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CHINA

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Contents Q&A

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Tufts Traveler staff

Welcome to China

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Tufts Traveler staff

A Glimpse of Chengdu

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Stacy Jen

Struggling to Survive

10-11

Haley Newman

Seeking Perfection

16-17

Jeffrey Greenberg

A Day on the Wall

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Daniel Grayson

Modern Mao

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Anna Simon

Inside Olympics

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Tong Xu

Lessons from a Picture

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Jiehua Wu

Away from the City

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Nunu Luo

Around and About

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Robbie Gottlieb

25-27

Emily de Armas

Styling with Valentino Land of Milk and Honey...

Rachael Brill

You Can’t Dance

Sarah Hayes

FOCUS

Russell Wang

Letter from the editors If you read Tufts Traveler last year you have probably noticed that this issue, our first of the semester, looks quite different. My goal for the semester was to publish the entire issue in color, and thanks to an exceptionally talented and knowledgeable staff we have made it a reality. This issue has more color photos including photo spreads by some of our extremely talented contributing photographers, as well as photos submitted by contributing writers. Photos are a key part of any travel experience and for most people including myself, impromptu snapshots and 30 pictures of the same sunset are a much more common result of a trip than a well written 800 word article detailing all of the funny yet touching anecdotes of my trip. Photos are a great way to share memories and experiences with others and when combined with an article, allow readers to totally immerse themselves in another culture and forget about the freezing Somer-ford weather. So go ahead and read on. From everyone on the staff, we hope you enjoy the new Tufts Traveler Magazine and as always, happy travels. editors-in-chief • marianna bender • samuel lee • production manager • robbie gottlieb • managing editors • brianna beehler • emily de armas • anna simon • nancy wang • editor • catherine scott • staff writers • sarah hayes • adam roy • lauren lee • contributing writers • rachael brill • daniel grayson • jeffrey greenberg • stacy jen • nunu luo • haley newman • russell wang • jiehua wu • tong xu • contributing photographers • karen blevins • rachael brill • jeffrey greenberg • stacy jen • nunu luo • haley newman • anna simon • valerie te • russell wang • wilson wong • jiehua wu • tong xu Photo by Russell Wang; Cover by Anna Simon 3


the most authentic Sichuan food around Boston? Sichuan food, a style of Chinese cuisine originating from the Western province of Sichuan, is frequently characterized by its extremely spicy taste; and especially with the use of the Sichuan peppercorn, the food is exceptionally flavorful. Thus, with such a distinct taste, it is often difficult to find good authentic Sichuan food that hasn’t been overwhelmed by the Western flavors of General Tsao. So when we came across Chilli Garden, we were pleasantly surprised and unexpectedly pleased. Chilli Garden (41 Riverside Avenue, in Medford Square) unpretentiously offers not only the most authentic Sichuan cuisine in Boston but also the spiciest food around. The ambiance is clean, simple, and the service is friendly. And while they offer an Americanized menu, put it aside and ask directly for the Sichuan menu, you won’t regret it. We highly recommend the Dandan noodles – noodles seasoned with ground pork flavored with hot oil and chili – and bamboo shoots with chili sauce. Both will leave your mouth tingling, stomach full, and your wallets unscathed. 4

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teach English abroad with pay? There are numerous programs that pay people to teach abroad and a quick search online yields a long list of choices. However, you must first ask yourself what you want to do and where you want to be. And in a world where the demand for learning English continues to rise, you can find yourself either sipping cappuccinos on the streets of Paris or riding the busy express trains in Tokyo. If you’re looking for the highest salaries, we recommend going to the East Asian countries of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Japan, for instance, has a highly acclaimed Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program which aims to foster internationalism through cultural and academic exchanges between foreigners and local governments, businesses, and Japanese youths in elementary, junior, and high schools. JET offers numerous positions depending on the applicant’s background. Those who are fluent in Japanese can work for governmental offices and bureaus as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR), which includes teaching English to government officials and local residents. On the other hand, for those who may not necessarily have the strong Japanese background – though basic proficiency in Japanese is required – and who would rather teach in a classroom, there are also Assistant Language Teacher positions (ALT). As an ALT, not only will you assist English classes taught by a Japanese teacher, but you will also help with extracurricular activities, such as spor t clubs. Due to the popularity of JET, the application process is quite extensive and competitive. But JET pays for your travel expenses, provides housing, and pays almost $40,000 a year. And with more than 3,000 Americans currently working in the JET program, it offers a reliable, structured, and safe environment which is paramount when working abroad. If you do not want to work in Asia, several other programs offer teaching jobs in South America, Africa, and Europe. Moreover, numerous embassies offer programs and hire Americans to teach English in their respective countries. France, for instance, hires over 1,000 Americans each year to work as teaching assistants for English language classes. And while these positions may not be full-time, they do pay around $1,000 per month. Thousands of Americans who travel abroad tutor English as well, especially at the more grass-root and local levels. Pay varies depending on the destinations, with the East Asian countries usually paying the highest – some programs, especially in South Korea and Taiwan, English tutors are offered more than $30 an hour. But, unlike the JET program or the embassy positions, they may offer less job security and safety – though this can be seen as greater flexibility for you. Thus, in general, it is impor tant to review carefully all of your options and see which one you will feel most comfor table with.  

