A Day Trip to Tianjin天津

A port city metropolis situated along the Bohai Sea in Northern China, Tianjin is China’s largest coastal city and currently ranks fourth largest in urban population following Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. Meaning “heavenly ford” or “the place where the emperor crossed the river,” Tianjin has historically been the maritime gateway to the nation’s capital of Beijing. Because of its location, controlling Tianjin has been of crucial strategic importance in terms of the geopolitics of the area.

Songyang 松阳: Damunshan Tea Fields and Old Street

Songyang is one of Lishui’s nine counties in Zhejiang and focuses most of its industry in producing high-quality teas. Over 7,500 hectares (about 29 square miles) of the county is devoted solely to the cultivation of tea fields, with more being created every day. A group of friends and I went on an excursion into Zhejiang’s rural countryside in search of these famous tea plantations to experience the hype for ourselves.

Early Holiday Season Recap

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks! Where did November and December go? Now that my classes are finished (as in my classes were co-opted for test review), I actually have free time to blog. Thanksgiving The AYC Thanksgiving this year was held by my friends, Dani and Rachael, as is the tradition for…

Hong Kong香港: Asia’s World City Part I Kowloon

Bright sunlight sparkled on the water amidst the bobbing solar panels scattered about the ocean. The Shenzhen skyline faded in the distance as my friend, Carol, and I rode a crowded double-decker bus early in the morning across the bridge to the palm tree-lined coast of Hong Kong (HK).  Sounds of Cantonese had washed over…

Xiamen厦门: Barcelona of the East, Garden on the Sea

All year I’ve been bombarded with tales of how amazing Xiamen is – mainly that it’s a gorgeous island with a plethora of great food. After spending a day and half in this city, I can say that they were right! In the short amount of time I was here, Xiamen has become one of…

Of Giant Tulous, Needy New Friends, and Accidental Sugar Daddies Part 2

Yellow shirt guy, seated up front, was a pretty good driver. In many instances, he timed the precise moment another car would’ve caused a head-on collision and swerved, despite his hangover. While Carol and I talked to each other about how “fluffy” the bamboo trees looked compared to those in Zhejiang province, we overheard the…

Shaxicun She Minority Village and Dongxi Rock

My favorite kind of days are those bright, warm sunny ones, with a light gentle breeze and clear blue skies as far as the eye can see. This was one of those days as we headed out of Lishui’s Liandu district (the main city center where I live). My 7th grade coworker, Amanda, from the Middle…

End of the Road?

Tsampa. This is the legendary foodstuff that has enabled sherpas, nomads and countless adventurers to navigate and survive Tibet’s often harsh terrain and unpredictable climate. In the mid to late 20th century, the term “Tsampa-eater” became an all-encompassing label to refer to various peoples from the Tibetan area, even though parts of North India, Turkestan…