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Table of contents

Yunnan Province: Dai Minority

1. Maps 2. Editor’s Note 3. Dancing with the Dai 4. Family: Miao 5. Enjoy the Little Things 6. The Miracle of Tibet 7. Mosaic Photo Collage 8. MUST List: Shopping & Food 9. Handy Phrases in Chinese 10. FAQ of China 11. Contributors Bio


Map of China

Yunnan Province: Dai Minority Justin Hu

Guizhou Province: Miao Minority Mina Kang


Mongolia Andrew Che

Tibet Emmy Zeng


Contributor’s Biographies Justin Hu (Editor) My name is Justin Hu and I was born and raised in California. Currently, I’m 25 years old and am a freelance journalist. I have been invited to join many famous news companies like the NYTimes but I always refuse. I find it more fun and enjoyable to be traveling around the world and giving your own perspective without any restraint. This is my first time ever in China and I have gathered with my other fellow freelance journalists and put together this magazine on the massive country.

Mina Kang (Freelance Photo Journalist) Born and raised from Seoul, South Korea, I, Mina Kang am a 27 year old freelance photo journalist. Ever since I took digital photography class, I’ve always wanted to write and take photos as I travel around the world. There were many love calls from famous travel magazines, but I decided to be the boss of my own job because you get to have the freedom to go to the place you want to go. This issue is about the unknown ethnic minorities of China, and I have gathered captivating information with Justin Hu, Andrew Che, Emmy Zeng.

Emmy Zeng (Freelance Photo Journalist) My name is Emmy Zeng and I am 30 years old. I graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism. As a photo journalist originally from Beijing, China, I have had the opportunity to travel the world reporting for various travel and leisure magazines. My article is based on the Zang minority in Tibet brings to life the culture of this group of people. 

Andrew Che (Freelance Journalist) My name is Andrew and I’m 25 years old a freelance journalist. I’ve lived most of my life in California, moving around within the state. I love to travel and I’ve met a lot of people through my work, including Justin Hu, who is a fellow journalist I met in Chicago while traveling abroad. He happened to live in Freemont, which is near San Francisco, where I live.


Editor’s Note Justin Hu Travel is a staple for entertainment, and people constantly search for new places to explore and visit for their own personal enjoyment. Each place on this Earth has their own unique characteristics, making each of them a place worthy to go to. For example, Mount Fuji of Japan, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, and the coral reefs of Australia. All these places sound very appealing and so do many more, but one place in this world enjoys constant attention. That place is China. In this magazine, the authors aim to highlight the minority groups of China, one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. Andrew Che has made a spectacular narration of his journey into Mongolia, Emmy Zeng has went out of her way to travel deep into Tibet, Mina Kang has written one hell of a journal about her experience with the Miao, and me, well, I’ve brought the Dai People to life with my keyboard.


Dancing with the Dai By Justin Hu

M

y eyelids snapped open as a massive force jolted my entire body, shaking the sleep

from my consciousness. My thoughts were a jumbled mess, completely scrambled from the moment of shock. With my mind foggy and unclear, I laid back into my seat, trying to recollect my thoughts and put them back together. Slowly, it came back to me. ! ! My name is Justin and I am a self-employed, freelance journalist born and raised in Fremont, California. I travel around the globe searching for articles and stories that capture my attention, posting them onto my public blog and magazines, where people anywhere on the world can see. How do I decide where to travel? Well, I usually look into sites like CNN or NBC where major issues are being reported. I may go to where those major issues are occurring and give a fresh perspective of what’s going on. Another way I decide is the comments my readers give me. They sometimes ask me to write about, say, “the protests in Egypt”, and I might consider writing an article on Dai Temples that particular issue. Recently, I’ve been asked to write about a minority group in China, as its economical growth is capturing the attention of many people. I’ve decided to go give the Dai people in Xishuangbanna a visit, as Xishuangbanna sounds like a very appealing location and the culture seems quite interesting.


! ! The trip was not easy. My destination was literally half a world away. First, I had reach San Francisco Airport (an hour-long car ride from Fremont) and then board a plane to Beijing, the capital of China. The flight took 13 hours, and I arrived at the airport in quite a state. Groggily, I grabbed my luggage and waited for a second flight into the Yunnan province where Xishuangbanna was located. Then, I had to take yet another plane to Xishuangbanna as there was a stopover in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. It wasn't too bad, as Kunming was quite a fun place to be with its beautiful night views and street vendors. When I finally boarded the plane to my destination, I was completely exhausted and must’ve fallen asleep on my seat. 1 ! I sat back up as the loudspeakers came on, announcing we had arrived. The first thing I noticed was that I probably packed too many jackets. The weather was extremely warm for April and was quite a contrast to Beijing, where it was still quite cold. The second thing I realized was that the area was extremely mountainous. The airport was even on a mountain! However, I didn't have much time to enjoy the scenery, or the rainbow that was in the sky. A large, dark-skinned man appeared in front of me as I made my way into reception. I recognized him immediately. “Hong!” I cried. Hong was one of my good friends in Xishuangbanna, and before I arrived, I asked him if he would take me to one of the local villages so I could write an article about their culture and maybe stay there for a night. My knowledge of the Chinese language was pretty decent as I have Chinese parents so he didn't really need to translate for me. Naturally, he agreed to show me to one of the villages. “好久没 了,兄弟 (Long time no see, my brother!), ” he replied, his lips forming into a warm smile. ! He guided me through the reception and out into the parking lot. I stopped and breathed in a lungful of fresh, clear air, bringing my mind into a more alert state. Hong watched me with great amusement and ushered me to where a big motorcycle was. My mouth gaped. “We’re riding on that?! Through these mountains?!” “是的 (Indeed).” Hong guffawed at the shocked expression on my face and climbed into his motorcycle, strapping on his helmet. He handed one to me. Slowly, I put it on, and sat on the back seat of the motorcycle. As an act of pure nervousness, I checked the time. 4:59 P.M. As Hong revved the engines of our ride, he turned his head and said, “一定要坐好,ok?(Hold on tight, ok?)” Without waiting for a reply, he accelerated into the road. The scenery whipped past me as we gained speed, the wind blowing ever stronger into my face, threatening to push me off. I don't know how long we drove, but the sun was low in the sky


