Xi'an: Terracotta Army and sampling food in the Muslim Quarter

Written by Tyler Cole | 06 March 2011



After checking out some of the cities around Shanghai, I made a quick decision to head west toward Xi’an in Shaanxi province, mostly known for its army of Terracotta Warriors. The 16-hour overnight train from Shanghai was quite fun with a jovial old lady from Harbin in my six-bed sleeper car who tolerated my poor Mandarin and force-fed me juhua cha with gouqizi, which is a tea made from chrysanthemum flowers and berries from the Chinese wolfberry. She was also adamant that Obama had a half-brother (same dad, different mom) who lived in China, a claim that I was initially reluctant to believe until a Google search vindicated her (his brother is a fairly successful guy named Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo).

I also ran into a Mexican family who was doing an around-the-world style trip, and it was the first time I had exercised the Spanish-speaking part of my brain in more than a year. I eventually got into my hostel in Xi’an and was dragged up to the top floor of the hostel by a ping pong master that the hostel hired to do free lessons once a week


Suzhou, of gardens and canals

Written by Tyler Cole | 25 February 2011


canal dudeClose to Shanghai, I made a trip out to Suzhou to see some of the renowned gardens in the city. Unfortunately nothing was really in bloom and it was gray and cloudy, so I only bothered to check out the largest garden in the city, the Humble Administrator's Garden, and wander around a bit. Pretty uneventful, but I was taken by surprise when I passed by the "Canglang Retarded School" and the "Stupid Ox restaurant". The concentration of hair salons (equally as frequented by males as females) and clothes stores seemed to be particularly high in Suzhou, as the younger generation chooses to spend their hard-earned yuan on hair styling and new clothes. Whereas even the most metrosexual males...


Hangzhou, in pursuit of tea

Written by Tyler Cole | 23 February 2011

longjingTaking off from Shanghai for a day trip, a quick passage on the high-speed train got me to the nearby city of Hangzhou. I only did cursory research before arriving and was expecting a quaint sort of place, but quickly had that erased at the packed train station with high rises in all directions and observing a thick, ever-present smog intermingling the crevices of the town. Supposedly claimed by Marco Polo as "beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world", and knowing train stations aren’t the place places to judge cities, I was still holding my breath (literally and figuratively) to check out the particular kind of tea produced here, longjing tea, and the natural scenery.


Shanghai: The sights and the sounds

Written by Tyler Cole | 23 February 2011


Shanghai: The Sights and The Sounds from Tyler Cole on Vimeo.


My first stop traveling in Asia, I thought I might try to mash up a few videos that I took of Shanghai as opposed to just pictures (my camera has HD video, after all). Sorry in advance for the poor filmmaking skills, but I'm using a point and shoot after all. I thought this video might speak better than my words for the town. It's obviously not exhaustive, but just a few things that caught my eye or are not usually photographed. However, the aspect of Shanghai that I don't think I captured was the sheer size.

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