Photo of the Week
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    [post_content] => Today and the last 5 days I was a 3.5 not because of the food , it was the exes of hot souse that I have been eating jaja , after 3 months in china I realist that everything in Mexico has hot souse. I miss china and you a lot, I miss having a new adventure every single day, I miss the morning meetings and specially I miss been able to not shower for one week and nobody caring or no thing. I daren’t have time to write yak yaks since I got to Mexico but right now imp in the face that Chay tall us, sitting in my TV with nothing to do really bored. But I am living for sau Paulo in 3 weeks im goin to work there with a frind of my mother in alternative energy so if anybody is goin give me a call. I hope everybody is having fun and growin with the experience of life after china. 
    [post_title] => i am a 3.5 for the last 5 days jaja
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China Semester, Fall 2007

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i am a 3.5 for the last 5 days jaja

Fernando Alvarez Hernandez,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Today and the last 5 days I was a 3.5 not because of the food , it was the exes of hot souse that I have been eating jaja , after 3 months in china I realist that everything in Mexico has hot souse. I miss china and you a lot, I miss having a […]

Posted On

01/7/08

Author

Fernando Alvarez Hernandez

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wooow....

it is hard to go out of the old habits - talking about this yak yak board...and about me moving to Bangkok, just a day after you guys left to the states.

I feel nice in a relaxing environment of thailand heat, slowly processing our past three months.

It seems to me, that the day we met on the Beijing airport was just a few weeks ago, and then i think about our experience, and look through the photos in Picasa and i feel like we have been together for years.

I would like to thank all of you again for sharing this amazing time in this amazing country with me.

Although I have been living in the Dragon Kingdom for years, you gave me new perspectives on things, people, culture and country in general. I am grateful that I met each and everyone of you, and that we have shared last three months in good and bad...together all the time.

Hope to keep in touch and to hear how your life back at home is going on,

hugs

Ziva

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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from Bangkok with love

Ziva Vidic Licul,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

wooow…. it is hard to go out of the old habits – talking about this yak yak board…and about me moving to Bangkok, just a day after you guys left to the states. I feel nice in a relaxing environment of thailand heat, slowly processing our past three months. It seems to me, that the […]

Posted On

12/11/07

Author

Ziva Vidic Licul

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The end of an era is upon us. And im not talking about the end of the program!! Ye olde yak yak board, infact the whole Dragons website has been completely changed.

I woke up this morning to have a sqeek at the board and found Lu Lu's reflection post in some weird unusual web place.

I can imagine what Beijing is likeafter spending a week there 3 months ago. Everytime I go back to Beijing there's a different feel. The people that I hang with significantly alters my experiences and how I see the world.

Hey, ours was an awesome group and and awesome time and Beijing will never be the same. I'm signing up for Olympic tickets ASAP.

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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whats happened to ye olde yak yak board

Chay Granger,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

The end of an era is upon us. And im not talking about the end of the program!! Ye olde yak yak board, infact the whole Dragons website has been completely changed. I woke up this morning to have a sqeek at the board and found Lu Lu’s reflection post in some weird unusual web […]

Posted On

12/10/07

Author

Chay Granger

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    [post_content] => I like the quote above because it's silly but I do miss you all very much... I am in Beijing with my mother doing the same things we did: I took her to the Forbidden City, Serve the People, all over Tianan'men, the acrobats, and we even went to a swanky restaurant/bar on that street we clubbed at that night. It certainly is a different experience staying at the Sheraton Hotel, but I think/talk about you guys everywhere I go. China, of course, is not the same without you. I hope you all got home safely and are happy. Much love & I miss you.
    [post_title] => "...and I'm gonna miss you like a child misses its blanket" - Fergie
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China Semester, Fall 2007

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“…and I’m gonna miss you like a child misses its blanket” – Fergie

Louisa,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

I like the quote above because it’s silly but I do miss you all very much… I am in Beijing with my mother doing the same things we did: I took her to the Forbidden City, Serve the People, all over Tianan’men, the acrobats, and we even went to a swanky restaurant/bar on that street […]

Posted On

12/9/07

Author

Louisa

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Hello to the families and friends of the China semester. We hope that this note finds you well, and happily reunited with your Dragons student.

We wanted to let you know that we are aware of the fact that the Yak Yaks from your semester are not currently on the board, and that we will be working on fixing this early next week.