when we finally arrived at a village. I staggered off the vehicle, unstrapping my helmet and handing it back to Hong, who gracefully got off the motorcycle and leaned it against a tree. I made my way to what seemed like the village gate and poked my head in, looking around. I saw a young man drying some corn, and he quickly turned to look as me when I stepped in. He looked like he was about to ask me something until Hong came to my side. The young man stopped in his tracks and suddenly grinned, clasping Hong’s hand and talking in rapid-fire Chinese, which Hong replied to in equal speed. Finally, they ended their conversation and the man bounced away, yelling all around him. Hong smiled awkwardly at me and spoke in broken English. “This is Dai Village. He is telling people you arrive.” My eyebrows raised in amusement. “Your English is improving!” “

(Thank you)”

Hong led me further into the village and I turned my head this way and that, trying to absorb everything that was in front of me. The Dai people’s buildings were extremely interesting. Hong explained to me that they were built on stilts, were made of bamboo, making the buildings well ventilated for this hot weather and were damp resistant. As well as that, the bamboo was a local produce and were always in plentiful supply. The stilts were for preventing snakes and another animals to reach the building and to help the cool air pass through it more easily. As I looked around the village, people began coming out of the buildings and started to greet us. The men wore front opening collarless jackets, light colored and loose fitting pants. Some of them, like the Arabians, even had cloth wrapped around their heads! The women had a light colored, tight fitting jacket with a flowery skirt and an extremely beautiful silver belt, which Hong would later explain to me was passed down from daughter to daughter. The rest of the day passed by quickly. I was given a meal to eat, which was filled with spicy and tangy flavored foods. After dinner, some locals showed to one of the bamboo buildings and into a room where I would sleep. I quickly slipped into my pajamas, brushed my teeth and fell into bed, instantly falling asleep. Hong shook me awake the next day. I was feeling a lot better with a good night’s rest and quickly dressed. Before I even left my room, someone knocked onto my door and stepped in, who turned out to be a local girl. She smiled at me shyly, and handed me a plate. “早

(Breakfast)”, said Hong.

! The food was sticky rice, a staple in the Dai people’s diet and a standard offering for guests. I learned that the humidity level in Xishuangbanna was very high so it was very suitable for growing ! rice, making it the main part of a lot of meals.

!

A young local girl


The sticky rice was sweet and tasty and I finished it quickly. After I had eaten, Hong led me outside where the women were gathering together doing some sort of dance. They wore extremely colorful clothes and were moving their bodies in an elegant manner, as if trying to imitate some sort of animal. Hong explained to me that it was the Peacock Dance, a traditional dance created by the Dai people. He also told me they were performing not only for me, but also because today (April 5th) was a very important day for the Dai Building announcing the Water Splashing Festival minority groups. It was the Water Splashing Festival! Hong and I followed the Dai people through their festivities and special activities going on throughout the day. The locals danced all the way up (I attempted to dance) through a mountain into a Buddhist temple where we went with buckets to get some “clean/holy” water. We poured this water over the Buddha to “clean” it and the local people wished for good luck. After praying, they brought us outside, where suddenly a local man doused me in freezing cold water, chasing away the heat instantly. Much to my shock, Hong poured some water onto me as well, and while laughing, told me that this was to chase away the bad spirits and cleanse our bodies. The entire village transformed into a sea of celebrating people. We raced each other in dragon boats to chase away the “bad sprits”. We danced and poured buckets and buckets of holy water onto ourselves and danced until the sun finally touched the horizon. I changed out of my soaked clothes and turned in for the night, falling asleep to the song of the birds and the wind rustling through the leaves. Sadly, I had to leave the Dai people the next morning (April 7th). As I left, I was showered with customary Chinese farewells and was given a serving of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. Hong led me out of the village and back onto the all-too familiar motorcycle. As we left, a slow pitter-patter rang through my helmet. It came again, and again. I raised my head into the rumbling sky above and saw rain. The drops, like small crystals illuminated by the morning sun, stung my cheeks and eyes and I quickly drew my head back down again. “下雨了(It’s raining),” muttered Hong. Once again, Hong revved the engines and fishtailed out into the road, spraying a trail of water in our wake. As I sat in my plane heading back to Beijing waiting for the rain to stop, my mind wandered back to my experience with the Dai people. They were a unique group, their choreography and behavior setting them apart from regular citizens of the world. Even though their numbers are miniscule, their kindness and culture compensate for their lack of people. Even though I come from a foreign land, they still treated me as one of their own and shows that two different groups can still bond. Luckily, the Dai people are not slowly dying out unlike the Mongolian ethnic group. Thankfully, most of them still retain their traditional roots. The plane rumbled beneath my feet and I looked out the window of my seat, trying to seek out the village behind all those mountains and trees. The rain had stopped and a beautiful, iridescent rainbow shone over the clouds. Instantly, I remembered the rainbow I had first seen when I arrived. Smiling, I sat back onto my seat as the plane rose up into the sky.


