travels

The Xi’an Experience

If Beijing has mesmerized me, well, I can’t find the right word to describe how beautiful Xi’an is.

When people talk about China, you would often hear Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai. Xi’an is not as popular as these three, but little did others know that this city possesses several of the most famous landmarks of the country, and one of the oldest and most prestigious universities not just in China, but in Southeast Asia as well.

As summer campers of Confucius Institute, aside from enjoying perks such as “free dining, transportation and tour” for fourteen days, we are required to attend Mandarin classes, including learning the language, and some of the traditional Chinese culture.

That is why in traveled for 12 hours via train (with cabin beds) all the way from Beijing to Xi’an, and stayed in Northwest University for ten days.

For several days we attended morning classes with two of our favorite laoshi’s (teachers), Heidi and Christine, whom both we have known in the Philippines before. We are fortunate enough to have them, since it will comfortable for us to learn because we already are familiar with them.

During the afternoons, we have the culture classes. We learn one traditional culture per afternoon, such as Chinese traditional painting, Chinese calligraphy, and TaiJi (Tai Chi).

During TaiJi classes. GAME FACE ON!
After-class photo with TaiJi Master Hua.
With the one who is so professional in Chinese calligraphy, Viga Li laoshi!
All of them are boasting their paintings, and then there’s me… nevermind.

And if we ever have free days or afternoons, we are all in tourist mode! πŸ˜‰

One of the first places in Xi’an that we had the chance to visit is the Bell Tower. It is located at the center of the city, and people value it so much that they don’t build establishments higher than the said tower because of the respect that they give to the popular landmark. If there would be a building in Xi’an that is higher than the Bell Tower, that establishment will be ordered to be demolished.

The view from the Bell Tower. Sorry we didn’t have a photo of the tower — the view’s too nice!
Groupie at the Bell Tower

Just nearby the tower, there is this place called the Muslim Road, where you can buy cheap souvenirs like ref magnets, keychains, chopsticks and even different kinds of street food.

We have also visited the famous and historical Terracotta Warriors…

The famous Terra Cotta Warriors
I bless you, my dear warriors… πŸ˜‰

The Historical Ruins of Imperial Hot Springs…

I just used to see this on postcards…
I just had to. I’m sorry. πŸ˜‰

And the Great Wild Goose Pagoda!

Guess who almost touched the tip of the Pagoda? πŸ˜‰

But my most favorite spot is the South Lake (also known as the Swan Lake). It is that kind if place that you often see in movies and TV shows, wherein there is a beautiful lake, a beautiful bridge, and a beautiful sunset to look at! Perfect for taking photos, definitely.

“Lumot sa Bato”
Again, I just had to. Duibuqi. πŸ™‚

There are numerous unexpected adventures, like visiting the new campus of Northwest University, and our “great escape” to the 人人乐 (big supermarket), but I guess the post would just be too long if I included the whole story (especially the great escape. Hihi).

The whole trip was nothig but memorable. Maybe it’s great since its “free,” we only paid for our airline ticket and the rest was sponsored by Confucius Institute, but the whole experience is priceless.

China may not be in good terms with the country that I am from, but I don’t have a bad experience at all with dealing with the locals. At first we tried to hide our nationalities because of the dispute, but since our complexions and dialects were too obvious, we decided to just tell them truth. Frankly, most of them did not care about the dispute. They were so warm and welcoming, especially the students of NW.

The China Babies with ate Nicole, the sole Filipina in studying in Northwest University.
Me with some of the Chinese students I talked to before going home.

Because of this, I see a slight resemblance of China to Philippines in some way. China, despite all the bad things about it, especially these days, you can never deny that their country is beautiful. Just like how beautiful Philippines is, in spite of all the negative things people would usually associate our country with.

I consider this an achievement β€” travelling to a country (which has a dispute with my country, beat that!) without anybody related to me waiting for me there. After all the shits I went through, from the hassle of getting a new passport, to dealing with the error on my name stated on my airline ticket, I should say that the whole trip is worth it. So worth it.

to Jairalaine Trogo and Aaron Paul Dela Rosa for some of the photos posted above. πŸ™‚

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