Tag Archives: China

Journey Across the Silk Road.. Part 3..

Day 3: Destination Xian to Tianshu

img_20160622_151757

img_20160622_162153Day 3 was for sure the day that I felt more like a foreigner than any other days during the whole trip. Tianshui City was once the first stop that the Silk Road made upon entering the Gansu Province. Situated in the southeastern region of Gansu, it lies halfway between Lanzhou and Xian, and along the upper branch of the Weihe River, where Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan provinces converge.

We went to the Fuxi Temple, now let me give you aimg_20160622_151150 little bit of history about the temple. Fu Xi Temple was originally built to commemorate Fu Xi, a legendary ruler of great antiquity. It is said that Fu Xi was born in Tianshui. Fu Xi Temple was built in 1490 of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and rebuilt in 1524 of Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). The temple has three rows of buildings, with the front gate facing south.

myxj_20160623071029_saveFrom south to north are the memorial archways, temples, the terrace, stele pavilion, the main hall and the ancient cypresses in the 3,700 mu (1 mu equals 0.0667 hectare) of the temple yard. The construction of the temple is of typical Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) style with symmetric structures, formed and precise layout, and marvelous carved beams and painted rafters.

The Hall of the Deceased King built on the open terrace in the central yard is the main building in Fu Xi Temple. With double eaves and corbel brackets (set of brackets between crossbeams and columns, each set consisting of tiers of outstretching arms called gong, cushioned with trapezoidal blocks called dou), colored glaze pantiles and the ornamental design of dragon mouth, the whole building looks very primitive but elegant.

img_20160622_162744The moment we arrived at the temple we were given a task to take the funniest picture we could take as a competition of the day. Whenever I go to a small town in China I always end up being the tourist attraction of the day, resulting in me taking countless picturesmmexport1467276339466 with Chinese people, so I decided that since I was already attracting so much attention from the locals in Tianshu, I wanted to see how much more attention I could generate just from standing there. So I found a high stoop in the Temple and just stood there to see if people will come forth to try and take pictures with me.

 

mmexport1466587224543mmexport1467276404190

Needless to say that the experiment went further than we expected, within a few minutes we had people lining up like a concert to take pictures. One after the other they posed withmmexport1467276550997 me, each one wanting a picture. The moment we decided we were done they kept following us throughout the temple wanting more pictures. It was controlled chaos for the next 2hours while we were in the temple grounds. The plan completely backfired on us and we ended up having to leave sooner than we wanted to because we caused way too much commotion.

I would say if you wanna see how friendly local Tianshu people are and how beautiful the temples and historical places are definitely book your ticket today..

Journey Across the Silk Road..Part 2

Day 2: Terra Cotta Museum

img_20160621_092442
Terracotta mausoleum

The second day of the trip we went to visit the Terra Cotta museum where we would learn about all the history of the clay sculptures of the armies in the museum.

img_20160621_093649The Terracotta Army, aka Terracotta Warriors and Horses, are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province.

img_20160621_104028Let me start off by giving you a quick history about the army, upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. It is also rumored that the people hired to build and bury the mausoleum were all img_20160621_092150killed in order to preserve the secrecy of where it was. Some locals even claim that the museum was built in order to confuse enemies into thinking that there was a massive army waiting to slaughter them when they charged into their territory, i’m not sure how true this is or if it is just a folk tale but I personally believe this is an ingenious idea.

img_20160621_093727
Selfie in front of the army

A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists

mmexport1466488963951
Masters in International Journalism class of 2017

immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin

img_20160621_100521
Destroyed statues

Dynasty (211-206 BC). Most of the statues have major damage because of the many years they have been buried and most of them got destroyed during their unearthing.

 

img_2616
Trying to figure out how to work my selfie stick

We were taught about the different roles of the different sculptures and why they were created and I found it fascinating that the museum has been preserved so well for thousands of years and the Chinese government is really astonishing when it comes to taking careimg_20160621_104126 of historical places for decades. I believe this is the only country in the world that takes historical and cultural monuments so seriously and respectfully, the preservation of historical monuments in China is of no comparison with any other country that I have traveled to and it would do many countries good to bench mark on their methods of preservation in order to attract more tourists

img_20160621_113851
Shaanxi History Museum

After the Terra Cotta museum we went to the Shaanxi History Museum where we got to see all the inscriptions on the walls that have been there for thousands of years and it was an educational experience.

myxj_20160622210040_save
the couple bike is even better for lovers

After the long walk around the mausoleum, we went to have lunch then set about going for a tour around the wall around the city the best way you can, with couple bicycles(that you rent on site) which was in no way an easy feat, but the view

img_2674
failed jump short

from the top of the wall was well worth it. You can see all of the city below from the top and the mountains do not make for a bad picture as well.

img_20160621_233803After a day well spent walking around and learning and soaking in history we wanted to paint the town red, we decided to go out and explore once again the small town at night and managed to find a few

img_20160621_235201
A night out on the town

bars open and because of the large amount of tourists that pour into the town the bar promoters were all over the streets trying to lure us into each of their bars with promises of a good time, alcohol and music, which we got in spades. We ended up in a small pub which served foreign bear and offered us an opportunity to play our own music and even sing up on the stage if we wanted to.