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Family Mina Kang

Entrance to the Miao Village

A

sudden flashback occurred in my

memory. Like you’ve put a movie to rewind, I’m recalling all the precious memories that I deeply inhaled at the Gui Zhou Miao Zu Zi Zhi Zhou. After a not-so-long plane ride, I arrived at the Beijing International Airport. Everything contrasted from Korea, even the smell of the two airports differed. As I stepped outside the airport, there was an otherworldly scent. The smell of sweat, cigarettes, KFC and the polluted air all blended into this strange scent. It was tongue Dried Corn drying, and my insatiable appetite to write and learn more about the unknown minorities of China was intensifying by the minute. I wanted to experience the true biodiversity of China, the rural areas that have never been explored. It seems that I was already inspired, and that has kept me inquiring about the enthralling Miao minority. Arriving at Beijing isn’t the journey to my final destination; I had another plane ride to the city of Wu Han, where near that location there is the Miao minority village, I am going to stay. My guide Ann was very friendly and she swiftly led me to the location without any major difficulties. She constantly informed when I faced minor problems, how the conditions in Korea and China are extremely different. During the train ride to the Miao village, you could smell cheap cigarettes and sweat from the old car seat covers. I wondered if I could survive in such a contrasting environment, research, take photographs, and write an article here. But I guess I made it through. The subtropical humid climate of Gui Zhou was not surprising, just a little chilly, no different from my home country.Yellow and red maple leaves were vigorously dancing with the wind. The sharp sice-cold wind cut through my chapped lips. The entrance to the village was just big enough for me to go through and there were Chinese


View of the whole village characters written on the center of the door. I couldn’t recognize most of the words however Ann was always there for me to grasp every single detail in this village. I could see the mountains lined across, and the colossal trees that embraced the tiny village of the ethnic minority, Miao. Like an egg inside a bird’s nest, the village nestled in with the physical characteristics of Gui Zhou. The tall, sturdy houses caught my eye as I entered the village. Roofed with fir bark, tiles that are thatched made most of the building, and most of the houses were built on stilts because when the temperature drastically increased the cool air can pass through the empty space underneath the house and freshen the house. Some had roofs made of stone slabs, and Ann translated what the Miao family was saying. Timber is plentiful in many Miao areas, and it is used as one of the materials to build a sustainable, long-lasting shelter. The Miao family’s relatives’ houses vary greatly in style, and it is mainly because of the different climates depending where they live. In Arts & Crafts Yunnan or Hainan Island, houses are built with woven branches, and bamboo strips plastered in mud to secure the base of the bamboo. One thing for sure, most of the materials of houses are from their accessible and abundant resources, like from thatched huts, timber, wood, stone slabs, and bamboo. I kept roaming around the village taking notes as I discovered, at the shade of houses, the breeze was cool, and it felt like you’re inside a refrigerator. It became a perfect shade for those who’ve been exhausted from the sun’s heat. These small technologies they came up with made them very wise, and an intriguing culture to travel to and explore. After a long time of traveling and discovering the characteristics of the village, I was drained. The spry, keen freelance photojournalist was gone, probably gone a long time ago and she was craving for sustenance. The kind and noble Miao family prepared lunch and I offered to help them cook. The main menu was a sour mixture of glutinous rice, and salad (something that looked like a salad). The sour stink from the vegetable and rice made me shiver and frightened to eat it. It was disgusting, the color of the vegetable were unusual, and most importantly, it was moldy. Ann asked the Miao family, if storing the vegetables for two months was necessary. We both agreed how gross it was, and decided not to eat it until we comprehended the historical reasons. According to the senior member of the Miao village, it happened because of the lack of salt. Before 1949, many Miao people had to flavor their food with pepper or a sour taste because there was no surplus of salt. I hesitated for a moment, and then shoved the vegetable into my mouth. There was a distinctive taste from the yellow, moldy cabbage. The sour taste enveloped around my tongue, bursting with a


sour flavor. It was strange but the more I ate it, the more it tasted delicious. The sticky rice tasted like the rice cakes in Korea, and I thought that it actually tasted better than the ones from home. As I took a bite, I missed home for the first time. I asked the oldest member of the village why they eat rice, instead of wheat. She told me that ever since China’s rapid growth of the economy, they have changed their lifestyle, because now it was easy to obtain rice from the North of Gui Zhou. They were forced to adapt both cultures of the Han and Miao after the Han’s have migrated to the Gui Zhou Miao area. During lunch, the youngest member sat next to me, teaching me the rules of their culture. He told me the most important rule while you eat: over-eating is regarded as an insult. I was shocked. These are the times where you call these happenings culture shock, because in Korea, over-eating is unhealthy but it shows their respect for them providing a meal. Yellow Leaves: Fall

