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    [post_date] => 2016-07-28 08:46:49
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    [post_content] => Hello Families & Friends,

The group's flight in Shanghai was delayed, leading to a late arrival in Hong Kong (where they were scheduled to make a transfer and depart for LAX) and students were rebooked and in some cases re-routed by Cathay Pacific. The Dragons office will be in touch with parents directly, throughout the day about individual student travel. Revised flight information is below:
- Students Asher and Will, along with their instructor, Noah, are now on Cathay Pacific flight CX892 from Hong Kong to San Francisco (SFO), arriving July 28th at 4:20 PM.
- Students Olivia and Eliot are now flying on Cathay Pacific flight CX846 from Hong Kong to New York (JFK), arriving July 28th at 10:40 PM
- Students Sophia, Ejaz and Arik, along with their instructor, Julie, are now flying on Air Canada flight AC008 from Hong Kong to Vancouver, then transferring to WestJet flight 1702 from Vancouver to Los Angeles (LAX) arriving July 28th at 10:40 PM. This group may need to spend the night at a hotel near LAX and reschedule onward travel from LAX home - the Dragons office is working on these arrangements and will be in touch with parents.
Wishing everyone happy reunions with family soon!
Dragons Home Office
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SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

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All Students are now en route after a delay in Shanghai and some re-routing

Jody Segar,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

Hello Families & Friends, The group’s flight in Shanghai was delayed, leading to a late arrival in Hong Kong (where they were scheduled to make a transfer and depart for LAX) and students were rebooked and in some cases re-routed by Cathay Pacific. The Dragons office will be in touch with parents directly, throughout the […]

Posted On

07/28/16

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-27 22:21:56
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    [post_content] => Students and instructors arrived at Pudong International Airport this morning, ready to take off for many corners of the world.

The group said goodbye to Jeffrey after a family member met him at the airport. Karla headed through security ahead of the group flight. Joaquin and Chris are currently waiting to check into and board their respective flights. Arik, Asher, Ejaz, Eliot, Olivia, Sophia, and Will are currently through security waiting out the slightly delayed group flight. The group flight's transfer in Hong Kong should not be affected.

They are looking forward to seeing loved ones very soon!
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Students Departing Shanghai

Instructors,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

Students and instructors arrived at Pudong International Airport this morning, ready to take off for many corners of the world. The group said goodbye to Jeffrey after a family member met him at the airport. Karla headed through security ahead of the group flight. Joaquin and Chris are currently waiting to check into and board […]

Posted On

07/27/16

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-27 10:23:42
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    [post_content] => 

We've had a great couple days of transference on Chongming Island in the middle of the Yangtze River near Shanghai. We've reflected on all that we've done and learned on the course and how to integrate these insights into our lives back home. Posted here is something from each student that they've anonymously written to family in response to the prompt: I need you to know...

...that I'm still pondering the surreality of it all.

...about my shirt. You need to throw it out. Also I may have "forgotten" to journal.

...that despite how tired and unresponsive I might seem when I get back, I missed you all.

...I don't know if I'm the same. I don't want to be smothered.

...that I miss home, and can't wait to get back. Please prepare beef noodles and gummy worms for my arrival.

...I met a kid named Wimbo [editor's note: not the lad's real name]. I went on a cruise with him.

...that I feel prepared to come home now. I can do anything after this course.

...ovo je neka tobejarabi vježba, tako da samo pisem reda radi. PS. nemoj zab falafel (dva) VOM VAS.

...the eagle is on his way to the nest. I had a good time.

...that on this trip I made 10 really good friends, and we shared some of the best memories together.

 

...my favorite and least favorite part about my trip to China. My favorite part was being in a country I had never been to, this meant that everything I experienced was new to me. My least favorite part was leaving behind 10 friends who I experienced this trip with.

