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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-18 08:19:38
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-18 14:19:38
    [post_content] => 
 
The jetlag was in effect when I woke early this morning and my thoughts went to the incredible journey we just had. The changes I saw in our team were impressive. From the tepid eaters, I watched a growth in culinary courage. They didn't always enjoy what they ate but they tried it anyway. The trekking was easier for some than it was for others but we never heard any complaints. Sleeping conditions were rough and the time demands of the trip required us to wake rather early very often but the lads soldiered on. Our last few days in Beijing were cushy by comparison. Focused on culture and history, we visited the Qing Summer Palace, the Great Wall and a limited trip to the Temple of Heaven. The pollution wasn't as bad as I'd seen it and we left with an impression of what it must be like to live under that haze all the time. Our last leg of the trip was to the Forbidden City. As I watched Gong lead our troopers out the door of our hostel, I thought of one of my favourite poems by Rudyard Kipling and how fittingly applied to this band of impressive young men. If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; If you can dream---and not make dreams your master; If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same:. If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools; If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son! I don't know what the future holds for these guys but whatever it is, I have faith it will impressive. Glad to have gotten to them all.
[post_title] => Looking Back From Toronto [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => looking-back-from-toronto [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-22 10:27:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-22 17:27:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=116528 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 44 [name] => China Crescent [slug] => china-crescent-spring-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 44 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 237 [count] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6.1 [cat_ID] => 44 [category_count] => 12 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Crescent [category_nicename] => china-crescent-spring-2015 [category_parent] => 237 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2015/china-crescent-spring-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => China Crescent )
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Looking Back From Toronto

Erik Schomann,China Crescent

Description

  The jetlag was in effect when I woke early this morning and my thoughts went to the incredible journey we just had. The changes I saw in our team were impressive. From the tepid eaters, I watched a growth in culinary courage. They didn’t always enjoy what they ate but they tried it anyway. […]

Posted On

03/18/15

Author

Erik Schomann

Category

China Crescent

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-15 20:47:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-16 02:47:13
    [post_content] => 

Before we had arrived at the village, I was quite skeptical of the home-stay portion of our journey. When we arrived, I knew it was wrong of me to do so immediately. The family that we were staying with were really nice and welcoming. The father figure was always smiling, laughing, and helping us out. It completely soothed my worries and I knew I was going to be happy there. And I was. We had nice sleeping conditions which was a bedroom with nice comfortable beds and a fluffy blanket. Although, on the first night, I had two giant wasp-like things which were quite loud and, to be honest, quite terrifying. Eventually, we got them out. We ate breakfast and dinner as a group at our home-stay family which was really good. It was almost always rice with some vegetable dishes and a meat dish. We ate lunch with the group, not our families. The bathroom was a bit of a trek to get to as it was outside of the house. You had to leave the house, leave the courtyard in front of it, and then take a 20 second journey up a dirt hill to get to a squat toilet. This squatter actually flushed, unlike a few others.

For the group activities, we met up, usually after breakfast, at a central home with our teachers. The first day, when we arrived, I learned how to play 'xiangqi' which is Chinese chess. It is quite similar, yet also different from Western chess and so I took to it immediately. I very much enjoyed it. On a different day, we went to go picking coffee beans which really opened my eyes to how coffee is grown. Before, I had never really wondered how coffee beans were growing but I learned that day and I thought it was really interesting.

The day after we went to go pick coffee, we went to the market which happens every 5 days. What happens is people come from a few different villages to a centralized location and set up stalls to sell goods. Things sold are clothes, food, tools, and other goods. It was quite interesting because you don't really see this type of thing in Toronto and it was good to see how other cultures work. There was this one clothing shop that sold some strange shirts and they were so funny and weird, that a few of us, me included, decided to buy a shirt.

Later that day, we went to the Mekong river to do some swimming which might not have been the best idea as it was very cold. While we were there, a mud fight was started and many people, aka everyone, got dirty. It was very fun. After that, we went over to someone's house, literally a random person invited our big group over, and had dinner. What we were not aware of was that our dinner was a rooster and that it was still walking around when we got there. They caught it, and butchered it to make dinner for us. I stayed away from the chicken stew that dinner.

When we got back to our village, there was a party going on. It was dark and there was a circle of dancing people around a barrel with fire along with some really loud music that was in a really weird style. A bunch of us joined in and danced along with the rest of the village people. It was really fun and I enjoyed myself.