The Miao women and I enjoyed talking about the fancy, festive clothing Miao men and women wear during ceremonies. Both gender’s outfits had unique features, and impressed me with such exquisite embroidery. The colorful design was printed on the linen jackets the men wore neatly and the drape woolen blankets twirled with the geometric patterns on it. The puttees wrapped around their legs tightly and kept their legs warm during wintertime. The bull-head that was stitched to the back of their linen jackets symbolized peace and happiness to the villagers, and they explained to me that everything has its own reasons why it exists, as well as the meaning to their existence, which is why they symbolize their surroundings. Women wore jackets buttoned on the right side, and trousers with decorations embroidered on collars. The thick strips of cloth were called puttees and it swathed around their legs for support and warmth. It was draped over the woolen blankets with a variety of geometric shapes entangled with the festive jewelry. As I wandered through the village, I saw the children singing and dancing, making music from their nearby surroundings. The walls were displayed with aesthetic arts and crafts. Like the walls were a part of art, the walls were surrounding the children who made art, and the absorbing tune sang by them too. The area I was a part of made me be aware of the Miao culture,

Clothing


Housing

that it was highly diversified culture from a root.You could already sense that as you enter the settlement. When you enter, the energy, the soft melody drifting in the air, and the ability to capture one’s attention were meant be felt, because it was their culture. Although, the lyrics did not rhyme, the catchy tune was easy to sing along, understand. Suddenly, it became a stage where I was humming the tune and got it “stuck in my head”. The adults in the community joined the singing and began to play Lusheng, their favorite instruments. Babies were beating the copper drum, the children were singing, adults were playing the flutes, and I was just drawing the aura of this place. It was just so unique and special that you get to experience the moment to become united

The senior member of the village led me to the dinner table and we had a small ceremony within the families. Miao people were really hospitable, a great observer of etiquette. They payed me great respect and I felt welcomed because of that. At the poultry ceremony, the men killed chickens for this feast. It was known as the common custom held in households, and they served it to guests that have come a long way to visit them. They knew how to give and take, share what they’ve harvested to each of the villagers. The chicken head was served to the senior member, the leg was for the youngest member, and everyone shared the heart. The heart seemed really significant since the oldest member presented it with chopsticks. I was told to pick the heart up and present it back to the members. Giving the impression of being each of the members, becoming a mirror for each another. They appreciated me respecting their traditions, and gave me the horn spirit drink, only given to those who came from far-off. I felt special as an individual, appreciated, and I finally felt like I deserved to be here. We all knew we were one big family, and we would never sacrifice one for another. Because we are family, we became one, respected each other. Soon I forgot the first reason why I came here. The atmosphere I was in and the villagers made it easy to write this article therefore; I am not the only who wrote this article, it's the Miao villagers. I can now share the memories in Gui Zhou Miao Zu Zi Zhi, which was my objective. I left the village; embracing the last touch I’ll ever feel here, right this moment. The birds chirped goodbye, the trees waved with their long green arms, and the mountain’s shadow once again loomed over the landscape. Goodbye.


Dining

Many Beijing dishes primarily comprise of meat, as a result of eating habits of the royals. As Beijing has been the capital of China for centuries, its cuisine is influenced by culinary traditions from all over China. Another tradition that influenced Beijing cuisine is the Chinese imperial cuisine that originated from the “Emperor's Kitchen�, which referred to the cooking facilities inside the Forbidden City, where thousands of cooks from different parts of China showed their best culinary skills to please the imperial family and officials.

The most famous dish associated with Beijing is Peking Roast Duck. It is bestknown for the thin and crispy skin, rich taste and long history. The origin of the Peking duck dates back to the Ming Dynasty, about 600 years ago.The culinary of

pecking duck can be dated back to yuan dynasty when it was a dish of imperial food. The duck is tasted palatable in spring, winter and autumn. The authentic versions of dish should be served with most skin and little meat. Generally it is eaten with pancakes, sweet bean sauce and scallion. The sweet bean sauce is smeared on the pancakes, then slices of meat is put between the pancakes. Zha Jiang Noodles is a very popular dish in the north China. It is composed of such main materials as pork, hand make noodles, vegetable pieces and soy sauce. Zha Jiang noodles is made to order by specialist noodle chefs, are one of the delights of


China. They can be served in soup or with a sauce, but the most classic Beijing preparation is Zha Jiang Mian� drained noodles tossed with a rich minced-pork sauce and a smattering of fresh vegetables.

Mongolian Hot pot, you can cook your own thin slices of mutton in bubbling broth, along with vegetables and bean thread noodles, and then dip them into a sauce made of sesame paste, chiveflower preserve, and other seasonings. It is more of a midwinter dish than food for August.

These boiled crescent dumplings are comfort food, Beijing-style. At the Chinese New Year, whole families gather to make and eat them, but they are also and everyday snack, available in may places throughout the city.


Enjoy The Little Things Andrew Che

A

huge expanse of grassland lied before me.

Ruffling in the gentle breeze, the seemingly endless sea of green stretched all the way to where the land met the sky. In the distance, I could barely see the outline of a small figure, galloping towards me. Coming closer now, the small figure grew and grew, a horse. I could see it clearly now. Its veins were popping out, muscles tense, galloping at a blinding speed, but it didn’t seem to slow down. Brilliant colors flashed, moving too fast for me to see clearly. Then I saw it. It was a person! His clothes were embroidered with wonderful colors. I felt something gently tapping on my shoulder, but there was no one there. The tapping came again. “Sir. Sir, we are landing soon”. Then everything faded. I woke up groggy eyed, still suffering from jet lag. I glanced at my watch; the displayed glowed, 1:30 AM. Meng Gu Bao (AKA Yurts) in the grasslands

“Sir. Sir, we are landing soon. Can you please fasten the seatbelt,” a voice with a thick accent spoke.

