Hypnotic Images of a Chinese Ghost Town

Angelo is a designer and film-maker who has been traveling around the world for his project called Ephemera documentary. When he turned 30, he decided to leave his home for 300 days to visit 30 different countries where the environment or the local way of life is threatened.

He traveled to Houtouwan, located on the Shengsi islands, South-East from Shanghai, China. 

The population of the islands revolves around fishing activities and is really different from mainland China. It’s really rare to meet someone who speaks English. The village of Houtouwan flourished in the 80’s, together with the development of the fishing industry in the area. Its inhabitants became wealthier and wealthier and started building big houses. However, at some point, they got tired of being so isolated and gradually moved away. Today the village is mostly abandoned with only 6 people still living there. Needless to say that none of them speaks English.

Angelo used ili to interact with people on the island for his basic needs, like getting a taxi or buying water from a shop, “Good morning, can I have a bottle of water please?”.

While in the village Angelo met this man and was able to ask him some questions by using ili. The man reacted surprised and with a big smile like everyone does when hearing the voice of ili for the first time.

Angelo loved the product and thought, “It really was a lifesaver. In Shanghai, I wasn’t able to find a Chinese speaker that would come with me on the island. So I would of been there alone, not able to speak the language if it wasn’t for ili.”

ili also helped him get around in a fisherman village next to Houtouwan. 



Here is what Angelo asked him following phrases:

  • Good morning, do you live here?
  • How many people still live in the village?
  • How long have you been living here?
  • Do you like it here?

Here is the episode that Angelo shot in China using ili (Link coming soon)




Wanna travel with ili Translator? Learn more about ili Translator from here.


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