[post_title] => Goodbye Bangdang Village [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => goodbye-bangdang-village [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-22 10:41:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-22 17:41:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=116402 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 44 [name] => China Crescent [slug] => china-crescent-spring-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 44 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 237 [count] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6.1 [cat_ID] => 44 [category_count] => 12 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Crescent [category_nicename] => china-crescent-spring-2015 [category_parent] => 237 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2015/china-crescent-spring-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => China Crescent )
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Goodbye Bangdang Village

Vlas Chekhovtsov,China Crescent

Description

Before we had arrived at the village, I was quite skeptical of the home-stay portion of our journey. When we arrived, I knew it was wrong of me to do so immediately. The family that we were staying with were really nice and welcoming. The father figure was always smiling, laughing, and helping us out. […]

Posted On

03/15/15

Author

Vlas Chekhovtsov

Category

China Crescent

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 116109
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-10 10:54:51
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-10 16:54:51
    [post_content] => 

Day 7: March 7, 2015

A symphony of rooster crows. Music blaring over an intercom followed by the morning announcements. A man intermittently shouting, “Good morning” in some foreign tongue. These were the sounds that we awoke to in the village of Zhanglang. This early morning bustle was startlingly contrasting to the peaceful and laid-back environment that we had experienced when we arrived the previous afternoon. After breakfast, we set off on the last leg of the trek. Along our route, we encountered a village which had made fortunes importing opium. Our guide, Mr. Rush, informed us that the concrete buildings we saw were just a facade; an illusion to prevent suspicion from the government on their actual wealth. We later saw their actual homes; large villas with expensive cars in the driveway. Reflecting, if these villagers had become so rich off of these narcotics, one can imagine the disastrous effects of the opium that had flowed into China in the 19th century.

Further on the trek we walked along a dam, however for unknown reasons, it wasn't used to produce electricity. The water level was extremely low; a basin of dry cracked mud surrounded either sides of the river. The Yunnan province has been facing drought for several years now. Remarkably, this hardship does not seem to affect the Yunnanese people as they have sufficient water and food, and their farmlands still bear crops.

We ended our 5-hour trek in the town of Xiding, where we ate lunch. After the meal, we were transported back to the hostel in Jinghong via taxi. Jinghong had felt like a small town in contrast to Shanghai. However when we returned to Jinghong from the rural villages, it felt chaotic. Scooters and cars drove seemingly to non-existent traffic laws, throngs of people shuffled on the sidewalk, the roar of the “small town” was deafening compared to village life. However, being back in Jinghong did have its benefits; it had a shower. Washing off 3 days worth of sweat, grime, and dirt accumulated on the trek felt glorious. Jinghong also had a large night-market, which we revisited. We put on faces of disinterest for the bargaining that we did with vendors. We made our purchases and called it a night.

Day 8: March 8, 2015

A 10 hour bus ride from Jinghong to Lincang. Security checkpoints as we came to within 100km (as the crow flies) of the  Myanmar boarder. This is what we faced on the 8th day of our trip. Our bus was stopped at 5 checkpoints, and we were boarded twice for ID or passport. I felt safe knowing that they were checking for illegal immigrants. No one wants to anger China. I also realized that the Yunnanese people probably didn't know the reason behind the heightened security in the region and the sudden influx of immigrants. I asked a local what he knew about Myanmar. She responded that she used to go there frequently for the casinos, and now she cannot and she doesn't know why.

We safely reached Lincang and settled down at our hotel. Our next destination was Salvadore's Cafe; an American opened cafe that hired young women from rural villages coming into Lincang searching for work. We interviewed the young women mainly concerning what they missed from the villages and what they like in the city. The establishment had a fusball table and pool table, which we played on. Our competitive spirits rose and our faces donned smiles. We left the cafe and found a Wa style restaurant for dinner. The Wa were headhunters until the 1950's when Mao put an end to the practice. We were all wondering the same thing: Do they serve head? No, they didn't; but they served brain.  Our palates have made much progress from the first day in China.

Day 9: March 9, 2015

We travelled about 2 hour longer to Bangdong, the village for the home-stay. We arrived at noon and all of the families were still working in the fields. At around 6:30, we dispersed to our respective families and got to know one another over dinner. They're all very friendly and nice, and I'm excited to spend time with them over the next 3 days.

-Thomas

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Crescent Trip Update

Thomas Lieou,China Crescent

Description

Day 7: March 7, 2015 A symphony of rooster crows. Music blaring over an intercom followed by the morning announcements. A man intermittently shouting, “Good morning” in some foreign tongue. These were the sounds that we awoke to in the village of Zhanglang. This early morning bustle was startlingly contrasting to the peaceful and laid-back […]

Posted On

03/10/15

Author

Thomas Lieou

Category

China Crescent

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    [post_date] => 2015-03-09 07:44:35
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-09 13:44:35
    [post_content] => Our group of intrepid travelers has arrived into Lincang last night en route to their home-stay village, Bangdong, about 1.5 hours out of the city. While internet access has been spotty thus far, they will have wifi in the community of Bangdong, and have promised more thorough updates shortly.