Want your questions answered? Submit them to tufts.traveler.magazine@gmail.com 5


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CHINA 6 Photo by Karen Blevins

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China 7


CHINA FACTS &

FIGURES

Photo by Greg Scott

80% of U.S. toys are made in China

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the Chinese invented: paper block printing movable type printing the needle compass gunpowder rockets

All of China is under

one

time zone photos by (from left to right): Wilson Wong, Anna Simon, Stacey Jen, Greg Scott

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A Glimpse of Chengdu stacy jen Our adventure in Chengdu in Sichuan province began when we checked into Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel on the second to last day of our trip. A cross between a treehouse and camp cabin, Sim’s was indeed cozy: pictures of Sim and his family hung around the lobby, postcards from friends plastered another wall, while a sleepy puppy curled behind a row of photo albums and other travelers lounged on the couches. We were smitten by our homey hostel, but we couldn’t linger for too long. Chengdu was the fourth biggest city in China, and we had less than 36 hours to explore it. Ignoring the pain in our legs from climbing two mountains in the past two days, we walked outside of Sim’s dynastic style gates with one goal in our mind: to try the infamous Sichuan style hotpot. After randomly picking a street and finding hotpot restaurant after hotpot restaurant, we randomly picked one, excited and ready for the challenge ahead. Minutes later, the six of us sat around a boiling pot of tiny chilies, peppercorns, and crimson oil, sweat rolled down the sides of our face, either from the heat or nervous anticipation. The waitress began bringing over baskets of fresh cabbage and mushrooms, clear glass noodles and thin slices of pork and beef. Hesitantly, we began putting meat and vegetables into the fiery liquid, and watched as the peppers and oil began its siege. A quick waft of the stew brought tears to my eyes, as I submerged my chopsticks into the broth and retrieved a leaf of cabbage. With a leap of courage,

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I started eating, aware that little children at neighboring tables were eating the contents of the pot with ease. Somewhere between the countless napkins used for wiping away tears and sweat and the empty bottles of beers scattered about the table, we found ourselves chanting, “Eat through the pain”. An hour later, with our mouths numb and our egos thoroughly deflated, we each paid our 20RMB (about 3USD) and stumbled out into the cool night air, knowing that we had just endured a rite of passage. We rolled out of bed early the next morning to visit another landmark in Chengdu: the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Led by John, our tour guide from Tibet who could reenact scenes from Rush Hour with eerie accuracy, we were shown from panda pen to panda pen. For the most part, the giant pandas sat on their behinds and noshed on bamboo all morning. Occasionally, they would get up and waddle around, arousing a wave of “aww’s” and a flourish of camera flashes. The red pandas were more active, wandering around their pens, getting stuck on wobbly branches, and not surprisingly, eating bamboo. John ultimately led us to the panda nursery, where ten baby pandas laid curled up in a giant crib and legions of tourists cooed against the glass window. Overloaded by cuteness, we ended the tour with an informational panda video that reminded me an awkward afterschool special from the 1980’s and a walk around a panda themed museum. Luckily, we left before I


There were hundreds of monks and Tibetan natives going about their daily business in the neighborhood. Stores with mountains of golden Buddha statues and walls of silk Buddha scrolls dotted each road, along with many jewelry and clothing shops, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and massage parlors. We spent an hour wandering up and down the street, weaving in and out of small trinket shops with the recordings of monks chanting never too far away. As the afternoon wound down, we took a short cab ride to Renmin Park, or the People’s Park. A man popping kettle corn in an antique contraption stood feet away from another man spinning cotton candy in another outdated machine, children looking up at awe that tasty fare that was being made. Hordes of families, friends and couples roamed around the park, which coincidentally was hosting an annual chrysanthemum festival. Thousands of these flowers blanketed the park, while others formed alien floral panda, dragon and phoenix statues. Informal photo shoots took place around every corner, with dedicated boyfriends snapping photos of their girlfriends, who insisted on trying out a different pose at every flower. A little overwhelmed by the amount of cheese in the park, we headed back to Sim’s Hostel to get ready for our flight home later that night. With a combination of elation, exhaustion, and melancholy, we were back on a plane bound for Hangzhou, with grins plastered across our faces. Sichuan was the perfect escape from the monotony of classes, transporting us to a mysterious land of many cultures, cosmopolitan lifestyle, and extremely spicy but delicious cuisine. My only regret is forgetting to pack the Tums.

Photos by Stacy Jen

could by the panda hat and panda paw mitts. The afternoon passed in a flurry of activity as we headed across the city by bus to Wuhouci Road, a historical street filled with temples, shops, and home to the city’s Tibetan quarters. Deciding to eat lunch first, we stopped at A’er Tibetan Restaurant. The restaurant was covered with scrolls of Buddha, patterned cloth, old clay vases and paintings of yaks, while the waitresses wore traditional Tibetan attire. We placed our for yak meat pies, curried vegetables, boiled lamb, and Lhasa sweet tea and soon enough, plates of food and a massive vat of tea appeared on our table. With a potful of the endless milky, spiced drink whetting our appetites, we dug into the food, enjoying the sweet and smoky spice rub paired with the slightly fatty lamb and the flaky crust encasing a savory mix of gamey yak meat and vegetables. With our stomachs satisfied for only 25RMB a person, we headed across the street to Wuhou Temple, a shrine of many great figures of the Shu Empire during the Three Kingdoms Period. The mausoleum of Liu Bei and a shrine to Zhuge Liang were located behind the high, majestic walls lined with canopies of bamboo and interspersed between numerous other temples, pagodas, and rock gardens. Almost too excitedly, we walked through the halls of officers, where centuries old life-sized models of warriors sat, their armor ornately carved and their facial hair, plentiful, reading the signs that depicted the achievements of these legendary men. Somehow, we found ourselves deep inside the Wuhou Temple, standing outside a gaming basement that had every Dynasty Warriors game available for play. Reluctantly, we pried ourselves away from the area and opted instead to further explore the Tibetan quarters.

