It’s hard to believe that it’s already September! Other people back in the States are starting new school semesters so it feels odd to have just returned from our mid-semester break and continue on with the same courses. The new CET students have arrived (including a bunch of other Fulbrighters!); it’s somewhat disconcerting to suddenly have so many people around after a few weeks where the 5 of us plus our roomies were the only ones around! Anyway, midterms weren’t too bad although it would’ve been nice to have had a few extra days of reviewing. The hardest one was my one-on-one research midterm which consisted of a 1500 character essay and 8 minute presentation in front of a panel of teachers on the influence of geography on the folktales of northeastern China.
Afterwards, B, A, & I relaxed by getting massages (my first ever!) Steaming hot water was involved as well as those glass bulbs which were surprisingly painless (yes, I am too lazy to find out what they’re actually called.) And the new crazy monk tv show, a remake of the one I used to watch as a kid.
The next day, went back to 服装场, the cloth/clothing/tailor warehouse area to see how much a tailor-made dress would cost. After talking to several tailors, I realized it’d cost more than I’m willing to spend with the tailoring fee+cloth so it was a no-go. But I got sunglasses for 15rmb which is pretty sweet!
Ok, on to the vacation. On Saturday night, 8/25, N, B, & I headed out to the Harbin train station and almost managed to miss our 7:33pm train to Yanji. It was dark. And hot. And I accidentally stole all the pillows because no one noticed that only the top bunk had pillows.
11 hours and many misty mountains later, we arrived in Yanji where we managed to make our way to the long-distance bus station (客运汽车站）without too much trouble. A beautiful 3 hour drive later, we arrived in Baihe! Well, we actually had no idea where we were until the manager of the guesthouse we were booked at stepped onto the bus and called out B’s name. Here’s a photo of the guesthouse, stolen from B’s fb, since mine isn’t as good.
Following the manager’s recommendation, we took a trip out to the Volcanic Rock Forest and Baiyong Spring where you can drink the mineral water (up to 1995’s standards!)
I’d write more but I should actually head to class soon! Will post later about Chang Bai Shan 长白山!