“Yeah, sure,” I replied. I sat up in my chair, and remembered. I was on a plane headed for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Looking at my watch again, it was 1:30 AM back in California, so that meant it was 4 in the afternoon here. ‘I have a long day ahead of me’ I thought. Frigid cold air hit


my face as I stepped off the plane. I took a deep breath in, the cold air keeping me awake. “Hey! Andrew”, I heard my name. I searched the crowd and spotted a middle-aged woman. “Over here! Welcome to Mongolia!” she said with the same accent as the flight attendant. “Thanks”, I mumbled, still tired. For the next 24 hours I would have to rely on this woman, my tour guide, for everything, as I’m not fluent in Chinese. A van was waiting for us outside the airport. We drove past what I believed was the urban part of the city; tall buildings and apartments lined the streets. But soon we were on our way through the countryside, buildings and apartments now a rare sight. Fields, filled with rice and corn, were everywhere. I first got a glimpse of it, after 3 hours or so of driving, a huge expanse of grassland, stretching beyond the horizon. I felt an odd sense of deja vu. Then, a small figure appeared. It was a horse. Soon after, more horses began to appear with people on them. Traditional Mongolian Clothing

“These are the people of the tribe we are visiting; they’ve come to welcome us,” the tour guide said. It was an amazing sight. Suddenly, white round huts popped up like gophers from the ground. Dozens of people were dressed in valiant colors, embroidered with elaborate designs. A large number of cows and goats were spread out among the vast land. I stepped out of the car and all of a sudden the pungent smell of manure reached my nose. I looked down and saw I stepped right into a pile of it. Great, I thought. But for the next 24 hours I would have to get used to it. “You know, you come just in time.Very big festival now called Na Da Mu. Mongolian New Year,” the guide said. Warm hands reached out from all around to greet us. Smiles and hugs were exchanged in a blur. Then, the village elders invited us inside the huts, which are called Meng Gu Bao. The Meng Gu Bao looked sort of like a giant upside down pie pan. Painted a bright white color, they really stood apart from the ocean of green. “Mongolian people are nomads,” my tour guide explained, “houses made so they move easy. They travel ” Huge platters of lamb were brought; the smell made my mouth water. Milk and tea followed and we all ate. The food tasted amazing! New and extravagant flavors danced on my tongue. Everyone was enjoying the food, and everyone was having a great time. After the meal we were led outside for performances. The women wore long dresses with intricate designs and tall colorful hats. Their shoes were curved with sharp points on the end, like an elf’s. When they danced all you could see were very bright colors, moving around in sync. An ensemble of orchestra like instruments played a pleasant tune


to accompany the dance. The men were next. Everyone formed a big circle, noise everywhere, people cheering. Feeling disoriented and a little dazzled, I tried to make sense of what was happening. In the middle of the circle were two very big men, brawling on the ground. Hundreds of people gathered around, cheering them on. My guide noticed me engaged in watching them and asked, “You want to try?” “Oh, no. I think I’ll pass!” I replied. “I’m fine with watching.” My tour guide burst out in laughter. Bright orange streaks filled the once blue sky. Shadows were waking up, crawling out of their daytime hiding spots, slowly standing up, growing taller and taller. Soon they filled the fields and the moon gleamed dazzlingly in the night sky. It was starting to get cold now, but no one else seemed to mind. The festivities proceeded on as normal. Once again, we were invited inside what I now know is called a yurt. The lavish dishes of boiled mutton and milk tea were once again brought to us. This time, however, we were delighted with a new Mongolian specialty; airag. Steaming hot cups filled to the brim were brought to the table. Airag is special kind of drink, made from a mixture of tea and milk, with a little bit of alcohol in it. It tasted a bit sour at first, but I got used to it, and it was pretty good. Next, a huge plate was brought onto the table. It had on it what looked like teeth. I then realized they were teeth! It was a whole sheep’s head! “Sheep head, delicacy in Mongolia,” my tour guide explained, seeing my expression, “It is tradition in here Mongolia. Eat both eyeballs to show courage.” “I think I’ll pass.” I said, watching in horror as a man put an eye into his mouth and started chewing. To my delight, and clearly many others, a bottle of vodka was opened and I graciously accepted. At the time I was puzzled as to where the alcohol came from. But in retrospect I figured it was because Inner Mongolia neighbors Russia. Exhausted from my journey to Mongolia and the day’s activities, I brushed my teeth and changed into my pajamas. I climbed onto my bed, my vision fading, eyes slowly closing; the last thing I heard before I dozed off was a soft tapping of water falling. I awoke to the sound of clanging metal. The display on my watch said 4:30pm. I quickly calculated the local time, 7:30 in the morning. Cold air rushed up beside me as I stepped outside. Dewdrops gathered on a cobweb and glistened in the morning sun. It had rained last night. Wrapping my arms around myself, I went over to investigate where the sound was coming from. Surprisingly, everyone seemed to be up and going about their daily activities already. Sitting