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Struggling to Survive:

Those Abandoned by China’s Growth haley newman A hazy smog settles mid air, turning green a shade could bankrupt their entire village, desertion is a of gray and pushing the sunlight back to its place the last resort for rescuing their child. Infants are left in sky. The thick layer of grime gripping the taxi cab hospital beds, along roadsides and on doorsteps, not out of want, but for love. window muddies my Since Deng Xiao view of Beijing. But Ping initiated the Open vibrant billboards Door Policy in the late blazoning the 2008 1970’s, millions have been Olympic slogan are lifted from destitution, unmasked by the and China has evolved dense pollution here: from an isolated state of “tong yi ge shi jie, tong poverty to an ominous yi ge meng xiang,” “one economic superpower. But world, one dream.” the rapid transformation But in the district has taken its toll, and of Shunyi, just one unforeseen epidemics of hour away from the inequality have ravished city’s epicenter, this China’s villages and cities. uplifting message is For many, the country’s met with incongruity “As with so many problems that plague medical system has failed as palatial compounds to advance with its elevated become crumbling shantytowns, and the masses, the Chinese government has economic prosperity. In Shunyi I’m working gardens give way to at a privately funded orphan turned a blind eye to its orphans.” roads of refuse. home that assists public Every day, orphanages by caring for thousands of babies are abandoned in all thirty-four provinces and the most needy children. At a state run facility, their autonomous regions of China. When poor families lives would have likely been lost to neglect, but here give birth to sick children and face medical bills that at the China Care home they’ll receive proper medical

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attention and unabashed love. Sometimes, parents or grandparents of orphans, consumed with regret, travel in search of their lost child despite the shameful stigma that can come with reclaiming a once abandoned baby. One day while I’m volunteering, the orphan home gets word that a village farmer is on his way to pick up his grandson who he’d been forced to desert in a Beijing hospital, fearing the exorbitant medical costs required to save the boy’s life. When the farmer arrives, the toddler’s memory is untainted by the months of separation. Ye ye, grandfather, seeing his grandson in ecstasy, is paralyzed by emotion as heavy teardrops rain down his work-warn cheeks. After a moment he collects himself, scoops the toddler up in his arms and grips him, tightly, thankfully, endlessly—or at least for as long as he can. As with so many problems here that plague the masses, the Chinese government has turned a blind eye to its orphans. It refuses to alleviate financial burdens of medical care for the lower class, or grant proper funding to state run orphanages, which at present operate little more than sleeping and feeding rooms for abandoned infants. But the staggering extent of the problem doesn’t mean that the situation is impervious to change without top-down, structural intervention from government authority. Hundreds of children may be abandoned each day, and, yes, China Care can only help roughly one hundred each year. But the babies it nourishes and nurtures to health may have otherwise died on the streets or in the bed of a broken-down state run facility. Numbers mean nothing when it comes to saving lives. Perhaps helping these orphans, one child at a time, is one dream we can all agree upon.

Photos by Haley Newman 13


Photos by Jeffrey Greenberg 14

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Seeking Perfection in China’s Wild West jeffrey greenberg Going from the far northeastern city of Harbin and heading west in a week forces you to take every means of transportation China offers. After a flight, three overnight trains, and a 17-hour back-aching bus ride from Korla, we arrived exhausted in the Silk Road oasis of Kashgar. Countless hours of laying restless on sleeper-trains and sleeper-buses forced me to sit back and assess why I was traveling and what there was to find in westward journey. In my expedition, I was an exponentially less intense version of a New Englander setting off for San Francisco and the great unknown in the 1840s in pursuit of gold. (Where their quest for gold was a life-changing decision, if I was unable to find the reward I was searching for in Xinjiang, I already had a plane ticket booked from Urumqi to Beijing.) We were tired of traveling and had made it to Kashgar, the cultural mecca of the Uighur Automonomous Region. After surviving the long bus ride on a few bouts of sleep, naan bread, bottled water, and small cherrylike fruit, we made it to the Chini Bagh Hotel in the late morning and went straight to napping. In the afternoon, we embraced the trading history of the city and visited the marketplace, which on Sundays claims to be one of the biggest markets in Asia. We walked through the Old City, whose architecture felt far more Middle Eastern than Chinese, and munched on bagels and more naan. While one of the first alluring forces of Xinjiang is its signature foods of dapanji and chuanr , four months without curry led my friend and me to the Pakistan Café for dinner. Following the meal, we took a short walk through the city — passing the Id Kah Mosque at the center of town and the nearby, 59-foot tall Mao Zedong statue — before heading to bed. Why, after a day in one of China’s most interesting cities, we boarded a bus and continued heading west, I’ll never be sure. (And it wasn’t even easy to leave!) We went to two bus stations before ending up at the bust terminal where we had arrived the previous day. Conveniently, we saw our bus driver from the Korla-Kashgar trip, who, after many conversations in Uighur, found a van to take us along the road that connects China and Pakistan, Karakoram Highway, which is considered be a wonder of the world for being at such a high elevation. We left the culture and cuisine in the dust and once again headed west into the desert. After getting an hour outside of Kashgar, the van started to ascend and the air began to get cooler. We stopped for security to check our passports and drove deeper into the Pamir Mountains. As we rolled on, our attention was continuously focused on understanding the Chinesedubbed Chuck Norris movie playing in the van and then out of nowhere, appeared vast, vernal pastures set against a dramatic backdrop of snowcapped mountains. The scenery was too gorgeous to digest. The plot of the Chuck Norris immediately became irrelevant as my eyes became fixed on

