Thursday, June 6, 2013

Farewell


" Wherever you are going, I wanna to go
Wherever you are heading, can let me know
I don't mind catching up, I am on my way
Just can't take the thought of you miles away."

"I know you are going so where to make a better life
I hope that you can find it on the first try
And even though, it kills me that you have to go
I know it will be sadder if you never hit the road."

"So farewell, somebody is gonna miss you...
farewell, somebody is gonna wish you were here
that somebody is me."

"I will write to tell you what's going on
You will miss nothing but the same old song
If you don't mind catching up,
I will spend the day, telling the story about a land far away..."
                                                                           -----Farewell by Rihanna  

It is hard to believe that we are graduating tomorrow...
It is even harder to say goodbye...to friends, teachers and all our high school memories.
However...this is is not an end! 
It is a "temporary goodbye"...
As we heading toward the next stage of our life...
Man! the sadness just hit me...
Time went by fast...
"Farewell..."

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"To Travel Is To Live" (Part II)

This is not the end! I will offically post my senior project on Itinerariez 4 Noobz.

Facts:
1.       Wu Yi Shan is a county-level city that situated in the municipal region of Nanping, Fujian Province of China. Wu Yi Shan  covers an area of 2,798 square kilometers with a population of 208,000.
2.      Wu Yi Shan has been recognized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as part of the world's natural and cultural heritage.
3.      Wu Yi Shan City has a long history. According to ancient records and archeological evidence, the site of the city was inhabited more than 4,000 years ago. “Boat-shaped Coffins” suspended from cliffs, said to be some 3,800 years old, can still be seen.
4.      Wu Yi Shan has a mild and wet climate, without significant temperature changes during its four seasons. The average annual temperature and rainfall are 17.6 Celsius and 1,864 mm respectively. Wu Yi Shan has one airport which is 7 km away from downtown.

Attractions
1.       Raft Trip & Jiu Qu Xi (Nine Turn) River
Approximate 2 hrs raft trip; (tips: bring an umbrella/ sun screen, otherwise you may get sun burn)
The Jiu Qu Stream runs nine kilometers around the mountain with nine turns and eighteen bends. On its two banks, different peaks go up. The Jiu Qu Stream is an amazing place to visit. “One taking a bamboo raft downstream would feel as if cruising in the mysterious universe. You will be amazed by the nature beauty and scenery.” We can get another view of Wu Yi Shan Mountains and Nine Crooked Creek. For the Nine Crooked Creek, the best view of the mountain is during the bamboo raft trip. It is central piece of Wu Yi Mountains. Its meandering course forms nine distinct crooks or angles. That's where the name came from.
“The Nine-Crooked Creek is flanked on either side by mountain peaks and stones of various weird shapes that are entwined with various watercourses. Each crook forms a unique picturesque and poetic landscape and each landscape has its own name.” (http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/china-travel/china-top-10/top-10-wuyishan-attractions-top-10-things-to-do-in-wuyi-mountain/)

Entrance Fee: CNY 100 (for the drift) (tips: make sure you tips the tourist on the bamboo raft trip)
Opening Hours: 07:00-18:00
How to get there: take Buses No. 5 or 6 from the downtown area to the Wuyishan Scenic Area


2. Tea Plantation (Da Hong Pao) ---Village Tour
Wu Yi Shan is known as a central tea production in South China. The most famous tea they produced is called Da Hong Pao (oolong tea=rock tea). For centuries, the farmers who settle in Wu Yi Shan have developed the methods for making the tea. At present, these methods were elected as the first batch of National Intangible Cultural Heritage, and now is a candidate, on behalf of China, of the World Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  As research shows, the growth of the tea is the best demonstration and examination of the local environment. Wu Yi Shan is a rocky region, rivers and beautiful caves. It enjoys a subtropical, warm climate characterized by high humidity and plenty of rain. Here, summers are long and winters are short, providing ideal conditions for growing Dahong Pao tea.
I plan to visit Wuyishan Mountain on April or May, so, we can pick the authentic rock tea with the local famers and witness the oolong tea' processing. Take a trip to Wuyishan Mountain to visit some tea plantations; I think we will be amazed by the beautiful scenery.
There are only three original bushes that are still producing the top Da Hong Pao tea. Da Hong Pao tea from one of the mother plants sold for USD $1,250,000 per kilogram in 1998.
Tips: most of “tea show” is free!
Optional: Yi Xiang Da Hong Pao (Impression Da Hong Pao)
Famous Quote from the show: “Your heart determines the taste of the tea.”
Entrance Fee: CNY 218; VIP: CNY 298
Opening Hours: 08:00pm-9:15pm
How to get there: take Buses No. 5 or 6 from the downtown area. 