 
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China Crescent

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On to Lincang

Simon Hart,China Crescent

Description

Our group of intrepid travelers has arrived into Lincang last night en route to their home-stay village, Bangdong, about 1.5 hours out of the city. While internet access has been spotty thus far, they will have wifi in the community of Bangdong, and have promised more thorough updates shortly.  

Posted On

03/9/15

Author

Simon Hart

Category

China Crescent

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-07 13:25:04
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-07 20:25:04
    [post_content] => 

After a long and well-deserved sleep in the first village, we took to the road yet again. This path saw a lot more of the jungle terrain, which everyone jovially stumbled through, and laughed at the occasional tumble. The scenery of this walk was nothing short of breathtaking. It was almost impossible to make progress with everyone wanting to take pictures at every new turn and bend in the trail. We especially enjoyed stopping to unload at a natural waterfall. Our group took turns standing underneath the falls, and feeling the icy water cascade over them. The pool that it created beneath the falling water could not be described as anything other than shockingly cold. Yet, our high spirits prevailed , and we dashed in and out of the water, making a game of the freezing temperatures. This was a refreshing moment for all to cool off, and all were able to dry off in the pleasantly warm sun as we hit the trail again.

On the final day, the hike was tackled expertly. All of us were now "seasoned veterans". Despite this expertise, the rolling hills of China never ceased to amaze us all. Before long, it was just another bus ride until we reached our hostel in Jinghong. Even though we may wash the dirt and grime of the dusty trail off our backs, nothing will be able to take away the memories that were made and the sights that were seen. We look forward to discovering more of rural China in the next episode of this great adventure.

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Where no Coyote has Gone Before

Cooper Midroni,China Crescent

Description

After a long and well-deserved sleep in the first village, we took to the road yet again. This path saw a lot more of the jungle terrain, which everyone jovially stumbled through, and laughed at the occasional tumble. The scenery of this walk was nothing short of breathtaking. It was almost impossible to make progress […]

Posted On

03/7/15

Author

Cooper Midroni

Category

China Crescent

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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-04 20:23:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-05 03:23:25
    [post_content] => As a follow-up to the previous message, we'll be out of range of any kind of wifi or reliable internet access for the next couple of days and will be unable to post any updates here. The instructors will still have our phones and will remain within contact range for the duration of the trek.

We're all super stoked about the next few days as one of the highlights of the trip. I for one am looking forward to what is sure to be one of the most engaging student yak posts of the trip upon our return to the city in two days' time.

Yak soon!

 
    [post_title] => Gone Trekking Pt. 2
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China Crescent

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Gone Trekking Pt. 2

Erik Schomann,China Crescent

Description

As a follow-up to the previous message, we’ll be out of range of any kind of wifi or reliable internet access for the next couple of days and will be unable to post any updates here. The instructors will still have our phones and will remain within contact range for the duration of the trek. We’re […]

Posted On

03/4/15

Author

Erik Schomann

Category

China Crescent

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-04 20:22:52
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-05 03:22:52
    [post_content] => Hi folks!

I'm proud to announce the winners of yesterday's scavenger hunt. It was a tight race requiring a final tie-breaker (with the last place team only a half point behind) and the team that emerged victorious was team Matthew, Vlas and Cooper. A great effort put in by all participants and an enormous amount of fun hidden in an educational activity that had our boys engaging with the city and its inhabitants in a deeper and more independent way than any instructor lead activity.

After breakfast, we join our rainforest guide, Mr. Rush as he leads us into a two day excursion into the countryside. Our destination at the end of each trek has us staying in a village of a different ethnic minorities, each linguistically and culturally distinct from each other. Tonight, for example, we'll be staying with the Bulang people, related to the Khmer of Cambodia who emigrated to this part of S-E Asia several hundred years ago.
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China Crescent

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Gone trekking

Erik Schomann,China Crescent

Description

Hi folks! I’m proud to announce the winners of yesterday’s scavenger hunt. It was a tight race requiring a final tie-breaker (with the last place team only a half point behind) and the team that emerged victorious was team Matthew, Vlas and Cooper. A great effort put in by all participants and an enormous amount […]

Posted On

03/4/15

Author

Erik Schomann

Category

China Crescent

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 115735
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-03-03 09:34:53
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-03 16:34:53
    [post_content] =>  

On the first day, we with joyous and excited feelings, endured the 14 hour flight from home to Shanghai.  The flight definitely wasn't pretty -- soreness and boredom from being confined to a chair for 14 hours -- but that wasn't enough to extinguish our high expectations of the trip.

Landing in Shanghai, the foreign country didn't feel much different from home until we saw the dark grey sky, which was said to be of the better skies of Shanghai.

On the other hand, Le Tours, the youth hostel we stayed at, was great.  Despite the fact that the hostel located in an alley, almost concealed from foreigners, its features, from shower system to the entertainment, were amazing.  This day being our first in China, in order to fight our urge to fall asleep due to the thirteen hour difference from home, we ate our first meal at a western Chinese restaurant and exercised by playing table tennis.