Happy holidays, and all the best to you and your loved ones,

Dragons Admin

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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Yak yaks

Dragons Administration,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Hello to the families and friends of the China semester. We hope that this note finds you well, and happily reunited with your Dragons student. We wanted to let you know that we are aware of the fact that the Yak Yaks from your semester are not currently on the board, and that we will […]

Posted On

12/8/07

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2007-12-04 00:00:00
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First day of the Service Project

Two days ago we arrived in Lao Yu Zhai, the village of our service project. It’s a beautiful village in a jungle sort of climate. We haven’t seen so much green in so long. Xinjian was beautiful, no doubt, but it was mostly desert. The beauty there was in the structures of the sand dunes and the rocks, but here it’s different, a little more like home. There’s bamboo trees and banana leaves and big purple and yellow flowers and the weather is gorgeous. It’s a little chilly in the mornings and at night (right now it’s early morning of the third day and I’m wearing a hat, a fleece, my rain coat and I could go for some gloves) but mid-day, when we’re working, it’s sort of overcast/sunny with a cool breeze, perfect working conditions. So the trenches we are digging aren’t as far away from the village as we thought. It’s about a two minute walk up the back of the village and we’ve already got our trenches to three houses. I don’t know how much more we have to do, digging-wise, but it seems like we’ll be done with that part pretty soon. Digging is so awesome. Of course no one is pushing us to break our backs and we chat as we hurl our hoes into the ground but it’s awesome, at least in my opinion. I thought it would be cool to start singing as a group but I was pretty much alone in that thought so we ended up talking instead. Except William and I did get a pretty sweet rendition of “Oh Happy Day” going. So we dig by standing about six feet from each other and straddling the spot where our trenches will be and we slowly back up as we finish our portions until we connect to the one behind us. When we’re done there we jump down to the end of the line and start digging again. It’s really fun. You get a chance to work in front of or behind every one in the group because we keep switching spots. The ground started out as the softest most grainy ground, right by the water tank, super easy to dig, a little bit like a trench diggers heaven. Then about ten feet behind it came the clay and then the clay and soft ground under grass and now we’re in a combination of clay and rock. It’s getting harder but, in my opinion, more fun. Maybe this is my calling. I don’t’ know. The food here is awesome too. We stopped in a city about three hours form the village to pick up supplies and we have loads and loads of food. Two villagers are our chefs and they prepare delicious and extremely bountiful breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. So far we’ve had this pork/meaty bacony thing, really delicious green beans, edemame type things, slices and stir fried potatoes, fried rice, cabbage soup, sliced and stir fried pumpkin, some other things I’ve forgotten, and last night we had chicken soup made with our very own chicken, we named him, “El Blanco.” We bought him in the village. I now know that if I’m a vegetarian it’s not because I love animals and so do a few other people. But we didn’t get to know El Blanco well. Maybe if I had taken time to talk to him or stroke his destined for soup head as he lay, feet bound in a cardboard box, maybe then I would have cried. But I, and my comrades didn’t. And it was pretty damn good soup. Ok breakfast is served. We’ll be digging more trenches today and it will most certainly be another fabulous day. And we’re in homestays. Forgot to mention that. One to a house except for Molly, Krey, William (the three of them are in one house) and Louisa and Kate (they share a house). Sharing was selected at random. Goodbye.

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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First day of the Service Project

Caralyn,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

First day of the Service Project Two days ago we arrived in Lao Yu Zhai, the village of our service project. It’s a beautiful village in a jungle sort of climate. We haven’t seen so much green in so long. Xinjian was beautiful, no doubt, but it was mostly desert. The beauty there was in […]

Posted On

12/4/07

Author

Caralyn

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    [post_date] => 2007-11-21 00:00:00
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So here's a fun story. The instructors surprised us with a trip to a Pakistani restaurant for dinner last night. The food was excellent and tasted exactly like the home-cooked Indian food my mom makes, not the heavy, buttery feel of your traditional Indian restaurant. But my trip to the restaurant was marred by a rather unfortunate series of events that were beyond my control.

Now before I go much further I suppose it's important that I put out a disclaimer: Despite my being of Indian descent, I hold no grudge against the Pakistani people for the Kashmir border issue. I'm about as much of an Indian nationalist as all that KFC Sam, Krey, and I ate in Kumning was actually real chicken. Regardless, I can't pretend it's a perfect world and that everyone on both sides of the issue has the same sort of views that I do. With this in mind, I argue that my heightened nerves during the meal in a restaurant full of many large Pakistani men was warranted.

