Exchange, Travels

Xi’an: Day 4 & 5 | 西安:第四五天

5月27日 -5月28日
只会吃
只会逛

I want to say, we enjoyed ourselves the most these last 2 full days in Xi’an. Mainly because all we did was eat and shop – and those are 2 things I love the most. We spent the last 2 days in Xi’an walking around the Muslim Street/Bell Tower area where there were a lot of shops and food and it was great.

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Bell/Clock Tower (I don’t know which one)

We started off the day with brunch, because we both get up at terrible times when we have nothing too extravagant planned.

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Cute restaurant!!

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Cold noodle 凉粉

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Bell/Clock Tower (I don’t know which one)

Then walking around Muslim Street, we found this store that apparently had the best biangbiang面 which is a wide flat noodle and is one of the most popular dishes in Xi’an. Fun fact: the character ‘biang’ is also the most complicated character in Chinese – so complicated…you can’t even type it :      )

It tasted really good though.

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biangbiang面

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Muslim Street Market 回民街 – the first 2 character in the white sign is ‘biang’

We also stumbled upon this Qing Dynasty Mansion/Museum while wandering around Muslim Street and it was pretty cool.

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Qing Dynasty Mansion/Museum

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Qing Dynasty Mansion/Museum

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Qing Dynasty Mansion/Museum

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Muslim Street Market 回民街

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SK-II promotion area again so pretty *__*

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View from the 广场

Overall, I do recommend Xi’an for those who haven’t been but I’m not sure if I would go back again. If I do though, it would definitely be during Winter or around March/April otherwise the heat would make me want to cry again.

I think my favourite place overall is Tang Paradise and I think I would like to go back there again. A bit sad I didn’t get to appreciate the Terracotta Warriors as much as I’d like to but hey, what can you do. We also didn’t get to climb Hua Shan so maybe I’ll have to do that sometime in the future? ^^

Until my next travels (Korea, Japan, Taiwan & Hong Kong – SO EXCITED), this will be the end.

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Exchange, Travels

Xi’an: Day 3 | 西安:第三天

5月26日

If I had one day of regrets, this was the day. After the second day, we both felt so exhausted we thought to ourselves – hey, let’s take it easy today. Let’s visit places close by where we live.

So, we decided to go to the City Wall since it right opposite where we lived. The day started well but ended with us both feeling like we were going to faint. I want to start off by mentioning the weather this day was also around 35 degrees and we had decided to ride bikes around the City Wall. The City Wall in total is around 13km and for some reason, we decided to ride the bikes from 1 – 3pm. Even though we got there at 11. So…many..regrets….

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First thing you see when you enter

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The first 15 minutes of the bike ride was quite pleasant and we were like…hey! this is not too bad after all but after the first hour or so had passed, it started to feel like a calm ride around the wall and more like a chore that needed to be completed asap. All I remember thinking was how much I wanted to be able to finish the course and go home and lie in our air-conditioned room. Sue echoed my sentiments.

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Note to self part 2: Don’t ride bikes/do any strenuous activity in 35 degree weather, especially, during 1 – 3pm. This is a short post because after that bike ride, we were both felt like we had some sort of heatstroke and decided to skip going to Beilin Museum and just go home lolol.

We vowed to ourselves to actually take it easy the next 2 days, especially since it was going to be 36 – 37 degrees and just spend our days eating the street food and shopping.

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Exchange, Travels

Xi’an Day 2 | 西安:第二天

5月25日

Alright kids, let me tell you one of the greatest (tragic) love story in Chinese history (or what I remember of it from what Sue told me). In the Tang Dynasty, there was this emperor (Emperor Xuanzhong) who had a favourite concubine (Yang Guifei) and he was so in love with her, he spent a loooot of money building this luxurious palace just for her – which is how Huaqing Hot Springs came to be. Yang Guifei was supposedly one of the four most beautiful women in ancient China but apparently, what she was most famous for was actually her skin. However, the tragic part of the story is that because of some rebellion, the emperor’s guards persuaded the emperor to have Guifei murdered and due to the pressure, he did.