3. “Thread of Sky” cave
   It is also known as “One Line Sky”. It is a magical cave of Wu Yi Mountain. The covering an area of 16 square km, it is famous for the linear view of the sky. At the bottom of valley, you can only see a line of outside world/brightness. The “Thread of Sky” is most famous cave, in addition, the wind cave; the Fuxi Cave will surprise people of the power of nature. It took millions years for these caves to formed. The unique shapes of the rocks opposite the caves become another attraction for visitors as well. (Tips: the hottest time to visit the cave is from April to October.)

Entrance Fee: CNY 140 (the through ticket of Mount Wuyi)
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
How to get there: take Bus No. 5 from the downtown area to Shang Pu Nan Ru Kou Station, then transfer to a Tourist Bus to the One Line Sky.


4. Tian You Peak
Tian You Peak is part of the Mount Wuyi; it is also known as heavenly tour peak. The Tian You Peak Scenic Area is situated around the 5th and 6th bend of the Nine-Bend River. All the visitors must climb the 828 steep stone steps to the top of the mountain and the view from the view will makes the effort worth it. The steps are very steep.
(Warning: Don’t get distracted by the beautiful view! If you want to enjoy the scenery, wait until you get to the top of the mountain. Or you can stop and take a rest, look around for the scenery. It is dangerous if you are distracted while you are climbing!)

Usually, the tourists climb up Tian You Peak from its front and walk down its back. It is a risky and tiring adventure. I think the stunning views will make everything worth it! Tian You Peak presents different scenery in different weather and seasons.
For example: After rain, the sky will be bright, you may see rainbow in between the mountains.

One foggy morning (it makes even harder to climb the mountain), but you will be above the cloud when you get to the top. (My parents said:  it is a scene they will never forget!)

Entrance Fee: CNY 140 (the through ticket of Mount Wuyi)
Opening Hours: 07:30-17:30
How to get there: take Buses No. 5 or 6 from the downtown area to the Wuyishan Scenic Area


Tips: You only need to pay CNY 140 entrance fee to enter the Mount Wuyi. However, there are many attractions within Mount WuYi area. I would pay CNY 150 or 160; that is the entrance fee for Mount WuYi for two or three days.
5. Water Curtain Cave (within the Mount Wu Yi)
6. Wu Yi Palace (within the Mount Wu Yi)
7. The Long Chuan Grand Canyon
8. Qing Long Waterfall

Hotel:
Wu Yi Mountain Yeohwa Resort
Reasons for Recommendation: various choices of foods (western & eastern)
                            great views through window
                            transportation; No. 6 bus has a stop in front of the hotel
                            well-equipped; internet/TV/pool..etc.
http://www.yeohwahotels.com/web/wy_en/home (English/Chinese version)
Lowest price is $818

Andi Youth Hostel
No.16 Sangu Lantang, Wu Yi Shan, Jingqu, China
Tele: 0599-5231369, 13375031369.
http://www.ad-513.com/ (English/Chinese version)

Shopping/Local Food:
(For me, it is hard to accept some the local cuisine. I don't think I will go to a local restaurant and order something I have even heard of...)