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Transference

Instructors,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

We’ve had a great couple days of transference on Chongming Island in the middle of the Yangtze River near Shanghai. We’ve reflected on all that we’ve done and learned on the course and how to integrate these insights into our lives back home. Posted here is something from each student that they’ve anonymously written to family […]

Posted On

07/27/16

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-26 16:11:23
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    [post_content] => Dear Yangtze River Students & Families,

Yangtze River summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and share their tales of adventure with each of you. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference:

July 28th, 2016

Cathay Pacific #367

Depart: Shanghai (PVG) 12:20 PM

Arrive: Hong Kong (HKG) 3:05 PM

 

July 28th, 2016

Cathay Pacific #882

Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 4:35 PM

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 2:55 PM

Should you need any assistance during student travel days, please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

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Return Travel Information

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

Dear Yangtze River Students & Families, Yangtze River summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and share their tales of adventure with each of you. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference: July 28th, 2016 […]

Posted On

07/26/16

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-23 19:40:07
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    [post_content] => In the fall of 2010, I boarded a plane and moved to Shanghai. It was my junior year of college, and though I had three years of Mandarin and three short trips to China under my belt, it still felt like a sizable adventure.

My university’s study abroad program in Shanghai attracted students from various disciplines, although the majority focused on finance and business. My friend Austin and I were the black sheep of the program, she a musician and film major with no hope of receiving actual credit from her semester in China and me a China-obsessed former art student and wannabe farmer. We were a pair frugal goofballs who used our stilted Mandarin to make friends with every possible food vendor, stationary seller, and random stranger in all of Shanghai.

Towards the middle of our semester, we were led—by whom and under what pretenses I can no longer remember—to an anomalous lane across town where traditional shikumen homes still reigned supreme and vendors, neighborhood children, and bicycles filled the spaces in between. Austin and I fell in love with this street. Compared to other Chinese cities, many of Shanghai’s streets could feel a bit sterile in their modernity. This one was unquestionably alive and full of grit, with shoppers jostling between snack carts and laundry waving happily on the web of clotheslines above. On our first visit, after wandering north to Lu Xun Park, I remember using the bold red characters mounted on the subway station as the key to our return. I knew the character for ‘district,’ but the name seemed quite peculiar. The first character looked something like that of the color red, and the second looked like a mouth. I memorized the shapes, and look them up. Hongkou District: Mouth of the Rainbow.

That autumn, we returned to the little street in the mouth of the rainbow several times. We were convinced that the freshly sliced sesame and honey candies there were the best in the city. I bought a cheap guitar with at least three broken strings at a quirky antique store. A little cave of a shop held bricks of fine pu’er tea stacked from floor to ceiling. The World Expo was underway across the river, and in brazen defiance of the local government’s plea for Shanghai natives to maintain a “civilized” appearance for international guests, public pajama-wearers were at an all-time high. While our classmates favored the Bund and the French Concession, Austin and I preferred Hongkou. At the time, what drew us there was more of a feeling than a knowledge of the actual historical significance of the neighborhood. My passion for the early 20th century band of radical authors and intellectuals who called Hongkou home would not ignite until after I left Shanghai. Already home to a large Japanese population, the district housed tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in World War Two. While much of the concession-era architecture remains, Uchiyama’s Bookstore, where influential writers like Lu Xun went to work and be published in the first decades of the 20th century, is now an ICBC.

Today, after nearly six years of wandering though various other parts of China, I returned to Shanghai for the first time, this time with Dragons students. X-Phase is currently underway, meaning that the reigns are firmly in the grasp of students. Not wishing to disrupt the flow of activities planned, I saw a window of opportunity between our slightly longer-than-anticipated morning bus ride and dinner. I was fixated on the prospect of visiting the little lane. Consulting a map, I narrowed down the possible locations: in Hongkou, a short walk from Lu Xun Park, near a subway station that was near a river. Even after I zeroed in on the most probable subway stop, the likelihood of success felt slim. I didn’t know the name of the tiny street. Six years before, I had navigated the city with the unique directional intuition that comes with being largely illiterate. Looking at the map, the surrounding street names sounded simultaneously familiar and completely foreign. The words I now fully understood were no help. Nevertheless, in the muggy afternoon I set out for Hongkou.