Xian is definitely a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China

Journey across the Silk Road Part1

Hello World…It has been ages since I last posted anything, life…school..work..school has been keeping me busier than I would like but I’m back now and I’m back for good..There have been a lot of changes in my life since I last posted.

I moved from Malaysia..to Botswana and finally to Beijing China where I currently live and for the next few posts I will be catching all of you up on my travel adventures since that time back. Starting with my awesome historic trip across the Silk Road last summer.

new_ink_li

Day 1: Beijing to Xian

mmexport1466382709396
The whole traveling group on the bus on the way to the train station

As a traveler, being told that I will get a chance to travel four cities for free with some of my best friends is the best news I can hear all day. But when I realized that I will be traveling with over 30 people I did not know what to expect, there were to be too many people from over fifteen different countries and you never know if cultural boundaries will be crossed. Will there be a lot of misunderstandings; will I like all the people I will be traveling with, will the foreign students get along with the Chinese students? There were too many questions and not enough answers and as an explorer I was more than looking forward to unveiling the questions.

mmexport1466382699003
Yellow shirts for everyone..#TourGroups

Meeting everyone for the first time was nerve wrecking, with so many personalities all in one place there is bound to be clashes, my expectations were low with people but high with the trip, and they were definitely surpassed. The moment everyone meant we bonded immediately, we were assigned our partners and even though we did not know how those partnerships were chosen we were excited to get to know each other more. From the get go the foreign

students were all paired up with Chinese students and  partner, Joy and I hit it off like a house on fire from the moment we started getting to know each other.Her profile stated that she is an avid reader, writer and traveler, so i knew right away that we were going to build a strong friendship and I couldn’t wait to learn all about her travels and her hobbies.

The journey started off in Xian, Xi’an is often called the birthplace of Chinese civilization. Capital of Shaanxi Province and eastern end to the Silk Road, the history and cultural significance of Xi’an stretches through China’s ancient past and into its bright future.

Xi’an was the capital city of 13 imperial dynasties, the most for any city, and many ancient structures are preserved. “The First Emperor” united China from his base in the Xi’an area, and he has left a mighty legacy.

mmexport1466470436230
Small Wild Goose Pagoda

We took the train from Beijing to Xian and when we arrived we were whisked straight to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. It was the best way to begin our trip because not only did we get to see the famous Pagoda, we also got to learn a lot about Chinese culture on the very first day of our trip. Even though it was extremely hot in Xian, the excitement overwhelmed the fatigue and heat we were experiencing. We got a chance to see a shadow play and to try and create a play of

IMG_20160620_170540.jpg
Shadow Play Show

our own which was no small feat. We created the love story of the millennia, an emperor and his concubine want to spend the rest of their lives together, they go through trials and errors to finally end up being together even though the whole village and country did not want them to be together. Their union is celebrated with a huge ceremony and partying.

We then got a chance to walk around the Small Wild Goose Pagoda grounds and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, even though it was scotching hot throughout the day we found ways to have a good time. We had some ice cream to cool off, took tons of pictures(ok, maybe more like hundreds of pictures) met interesting and very curious locals and I even got a chance to bang the bell.

IMG_20160620_163253.jpgIMG_20160620_163223.jpg

After the visiting the Pagoda we went to check into our hotel and have dinner and a little bit of relaxation. When we were well rested we decided to explore Xian at night and it was beautiful. We went to the night market and also took a walk in the city discovering the beauty of the city at night.

IMG_20160620_230412.jpgIMG_20160620_234357.jpg

There is not much of a party or night club life in Xian, most places close down by 10pm and its either you head back to your hotel to sleep or you find a way entertain yourself like we did. One thing about Xian is that it is a very safe place, even though we had never been there before we ended up just walking around the small town for hours exploring the small town never at any time feeling like we were in any danger until we eventually went back to our hotel to call it a night and prepare for the day after.

IMG_20160621_001752.jpg
Me and my friend AK(from Vietnam)

Tune in Next week for part 2 of my very awesome trip….

The Art of Adult Friendships…

Friendship…… It is such an interesting phenomena isn’t it?

friendship-cover-1024x769

I mean you meet this person who you know absolutely nothing about and suddenly there is a click. Like this person was meant to be in your life. Like somehow their destinies coincided with your destinies and just like that you have one destiny, and just like that you have made a choice, an unconscious choice that they are the ones you want to spend time with, the ones you want to share all your crazy meltdowns, experience life with, tell all your secrets because you know they will not judge you. These two souls attach to each other and just shut every other soul out.