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mountains that I thought only existed in paintings. We did not know where and when we would get out of the van, but the driver knew the highway well (judging by the speed with which we raced on the mountain road) and he would tell us when we were near. Thinking that the landscape could not get more spectacular, we passed through the rolling hills and out appeared the Karakul Lake sitting like a beautiful reflective gown below the peaks. We got out of the van and were approached by multiple locals trying to convince us to stay in their homes. The van driver introduced us to a friend and I, along with my travel companion and a fellow from Taiwan we met in the van, agreed to pay 40 kuai each to stay in his yurt along with some lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. We walked from the highway down to where the yurts were set-up. As we reached the same level of the lake, our jaws dropped in awe of the mountain’s perfect reflection in the calm water of the lake. While China is typically criticized for pollution, the water of the Karakul Lake is completely potable and appears to be just that. After we got our jaws back up, we entered the yurt. The Kyrgysz couple with whom we were staying fed us naan and gave us tea to drink. We decided on a time for dinner and were quick to inhale more of the fresh mountain air that is impossible to find in China’s cities. We marched away from the gathering of yurts and into the green pastures that enveloped the lake. As we wandered off, we were approached by locals on horseback who asked if we were interested in riding their horses, but we deferred until the following morning. (They ended up coming too late for us to ride.) Walking along, we passed more gatherings of yurts, as well as animals roaming freely. Yaks stood near the water and ran away as we neared; mountain goats of white and grays stood on mounds and stared; camels tied to yurts intermittently ate grass and posed regally. As we roamed with our cameras, we could not stop ourselves from taking photo after photo; every shot seemed like it had been enhanced for an hour in Photoshop. I am not typically one to seek out nature excursions, but being here made feel like a child and want to run to the top of the mountains to play in the pure white snow caps. Traveling in China and going from temple to ancient landmark to the next, I often felt like a true appreciation is impossible without a comprehensive understanding of Chinese dynastic history. Arriving at Karakul Lake, I found a destination in China that needed no tour guide and where the universal language of aesthetics was enough that the Pakistani at one side of the Karakoram Highway and the Chinese person at the other end can both be equally entranced by its magnificence. Somewhere between Pakistan, China, and Heaven sits a tourist destination that should not be missed for anyone with the slightest appreciation for beauty, who doesn’t mind a few back-aching and sleepless bus rides across the desert.

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A Day on the Wall daniel grayson

Photo by Anna Simon The things I am willing to do just to see the Wonders of the World. If I hadn’t spent nearly every instance of every iteration of Sid Meyer’s Civilization rushing to research masonry so that I could build the Great Wall, I’m not sure I would have been willing to get up at 5:15 in the morning for the three hour drive so that I could see it myself on Wednesday.  Perhaps I would allocate more time to bitching about rising before the sun, but the Wall made it tough to complain.  Plus, the ride out to the Wall resulted in one of the best conversations I had with a stranger the whole trip.  Chuck is Canadian (like all truly great conversationalists) who had some amazing stories about world travel to places that may or may not be a U.S. army base stationed on British isles in the Indian Ocean.  Said base may or may not contain nuclear weapons, but it did contain army officers with cooking skills so profound, and foodstuffs so fresh, that fish can be made into candy. Occasionally in conversation with acquiescences of divergent national origin, someone will remark on how American travelers are the superlative of friendliness.  To them I say: you haven’t met the Canadians yet.  The Great Wall is said to be 6000km long, but that is actually a bit of a misnomer.  The Wall isn’t a single unified structure; it’s actually many different stretches of wall that can arc around each other.  Some pieces of the wall have deteriorated so that they are nothing more than linear nubs on top of hills.  In other places, there’s been immense restoration work - so much that the Wall is basically new.  Much of the wall lies somewhere in between.  The heavily restored sections are, not by accident, closest to Beijing and are (according to the guidebooks and word of mouth) the most crowded with tourists, vendors, and kitsch.  Think of what a Great Wall Ride would look

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like at Disney World and you’ll be in the ballpark. Naturally, my passage was to the furthest reasonable site from Beijing.  And instead of being dropped off to take a peak around and then hop back on the bus, my day was to include a 10+ kilometer hike from one site, Jinshanling, to another, Simatai.  This particular stretch of the Wall tends to be more sparsely populated and waffles between mild renovation and no renovation, providing an authentic experience with a mix of solitude and company.  But that comes with a price; the walk is not a leisurely one.  Never in my life have I climbed (and then immediately descended) so many stairs, or the remnants of what used to be stairs.  If you have a petition to change its name to the “Great Stairs of China,” I will sign it.  No doubt, the Chinese army entrance exam was only two questions long.  “Are you no less than 12 feet tall?” and “Can you run up vertical surfaces.”  Because those physical traits, or rocket packs, are obviously the only way that you could move quickly around the wall.  Or so I thought.  After one particularly long climb up stairs that were Escher-like in their steepness, I stopped to catch my breath only to be swarmed by old women who were selling knick-knacks and water.  And not just any water: ice water.  These women had climbed the Wall, with bags of frozen liquid and t-shirts, on foot, from their villages, to peddle appropriately marked-up ice water and souvenirs. In one of the towers, I watched a man stick his head out a window and the wind blew his hat away.  Miming the events, I helped this man secure a peddler to help retrieve the hat.  This woman, without the slightest hesitation, climbed down off the wall and returned with the hat minutes later.  When offered monetary reward, she declined, preferring instead to exchange her good for the money offered. 