While I’d come from the opposite direction as before, the subway journey seemed right. Lines 3 and 4 run on the same track for awhile near Hongkou, and I remembered Austin and I carefully plotting to catch the correct train based on the single racing stripe of yellow or purple that distinguished them. We didn’t always get it right, but extra time out and about meant more potential interactions with strangers. One time I met a young woman on the subway platform who was absolutely flabbergasted at the fact that I lived and studied in lower Manhattan but had failed to watch a single episode of Gossip Girl. Up until that point, it had never occurred to me that Chinese people watched TV shows from the US. Surrounded by my Western-educated classmates at school, much of my learning about the people of Shanghai came in these fleeting moments, on a subway platform, in line to buy bubble tea, or waiting for fried rice from a roadside cart.

Exiting the station, things seemed familiar enough. I decided to walk in a straight line. Suddenly I recognized the turn. Sideways Creek Road undoubtedly earned its name at a time when there was actually a creek there. It still slants awkwardly between the main thoroughfare and Duo Lun Lu, the now uncharmingly polished historic alley where many of the famous writers used to live. It took a few moments to confirm that the turn was indeed correct. I’d remembered coming at around the same time before, late on a Saturday afternoon when the low sun slanted down the alleys. Six years ago, the street would have been full of movement and color. Now it was nothing but grey. A couple of shopkeepers fanned away the summer heat. A shirtless tenant sat watching the lane from above beside a beautiful second story bay window in one of the few remaining shikumen homes. More than a few men could still be seen in the ultimate Shanghai summer fashion, only for those with the benefit of age and a little heft: a white tank top rolled up to perch atop and expose a round belly. The rest of the people were gone, the shikumen courtyards partially demolished, and clotheslines replaced with the ubiquitous red banners meant to announce great happenings in China: “Opportunities to change what is old do not come easily; an early sign-up is an early benefit!” “In transforming old neighborhoods, our heart is with the people; our sincerity is your satisfaction.”

On Duo Lun Lu, I found the tea shop, largely unchanged but tidier, in keeping with the shiny facades of the historic street. As with many small storefronts at that time of day, it was difficult to say whether the three barely perceptible figures lounging at the low tea table at the back of the shop signaled closing time or business as usual, but they summoned me inside regardless. We chatted about the neighborhood, and about the demise of Sideways Creek Road. “What a pity,” I said to them, and all three chuckled politely. I felt better after the human interaction, but was left unsettled by my own comment. How strange, they must have thought, that a crazy lady from far away with little connection to the neighborhood could find its inevitable transformation a pity. Long ago, perhaps even before Lu Xun’s time, Sideways Creek was transformed to make a road. It was paved over for children to send bicycles and basketballs down. Undoubtedly the war changed Sideways Creek Road as well. It would be prudent to assume that under Mao, vendors were quite scarce on the little lane. In 2010, some of the vendors and crop-topped old timers could probably still remember a time when the lane looked much different. Different from how it appeared to the two crazy ladies from far away, to whom—for whatever reason—it meant so much. Now, the road must be transformed once again. To some it’s a pity, but in Shanghai it’s just business as usual.
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The Mouth of the Rainbow

Julie Farrell,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

In the fall of 2010, I boarded a plane and moved to Shanghai. It was my junior year of college, and though I had three years of Mandarin and three short trips to China under my belt, it still felt like a sizable adventure. My university’s study abroad program in Shanghai attracted students from various […]

Posted On

07/23/16

Author

Julie Farrell

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-21 10:48:23
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    [post_content] => When the "ISPs" were introduced, I felt overwhelmed by decisions and choices that I had under an hour to make. The combination of topics and project ideas left me with too many options. With the little time left in hour we were allotted to complete the first chunk of our ISP booklets, I needed to make a decision quickly. Some of the topics that crossed my mind were extremely academic, intensively focused, or even a bit lacking in applicable purpose.

