The name and city of Chuzhou

My phone’s keyboard can auto-suggest names like Amsterdam or Canberra, and names like Spotify or Maserati — but it does not know nor auto-complete the name Chuzhou, despite four million people living here. Many Chinese cities are like that. They exist and they’re huge — multi-million populations — but auto-correct (as well as many people) have never heard of their names.

Anyway, we’re in Chuzhou (滁州) in Anhui (安徽) after a 5-hour drive from Shanghai. It’s one of those long rides with so much lane-switching that I’ll probably dream about Chinese highways again tonight.

We’re here just for a short visit, but want to see the city while we’ve already driven so far. But the sky and buildings are much like the tarmac that brought us here; grey. Chuzhou and its leafless winter trees are hard to photograph — everything looks underexposed, lacking color. But my impression in two half days is pretty positive. It’s a calm and clean city, and lots of parks border the river that goes through the old town. It reminds me most of Huai’an or Jiangshan, in the sense that it’s more relaxed and spacious than a city like Shanghai — even if it lacks the amenities that a tier 1 city can offer.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be back in this city — we will need a specific reason to do so. But if we do come back, and if the bitter cold is gone, I’m sure the city will be more lively. I have also typed it a few times now, so my phone now also knows its name.