And these women - they were almost always women - were around almost every corner. It didn’t matter how far down the wall I walked, I could expect any long climb to be punctuated by, “Water?”  Decline the offer, as I always did, and they’ll ask, “Later?”  Indicate you might be interested later, and the hawker in question will follow you, for kilometers if necessary, until you are ready to buy that one bottle.  It was here, in the mountains of China, that I saw Adam Smith’s legacy crossed with a mountain goat’s fortitude in the frames of 120 pound elderly women. A different Adam, the Englishman from who I met at the Forbidden City, turned out to be in our tour group.  Quelle Surprise!  I was pretty happy to see him, but I’m sure waking up so early muted my enthusiasm.  Though I would have liked to spend a little more time in his company, one small problem got in our way.  Adam, it turns out, has a crippling fear of heights.  In the towers that adorn mountain and hill peaks and during the short and stairless sections of the wall, Adam was his cheery, cheeky self.  But at specific times his fears made going slow, but amusing.  Whenever the Wall became noticeably steep, or when the bulwarks has been eroded away by time leaving no barrier between us and the precipice Adam was forced to walk on all fours to minimize the distance between him and the ground.  We separated, what with me using two legs, and I walked most of the 10km solo - with short breaks taken for listening to Dragonforce or reading American Gods or drinking water or taking in the scenery. The Wall itself is beautiful.  Imagine a long snake or dragon, laying across the mountains trying to position its body as high as possible at every point so as to be closest to the rays of the sun.  The severity of the ascents made progress challenging, but it also made for spectacular vistas.  The sky was blue, the ground was green, the Wall was a sandy white, and the juxtoposition and contrasts of the colors and the topography were breathtaking.  Over and over again, I found myself standing still doing nothing but gazing into the distance.  For once, my prolixity fails me and I’m at a loss for words that will truly capture the beauty of the day and of the Wall.  Two lessons:  The Great Wall of China is more impressive than Chichen Itza.  Other people will use the phrase ‘Bucket List’ when told I went to the Great Wall.  I returned from the Great Wall, and celebrated by meeting Ken and Clara for dinner - food from the Yunnan province.  Yunnan is in the northwest of China and while the food is cooked in distinctly Chinese styles, ingredients are borrowed from lands and cultures nearby.  We had peppermint beef, spicy lemon fish, fried red beans with tea leaves, deepfried chashu mushrooms, and sweet pineapple rice.  Unbelievable meal for an unbelievable day. 

Modern Mao anna simon

Larger-than-life fiberglass Mao jackets. Script formed from strands of human hair. Han Dynasty urns emblazoned with the Coca-Cola logo. This is contemporary Chinese art. This new Cultural Revolution in China takes many forms. Modern Chinese artists continuously prove themselves adept at working in many different media, ranging from traditional ink on paper, to oil on canvas, sculpture, photography, and performance art. Chinese artists comment on anything ranging from ancient Chinese culture, to the standardization China faced under the control of Mao, to the “economic dragon” that China has become in the last decade. These contemporary artists contribute thought provoking and entertaining works, pieces with cultural insights for people both in China and beyond their borders, into Europe and the Americas. Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958), an artist whose medium of choice is oil on canvas, is a surrealist painter whose work mimics the Chinese family portraits from the mid-20th century. Educated in China at the Sichuan Academy of fine arts, Zhang, was influenced by Picasso and Dali, as well as by picture portraits of his mother. Muted colors, people with dilated pupils wearing the garb of the Cultural Revolution are common subjects in his work. Zhang is one of the most popular contemporary Chinese artists to western collectors and says his work is meant to further increase the artificiality inherent in photographs. Sui Jianguo (b. 1956) uses a sculpture to convey his artistic vision. In a recent work, “The Sleep Of Reason,” Sui portrays a life-sized Chairman Mao sleeping under a blanket, surrounded by thousands of miniature dinosaurs, arranged by color. One interesting facet of this piece, is the way Mao is positioned. In photographs Mao is almost always seen standing, so to lay him vulnerable and on his side “put[s] him to rest” Sui says, “This way, I can grow up.” The dinosaurs in “The Sleep Of Reason” are all made in China, and are meant to reinforce the role of China in today’s economy, as a top manufacturer as well as a consumer. Although Chinese culture permeates most of China’s modern art, Chinese artists are melting into the global art world more so than ever before. Contemporary Chinese art is no longer confined to artist communities in Beijing and Shanghai. So if you have the opportunity to attend a modern Chinese art exhibition, I hope you don’t pass up the exceptional experience.

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Inside the Olympics

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tong xu


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Lessons from a Picture jiehua wu

This photograph was taken one morning in August of 2007 at a bus stop in Beijing, China. It was the last of my seven weeks of studying abroad there, and I wanted a snapshot of where I waited for the bus each morning. I should have been more mindful of the unspoken laws that are still prevalent in China today. As you can see from the image, the station guard is glaring straight into the camera with a menacing expression. He was in my face bombarding me with questions before I could stick the camera back into my bag. His interrogation included, “Why are you taking this picture? What’s your motive? Where are you from?” I replied in mandarin with a heavy accent, “I’m from the U.S. and was just taking a picture for my own personal keepsake.” At this moment the other station guard walked over to see what the problem was, and after explaining myself again they finally let me swipe my card. I walked through the turnstile, and when I looked back a few minutes later, the guards were still examining me. Due to China’s rapidly growing economy, increased involvement in global affairs, and apparent friendliness with the United States, it is easy to forget that China’s political and social policies still have a long way to go. From the eyes of a tourist, a visitor, the modern city of Beijing may seem just like New York City in Chinese. McDonalds and Starbucks are everywhere, and the streets are filled with cars. But this incident is a harsh reminder that civil liberty,

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such as freedom of speech and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, does not exist in China. Around that time one of the news headlines was about a Chinese journalist who was sentenced two years for writing an article about food contamination in China. Had I communicated a threatening motive for taking this photograph, I could possibly have been detained. During that summer preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics were well underway, and the city made sure that it was spotless. The bus station and the orange telephone booths, seen against the backdrop of dilapidated apartment buildings, were both one of the many renovations made with the purpose of making a good impression during the Olympics. The Olympics was a spectacle of organization, discipline, and technological advance. Videos and images of Beijing showed a clean and beautiful city occupied with friendly, happy citizens. But the complications that arose from taking a simple photograph of a common bus station show the grip of the Chinese government on its people. Chinese people are under great scrutiny; a rising economy has not gotten rid of communism. What is the lessoned learned here? When in China, do not stand out and do not be suspicious, for you never know who you might offend.