Huaqing Hot Springs/华清池 is really pretty and you can really appreciate how much these monuments have withstood history. In particular, the bathing areas (no pictures unfortunately), were preserved so well, you could actually see quite a lot of detail left on it!

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Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池: Emperor Xuanzhong & Yang Guifei

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Entrance of Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池

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Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池

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Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池

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Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池

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Huaqing Hot Springs 华清池

So Huaqing Hot Springs is located at the bottom of Mount Li and Sue really wanted to see the Remonstrance Pavilion which is where Chiang Kai-shek (the then President of PRC) was hiding because he didn’t want to fight the Japanese invaders during WWII (lol). Now, let me tell you….I have no idea how Chiang Kai-shek climbed so fast and so high up that mountain during the night because it…was so tiring. But we made it up, and I, of course, had to take a photo with it to show that I made it. This event, also known as the Xi’an Incident, is extremely well known in China but to me, someone who knows nothing about Chinese history, did not feel as important to me. But hey, at least my dad was interested!!

Along the way up to the Remonstrance Pavilion, you can also see the old housing of previous emperors which then eventually housed where Chiang Kai-shek and his generals stayed. You can see their rooms, bathing areas as well as bullet holes from the Xi’an incident. I think reading the history prior to heading there is a good idea, unless you’re going with someone who loves Chinese history (like me) and they’ll just feed you the information as you’re going up the mountain hahaha.

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Climbing Mount Li

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Climbing Mount Li

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Mount Li

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View from Mount Li

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Remonstrance Pavilion

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Remonstrance Pavilion

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Remonstrance Pavilion

Emperor Qin Shi Huang (first emperor of China) also built his mausoleum (tomb) at the foot of the mountain which means, the terracotta warriors are very close by. I think an important thing to note is that this guy…is extra af. The area of his ‘tomb’ is huge. H U G E. From the Hot Springs to the Terracotta Warriors was around 30 minutes by bus and from the Terracotta Warriors to the Mausoleum was another 10 minutes or so which meant that the entire area we covered, Qin Shi Huang had turned into his resting area.

I was super excited to visit the Terracotta Warriors because I had recently watched a BBC documentary about it but on the day, the weather was so hot and I was so tired from waking up around 5 in the morning, that I didn’t get to enjoy this place as much as I would’ve liked to. However, you can still really appreciate the sheer enormity of the place and how intricate the terracotta warriors are.

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Terracotta Warriors

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Terracotta Warriors

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Terracotta Warriors Pit 1

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Terracotta Warriors Pit 1

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Terracotta Warriors Pit 1

Seriously, how AMAZING is this? These were some of the warrior statues that were at the back of Pit 1 so I suppose they were still under construction?/getting excavated.

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Up-close

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Pit 3

In total, there are 3 pits but after some tour guide told me there was a 4th pit? Not sure about it because I never saw it…

The last stop of the day was Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum and this area was enormous as well. For some reason, all of the solo travellers got put into a tour group so we had a lady giving us a tour of the place and giving us a lot of information about the Emperor and the history. Unfortunately, I was feeling so dead by this time (seriously, those photos were taken around 5:30pm and look at that sky) that I didn’t pay attention at all, although I feel like if I did, I would probably still only understand about 50% of what she was saying.

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Mausoleum of the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang

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Mausoleum of the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Note to self in the future: Don’t go to places where you need to spend lots of time outdoors walking when the weather is 35 degrees.

We walked nearly 15km that day, and though we were exhausted towards the end, in a way, it was worth the pain and exhaustion.