Wu Yi Shan Wonton (Bianrou):
Wuyishan wonton (Bianrou) featuring thin and nearly transparent skin and thick stuffing is a very popular food. (The thin skin of wonton is actually made out of meat.) The favor can be easily accepted by most of the tourists.
Tea Egg
Deep-Fried Glutinous Rice Balls with Sesame
鼠曲稞
仙人糕

What should we buy? (Local products)
(try to negotiate the price with seller! We may save some money; or at least we tried.)
1.       Wu Yi Shan Tea
2.      Wu Yi Shan Mushroom
3.      Wu Yi Shan Bamboo Shoot

Costs:
1.       Airline ticket: USD 1700
2.      Visa: USD 140
3.      Hotel 5 days: USD 200-600 (used 400 to approximate the total)
4.      Food: USD 250
5.      Local Transportation: USD 50
6.      Entrance Fee+Tip: USD 200
7.      Others: USD 200
Total: USD 2940

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"To Travel Is To Live" (Part I)

Wu Yi Shan 武夷山
1. Requirement to travel
  • All U.S. citizens need a valid visa to visit China. You should obtain your visa before you travel, and
  • Chinese authorities expect you to obey the terms of the visa. (Link)
  • There are many types of visa you can apply to go to China. However, for all the tourists, highly recommend to apply for “L Visa”. In addition, there are three options of numbers you can enter the country; which are single, double and multiple entry in 6 to 12 months. You should plan your trip ahead of the time. (and that's what we are doing for you and ourselves...)

How to apply:
(What do you need) passport size/style picture; completed the application of the visa; passport; the cost is $140 for visa only. A travel or visa agent provides this service. (However, travel agent will charge extra money as service fee.)

Apply for your visa via China's embassy and consulate service in the United States. (Link) None of the offices accepts postal applications. You must either drop off your application or have someone do it for you.

In addition, all travelers should check (website) to ensure you have received all the vaccinations and double check the policy of medications. This website provides some health/safety tips and warnings for tourists.

How to purchase airline ticket:

Website: http://www.orbitz.com/flights/China/?WT.srch=1&ap=1t1&crid=14777870360&dv=c&dvm=&gcid=2872&gclid=CJemhPLptLcCFeiDQgodbXUAag&keyword=cheap+airline+ticket+to+china&ksaid=1021756&kscid=91296&kskid=7590&kspid=74&kwid=5904860&mtid=1139&mtn=e&lpid=dynair

http://www.cheaptickets.com/cheap-flights/China/?WT.srch=1&ap=1t3&crid=13777497916&dv=c&dvm=&gcid=2873&gclid=CJ6MifPptLcCFStyQgodc3oAZg&keyword=cheap+airline+ticket+to+china&ksaid=1087250&kscid=92062&kskid=960603&kspid=75&kwid=5904860&mtid=1143&mtn=e&lpid=dynair

http://www.flychina.com/

http://www.cheapoair.com/flights/cheap-flights-to-china-cn

There isn't any direct fly to Wu Yi Shan. China Eastern provides a direct airline (Los Angeles to Shanghai, Pudding). Or there is another airline which flies from LAX to Beijing. Be aware when you are purchasing ticket, you may require changing airport from international airport to domestic airport. The price for ticket is around $1500-$2000. The price is highly dependent on “the period of time”; what I mean by that is if you decided to go during summer/winter break, it will be really expensive. For students who can only travel during summer/break, another tip for save some money is to purchase your ticket early.

2. Shelter
There are many hotels around near airport. If you are able to communicate, I highly recommended that visitors to live in local hotel. Some of the local residents, they are able to reconstruct their own house and provide a very comfortable place to stay. It is best way to get closer to the local people, culture and nature. You, no more an outsider or visitor, but you are part of the local group who loves the place as they do.

3. Transportation:
Since Wu Yi Shan is neither a major city nor an urban area, most of the local people only speak Mandarin or dialect. Transportation becomes a major problem for most of foreign visitors. There are few ways to deal with transportation and language issues. You can find local travel agency to plan your trip once you are there. They are cheaper; and some tourist guide can speak English as well. Another advantage is that most tourist guide is from there, you can introduce great and best views of the place. Or you have to very well preparation, which means do you research ahead of time and learn some basic language skills will be very beneficial.