on a bench was a young man sharpening knives. The sound of metal against metal hurt my ears so I went back to my yurt. My tour guide was waiting for me, “There you are! Hurry, eat breakfast, a lot to do today”. Buuz, a kind of fully wrapped sandwich with meat inside, was brought to us. The steamed buns were fresh and tasted very good. The day’s festivities are going on as usual. People mounted on horses getting galloping back and forth. “They are getting ready for race,” my tour guide said. Horses are very respected in Mongolian culture. People’s behavior reflected this as well. There were all kinds of horse riding related competitions held during “Na Da Mu”, horse-riding being the most popular one among fellow Mongolians. It was like normal horse racing, but on steroids. One word to describe it would be intense. Giant crowds with hundreds of people gathered around the racetrack, (which was basically a dirt path), filling every nook and cranny, shouting and cheering on the racers. “Do you want to try?” My guide asked me. “Sure why not.” My guide nodded and started speaking rapidly in Mongolian to some other people, ushering me this way and that, and somehow I ended up on a horse at the starting line. Horse riding is something that takes time and patience to master, or at least I’m sure it does because I quit after a couple of lessons when I was younger. What happened next was a blur. In the time span of 6 seconds, I managed to somehow fall off my horse and onto the unforgiving ground. The crowd burst out in laughter. I went again and managed to stay upright and got cheers from the crowd. Panting and trying to catch my breath, I wobbled over to my yurt. Sadly though, my time was coming to an end. I sipped away at a cup of milk and looked on towards the horizon. It was calm and peaceful, no cars, no construction, no anything; it was just peace and quiet. It was like there was a pause button on life, the surroundings unchanging, everything still. The horses in the distance stopped, and so did the noises. Even the grass ceased to swing back and forth in the breeze. Sunlight flooded the pastures in a faint orange glow, radiating warmth on the land. I felt on odd sense of belonging in this tranquil environment. Moments like this are rare back in San Francisco. It might not seem so significant, but you should always enjoy the little things. However, a moment is a moment, and it does not last forever. Someone pressed the play button and once again people went about their lives. I glanced through the window of my plane. The sun climbed higher yet into the sky, shedding its blanket of darkness, revealing a layer of bright blue. That was awesome, I thought, I should go do that again sometime.


Shopping In China China is a fantastic shopping destination. Everywhere you go, you can find shiny new department stores and malls and bustling night markets. “Friendship Stores� are Chinese state-run stores, which were originally set up to only sell to foreign tourists, diplomats and government officials, but are now open to the public. They are certainly not the best value around town.

Sanlitun is an area of the Chaoyang district, Beijing containing many popular bar streets and international stores. The area has been under almost constant regeneration since the late 20th century as part of a city-wide project of economic regrowth.

Shopping is certainly the favorite activity of Hong Kongers. Hong kong has no sales tax and is also a dutyfree port. Some goods are sold cheaper than the countries in which they were


originally made. What to buy in Hong Kong: computer and electronics (cameras, etc) watches Chinese handicrafts, art, antiques Chinese herbs and high-end teas Gold jewelry, jade, pearls, luggage handbags, briefcases Furniture, carpets Eyeglasses Toys Furniture, carpets Pick just one mall for your shopping in the Hong Kong area, it would have to be the swanky and huge pacific place. Pacific Place mall is home to a couple hundred shops, including more than 130 top-end retail brands. Central is where you will find Hong Kong’s pinnacle of conspicuous consumption, The landmark, Hong Kong’s most upscale and priciest mall. The landmark is also home to the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel, as well as many top restaurants. Causeway bay is less ritzy and pricey compared to Central. A popular shopping destination for the locals , this area is usually very lively-packed with shoppers every day of the week. Causeway Bay also has a great concentration of shopping malls and department stores. page number


The Miracle of Tibet Emmy Zeng

T

ibet is simply one of the most remarkable places in Asia. It offers fabulous monasteries,

breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one the most likable peoples you will ever meet. As an American photojournalist I was assigned to experiment the life of Tibetans. First, I flew to Beijing, and then I took a connecting flight to Xining. When I got to my hotel in Xining it was already 2am. As it was already very late, I decided to stay up to watch sunrise in Qinghai Lake, the largest salt-water lake in China. After watching the sunrise, I went straight to the train station for my 7:00am train. The train ride gave me amazing views of several natural wonders, including the Tongtian River and the Gobi Desert. I arrived at 8:00am the next morning. When I stepped out of the train it was so cold that I felt like the wind bit my face. Lhasa was very different to Beijing. Lhasa was surrounded by mountains and lakes. The green grass and trees grew on the mountain. The crystal clean lakes were home to fish and other animals. Thick clouds flooded on the bluest sky I had ever seen. While Lhasa had some modern architecture and cars, the religion was felt on every street, as there were many Buddhist temples. I met my host family at the train station. My parents are Chinese so I know how to speak Mandarin. Luckily, my host family could speak mandarin as well. The communication was easy for both of us. The family had a young boy, who was around ten years old. He was short and strong with a dark face and curly hair. He was wearing a bright red shirt with a dark blue robe that hung around his shoulders. The temperature could change so dramatically here during one day so the robe-like clothes were convenient for people to take off when it got hot in the day or to add when it turned chilly in early morning and night. The boy was a bit shy at the beginning, but I soon found out he actually was very warm and talkative. Once he considered me his trusted friend, he talked constantly to me, sharing how many buffalos their family had, who were his closest friends in his school, and what he wanted to be once he grew up. I liked him instantly. The boy’s parents looked more serious, but they were actually quite friendly too. They welcomed me warmly and then left their


