Ying Yang L. (Alumni-C)'s Journal

The thing about Xizhou is something magical. It has a slow lifestyle and the people there want it. So if you want to meet a interviewee again, you got to set up an appointment with them, this is important because some people have a schedule in mind they might wonder of to someplace else when you need them. Also it is always nice to know people in Si Fang Jie, the town square which holds restaurants, trinket and antique stores. Last, please meet Mr. Yang, the owner of the Golden Flower Restaurant he cooks really good food and is very welcoming to others. Good luck with your projects.

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I want to talk about why did I chose to came here in the first place. I think that if anyone want to come here simply because to skip school for a month, they could not be more wrong, because the school work here and tougher since there is no full guidance provided by your normal teacher. But, if there is any confusion, you could always ask Mr. T, for the special learning package.

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Sadly, our trip to Xizhou is reaching its end, we are wrapping up all of our work here. Saying goodbye and thanking our inquiry and service learning partners that we had spent so much time with. We sure will miss Mr. Yang's good food, the fried rice, the Er Quai, the night sky and all the wonderful things that Xizhou brought. I hope that I will come back one day and revisit all the people that I will miss. 

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Today we have shared the work that we did with Mr. Zhao Hua, our partner; Unfortunally, he is not present at the sharing. We had a group of Xizhou middle school eight graders, to come in and watch the videos with us. We had fun sharind the learnings that we gained through the interview process with Mr. Zhao. Mr.

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Fortunately, we have a supermarket in Xizhou. It is right in the morning market and even better, it does sell MnMs. Skittles, Snickers and all those good stuff. Vincent, Aidan and I went there staching up for our 7 hour bus ride to Kunming airport which will be insufferable without treats. Therefore, people visiting Xihzhou for a long time will not lose thieir brians on the snacks back home.

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I'm going to talk about the interesting 93 year old laywer, living the Xizhou right now. He is the living encyclopedia of Xizhou's history. He does amazing calligraphy but not now because the age really settled down and he does it only if nescessary. He wrote books on Xizhou, kept a diary on the history of Xizhou when he was young.

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Since today is a chill Sunday, I wanted to write on how we do laundry in Xizhou. It sounds crazy, no? Washing your own clothes yourself with the washing machine and taking care of them. We usually have laundry days for each of us, decided by the laundry committee. We check out a bike carry a basket full of our dirty clothes and head off to the laundry place.

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I'm going to talk about Xizhou's weather. Xizhou has realatively dry and comfy weather, just be sure to hydrate yourself when you are out in the Sun. We occasionally have drizzles that doesn't do any differences because they last about 5 mins only.

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Going to Mr. Yang's restaurant at Si Fang Jie is a must-do if you did visit Xizhou. The owns the Golden Flower restaurant and is about to retire. He is a very sweet man that is very hospitable to his customers. His prices are a tad more than the Ba Ba place but its worth it. He has the best food in Si Fang Jie, and the prices are quite reasonable for the food. If you want a treat, I think you should check it out.

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Going to Mr. Yang's restaurant at Si Fang Jie is a must-do if you did visit Xizhou. The owns the Golden Flower restaurant and is about to retire. He is a very sweet man that is very hospitable to his customers. His prices are a tad more than the Ba Ba place but its worth it. He has the best food in Si Fang Jie, and the prices are quite reasonable for the food. If you want a treat, I think you should check it out.

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We headed out to Dali Old Town for  a treat today. XiaoTang lead us guys to this pizza restaurant, but we left and wandered around just scouting the area and looking for fun. We passed by some interesting shops selling instruments and clothes. When we were hungry, we went back for our pizza. We just played 21 and go fish for a while waiting for our food. It is the best pizza in Dali I had ever ate, it was hot and homemade.

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I'm going to talk about the awesome local food that Xizhou has, which is the amazing Ba Ba. It is a baked/fried thick bread with meat mixed in the dough. There are three just in SFJ. We found the best one which is the one beside the Muslim restaurant located at the top of SFJ. They make good salty and meaty Ba Bas.

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A funeral at Xizhou is very different from one at the big city. Half of the village and all of my local contacts went to it, it had a huge clearing for a meal to feed everyone. We had been dragged to the table and to be fed on. It is amazing, it is just so different from the big city. They had amazing food, different style than the YZR kitchen, they made Mixian (米线), Spicy potato, a bowl of spicy pig-blood with vegetable.

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I met the best Sanxian musician in town today, thanks to Mr. Yang the owner of the Golden Flower Restaurant in Si Fang Jie. He is amazing at playing that instrument, we had a long chat on the preservation and the importance of the MinJia or the Bai culture. He even did send an paper to the Dali State Concil to ask for permission to create a group which aims to preserve and broadcast the Bai culture.

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I met the best Sanxian musician in town today, thanks to Mr. Yang the owner of the Golden Flower Restaurant in Si Fang Jie. He is amazing at playing that instrument, we had a long chat on the preservation and the importance of the MinJia or the Bai culture. He even did send an paper to the Dali State Concil to ask for permission to create a group which aims to preserve and broadcast the Bai culture.

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We definately experienced a tough downhill hike today. It was killing all our joints, but the scene and experience is a once in a lifetime kind. We had to descend 2000m by foot circling from the mountains. We all had a great time and when we did arrived back at Yang Zhuo Ran, we were wanting a shower and dinner bad. I think the feeling after the shower and food is just so much more the good.

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We had officially reached the physical highest point of our entire hike trip in the CangShan mountain range. It is a great spot to look down upon and just be amazed that how high we had hiked by foot. The highlight of the entire day is the time after the 2 hour long rain. The clouds are actually touching the mountains and dunes that we are on. We could feel the amazing achievement we had made by ourselves.