Photo by Jiehua Wu


Away from the City nunu luo

I like to call myself a wilderness person. When I was younger, I’d climb trees, fences, anything that provided me with the feeling of adventure. Thus, when my grandmother notified me this summer that my aunt and her family wanted to take me up to Pan Mountain (Pan Shan) in Tianjing, China, the omnious feeling that I had in my gut surprised me. Pan mountain is one of the more famous attractions in Tianjin (the second largest city in China). It’s renowned for its towering pine trees, clear streams, and strange rock formations. The group going up the mountain consisted of me, my grandma, my cousin, and her grandma. As we drove up the winding path of the mountain and the air cleared up, I felt for the first time since I had arrived in China that summer, air clean enough to breathe. The scenary was beautiful. We drove so high up the mountain that the only thing around were trees and small animals bounding about the road. As we winded up, I started looking around for our hotel. After almost breaking my neck glancing each and every way, I asked my uncle where we were staying. He replied in one of those voices where you don’t know if he’s joking or not but you certainly hope that he’s not joking, “in a five star hotel of course.” Five star hotel my ass. Our “hotel” was a nonming’s (farmer’s) house. As we drove up the uneven dirt road, there were cheap colored flags with five stars on them. As the car slowed to a stop in front of a little compound, there was a laundry line strewn across two trees with multicolored blankets hanging on them to dry. Glancing around, I felt completely out of place. I didn’t feel one with nature, I felt like a city girl transported to an unknown planet. The owners waited out in front for us. The father of the household had swarthy skin the color one has when they drank too much, too fast. His son resembled him from head to toe, both had potbellies covered by shirts stained with sweat and pants with creases on them. The wife wore mismatching pajamas and smiled at us with a large gap in the middle of her teeth. After exchanging greetings, they took us to see our rooms. Our beds was one big bed, called a Kang, that stretched from one side of the wall to the other without any breaks in between. It took me eight rolls to cover the width of the bed, that’s how big it was. I learned after questioning our grandmothers that farmers slept on those beds in the past to keep warm during the winter days. After settling in, they brought us out into the their home’s courtyard and served us our lunch. It was that meal that gave me the

first glimpse into their world. They grew everything that they ate. Picture this. You’re standing in a courtyard and you’re blocked in by four walls, except the four walls are actually halls of rooms. If you’re facing foward, there’s a traditional Chinese gate, one of those red wooden ones with iron door handles. If you walk outside, there’s a brick walkway and if you take more than five steps, you’ll fall down the ledge 12 feet into a patch of vegetables. Every morning, the 90 year old grandma who had eight children hobbles up a mountain to gather eggs for her chickens. When I went with her one morning, after scattering feed for her chickens (she could identify her own five chickens out of twenty ones running around the yard), she would climb up a small part of the mountain to gather flowers or random vegetables that were edible. As I gasped and panted for breath after reaching the top, the grandma strode on ahead of me without a hitch in her breathing pattern. The entire family lived the healthiest lifestyle I’ve ever known. Getting up at 6 AM in the morning, the women would pick vegetables and start cooking for their “hotel” guests while the men started building and fixing anything that was needed. All of the family and guests would gather in a separate dining room for lunch and eat together. Afterwards, the women would resume cooking except this time for dinner, while the men went back to their construction sites. What I experienced it so vastly different from anything I’d ever known. To me, life is suppose to be exciting. There are so many places that I want to go, so many foods that I want to eat before my life is over, so many people I have yet to meet. For the family in the mountains, the 90 year old grandma had never been more than an hour away from home. She had never learned to read or write anything besides her own name. I can only imagine that her image of the world must be so small. Yet, she’s content. In her small world, there are many details yet to be discovered. During my stay, I became a champion mahjong player and my Chinese improved by leaps and bounds. Both my cousin and I got sick on the second day with fevers and chills (so my omnious gut feeling was right) and we ended up watching enough Chinese dramas to last us a lifetime. However, most importantly, I saw that even if one lives in a small house up a mountain without access to computers, a tub, or all of the luxuries I have come to associate with everyday life, happiness is given by the family and nature around you. So if you are ever near PanShan and want to stay at a five star hotel, give me a call and I’ll direct you to the right people.

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Around and About

robbie gottlieb

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Crossing the border between Thailand and Laos (across the Mekong river). Rainy day in Luang Prabang town center, during lunchtime. The fish cost 70 US cents. Pak Se Waterfall, a waterfall about 30 minutes from Luang Prabang by kayak.