son to do the talking most of the time as we began the journey to their home. They lived far away from the train station. We took a threehour bus ride to reach their village. When we arrived, we were all vey weary. They lived upon the high mountains, and this elevation made me dizzy and nauseous as if I had the flu. They noticed my changes, and they understood that I was not able to adapt the elevation. My host family believed that butter tea could make me feel comfortable with the high-altitude, so they began to make this Tibetan specialty. To make butter tea, a person must first boil brick tea in water for a long time to make a thick, red juice. Once my host did this, she then poured the juice into a specially made round wooden pail and added butter and salt. After that she used a special stick to beat the tea up and down vigorously in the pail to completely dissolve the butter and tea. Finally, she poured this mixture into a pot and put it over a low fire. Soon, the tea was ready for serving. However, there was a custom to follow when drinking butter tea. When the host filled the bowl for the guest, the guest must first chat with the host instead of drinking the tea at once. When the host lifted the teapot for the second time, then the guest was allowed to drink the butter tea. When I tried a cup of butter tea, it was very warming, but I found it to be quite strong and extremely salty. However, it did make me feel less dizzy and nauseous, so I was grateful to have it. I could understand how it would be wonderful to have a cup of butter tea in the cold winter. The host family told me that butter tea was a very nutritious drink, suited for high altitudes and cold regions. According to Tibetans, butter tea could resist coldness, protect the body, and eliminate fatigue. Moreover, Tibetans mainly eat meat such as mutton and beef, which can lead a high acid content in the blood. However, they believe that by drinking butter tea the body is balanced. I also found out during my stay that Tibetans drank several cups of butter tea in the morning before they went to work. Tibetan houses were usually made from wood and stone. These materials were available to get from the nearby forests and mountains. Most of the houses had very thick, stone walls and were painted white. The roofs were built with scores of the tree trunks and then covered with thick layer of clay. When the roof was finished, it was flat. Their houses usually had a big window facing south to let sunlight in. The most interesting part of their houses was a guarding wall built around to keep animals in and outsiders out.


Tibetan Buddhism, the predominant religion of Tibet and Mongolia, is also called Lamaism. I noticed Tibetans spend much of their time in prayer or doing religious activities. For example, they thought the spinning prayer wheels and hanging prayer flags would earn them merit. Also, Tibetan Buddhists sent their sons to monasteries, participated in pilgrimages, and gave good deeds. They presented gifts to lamas to earn merit. My host family was very faithful. They always went on a pilgrimage trip. After I left, they would spend one month or more on the pilgrimage trip. Their journey was long and dangerous. Thieves, weather and diseases were all big challenges to my host family. But I guessed their faith would help them pass through all the challenges and get to the Potala Palace. As I boarded the plane in Lhasa headed for Beijing, I reflected on the experience in Tibet. This amazing journey taught me that different ethnic groups have different traditions and customs, which are influenced by where they live. All of these ethnic groups are important to China. They are a really big part of China and are what makes China special.


Top 10 Hotels In China Mina Kang Grand Hyatt: ShenZhen “A ‘Grand: Hyatt of 5 Stars” The Grand Hyatt located in ShenZhen, China is one of the most modern, luxurious, and spacious hotels in China. It is rated with 5 stars, and of course, every guest loved the “bathrooms”! The rooms are very opulent and luxurious, and most of the time, the guests say the hotel was much more than expected, great service, prompt attention, and obviously great location. The breathtaking views of the city, spacious area, pristine bathrooms, and a palatable breakfast buffet: all in one, The ShenZhen Grand Hyatt Hotel.

________________________________________________________________________ Sichuan Jinjiang Hotel “Historical Hotel in Historical City” The historical province of China, is Sichuan, and there lies Sichuan Jinjiang Hotel in the heart of Chengdu. The rooms were capacious, and “high-quality”. Moreover, the services were great. Free food and beverages were provided everyday. The public Wi-Fi was always accessible, and nearby the hotel, there were Tianfu Square, Sichuan Museum of Science and Technology, and Renmin Park, which was very convenient. There was a large pool and a free mini-bar open to anybody, allowing families to make memories in the magnificent hotel: Sichuan Jinjiang Hotel.


Tangla Beijing Hotel “Pleasant Stay, on Business” Amazing views, great services, and the food. Most of the rooms were refurbished into a deluxe suite where you can experience the preponderance of a prosperous life. The rooms are large and there are two flat screen TVs. The buffet breakfasts are extensive where it gives you a chance to explore all the different kinds of food in Beijing. Although the dense tourist areas are not nearby the hotel, there is a subway you can access. Experience the true historical perspective of Beijing with Tangla Beijing Hotel.

________________________________________________________________________ Four Seasons Hotel, Pudong Shanghai “Experience the Four Seasons” Located in Shanghai (Lujiazui), Four Seasons Shanghai Pudong is close to Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower, and Oriental Pearl Tower. Also nearby are The Bund and Pudong Riverside Promenade and Park. In Four Seasons, expect cutting edge design of a boutique hotel but on a grander scale. As you can expect, the food we provide offers you a high-standard prepared lunch/ dinner. Great views, and many conveniences are offered in Four Seasons, and everyday expect a new adventure here, experience a different season everyday because it’s the Four Seasons Hotel in Pudong Shanghai.