On the second day, we rode the subway to visit historical landmarks of China.  Before our visit to the church, we satisfied our morning hungers at a local Chinese restaurant.  We were served dimsum and hot noodles, which proved our thought that such meal is too heavy for morning wrong.

The first thought that came into my mind while entering the Chinese subway was that it is more advanced than the TTC.  Of the differences, the two that struck us the most were that fares were not paid uniformly but differed through the distance travelled, and that the subway security checked the bags of riders before letting them on the subway.

In the afternoon, we had some time to roam on the streets of the city.  Of the many scenes we saw during our walk, our memory of visiting a Chinese fast food restaurant, Kung Fu, was definitely of the more interesting ones.  In the restaurant, the locals lined up, picked a table, and ate just like us in McDonalds, but the shocking difference was the food served.  The "fast" food varied from hot noodles to rice and pork cutlet, unlike Canadian fast food restaurants, which only allow for a small variety of food.

Today, we woke up at 5:30 in the morning to catch a flight to Xi Shuang Ban Na.  As soon as we arrived, a hot air wave splashed us in the face.  Coming from a city of low temperature, the heat felt like bliss.  The streets of Xi Shuang Ban Na were definitely distinct from those of Shanghai.  The streets looked less developed, there were many food and jade-assorted shops on the sidewalks, and were chaotic due to a confusing gathering of scooters, cars, and bikes disobeying the ethics of traffic seen in Canada, such as driving with a safety distance from the car in front to prevent contact.  The most shocking thing about the transportation here was that many elementary students were driving scooters with ease while we were on bikes, trying to from a block to another without crashing with a car.  Our first meal in this city was eaten at a noodle store in front of our hostel.  The bowl of noodles did not have the luxurious feeling that the food of Shanghai had, but was without doubt great.  After a long day of exploring an extremely crowded and chaotic city, we all crashed into our beds as soon as we returned to our hostel.
    [post_title] => Journey Journal Day 3
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China Crescent

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Journey Journal Day 3

Ray Kang,China Crescent

Description

  On the first day, we with joyous and excited feelings, endured the 14 hour flight from home to Shanghai.  The flight definitely wasn’t pretty — soreness and boredom from being confined to a chair for 14 hours — but that wasn’t enough to extinguish our high expectations of the trip. Landing in Shanghai, the […]

Posted On

03/3/15

Author

Ray Kang

Category

China Crescent

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Gong and I met up with the rest of the crew at the arrival gate at Pudong airport. I've been told the flight was pleasantly uneventful.
After everyone checked into their rooms, we went out to a dinner of western China cuisine, food from the frontier province of Xinjiang, the heart of the old silk road. On the menu was the noodle dish Marco Polo was said to have inspired pasta from and aside from that, the lads got quite experimental.
My first impression of these young men is that they have the exact kind of inquisitive spirit, a curiosity that makes courses like this a lasting success. I'm very much looking forward to getting to know everyone better throughout the trip.
For the time being, everyone's asleep and I should be too. We've got a big day ahead of us and tomorrow one of the boys will tell you all about it.
Have a great day!
-Erik
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China Crescent

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Safe and Sound in Shanghai

Erik Schomann,China Crescent

Description

Gong and I met up with the rest of the crew at the arrival gate at Pudong airport. I’ve been told the flight was pleasantly uneventful. After everyone checked into their rooms, we went out to a dinner of western China cuisine, food from the frontier province of Xinjiang, the heart of the old silk […]

Posted On

03/1/15

Author

Erik Schomann

Category

China Crescent

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    [post_date] => 2015-02-24 10:21:20
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    [post_content] => Hello everyone,

I`m your China instructor, Gong Jiaju. Currently, I live in Yunnan China, near the ancient city of Dali. Right now we are celebrating the Chinese New Year, lots of fire works lots food, lots people and friends...

Compared to Toronto, the weather here is sunny and warm, tropical feeling, though it gets a bit chilly in the evenings. I'm so excited to share with you the different places and many faces of China in the weeks to come. We all will have good times together on our journey. I apologize for the brevity of my introduction, but I look forward to getting to know each of you more once you arrive here in less than a week!

Yang nian kuai le !

See you soon!

Gong

 
    [post_title] => Xinnian Hao! Happy new year everyone
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China Crescent

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Xinnian Hao! Happy new year everyone

Gong jiaju,China Crescent

Description

Hello everyone, I`m your China instructor, Gong Jiaju. Currently, I live in Yunnan China, near the ancient city of Dali. Right now we are celebrating the Chinese New Year, lots of fire works lots food, lots people and friends… Compared to Toronto, the weather here is sunny and warm, tropical feeling, though it gets a bit chilly […]

Posted On

02/24/15

Author

Gong jiaju

Category

China Crescent

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