HAPPY GOLDEN WEEK, 朋友们!
What is "Golden Week"?
In case you’re not quite up to speed with holidays in China, I’ll do the honor of filling you in. Chinese National Day is celebrated annually on October 1st to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). China pride and propaganda fills the air. This 7-day holiday spans from October 1st to 7th and is referred to as “Golden Week”. The photos below offer you a small but authentic taste of the nationalism saturating my neighborhood in Xili. The first wall art photo “爱国” (ai guo) means to “love one’s country”. The second photo portraying a civilian returning money to a police officer reads “诚信” (cheng xin) meaning “sincerity; trust; honesty.” Chinese flags protrude from all the lampposts and trees on nearby 366 Street and hang from storefronts.
Golden Week Warning:
Who doesn’t appreciate the occasional week-long escape from the daily grind of school / work? However, if you’re looking to travel within the Mainland during Golden Week, BEWARE. I strongly urge you to consider traveling outside of Mainland China. Well, that is unless you want to completely lose your mind and your sanity. I have extensive Golden Week traveling experience (including Huangshan Mountain, Yangshuo, Emei Mountain in Sichuan, the Great Wall, Luoyang in Henan Province), and I want to kindly warn you that traveling during Golden Week is anything but golden. It’s complete and utter chaos. It’s downright MADDENING. If your travel opportunities are limited and you’re only in Asia for a short period of time, then sure, just go for it. Make sure you keep a very close eye on your belongings! Especially that new iPhone 7 hanging out of your pocket! Featured below are some photos I found online (I am not taking any credit for these) depicting Golden Week 2015 at some of China’s most popular tourist destinations. I hope they give you a better idea of the craziness. See, I really wasn’t kidding…
recent SNAP SHOTS 深圳生活
Just a little update reporting live from Peking University HSBC Business School…
I still have five more weeks of my Financial Accounting course. So far, so good. My next big exam takes place the day after Golden Week (eek!), so I’ve been devoting a few golden days to some Starbucks hibernation in order to study merchandising operations & the multiple-step income statement, reporting & analyzing inventory, and reporting & analyzing receivables. Don’t be too jealous.
Um, yeah, let’s talk about this more on my next monthly update. Or maybe the one after that. Ok, cool. (Don’t worry, it’s coming along…)
Daily Commute Update:
Last month I told you guys I was commuting from my apartment to campus via Uber. Not anymore. Times have changed. I have found an economical alternative that comes with a significantly greater adrenaline rush. Better yet, this option provides the ultimate cultural immersion experience. That’s what I’m here for anyways, right?
你好 from my morning commute! :)
Several of you have inquired about my mailing address and the desire to send me a care package. While I am deeply flattered (really, many thanks), I want to provide you with a glimpse of China’s postal system when it comes to “efficient” package delivery. Perhaps these recent photos I snapped of package sorting in my neighborhood will help you fathom my reluctance when it comes to mailing me gifts. Hey, it’s the thought that counts.
Health & Fitness
Perhaps you are aware that I have a slight (totally irrational) fascination with “superfoods”. I’m a big fan of natural healing concoctions (when they’re safe and appropriate) and am also admittedly an easy target for marketing campaigns that advertise products bursting with vitamins and antioxidants. Fortunately, I live in the right country for ultra-cheap goji berries and antioxidant infused herbal concoctions.
I’ve discovered a few traditional Chinese medicine establishments that I visit on a fairly regular basis in order to calm my sometimes moody digestive tract. I’m still hesitant to fully replace modern meds with my prescribed concoctions of crushed herbs/berries/flowers/citrus peels/etc., but I feel like Super Woman after I sip my fancy Chinese blends. Thus, placebo effect or not, I am going to continue this practice for my own personal gratification. Check out my latest collection below!
New Running Routes:
As I told you last month, my best pal Fortune is studying Chinese at nearby Shenzhen Polytechnic University. I’ve been running around her campus in the morning as part of my running loop, so I decided to take you along for the views and so you can have a peak at my peaceful morning routine. Pretty Zen, huh? I also included a map of my 6-mile route so you can see where I disappear to at 5:30am.
Does Pool Count as a Sport?
Check out our newfound neighborhood discovery. Apparently Cue’s is where all the cool kids hang and play pool. I actually don’t play any pool whatsoever (air hockey is more my thing), but I accompanied my friends (and neighbors) Harsh and Fin and did some pool cheerleading.
Meet Your Future Spin Instructor:
A Little Pampering...
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
"Taking good care of YOU, means the people in your life will receive the best of you, rather than what’s left of you.”
…So, I don’t feel guilty treating myself to a five-dollar pedicure. It fits within my student budget.
I found a mani/pedi salon right next to the big pedestrian street (366大街) near my apartment, woohoo! Although it’s not exactly 5-star (2-star might even be a bit of a stretch), it’s clean (enough) and the owner, Flower (Oh my, I love self-assigned English names in China), is very welcoming. Engaging in girly gossip with Flower is also great colloquial Chinese practice ;) I can rationalize anything.
Food, Drinks, & Friends
Obviously, no blog post could ever be complete without including the friends who make China feel like home. (I love you all SO much!) Here’s a peep at what the crew has been up to these past few weekends…
Michael's Bday (Korean Food in OCT):
TAPS Brew Pub in Hou Hai
Dancing & Drinks at The Terrace in SeaWorld
Palestinian / Tunisian Dinner (Chef Rasha)
Korean Restaurant in Central, Hong Kong
The perfect post hike meal with Fortune after completing Dragon’s Back trail in Hong Kong
New Sushi Restaurant in the Neighborhood
Not only does this new find offer cheap and somewhat tasty conveyor belt sushi in a convenient location (around the corner from my apartment), but it's also made complete with absurdly random Michael Jackson decorations, fluorescent lighting, and a highly entertaining collection of flawed English translations…Don’t you just love “delicate dises with hinfinite charm”? ;) Oh China…
New Campus Canteen...非常好吃！
A brand new canteen just opened next to the dormitories at Peking University. Surprisingly, it's actually really awesome! The canteen is also squeaky clean and closely resembles an IKEA showcase. This obviously makes me a big fan.
HIKING DRAGON'S BACK 爬山
The best hiking in Hong Kong...
A few weekends ago, Fortune and I decided to finally hike Dragon's Back in Hong Kong. It was a perfect day. Perfect weather. Perfect company. Pure joy. I highly recommend Dragon's Back if you're ever in Hong Kong! It's not too rigorous and can be completed in around four hours. Unlike the vast majority of trails in Mainland China, it's not overly crowded and gives off peaceful vibes, free of the selfie-stick madness you tend to see on my side of the border.
Well, that concludes my monthly update! Thinking of you all and wishing everyone lots of health and happiness. Feel free to fill out the comment box below to leave any comments, future suggestions, or just to say hello! (NOTE: Comments will be forwarded to my personal email).