Friday, April 23, 2010

Going, going, back back to China China.

Posted by Cassie Chao at Friday, April 23, 2010 30 comments
I remember singing "Going back to Cali" the day I left Shanghai.
Guess what? A year later, I AM RETURNING! This time for the WORLD EXPO IN SHANGHAI!
I will be working as an ambassador at the USA Pavilion. Catch me there!

I am currently in NYC until July:
but I will be blogging again for my Shanghai experience:

Enjoy and thanks to those who have STILL been reading this blog even though I have been away from the motherland for a year now!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The End...

Posted by Cassie Chao at Friday, June 05, 2009 7 comments
So, for the past month and a half, Blogspot was blocked by the Chinese government. Who knows why, but then again, who knows why the Chinese government does anything that they do? Anyway, I am back home and attempting to recover from jet lag. It's going alright. I still have to update about my Yunnan trip...which I wrote half of until China decided to block my blog!

Just as an brief update, I completed my papers and Chinese exams with flying colors. The rest of my stay in Shanghai was pleasurable and relaxing. The Shanghai heat was soothing and although humid, I enjoyed it very much. I will miss all the friends I made and there is no doubt that I will be seeing many of them shortly.

As a conclusion to my year abroad, I would recommend an experience like this to ANYONE. I had the time of my life and learned so much about Chinese culture: lifestyle, customs, etc... I would not trade this year that I had for any other experience. Sure, I missed a season of ice hockey, and a year with my Smithies, but when will I be able to study in a different country again? When else would I meet other college students with the identical travel bug.

If you were to ask for a one word description of my year abroad, it would be...WOW.

My besties. Amber & Shannon

All the photos from the below slide shows can be found on my Picasa site:

Slide Shows:
Trip to Suzhou

Last Week in Shanghai

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Back in Tan, from Yunnan!

Posted by Cassie Chao at Tuesday, May 05, 2009 0 comments
Hey all! I'm back from the most amazing time I've had in China thus far. I am maybe 10 shades darker than when I left Shanghai, with a whole new attitude for my study abroad experience. I will attempt to write the happenings of this past week in detail, but I can't guarantee everything to be posted. I will upload photos to picasa of Hang Zhou and Yunnan, once I remember to upload Picasa, haha.

Anyway, here it goes:

Woke up early (8am) grabbed a bubble tea, and took our charter bus to HongQiao airport. Flew for 3 hours to Kunming. Sat next to Char and Esteban, both of whom are so lively that it helped the three hours fly by. Figured out why my camera could only take 150 photos, and found out how to reformat it so I could take 600+ photos, but I did lose 10 hilarious photos of people doing exercises on the airplane.

Arrived at our hotel, not too far from the airport. Had an hour or so of free time, where Amber and I walked around the pedestrian street to find food, ice cream, and bubble tea. :) Sadly, Amber's camera was drowned in her purse because her water bottle leaked so we headed straight back to the hotel to fix it.

Met up with the 7 Beijing kids, who were all really fun to chat with. We, as the entire Alliance group, walked to dinner at a nearby 'traditional' restaurant where we enjoyed food and live music. More free time thereafter, which included Amber konking out around 8 pm, and me sitting watching some random Chinese tv show.

Bright and early start to the day. Took the bus to the Stone Forest. Kunming has tons of rock formations, explained to be from continuous fault line activity. At the Stone Forest, a bunch of us decided to go off the beaten path and go rock climbing. I think as I have gotten older, my vertigo has progressed. Rocks...slippery= exciting, but scary.

Had lunch and the afternoon off to walk around Kunming. Had "over the bridge noodles" which consisted of a large bowl of boiling broth, and they give you separate plates of noodles, and ingredients for you to put into the broth, somewhat like hot pot. Tasty.
Ryan, Joe, Kyle, Jake, Shannon and I decided to go find Muslim street, which we never did find, but came across Pet Street. As cute as all the kittens and puppies were, I felt terrible that they were sitting in the hot, hot heat. Of course we all fancifully thought that we would buy them all and free them off the bus while we drove to the airport.

I wish I could describe the streets of Kunming to you. Let's just say that "under construction" signs don't exist. And if they did, NO ONE abides by them. We were walking on half cemented, poorly brick-lain roads. Sewage pipes were sticking out with liquid seeping out...anyway... we headed to the airport for our experience in Xishuangbanna. Got to the hotel rather late, so headed off to bed.

Xishuangbanna!! Definitely my favorite stop on our entire trip.
Woke up bright and early again and headed towards the Mekong river...the group split up to several raft/boats where we would float down the Mekong for the next 2.5 hours. Our boat driver was a sneaky guy and gave us little pans to have water fights with the other rafts. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and the weather was divine. Not too hot, not too cold, and the best part was that we all got soaked from the water fights. But, where were the super soakers when you needed them?

All the rafts stopped at a random beach along the river where there was a computer and printer set up for people who wanted the guides to take photos...Of course, we all had our own cameras. There was a volleyball net set up so people played a game of like 15 vs 15, yes, a huge volleyball game. Wasn't on the beach long until we got back on the boats to our destination. Omar then took us to the local market where we had some food and others bought dried fruit, extremely cheap fabric, and other goodies.

Took the bus from the market straight to JinHong(sp?), a Dai Village where we stayed at different host families. This was such a neat experience to live and experience the Dai lifestyle. Amy, Lindsey, Leona, Shannon and I were in one host family. That afternoon we hung out with our host mom, her daughter, and son in law. Taught the son-in-law how to play President's and Assholes as well as B.S. He won both games after we taught him how to play... At 5:30, we had an Alliance vs. Dai basketball game. Shannon and I decided to have our own fun and take the son-in-laws moped (with his permission,of course), and rode down the Dai village streets. After a few bugs in the eyes, nose, and mouth, we turned around and headed to the basketball game.
Alliance lost, but not by much.

Had dinner at our host family's house. Yum is the best word to describe it. Then afterward, we headed back to the basketball court to watch a show that the Dai people put on for us, but this didnt go on without Alliance participation. Of course I volunteer for a game, without knowing what's going to happen. 4 guys, 4 girls...rules of the game...Guys blindfolded while girl gets piggyback ride...objective...pop four balloons on the opposite side of the court. Ok..we lost, but didn't cheat!

Got to light these huge lanterns and saw some crazy homemade 'fireworks'.
After an exhausting day we headed back to our homestays where we were covered with mosquito nets for the night, nice.



Because I was unable to finish this post...
photos follow! as always...


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