My remark:
I wish people can be more respectful to the beautiful scenery and local environment. My parents went to Wu Yi Shan several times. They said Wu Yi Shan's environment is lot clearer 20 years ago. During their most recent visit of Wu Yi Shan, there is an obvious increase in amount of trash as number of visitor increases.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Senior Project (in progress)

My Decision:

1st: Wu Yi Shang, FuJian 武夷山,福建



2nd: Taiwan 台湾



3rd: Li Jiang, Yunnan 云南丽江

Here's the General Outline: (Discussion)
1.Airplane ticket:


  •  requirements to travel
  •  tips to make and save extra money before and during the trip
  •  how to be frugal with the ticket purchase itself.
2. Shelter
  • Hotel v. Hostel v. couchsurfing
3. Transportation
  • buses v. taxis v. trains v.subways
4. Food
  • Fine dining v. Eating like a local
  • Street food
5. Safety
  • pickpockets
  • different laws
  • health
6. Culture/Etiquette
  • tipping and the like
7. Communication
  • Language
  • Wifi/internet access

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Senior Project III (Outline)

"To Travel Is To Live"

1st-武夷山--Wuyishan city, Fujian (3-5days);
  (highly recommended by my parents)
  • Raft Trip (竹排/漂流)
  • Mountains/Rocks (玉女峰)
  • Jiu Qiu Xi Rivers (九曲溪)
  • Tea (Dahong Pao-大紅袍)
  • Tian You Peak (天遊峰)
  • "Thread of Sky" cave (一線天)
  • Suspending coffin (懸棺)
  • Local food/hotel (名宿/蛇酒)   

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"To Travel Is To Live" -Senior Project Update II

    Senior Project! In addition to the  video we going to make as a group, Dulce, Matt and I decided to do a travel guide for students like us. There are many similar websites out there. For example: Let's go. I made few plans with friends and sibling to travel to different countries/cities within 5-10yrs. The difference between our "travel guide" and other traditional travel guides is that we are making/sharing the travel plan for future. For traditional type of travel guide, usually is wrote by someone who had been to the place; and then author writes/tells about their experiences. But, we are writing about the place we want to go and plan to go. Of course, if anyone wants to join us, just let us know. Welcome for any  suggestion of what specific cities/countries we should do!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Senior Project Update

 Finally, Senior Project!! Well, Our group' plan of making a "video" that is full with memories needs to be organized; and then put it into actions. Also, my goal of keeping the Life Around the World Blog moving....yeh, I have few new ideas and topics in mind; I will keep it moving, starting next week...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Inventory

Inventory (1-10 scale):
Multiple Choice Question: 6
    Since we haven't really concentrated on multiple choice part, I give it is 6. However, multiple choice is the most common form of question; and I had done some practices on my own. I planned to do more practices on multiple choice this weekend and early next week.

Poetry Essay Question: 7
    My confidence in Poetry Essay Question has definitely increased through Poetry Boot Camp and Essay Practice Week. Through the practices, I can identify the center of the prompt and the literary techniques easily. The elements from the gridlock play important role of the essay and my understanding of the poem. I got the strategy and the thought process down; however, I need to perform/use it well on the day of the test.

Prose Essay Question: 8
    We did lots of practices on Prose Essay Question last yr and this yr. I was considering about the time; time management becomes very important because we can't spend too long time on reading/understanding the passage. Through the this week’ practice, I can always give myself the extra few minutes to check the grammar.

Open Essay Question: 8
     I am confident in Open Essay Question. Let highlight the prompt: “avoid summary”! Usually, my essay always emphasizes the fact that I knew the novel/summary well. Now, I always take time to read the prompt and focus on what the prompt is asking me to do. Also, “avoid summary”! The plot from the novel is used to support my analysis. I want to go back to my literature analysis and active reading notes this weekend; I need to refresh my mind with plot and theme...etc. I have to make sure I got enough "evident” and “analysis” to answer different Open Essay Prompt.