Clockwise from top:

Luang Prabang

Philip Haslett


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Styling with Valentino emily de armas

When I arrived in Rome for my semester January prior to his retirement. I expected my experience and foray into the abroad I was very overwhelmed. I experienced the wondrous shock that most people go through fashion world to be similar to the movie The Devil when first visiting the eternal city, and confronting Wears Prada, except in my case the devil would be what I have termed the three greatest things about wearing a signature Valentino-red dress. Everyone I Italy: The Great Italian Masters, The Great Italian encountered at the fashion house was pleasant and Food, and The Great Italian Fashion Designers. The charmingly Italian. I spent most of my time with combination of all three at the same time is almost my superior, Claudia, an Italian university student too much. You can eat The Great Italian Food while who was also doing an internship at Valentino, and sitting near the Four Rivers Fountain by Bernini, two other women in the press office. Our space one of The Great Italian Masters, and enjoy the was decorated with magazine covers featuring beautiful elite of Rome, decked out in chic clothing Valentino, a large photo of the master himself, by The Great Italian Fashion Designers. Who smiling with a cigarette in hand, and some personal touches the women in the wouldn’t love a place put up, including where the police force “I expected my experience office photos of celebrities like wears uniforms designed Hugh Grant on Valentino’s by Armani and sunglasses and foray into the fashion yacht or candids of models by Gucci? after shows. Though I did not While at Valentino I spend any time at these world to be similar to the The took the opportunity to particular fashion houses, I did have the opportunity Devil Wears Prada, except in sneak down to the second floor to visit the espresso to do an internship at the Mecca of the Roman my case the devil would be machine as often as I could, where I usually encountered fashion world, the Maison seamstresses. The Valentino. Two days a wearing a signature Valentino- tired seamstresses were by far week I traveled from my the nicest people that I met home on the Aventino at Valentino, always willing Hill to a piazza near the red dress” to answer my questions Spanish Steps were I was and let me watch them sew. greeted by a large abstract sculpture of a face and the guards who knew me as Occasionally I’d ride the elevator with women the “stagista Americana,” or “American internship taking couture dresses to be sent to photo shoots, or Claudia would take me to see the magic closet rack student.” Valentino headquarters is an impressive room, a room full of Valentino dresses that we were place. Originally the eighteenth century palazzo never allowed to enter but could peer into as long of a prominent family, the three-story space has as we did not step over the threshold. Sometimes a beautiful courtyard and a romance that only a models would come in for fittings or Claudia designer like Valentino could capture in his fashions. would tell me stories about backstage at Valentino The first floor of the building is Valentino’s private (she was in charge of showing around Winona apartment, decorated with famous works of art by Rider). These moments, the ones that not many get Picasso and Botero. The second floor is home to the to witness, were my favorite at Valentino and of my seamstresses who intricately hand sew every stitch stay in Italy. The everyday comings and goings of of the haute couture gowns, as well as the fabric the staff, the photo shoots, the stop on the first floor room and the fitting room where Valentino does where I could see Valentino’s art collection, these final alterations before approving his designs for things were Italy for me. Alongside the memories of the master art works, the amazing food and the runway. The third floor, where the Press Office is located, people I met, my time at Valentino can be summed is where I spent my time at Valentino, managing the up Dolce-Vita style as a glamorous red dress on the archive and searching every print media in Europe Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome. for news coverage of his final runway show in

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The Land of Milk and Honey... and Falafel

rachael brill Photo by Rachael Brill

Imagine two metropolitan hubs, only 45 minutes away from one another in a country the size of New Jersey, one bursting with bustling nightlife, clothing boutiques, beaches and sun-soaked tourists, the other rising out of ancient walls, buzzing with the sound of prayer and fervent pilgrims. These two cities, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, respectively, coexist today in Israel as drastically different manifestations of the modern Jewish state. In light of the current controversy in the Middle East, many associate Israel with religious extremism. Yet on the contrary, many cities such as Tel Aviv remain largely secular. Even on the Jewish Sabbath, young Israelis crowd the streets to go shopping or grab a drink at the local bar. Couples walk to the beach, toting baby strollers along the boardwalk speckled with seafood restaurants and ice cream stands. For many, Shabbat does not mean heading to the temple, but rather going downtown to catch up with friends. Although Jerusalem is the official capital of Israel, most Israelis consider Tel Aviv to be the cultural center of the country. Few cities in Israel rival Tel Aviv’s vibrant dance clubs, sidewalk cafés, museums, and locals dressed in slinky summer linens. Water lovers frequent the white sandy beaches along the Tel Aviv coastline to sail from the marina, windsurf or kayak at the northern end of the beach, or just work on their summer tans. For those vacationers not as fond of sea and sand, a short walk towards Allenby Street leads to the Carmel Market, an outdoor shopping haven jampacked with Israel army T-shirts, little trinkets like Star of David key chains, spices, fruits, vegetables, and colorful vendors shouting out their best offers. Branching out from Allenby are King George and Sheinkin Street, where some Israelis sit in outdoor restaurants with their chairs facing the passerby on the street, while others enjoy the multitude of trendy shops lining the road. If this is not enough shopping for one day, head north to the Dizengoff Center, a giant mall that will satisfy the needs of the most fashionable visitors. Tel Aviv, perhaps most importantly, is the birthplace of the state of Israel. On Rothschild

