If you went to school in New England, you can probably remember a few of your school trips. For me, growing up near Portland and Boston allowed for several memorable school trips, usually of some historical significance— to the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Portland Headlight, and Faneuil Hall, just to name a few. Regardless of where you were going, the anticipation and excitement you felt the night before a school trip was enough to keep you up all night. The extra time you took to pack your favorite snacks, the thought of sitting with your best friends on the bus, the pure joy of knowing you didn’t have to be in a classroom all day— we all lived for trips like these.
Walking around Xi’an, I often have to stop and think, “Am I in New York City?” Monstrously high buildings tower over me, flashy billboards line the horizon, and street vendors line up on nearly every corner, hoping to sell a cellphone case or a roasted sausage on a stick. Busses zoom by with little to no regard for pedestrians, cars weave from lane to lane, taxi drivers never seem to stop pressing on their horns. The smells of a city of 9 million contrast with the aromas of freshly steamed dumplings and spicy grilled meats— your nose is constantly flipping from misery to ecstasy, and back again.
When I first came to China, all I heard everyone talk about was KTV. I had no idea what it was, and I almost felt like it was too culturally insensitive to ask. I would see buildings with big, flashy signs with K-T-V written in bold letters, but I was a stranger to what went on inside.
I realized I couldn’t go on living in this country without having a clue what KTV was, so I did a bit of research (thank you, Google). In short, KTV is similar to karaoke. Not your run-of-the-mill cheesy bar karaoke, though— it’s full on classy with private rooms, disco balls, food and beverage services, and much more. Read on to learn about my first experience KTV’ing, if that is a word...
Food is the essence of culture. It defines a generation, it becomes a talking point after a trip somewhere new, it simply brings people together. The food in Xi’an is just this, and more. Xi’an’s rich (and long) culinary history, paired with the influence of the Islamic culture make for an eclectic ride for your taste buds.
For China’s National Holiday, we packed up our duffle bags and headed down South to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province. The travel was an experience in itself— it was our first time on a long train ride here (18 hours to be exact.) Hey, it was cheap, and we found out we had an extra day off, so we weren’t in any rush.
The origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) began in ancient times when emperors offered sacrifices to the sun in springtime and to the moon in autumn. It wasn't until the Ming (1368 to 1644) and Qing (1644 to 1912) Dynasties when the celebrations became widely popular in Chinese culture. What I find most interesting are the legends that emerged from these time periods— one of my favorites being about the Moon Goddess, Chang'e.