You know even if they do not understand they will still love and appreciate you even though you are a messed up little weirdo they still stay by your side and embrace the crazy.

But it is not always rainbows and lollipops. Sometimes after you have been friends with the one you thought understood your insanity something happens to tear you apart, the trick is it is easy to make a friendship but hard as balls to maintain it. Some think making the friendship is the end, but really it should be the beginning, because the moment you stop watering and nourishing that friendship it turns stale. Then you find yourselves as strangers, sad strangers who knew each other for years then one day do not know or even like each other anymore. Sad strangers who might then become enemies, sad strangers who grow apart and end up doing things to hurt each other or even just the ignoring each other and pretending they never knew each other. I think that is the most painful of the situations, when you no longer know the person you used to know, the person you used to share everything with, to laugh with, to cry with, because when they disappear from your life all that is left is emptiness where they used to reside. An emptiness and loneliness and painful memories of what once used to be.

But do not despair, because with the emptiness comes the opportunity to make lifelong friends who will never turn to strangers, those who are in it for the long haul, who will ride or die with you, who will understand you so much that you will realize that those previous ones did not know you at all. Because you will realize that with these new ones you can completely be yourself, you can trust that they really do like you just the way you are and know that for as long as both of you will live they will be by your side, advising you when you need it, scolding you when you get out of line and supporting you if the situation allows and showing you how to be more you and them more themselves.

Six years into the notorious 20s, I’ve come to some conclusions about adult friendships,through my readings and my experiences I have realized that there are some things you need to understand and accept about friendships:

  1. Not Everyone Will Love You and Not Everyone Hates You. Some people won’t stick around forever but that doesn’t make you less loveable. The thing with human beings is that we are so damn complex. We can be a glass of fresh water to one person and a bottle of vinegar to another — no matter what our personality is.
  2. Not Everything is About You. In this voyeuristic time of constant social interaction and connection, we’ve become paranoid because everyone is watching. We’ve also become obsessed with ourselves. Think about it, for the past several years most of us have been documenting our lives for all to see. It’s tough not to be somewhat of a narcissist. However, no matter how great you are at deciphering supposed sub-tweets and virtual jabs — not everything is about you
  3. Don’t Fake the Funk. Frenemies are ageless but I aim to keep dodging these sort of relationships in years to come. I used to be so good at smiling and enjoying the company of others who I know just finished roasting me in a private shade session. Life too stressful to be worrying about the loyalty of your friends
  4. See People for Who They Really Are, Not for Who You Want Them to Be. This realization is for the long-timers. One of the most annoying parts of adulthood is that everyone grows up so differently.  Some go at a much faster pace than others. Some go into different directions. You have to see your friend for who they are and love them for it. If you went into a creative field and your friend is climbing the traditional corporate ladder, support their dreams. Don’t chastise them based on your own ideals and goals.
  5. Remember Why You Became Friends. Unfortunately, sometimes we end friendships — voluntarily or involuntarily. No matter the cause of the break-up, never forget your former friend is and will always be the person who you once liked
  6. It’s OK to Have Your Own Life. Sometimes we think in order to be a good friend we have to stifle ourselves. It’s ok to grow up and have your own life. It’s ok to move away
  7. Speak as Much as You Can, Even if It Isn’t Often. I think sometimes we put too much pressure into what makes an ideal friend. Face it, most of us are standing on unfamiliar ground right now, whether the ground be a new city, new job or just a new lifestyle. Again, being self-absorbed youths we expect our friends to be there and ready for us 24/7. We all want the same thing but aren’t always willing or able to give it back — that’s ok. The best we can do is give the most that we can in a friendship and be understanding of what our friends can give in return.
  8. Cherish the Moments Anyway. So you guys only speak a few times a month. Cherish the short moments anyway. Because we are becoming much more layered with our lives of love, career and all things complicated, many of us simply don’t have as much time as we use too. Thats ok. Whatever moments you have with your friends, cherish it anyway.
  9. Let it Go. Some relationships are only for a season. Tyler Perry has a beautiful monologue in his play “Madea Goes to Jail,” which compares friendships to a tree. Some people are leaves who are just there for a season, others are branches who will stay only until the weathers gets too bad, and then you have your roots who are there to support you no matter the storm. Be thankful for your roots and be content with letting go of your leaves and branches.

Getting a handle on this adult thing is already challenging. Facing these challenges with folks who truly love and support you, make you smile, and bring absolute peace to your life can be incredibly easy if you let it be. Do something fun with your friends,find that song that makes you all go crazy and dance like it’s the last night you are going to be there together, go out for a night on the town, get matching tattoos, gossip about your favorite men, go shopping together, go on an amazing road trip together, just have fun and create memories..

road