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Exchange, Travels

Xi’an: Day 1 | 西安:第一天

5月23日 – 5月24日

Left Ningbo super early on the 23rd (day after my exams!) because I had an early flight to Xi’an! Thought it’d be nice to ‘treat myself’ a little after exams, and also because I felt like, after being in China for so long, I still hadn’t been to a lot of places in China? Except for my hometown or Shanghai. I’ve been to quite a number of cities in the Zhejiang, Fujian area of China so I wanted to try go somewhere much further than I was used to. Sue and I had been talking about taking a trip together and in the end, a week before we decided to leave, we booked our flights to Xi’an (super last minute).

I’m grouping the first half-day in Xi’an with this post otherwise it wouldn’t been a super short post. We were both pretty tired from waking up really early and Xi’an was a lot more humid than our respective cities so we took a reaaalllly long nap before even doing anything. We left our room around 8/9pm to check out the Muslim Street Market which was also close to the Bell/Clock Tower (钟楼/鼓楼). The place we were staying was right in the city centre and opposite the City Wall 西安城墙 so it was really centrally located, which is something that really saved us in last 2 days but we’ll get to that later.

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City Wall 城墙

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Clock/Bell Tower

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Check out that SK-II promotion

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Muslim Street Market

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Yoghurt Rolls?

(Official) Day 1 in Xi’an:
We were very ambitious on our first full day in Xi’an. We decided to hit up 3 places – Shaanxi History Museum, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and Tang Paradise. I actually really enjoyed myself this day!! Most likely because it was quite chill and the weather was slightly bearable and also because a lot of the times, we were just strolling around under shade or inside air-conditioned rooms HAHA. I really liked the Terracotta Warriors exhibit of the museum :B

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Shaanxi History Museum 陕西历史博物馆

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Shaanxi History Museum 陕西历史博物馆

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Shaanxi History Museum 陕西历史博物馆

Second stop was the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (why such a long name when the chinese is 3 characters?). This place was also really nice!! We climbed to the top of the pagoda and the view was pretty damn great.

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Giant Wild Goose Pagoda 大雁塔

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Giant Wild Goose Pagoda 大雁塔

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The view from the top of the Pagoda

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♡♡

Third and final stop of the day was a bit of a last minute decision. We were actually going to head to Beilin Museum which is a museum of stone carvings(?) I believe as this place was really close to where we lived but on the bus to that place, we passed by Tang Paradise and we made a last minute decision to get off here and check it out and I’m so glad we did!! This place is so beautiful and it’s right next to the Pagoda, so I’d highly recommend checking it out after visiting the Pagoda if you go to Xi’an.

Most of the garden is man-made but (according to Wikipedia, always a reliable source, I know), the garden is at or close to a garden complex in the Tang Dynasty. The entire park is built to replicate the buildings and style of the Tang Dynasty and it is so so so beautiful. I really really loved this place. There are also lots of shows, light shows etc at this place but we didn’t stay long enough for that since we were both pretty tired towards the end of the day haha.

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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~Candid~

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#deepthoughtsonly

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

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Journey to the West characters 西游记

That’s it for Day 1! Stay tuned for Day 2: Fancy Baths & Mountains, Terracotta Warriors & Tombs.

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Exchange

End of Exchange|交换结束啦

Time Period: April – May

Semester 2 at UNNC has gone by super quickly. This semester has felt super short and I can’t believe it’s over already (probably because we didn’t have much of a study break this semester).

In the last 2 months, there has been a wedding…

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So cute

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10 past alumni couples held a joint wedding on campus for the 10 year celebration of the alumni association (?) (It was something like that). I had to help out filming and interviewing for the Business School and let me tell you – even though it was only mid-April, the weather seriously felt like summer. Not fun.

During one of my lessons, the mother of my student took me from the school where I usually taught her daughter to go to a park for her lesson since that day the classes at the school were all conducted at this park? Slightly weird but the park was super nice and the weather was good so can’t complain.

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Ningbo Academician Sculpture Park (apparently)

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Ningbo Academician Sculpture Park (apparently)

Took some photos with Amelia and some of the NUBS China interns (all credits to Jo and her professional af camera). I’ve actually really enjoyed interning with these people these past 2 sems – even though having an internship on exchange doesn’t sound the most appealing, but I’ve come to really enjoy my time and if anything, it has made my exchange more enjoyable. I’d say this is most likely because of the fact the people I’ve met during my internships have been A+.