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I had my first skin-to-hail experience today. The hail came around 2pm which we are located on a vast bottom of a valley. It was not harmful to us at all. It was pretty fun actually, except for the part which we got a little soaked. We took cover behind a dune for precaution of the hail eventually. It was sure an fun experience for us. In the end we had a good fireplace and some hot ginger tea which was so good at that time.

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I tagged along with Lucas to the Dali mosque today. It was a huge mosque renovated five years ago. There is a muslim school right next the mosque where the students go to school. We learnt a bunch of fatcs about the mosque and some Arabic phrases. The Ahong was really helpful and we had a long conversation with him. It was a great day, just before the hike.

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We had a basketball game with the local kids at the Xizhou middle shcool kids. We had a great time, playing the game. We had good ice water, thanks to XiaoTang. Their court was outdoor and good. We had a intense game with time, our hearts were beating out of the chest because of intense exercise and the altitude. I think that it was the best workout in the week. The game was just intense and fun, that my words can't describe.

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We had a trip to the tea planation in Cang Mountain(苍山) today. But us boys first hiked to the highest point that tourist can hike without taking the cable. We had loads of fun in the pool at the "summit", the water was clear as crystal and the view below is amazing. We then learned how to pick tea, like you cold only pick tea leaves with a small leaf connected to a bud. The smaller and fresher it is, the better it will be when it became tea.

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It was an more than excellent night for star-gazing this night. There were so many stars that I can't even recognize the constellations! The big dipper glows brightly on the right, and we aw Orion's belt. We saw the Orion nebula, which looked like the universe made a star, then erased it off. It was blurry but we can see it, stars were forming in that giant gas cloud! We then saw a couple satellites flying across the sky.

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I bought the HuLuSi at SanYueJie, the third month festival held in Dali Old Town. It is a really neat instrument and I think the the Chinese Oboe. I practiced that for a long time and finally managed to scracth out a few simple tunes and by the end of the day, I could play the melody of a Bai Folk Song called 白月亮白姐姐 (White Moons and White Sisters). It sounded pretty good and I think its worth my fifty-five Kuai.

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We decided to camp by lake Erhai today. We packed our hiking bag with sleeping bags and the huge tent. It was really amazing there. The sunrise, sunset and the stars, it was the most natural environment ever. The sky is literally covered with stars when the night came. We told scary stories had a few hacky sack games and when to our bunk for sleep. I was bunking with Colton and drifted on and off for the most of the night. I don not know why, but I just cannot sleep well in that tent.

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The Thrid Month Festivals is just a absolute delight, We had expected a more culture side of the festivals but instead millions of stalls and hawkers showed up. We spilt into groups, I was with Ivy, Vincent and Aidan. We had a tiny camera crew follow us to film a documentary on the Microcampus program. We had saw stalls on Chinese Medicine, Coconut stalls and various clothing stalls.

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XiaoTang gave me the contact number of Mr. Zhao. The head of the Dongjing band. He came over to YangZuoRan today with a few dancers to let us feel the culture of the Bai. I had a 3-5 with him, he told me all about DongJing music and he had agreed to play a very famous piece of Dongjing music. It is called 奉圣乐. He is a excellent musician who plays the SanXian, a long guitar made out of wood and snakeskin.

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YangZuoRan has a great selection of movies for evening recreation. We chose "Get Smart" instead of stuff like School of Rock, Salt and The tourist. It was a great action/comedy movie. We have finished that at the second floor TV room. It has a good projecter, sound system etc. It was a great night all together. Thumbs up to all the evening programming people!

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i went to the village with Vincent today to meet a lady which is playing local Bai folk songs on the radio. She was very helpful and wise, she taught us some Bai dialect phrases that I can use to communicate with the locals. Local bai dialect has no written words, its knowledge is passed down mouth to mouth. This will really push my project on bai songs along, if I could make out the lyrics, understanding the song will be much easier.

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A normal day at YangZuoRan will be a breakfast at 7:30. Then finishing up all the school work and then having the daily meeting to report our duties. We then pitch in as in clean our room, do the dishes and other productive stuff. After lunch at either the square or YangZuoRan, we have WIPPIT time. WIPPIT time is for getting in the zone, doing out project and our terrace time.The day ends with either chill time or a activity.

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Today we had a tour on the town and Languor. It has a star deck, a piano room, two classrooms beside the deck and the dinning room and sleeping rooms on the first floor.We had lunch in SiFangJie, the local square for common goods and food. The highlight of the day is the afternoon and the night.

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Today I woke at three in the morning, kind of  tired after fiddler yesterday but I pulled it together and got on the plane to Kunming. We arrived at Kunming, grabbed a few bags of Dinsum from the airport and hopped on the bus to Xizhou. After a long bus ride, we arrived at YangZuoRan, a great place that has everything you need. We walked around a bit, had dinner and slept.

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The lock in was mainly bonding time for me, with other friends that I do not know that well. It was also informative and I have a vague idea of how to deal with medical problems. Mr. Montieth was helpful and reminded me how to cope with stress. Most importantly, I now have a list that shows a vague outline of what my wellness plan is actually going to be. I think that the lock in was really helpful for me.

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Now back in home in Shanghai, a ninth grader, I miss Xizhou already. People are so nice and open back there. I think our awesome group is what makes Microcampus so life-changing and unique for me. Hey, treat everyone in Xizhou very nicely, then they will treat you better! Good Luck