So let's get back on track. Moments before leaving for dinner, Molly and I were informed that we had received third place in that day's Kashgar scavenger hunt (when Sam and Carlyn know we had obviously deserved second by a large margin). Our consolation prize involved those little square hats muslims wear and some shrimp-flavored crackers, quite the trophies. So in typical fashion I decided to wear my new hat out onto the streets to better assimilate into the Kashgari seen (I suppose you folks reading this don't know that I pulled a similar stunt in Tuyoq and told my host family that I was in fact a muslim. I was subsequently closed in a room with the grandfather and quized extensively to nobody's benefit.) So, having not learned from past mistakes, I walked straight into a Pakistani restaurant wearing this hat, realizing just only too late that it was in fact such a restaurant and that the quizical stares may not have been for the usual reasons.

So that was unfortunate event number one. Number two was that when we sat down, I was on the aisle-side edge of a couch in this very narrow restaurant and constantly being brushed by the large, scowling (that may have be imaginary), very hostile looking Pakistani men who would walk by. Unfortunate event number three was that I quickly remembered that, having just purchased one of my own (which I hope I can sneak through Customs along with my 80 "possibly"-fake DVDs), a large knife can be found in the pocket of any and every man in Kashgar.

Unfortunate event number four came a little later when my table's delightful conversation took a quick turn south. We were talking about llamas, alpacas, their native environments, etc. when someone wondered aloud whether cashmere wool was made from those humble South American pack creatures. Eventually the issue was resolved and the table came to the correct conclusion that the wool was actually produced from sheep in the Kashmir region of India. Of course, this was accomplished only after several loud "Cashmere"s and "Kashmir"s and a few of my own quiet lamentations, which only Tony seemed to heed. I may be mistaken but I saw more than a few eyes darting our way during our discussion. I suppose it's pretty well-defined etiquette that an Indian doesn't walk into a Pakistani restaurant and say the word Kashmir. It may just be my nerves talking but I'm glad nothing happened. We didn't even get ripped off when we paid the bill.

Now, this brings me to the last and most unfortunate unfortunate event, unfortunate event number five. As sitting group treasurer, it is my responsibility to carry the student budget wallet and pay for all our meals, taxis, etc. Last night was no exception. So as I get up to pay the large Pakistani man who seemed to be in charge, my compatriats walked next door to check out the local snooker scene (William tells me it's one of the best) and hopefully buy some chocolate milk (they didn't). Now, when fourteen people get up in a small restaurant, it frees up a considerable amount of space, and the many hungry people who had been waiting to be served all stand up to vie for place at a table. They in effect boxed me in from behind while I attempted to pay the very unresponsive host. He just stort of stared at me as I attempted to ask how much the meal cost in English, Chinese, and a lame attempt at Hindi. Eventually, the woman in the kitchen responded to my Chinese, and gave me an amount, which I quickly withdrew from the wallet and handed to the man. As I handed him the cash, he paused and asked in perfect English, "You Indian?" A little nervous of the crowd behind me who could hear this exchange, I said yes, that my parents had come from there but that I had been born in America. He then proceeded to ask where in India they were from and I answered in turn. I suppose I could have had a very polite and maybe even extended conversation with the man, but I made for a quick close and left the restaurant (forgetting to ask for a receipt) to meet up with the group in the snooker hall next-door.

All-in-all, it was a very interesting experience that I'm probably overdramatizing. Anyway, it's worth a share.

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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Llama wool of all things

Karthik,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

So here’s a fun story. The instructors surprised us with a trip to a Pakistani restaurant for dinner last night. The food was excellent and tasted exactly like the home-cooked Indian food my mom makes, not the heavy, buttery feel of your traditional Indian restaurant. But my trip to the restaurant was marred by a […]

Posted On

11/21/07

Author

Karthik

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    [post_date] => 2007-11-19 00:00:00
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Before coming to Xinjiang I was warned countless times about the difficulties of being a vegetarian. However, I have been pleasantly surprised!

When we arrived in Turpan, one of our greatest delights was finding real bread. Not the soft, sugary kind from Jiahua bakery, but hot, chewy, thick bread sold by street vendors. The streets in Turpan were also lined with fruit, roasted sweet potatoes, as well as baskets of dried fruit and nuts. Raisins are especially popular and we have seen many grape trellises (unfortunately the harvest was a couple months ago).