In a fit of silly indecision, I went with the last.

Word for word out of my ISP booklet;

Q: what is the objective of your study?

A: I want to learn Kung Fu

 

Q:What will your final product look like - presentation, activity, product?

A: My final presentation will be re-enacting the entire nunchaku scene from Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon"

 

Q: RESOURCES: Identify people, resources, readings and places you will use in your study.

The film discography of Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Chuck Norris will be a key tool,

A class might help.

Two mornings after the ISP booklets, I woke up a bit unsure about the ISP, but also a bit indifferent. However, I didn't really have much time to contemplate the project, for my first ISP event was hours away. At the time, we were staying in a hostel in Chongqing, so I had to take a cab to get to the site. My ISP event that day was watching a high-school Kung Fu team (under the direction of Coach Ou) practice for an upcoming competition.

The practice took place in the school's gymnasium with some green mats laid out in the middle of the court. In the gym there were about 50 kids, with ages ranging from 6-19. As the practice began with stretches and exercises, I was already left in awe. The  immense flexibility, strength, and speed of some of the students amazed me. I was intrigued to see that there was close to no correlation between age and skill amongst the students. Some of the kids there (aged 6-9) seemed to be  just as advanced as some of the far older kids.

As I was observing as much of the class as I could, one of the senior aged students pulled my out of my chair. He introduced himself as Lui (thats at least as how I interpreted his pronunciation) and told me to follow him. As I followed the steps to the 1st form, most of the eyes in the gym gradually focused on me. Every time I completed a move some of the kids clapped. The entire scenario was kind of funny because it was evident that Lui and I were both a bit uncomfortable. It was interesting to communicate with Lui because my extremely rudimentary Chinese and his minimal English couldn't hold a conversation, but we were able to get our thoughts across through actions and movements. After I learned the last move in the form, there was a bit more clapping. Before I knew it, the class had ended, and after saying my thank you's to Coach Ou, I headed back to the hostel.

7/20/16 ISP Day #2 .  After receiving some careful instructions and directions from Ming, I left our Nanjing hostel on foot. As I walked to the metro station, I wore a giddy smile in disbelief of what my day had in store. Some key info that I forgot to previously mention: the instructors had set up a ridiculously awesome ISP event for me the night before, and I only really figured out the details as I went on. What I did know that morning was that I was heading to a Jeet Kun Do ( the style founded by the one and only Bruce Lee) studio on the other side of town to train for an hour from 2:30 - 3:30, with Master Zhang, who not only founded the first Jeet Kun Do gym in China, but also trained with Bruce Lee for many years.  As I made my way downtown, and eventually found the gym, my excitement only increased.

Upon my arrival, most of the staff recognized me (I assume they were only expecting one strange English-speaking white kid that day.) The instructors told me to stretch and get warmed up. Next, one of the assistants gave me a set of gloves and began running some drills with me. What I did not realize until that point was that Jeet Kun Do is extremely similar to Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), a martial art I practice back at home. Soon enough, my muscle memory kicked into gear and I found myself getting really focused. The instructor, who spoke some english, then asked me if I practice martial arts back in America. When I answered him, he asked me if I'd like to spar with him. Being a headstrong, fearless goof, I agreed without hesitation. Next, some of the staff prepped me with protective gear, as another student, serving as a referee, told me the rules. All he said was "two minutes; no kicks." Thats all I needed to know.

At this point, I could go into detail about how the sparring went, but I will just leave you with the meat and potatoes of what happened: I got my ass kicked and was left panting (all with a huge grin on my face.)

After the fight of the night had ended and I removed my gear, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see the master (who had left his office to watch the sparring) holding two pairs of nunchaku. He raised his arms in the form of a question and pointed to the weapons in his hands. I knew exactly what he was asking me and I nodded my response with a continuous grin. It was time to nun-chuck it up.