Boulevard, further south in the city, is the Independence Hall. This building is where David Ben Gurion, who became the first Prime Minister of Israel, read Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. While Tel Aviv showcases the cultural vitality that has emerged since the birth of the Israeli state, modern-day Jerusalem, officially recognized as the capital of Israel, basks under the influence of thousands of years of religious history. The original stomping ground of three major monotheistic religions, the Old City of Jerusalem is split into quarters and houses the ancient religious landmarks of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Within one day in the Old City, visitors can see the Christian Church of the Old Sepulchre (home of Jesus’ tomb), the Western Wall that remains from the destruction of the Second Temple of the Jews, and Muslim mosques such as El-Aqsa or the Dome of the Rock. Everything in the Old City demonstrates the unique intersection of religion in one small area. For example, Jews praying at the Western Wall can see the glistening golden dome of the Dome of the Rock in the distance, and Christian pilgrims leaving the Church of the Holy Sepulchre can hear the melodic Muslim call to worship resounding from the Muslim quarter. Everywhere in Jerusalem, both inside and outside of the Old City walls, Jews wearing prayer shawls and kippot, nuns in black habits, and Muslim women in hajibs cross paths in daily life. Outside of the Old City, tourists flock to Ben Yehuda, a cobblestone street filled with falafel stands, bars, and stores stocked with Jerusalem memorabilia. Musicians and local drama troupes often perform on the sidewalks. Nightlife in Jerusalem tends to wind down sooner than in Tel Aviv, but the locals still certainly love to have a good time on the weekend. Overall, Israel offers a wide variety for visitors. From a religious awakening to a day of lounging on the beach, there is an activity for anyone in this small stretch of land. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem most perfectly illustrate the distinctive juxtaposition of the religious and the secular, the new and the old, in a country that can provide a unique experience for people of all creeds.

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Photos by Sarah Hayes

You Can’t Dance sarah hayes

If you dug a tunnel through the earth from my hometown of Portland, Oregon, you’d end up somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. As it happened, I found myself last spring staring at that ocean and realizing I was about as far as I could get from my birthplace without swimming. I was getting ready to go to a little village named Ankajoara in the inhospitable region of Faux Cap, at the southern tip of Madagascar. The people here are called the Androy, or “people of the thorns” due to their tenacity in an area where only prickly pear cactus flourish, and even these raketa tend to wilt during the dry season. My program paired each of us with a fellow student and sent us to different villages to spend a week seeing how our pampered American selves would fare. Marcie and I were dropped in the sand to the chorus of a hundred villagers eager to meet the vazaha. Personal space is really a foreign concept. After settling into our home (a small cot in a small house with an even smaller door), we were sat in the midst of the entire village and stared at. Not in a malicious way, but more as if we were a new cow that had wandered into their yard and had proceeded to grow three heads. This was exacerbated by the fact that between the two of us, we had the conversational capacity in Malagasy equivalent to

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a slightly disabled two year old (along the lines of “Hi! My name is Sarah. I like corn. Thank you!”) I’ve never felt so self-conscious and helpless in my life. Sitting there, staring back at those curious faces, I couldn’t rely on language, something pivotal in everything I do. Speaking, reading, writing, this wasn’t going to work! Then the drama experience in Marcie raised its head. We couldn’t talk, but we could move. Once we got the idea of charades across, we had a captive audience laughing at Marcie’s impression of a lemur and just looking confused as I tried to amble around as a tortoise. Then the dancing started. It quickly went from us teaching shoddy dance moves, to the entire village deciding we needed dance lessons, stat. I’ll admit the ringleader, a man in his twenties, quickly fell out of favor with me as he insisted on being to my left when he blew his tin whistle. He kept time by blowing out my ear drum, which was not appreciated. But my favorite part of the week was standing in a circle, everyone’s feet stomping to the same beat, everyone singing and laughing at different things (usually us), and feeling like we had connected to something from which we had felt so alienated. I may have been thousands of miles from home, but I could still be my awkward self, have a good time, and learn a few things.


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Photos by Russell Wang 32

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[focus] russell wang Russell Wang is a Junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering and following an pre-med path at Tufts. While his academic pursuits may be very scientific and technical, he balances them with a good eye and amazing camera work. Tufts Traveler sat down with Russell to discuss photography and Taiwan, his birthplace and for which he holds an unwavering passion. Tufts Traveler: What do you think makes Taiwan photogenic? What do you try to capture while photographing in Taiwan? Russell Wang: Taiwan is really a photographer’s dream. The island nation is brimming with subjects waiting to be photographed. It is filled with hospitable people, a rich culture, and diverse natural beauty. The entire nation is only slightly larger than Maryland and Delaware combined, which makes it easy to see the entire country and photograph everything that it has to offer. When photographing Taiwan, I really try to capture the magnificent contrast that the country exemplifies. On a stroll through city streets, you can still come across traditional Chinese houses with courtyards (some centuries old) neighbored by modern skyscrapers which are a result of Taiwan’s economic and technological boom. Bustling city streets filled with Taiwanese youth are lined with neon lights and hip stores. Both Western and Asian influences abound. A restaurant for every cuisine can be found in Taipei. The ultra modern Taipei 101 (the world’s tallest completed skyscraper) towers over a district filled with high-end shopping centers and corporate headquarters. Yet, just blocks away is the yellow roofed Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, built in a grand traditional Chinese style. A short train ride out of the city will take you to some of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world. Long stretches of beach border mountain ranges covered in tropical vegetation that define the geography of the country. In mid-Taiwan, Taroko National Park is home to some of the most unique wildlife and geological phenomena in the world. Driving along the coastal highway will snake you by sandy beaches, through gaping gorges, and past natural waterfalls. This contrast was most evident in the people of Taiwan and the culture. The elderly practice Tai Chi in parks while young people go over hip hop routines just meters away. Taiwan is a nation rooted in tradition while embracing progress. Ancient temples are ubiquitous. Traditional street markets are busier than supermarkets. Yet, people depend on a super modern metro system and a traveler can use the high speed rail to go from one end of Taiwan to other in a matter of hours. Hospitals offer both western medicine and traditional Chinese herbal medication. At McDonald’s you can get burger with patties made of rice. Through my lens, I hoped to capture this magnificent contrast.

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tufts.traveler.magazine@gmail.com ase.tufts.edu/traveler/

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2008 - China  
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