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Credit to Jo for making me look nice HAHA

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NUBS China Interns

Annnd, I couldn’t leave UNNC without a photo with Sue (first and closest friend at UNNC) in front of the building, everyone has a photo in front of.

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SUE ♡

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Trent Building

April and and most of May were the times of deadlines and exams and I was also super lucky to have my last exam on my birthday (~_~) BUT, all good – it’s all over and it was a pretty…cool(?) feeling knowing that I’ve completed my 2 semesters abroad.

Next post – Xi’an travels!

 

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Exchange, Travels

April: Australia

March 28th – April 6th

“….but hey, I might blog when I get back to Hong Kong airport next week when I wait for my flight back to Ningbo?” – Julie, 28 March 2017

Biggest liar, I am. I’ve procrastinated/forgotten about this blog to the point that right now, it’s already June and I’m already done with exchange (whaaaaat). So, what I’m going to do is write up all the posts that I’ve been meaning to write (and pretend I’m writing them in real time lol) and schedule them to upload over the next few weeks.

So to start – Australia! As mentioned in the last post, I got the opportunity to go back to Australia to attend a few exchange/study abroad fairs at various universities in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Overall it was an interesting experience and it was so nice to see my friends in Sydney. Super thankful that the UNSW/USyd fairs were quite late after UniMelb so I got to spend quite a few days in Sydney before going to Brisbane.

Honestly it felt a little weird at first to be back in Australia – Melbourne felt really foreign and not just because I’m not from there but more so, the environment felt so different to what I was used to from people to the streets etc. This was only for the first few hours though! So it got better after that and when I went back to Sydney, it kind of felt like I never left? It was so strange not feeling like I had been away from home for almost 7 months. It actually almost felt like I’d never left?

Melbourne
I was only in Melbourne for a bout a night which was a shame because I would’ve liked to be there a little longer and tried more food. But, I’m definitely going to try go next year during Sem 1 since I have an UNNC friend who will be going to Monash for a semester! Also, I have other friends in Melbourne and it’ll be great to see them ^_^

Did a bit of “sightseeing” the first day I was there but what I really did was go to the places I had already been aka Bourke Street Mall. Melbourne’s H&M is still my favourite and I will always take photos when I’m there. The second day was the UniMelb fair and I’d like to think it went pretty well? But we’ll have to see depending on whether there’ll be more Australian students considering UNNC in the Autumn Semester next year.

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Melbourne’s H&M

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Melbourne

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University of Melbourne

Sydney
One of the things I missed about Australia was salads, really good avocados and café food so I was on a mission to eat as much as possible during the 4 days I was in Sydney. I had a list of all the places/things I wanted to eat and I’m happy to say I’m pretty sure I managed to complete at least 90% of the list haha. Super thankful for my friends who came out despite their extremely busy schedule to spend time with me :’-) ♡♡♡

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Brunch @ Four ate Five

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Vic & Mish ♡

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TC (minus Chris)

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My loves :’-) (minus Chris)

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HS Crew

Brisbane
Now, Brisbane was more ~new~ for me since I haven’t been to Brisbane since perhaps…primary school? So this time was probably the first time I’ve been in nearly 10 years? Since my flight to leave was at 1am, I had quite some time after the fair to ~explore~ the city and by explore I mean go to the nearest shopping district that was within walking distance because I’m directionally challenged and I didn’t want to take any public transport. It was still nice walking around the shopping area! Got a few last minute shopping done and had some good food but I got bored pretty quickly so I went to the airport about 8 hours early (lol) and used their free wifi to do my uni assignments (sadlyf).

Last note: Brisbane International Airport (the inside) is hella pretty

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Brisbane

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Brisbane Intl Airport

That’s it for Australia – I’ll be back…very soon.

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