The roadside treats continue to be plentiful in Kashgar. The most common stands sell flat "Nan" bread-giant circles that resemble pizza crusts covered in sesame seeds with a sprinkling of onion slices. The bread is made on rocks that are then placed in the oven for several minutes. The baker then tosses the bread out the front window of his shop onto a table. It is definitely worth waiting for the fresh ones. Apparently it is impolite to walk and eat the nan simultaneously. In Kashgar we have also been introduced to bagels which are cooked in a pit oven in which they are stuck all over the side. The bagels are often hard, but are dipped in tea or hot food for softening. Dried fruits and nuts continue to be abundant. Free samples are the best and I love the dates! Whenever we walk by one of the stands they offer us honey-coated peanuts; they are delicious, but also the most expensive item. My favorite snack are these granola bar like things that consist of a variety of nuts and raisins coated in honey.

As for meals, hand-pulled noodles are popular. At the livestock market I watched a man make the noodles and it was like magic. He twirled, twisted, and folded turning a thick piece of dough into long thin noodles. The noodles are most often served with mutton, but if you ask and explain that you don't eat meat (not even a little bit), the chef will make a spicy vegetable stir-fry in a tomato based sauce. Of course meat is everywhere, but I will leave that for someone else to describe......

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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yum

Anna,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Before coming to Xinjiang I was warned countless times about the difficulties of being a vegetarian. However, I have been pleasantly surprised! When we arrived in Turpan, one of our greatest delights was finding real bread. Not the soft, sugary kind from Jiahua bakery, but hot, chewy, thick bread sold by street vendors. The streets […]

Posted On

11/19/07

Author

Anna

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not really. but we've had some fun in xinjiang regardless. In Dunhuang, some sweet dunes, a good bike ride, seeing a 35 meter tall Buddha statue, getting our first real taste of Northwestern China. In Turpan, getting some good planning done, then heading to Tuyoq, a small village an hour and a half outside the city, where we got to experience real Uighur village life. We also explored some sweet sand formations, got ourselves lost in a dry riverbed, and got really freaking dusty. We made it home exhausted but happy as ever. Then it was a daylong train to here in Kashgar, where we are really experiencing the Muslim world.

It's hard to describe the multitudes that frequent the Kashgar Bazaar on Sundays. The streets literally hold a sea of people shopping, browsing the market stalls or simply just meeting old friends. Everything that you could ever possibly buy gets sold there, though Chinese tourism is so strong nowadays that many stalls offer Uighur knives, fur hats, carpets, and other famed goods. Not to mention the dozens of fruit, kebab and meat pie stands that abound around the outskirts of the market. Cars don't stop for you here, so maneuver at your own risk- you have to be paying attention constantly. You really would be hard pressed to find a comparable event on a random Sunday in November in the US.

And there isn't just that market. Fernando, Anna, Sam and I decided to venture outside the city to the famed Livestock Market. After some miscommunication with the cabdriver, who only spoke Uighur, Sam eventually got us there. Though I've never really been to a county fair or livestock market in America, you could certainly draw some parallels to it. Except that in many ways, you just can't. I don't think many county fairs in America would also give you the opportunity to get a shave there as well. Or watch the chefs make homemade noodles in the stalls nearby. Or see Uighur men leading pack trains of sheep down dusty roads through similarly large crowds.

I do not cease to be amazed by my experiences in China. I only wish I had more time to see the wonders of this place. As is, I will have to make do with the mere two and a half weeks I have left here. Off to Karakul Lake tomorrow- hopefully we'll be staying in the Yurts of local Kazakh or Kirgiz herders. Until later.

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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enlightenment.

Krey,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

not really. but we’ve had some fun in xinjiang regardless. In Dunhuang, some sweet dunes, a good bike ride, seeing a 35 meter tall Buddha statue, getting our first real taste of Northwestern China. In Turpan, getting some good planning done, then heading to Tuyoq, a small village an hour and a half outside the […]

Posted On

11/19/07

Author

Krey

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I've put 3 new folders in our photo album. These are of our latest adventures hiking and traveling extensive distances across China. I have also added a few new photos in existing folders.

There are 500 new photos uploaded last night. We are currently in Dunhuang in the far reaches of Gansu province.

The photos can be found at

http://picasaweb.google.com/dragonsfall07

Best

Chay

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China Semester, Fall 2007

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Great news 500 NEW PHOTOS

Chay,China Semester, Fall 2007

Description

I’ve put 3 new folders in our photo album. These are of our latest adventures hiking and traveling extensive distances across China. I have also added a few new photos in existing folders. There are 500 new photos uploaded last night. We are currently in Dunhuang in the far reaches of Gansu province. The photos […]

Posted On

11/11/07

Author

Chay

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