With some handy translation of the assistant instructor, the master asked me if there are Bruce Lee films in America. When I nodded an enthusiastic yes, he prompted to perfectly recreate the exact scene from "Enter the Dragon" I had written about in my ISP booklet a week before. It was such a coincidence I had to laugh at my own crappy sense of humor. While I was still in disbelief, he slowly walked me through the steps smiling with me as we progressed.

Around ten minutes into my nunchaku crash course, I noticed that the clock read 4:02 and it took me a moment to realize that we had worked for an extra half hour. I instantly felt guilty for training overtime, but I could tell that both of us felt that it was time well spent. I asked for a photo with my instructors and took a quick video of the routine so I could remember the steps. I then gathered my items as the other kids in the gym did.

As I was lacing up my shoes, the gym presented me with a few gifts, including a pair of safety nunchaku, traditional Kung Fu robes, and a 6-foot bo staff. I felt overwhelmed, but extremely gracious. I sadly had to tell the staff that I wouldn't be able to take a bo staff and robes with me for the remainder of my travels (imagine trying to explain the staff at customs) but happily took the nunchaku,so I could practice on my own. I then ecstatically thanked everyone and when I made my way over to the master, he told me, "Bruce would be proud". As you can imagine, I more or less melted. I felt extremely satisfied and proud with my day. I walked back to the station with the same giddy smile on my face and a pair of nunchaku in my bag.

What a day...

P.S

Family, could you get me a box of cinnamon toast crunch for when I comeback?

Love ya guys ❤️

 
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SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

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The ISP Experience

Arik Goldstein,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

When the “ISPs” were introduced, I felt overwhelmed by decisions and choices that I had under an hour to make. The combination of topics and project ideas left me with too many options. With the little time left in hour we were allotted to complete the first chunk of our ISP booklets, I needed to […]

Posted On

07/21/16

Author

Arik Goldstein

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-18 12:06:18
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-18 18:06:18
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We're in Yichang, Hubei Province, fresh off our time through the Three Gorges between Chongqing and Hubei. We started in Fengjie County, where we visited the White Emperor City and learnt about the Three Kingdoms era, from around 1700 years ago; toured the Little Three Gorges on smaller boats; and watched the sun set behind us as we headed east.
This morning admist a light drizzle we visited the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydropower project in the world in terms of electricity-generating capacity. Standing to the side of the dam, we marveled at the power of human ingenuity, and reflected on the massive impact people can have in changing the face of powerful natural landscapes.
We'll be in Nanjing tomorrow! And student-led expedition starts on July 22!
IMG_6600 IMG_6601 IMG_6602 IMG_6603 IMG_6604 IMG_6605 IMG_6606 IMG_6607 IMG_6608
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Time Through the Three Gorges

Instructor Team,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

We’re in Yichang, Hubei Province, fresh off our time through the Three Gorges between Chongqing and Hubei. We started in Fengjie County, where we visited the White Emperor City and learnt about the Three Kingdoms era, from around 1700 years ago; toured the Little Three Gorges on smaller boats; and watched the sun set behind […]

Posted On

07/18/16

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-18 11:11:27
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    [post_content] => It started out like any other day with our normal routine. Those of us who managed to pull ourselves out of bed early grabbed noodles for breakfast, later meeting up with the entire group for the daily morning meeting where we all share announcements. Not much was the same after that (although there never has been a fixed routine for this Dragon's course in general). Ming introduced our activity for the day- an exploration of Chongqing, in which we were given three significant locations and different activities to complete at each, but this time we would be without the instructors.

Initially, I must admit that I was afraid of getting lost, separated or some other terrible disaster in such a large city, especially since we didn't have cellphones. However, everything went smoothly. We finished all the tasks- recording historical facts, interacting with locals, and posing questions- with time to spare and within the allotted budget. I was especially excited to visit the museum for U.S. General Stilwell and explore Chongqing's wartime history. I also felt proud during our adventure as one of the main Mandarin translators, tasked with the job of asking directions, getting tickets for the museums, and asking to borrow locals' phones for the check in calls with the instructors.