Raffles Hainan Hotel “A New Paradise in Hainan Island” The Raffles Hainan is located on the South East of Hainan Island at about one hour from the airport. It has the most beautiful Sand beach of 12 Km long , a two eighteen hole Golf courses, 3 outstanding restaurants that offers you scrumptious meals. The rooms are spectacular, the view! The breath-taking view of the clear water bay extending across the land. Remote from the busy city Sanya, it is a perfect place for you to stay for a relaxing summer holiday. It’s absolute TOP of all hotels in China. Remember the Raffles Hainan Hotel!

________________________________________________________________________ Amanfayun Hotel: Hangzhou “A Unique Experience in a Chinese Tea Village” Located in a typical Hangzhou valley at the door of one of the most famous and well known Buddhist temple The “Ling yin Temple”. The resort is well located to explore the surrounding Hangzhou Hills and temples as well as some of the best longJin tea plantation. The simplicity of the interior is refreshing, not generic at all.There are a few communal buildings - the reception area, the different restaurants, a central large house, a tea room, or just a quiet reflective lounge area, and the spa. It’s nothing fancy; just a weekend getaway to enjoy with your family.


Guangzhou Grand Hyatt Hotel “The Hotel in your Dreams” This luxurious five-star hotel is located in Guangzhou of the Tianhe District. Guests are within close proximity to the Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe Sports Centre, Guangzhou International Convention Center and Canton Fair Grounds. Nearby local attractions include Tee Mall, Beijing Road, Guangzhou Museum and Opera House. It’s just the hotel anybody would dream of. The best of the best facilities are made, and the rooms you’d want to stay in exists in the Guangzhou Grand

Hyatt Hotel. Dream on, because the Guangzhou Grand Hyatt is ready for it. ________________________________________________________________________ The White House Hotel, Guilin “You might just fall in love...” The White House Hotel is truly a piece of art. The luxury you experience aside the setting will make you come again because you have fell in love with this hotel. Many guests have quote our hotel as the “haven of China” because of the antiques, facilities, services, and the buffet. Guilin is a


great place to explore and this hotel is quiet but easily accessible to all the key sights. Just know that The White House Hotel will make great value for money and a lovely boutique hotel. Come to Guilin, fall in love! Shangri-La Hotel, Xi’an “Shangri-La Never Disappoints” Xi’an, a great place to go to when you want to explore China’s historical sites. The Shagri-La Hotel gives you the perfect accommodation and excellent

service. Some people may say that it is a very business focused hotel, but some say it is a great place to come with family. Both statements are true, which makes the Shangri-La Hotel a globally famous hotel. And as you all know, Shangri-La never disappoints! ________________________________________________________________________ Harbor Grand Hotel, Hong Kong “Hong Kong City Lights” The views of the city light of Hong Kong shines off the tall skyscrapers. The fantastic rooms and facilities that are incorporated with the hotels are just impressive and the lobby is spectacular with the firework-like chandler attached to the high-ceiling.You can already paint a picture in your mind, the superior quality of this hotel. Expect spacious, clean, modern rooms.You’re going to love everything here...because it’s Hong Kong with the Harbor Grand Hotel. It’s grand here.


Handy Phrases 你好 Hi ni hao 再

Bye zai jian

打 一下 Excuse me da rao yi xia 不客气 you’re welcome bu ke qi Thank you xie xie 不起 sorry dui bu qi 在

里?where is it? zai na li

不是 no bu shi 是 yes shi 一般 good yi ban 没有 nothing much mei you


FAQ Andrew Che Q: What should I do if I lose my passport in China? A) The first thing you would need to do is to go to a Public Security Bureau to get papers for your lost passport. Next you would have to go to your embassy or consulate to apply for a new passport, which will take 1-2 days. Q: What are the emergency numbers? A) Police: 110 || Ambulance: 999/120 Q: What are some popular monuments that I can visit? A) The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden Palace, Chengde Summer Resort, and the Summer Palace, to name a few. Q: How do I book train tickets? A) There are many websites that you can find that will help you book train tickets, such as www.chinatour.net, and you can even go the train station and book tickets! Q: Do I need a visa? A) Yes you do.You can get a visa at the Chinese Embassy in your area or you can hire travel and visa agencies to get you through the visa process. Something to know is that visas for U.S citizens cost more than other citizens of other countries. Q: What should I bring? A) In China, you would want to bring a good amount of cash, because you’ll most likely want to get something from a street vendor, who doesn't accept credit cards. Another thing to bring would be toilet paper. Public toilets in China seldom have toilet paper ready to be used. The climate also ranges in different areas, so you would want to bring a variety of clothes. Q: What are some of the different languages there? A) Mandarin is the most popular language, being the most spoken language in the world. However, different minority groups sometimes have their own unique language, and it would take forever to list them all down. English is now gaining popularity in China, so you might find some people who know that language. How will I get phone service?


Tour Guide Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen gate located to its North separating it from the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the would. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history. The Tiananmen Gate to the forbidden city was built in 1415 during the Ming dynasty. The Tiananmen square was designed and built in 165, and has since enlarged four times its original size in the 1959s.

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick tamped earth, wood and other materials, generally built along an eat-to west line across the historical northern borders of China. The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 8851.8 kilometers from east to west of China. The Great wall has a history of more than 2000 years.


Hitchhikers