this. So instead of using a single set of criteria for choosing, we’ll use three: most views, most “likes,” and the post we the editors (ha! calling our typo-typing selves editors) just like the best.

Best Posts of 2012:

Most views: “Sent to the Countryside for Re-education: A field trip to Huaxicun, China’s wealthiest village.” This post from April, about Nick’s visit to a get-rich-quick village northwest of Shanghai, struck a chord with online (English-language) readers, who tend to love a good tale about crazy-sounding contradictions in China’s economic system. After one reader posted it onto Reddit, the post got our biggest number of views in one day. And since we’re not revealing what that number was, you know it was still embarassingly low.

Most “likes” on WordPress: “On the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Riding the Comforts of Conquest.” No idea why this post was the most highly liked, although fourteen “likes” ain’t really saying much. Maybe people just really enjoy long run-on sentences in the last paragraph of their blog posts. Or, there’s just something cool about going to Tibet — no matter how badly you write about it.

And… our favorite: It’s a toss-up! (More hits that way.) For daily life, it’s gotta be Bayley’s story of killing that mouse and meeting a friendly tuk-tuk driver. And for travel, well, it probably doesn’t get better than our trip to the tourist carnival of Dunhuang. It’s possible our readers will disagree — if so, let us know what you liked.

How People in 2012 Got Tricked into Reading our Blog

Next up is the year’s top search terms. These are the search queries that misled, er, landed people onto our blog. The terms below are a showcase of the futility sometimes of trying to find useful, relevant information on the internet. This here is a lousy little China expat blog, and most of the “information” on it is neither useful, nor relevant, nor perhaps even very factual. Mostly it is pictures of our toddler in places we shouldn’t be taking him to, captioned with terrible puns. But as lousy and useless as we can all agree this blog is, the search algorithms used by Google and Microsoft are even worse. You can safely say that all this much-vaunted search engine technology is in sorry shape when, for example, a person urgently seeking information on getting a “flesh-eating disease” from a “dirty sink,” presumably in order to make life-or-death decision on whether to clean his/her (probably his) sink, ends up on a page about toddlers in China shaking hands. We’re still proud of our little blog here, and the fact that one out of two grandmas still reads it (we think). But to all the people who landed here after typing in the search terms below, we just want to say one thing: sorry!

So here they are, the top search terms of 2012:

Hangzhou fireworks — This query led the list, after I posted a blog in October about our experience watching the very-pyromaniacal performance that was the Hangzhou International Fireworks Festival. The event was a big topic on the internet for a solid week or so afterwards, following news that at least one of the fireworks had been shot straight into a crowd.

Tibet — Runner-up for top search term. The popularity of the topic itself, of course, isn’t suprising. What’s surprising, and also depressing when you think about it, is that Google guided a dozen or so hapless searchers past all the hundreds and thousands of far-better and way-more-interesting sites on Tibet to ours.

Russia weird(est) towns —  Apparently a lot of people want to know about weird towns in Russia. I’ll bet Russia has some great weird towns. But unfortunately for many of those seekers of towns weird and Russian, they instead found our blog. Now, towns weird and Chinese? Those we have. And included among them is a certain Chinese town on the Russian border that might be weirder than any other town in China andRussia.

Wuhan pollution —  A lot of queries about pollution in Wuhan, a big city in central China, landed people onto our blog. We wrote one post about Wuhan after visiting it in June. And that post gave exactly zero mentions of pollution. (Maybe we just thought it was foggy?)  A quick survey of government pollution data shows that Wuhan isn’t typically way-off-the-charts compared to all the other big cities in China. So maybe it is just the fog, or foggy numbers; or perhaps 2012 just saw a lot more foreigners moving out there. If that’s the case, well, I hope they’ve since found a better source of information than a blog about Hangzhou, 600 miles away.

What other search terms brought people to the 中国?

Next up are the best search terms of 2012. We make no attempt to explain these ones. How could we? Why, for example, would somebody want to know about “log cabins in China?” Is he/she (probably he) looking to buy one? And how does anybody searching for “beverly hills mansion tour” possibly land on this blog? Never mind the diaper obsession (see below).

Here they are, the best search terms of 2012:

going to china a little overweight

re-education village china

tatami wheat shoes

log cabins in china

ktv xichang

are you allowed to run with headphone in the great wall marathon

is chengde welcoming to foreigners


beverly hills mansion tour

“see his diaper”

do the chinese wipe their babies after pooping through split pants

flesh eating disease dirty sink

how to not have a mom

who is huang’s grave to tufu?

add rss girl stripper website

chat in chinese love

using two comforters

hubei foreigners needed

aliens in september 2011 china

zhejiang eggs cooked with young boys urine

why so much rain in 2012

2012 lunging bikes

red pandas mating orgy

“stopped washing my hands” toilet -can’t

good reason to see a girl

chat with china women

baobao usefulness

marathon eating and hydration schedule for 120 female

how to rest and hydrate

chat to chinese women

lost voice after cigarrette smoke inhalation

we were waiting for plov

hangzhou weight loss tablets

what to say after first sight a beautiful girl

naxi young girls of lijiang

oh my god hes wearing a diaper

chat chinese women

getting over the marathon wall

kim kardashi

seoul glory hole

“is he wearing a diaper”

Bayley and Nick here again, still chuckling at some of the search terms above.  If you’re interested in what the people searching with these terms might have actually read on our blog, feel free to drop them into the search box below. You might be surprised.

Well that was the 中国 in 2012. And 2013? As always, we plan to ring-in the New Year in style: by taking Owen with us to a local noodle restaurant and seeing what comes first, either soup all over his clothes or 8PM. At either point we’ll go home, bidding farewell to our last full year in this always-crazy, sometimes-awesome country.



Filed under Life in the Bike Lane

5 responses to “Year in Review: Welcome to the 中国’s Least-Bad of 2012

  1. Kip

    Ingenious self promotion. By posting all those search terms, you are bound to draw even more people to your site!

  2. So you could see that Reddit business eh? Tough bunch to please over there.

  3. Kip

    I had to Google Reddit just to understand what you two are talking about.

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