Aside from these important lessons of navigation and time management, I feel that I learned the deeper lesson only a Dragon's program can truly teach: how to be engaged. Not having your phone makes you hyperaware to how everyone else around you is only using theirs. Instead of using our phones to find the answer to something we didn't know, such as directions, we simply asked a local. Instead of using our phones while we were walking or on the subway, we made our own fun. I know these memories are so precious in part because they happened without our phones in front of our faces. So thanks Dragons.
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SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

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Chongqing Exploration

Olivia,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

It started out like any other day with our normal routine. Those of us who managed to pull ourselves out of bed early grabbed noodles for breakfast, later meeting up with the entire group for the daily morning meeting where we all share announcements. Not much was the same after that (although there never has […]

Posted On

07/18/16

Author

Olivia

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    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2016-07-14 23:17:30
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-15 05:17:30
    [post_content] => Dear Mama, Tata, Slunti and Beba,

After a long and painful hike we had finally set foot in a small remote village an hour away from the city of Danba. We were greeted by friendly faces and a lavish amount of food. Soon after a group of villagers took us to their homes, which also became our homes for those five days. Right after I settled in, my host grandmum tried to teach me how to milk a cow, but not long after a group of chickens came in the backyard. After my host grandmum realised that I was more focused on the chickens (which I am afraid of) than the cow,she asked her son to scare them away. So the moment where I was milking a cow for my first time while I was being protected from a chicken is and is going to be one of my most memorable moments from this trip.

 

PS: ако мамси цитас ово сто надам се да цитас, онда би вољела да знас да би сад убила за бакину кромпирушу и да се не сјецам кад сам се задњи пут истуширала. Такодер би вас замолила да обавите све васе потребе у вц прије него додем те вецери јер ја кад напокон сједнем на ону цољу ја се не планирам ни скинут с нје.

 

PSS: Мама знаш како би се осевапила да ми на аеродром донесес пите или несто из пирпе (мозда је боље да буде фалафел да ми буде фино топло ал нек буду онда два).

 

Вом вас највисе

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    [post_title] => Karla's field note
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SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

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Karla’s field note

Noah,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

Dear Mama, Tata, Slunti and Beba, After a long and painful hike we had finally set foot in a small remote village an hour away from the city of Danba. We were greeted by friendly faces and a lavish amount of food. Soon after a group of villagers took us to their homes, which also […]

Posted On

07/14/16

Author

Noah

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 14
    [post_date] => 2016-07-11 23:07:47
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-12 05:07:47
    [post_content] => On July 10 we set off from Tagong in Western Sichuan for a nine-hour hike through local grasslands, with the majestic Yala Snow Mountain, at a height of 19,000 feet, as our backdrop. The marshes and streams we encountered form a vital filter for water in the upper reaches of the Yangtze watershed.

That night we stayed with nomadic families who were living in tents situated on summer grazing grounds for their yaks, and woke up the next morning to help with the milking of yaks. In the afternoon we hiked to a vehicle pick-up point, and returned safely as a group to Tagong.

Today we are en route to Chengdu! Hope you enjoy our photos of the grasslands.

IMG_6541 IMG_6543 IMG_6544 IMG_6545 IMG_6540 (1)IMG_6564
    [post_title] => Trekking through Tibetan Grasslands
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View post

Trekking through Tibetan Grasslands

Instructor Team,SUMMER: China: Yangtze River

Description

On July 10 we set off from Tagong in Western Sichuan for a nine-hour hike through local grasslands, with the majestic Yala Snow Mountain, at a height of 19,000 feet, as our backdrop. The marshes and streams we encountered form a vital filter for water in the upper reaches of the Yangtze watershed. That night […]

Posted On

07/11/16

Author

Instructor Team

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