Happy Friday! For those of you who were interested in registering, did you?? Comment and let me know, I’m very curious! Now for another tidbit about my adventures in China~
We arrived in Xian the night of July 2nd. Exhausted from the transfer in Beijing and the humidity, we finally arrive at the hotel. To me it felt like check-in took forever. Though I’m not surprised since it’s about 20+ people worth of passports that need to be collected and re-distributed along with room keys. Being contestant #2, I was assigned to room with lovely contestant #1, Crystal Cheng. Here’s an info pamphlet containing more pictures and descriptions (if you can read Chinese). Oh my goodness, check us out, taking over the lobby. Looking back I suppose it was quite a nice hotel, too bad we were only there for two nights. Mustering the last ounce of my energy, I washed and crawled into bed.
I wish I can show you the breakfast buffet I had the next day, but sadly, I have none at the moment. The food brought back so many nostalgic memories of childhood. Authentic, low-fat, flavorful and simple Chinese dishes. There were so many side dishes 凉菜, even celery tasted amazing. 海蜇，凉粉，竹笋，木耳，面筋，卤牛肉，菜心，腌黄瓜，海带，豆腐皮. As a kid, I actually went to a lot of restaurants, always accompanying my grandfather whenever people took him out to eat either asking for a favor or to thanking him for one. You see, my grandfather was the principal of a high school. In China, education was and still is the most important thing in everyone’s mind. So with high demand and low supply, it meant my grandfather had a lot of parents waiting in line to ask him to admit their kids into his school. Going to all those restaurants lead to two things. I developed my superior taste buds and sadly, I also grew kind of fat. Being a fat kid definitely takes eating to a whole new level and there’s always that voice in the back of my head warning me not to overeat. So conscious I shouldn’t eat too much, I reluctantly only ate 2 plates worth of food and 2 small bowls of congee. ^^b Did I mention we had our own crew of makeup artists and hair stylists traveling with us the whole time? On top of our lovely camera crew snapping pictures where ever we went. Talk about having the celebrity treatment! After a short makeover, we were ready to do some site seeing. But first, some photos in the lobby. And onto the bus we go. We always had these coach buses take us around, but then again, how else are you suppose to travel with 14 girls, camera crew, makeup crew, TA’s and directors. Our sponsor for the time we stayed in Xian was Northwest University of Politics 西北政法大学。They took us on a tour to a famous park known for being one of the first official themed parks for weddings. Notice the symbolism in the background for love. There’s also a love story. Here’s a short history lesson. In the olden times, in China, it is a common practice for marriages of wealthy girls to be decided by a toss of chance, or rather, the bride throws a ball (绣球) from her room down towards a crowd of potential suitors, and whoever catches the ball becomes the groom. Talk about fate, now how come we don’t do that these days? So the story goes, the ball that was tossed by the bride was caught by a penniless scholar The father was vehemently opposed to the union, with good reason. However, having fallen in love at first site, the bride chose to defy her father and run away with the scholar. She was happily married until a war separated the newly weds for 18 years, during which she lived in complete poverty and ate wild plants in order to survive. Never once wavering, she finally saw the day on which her husband returned. It was said that her husband came back in full glory as an emperor and henceforth making her empress. And here we are. What I don’t understand is why we’re holding the banner that says “Warm welcome to Miss Chinese New York – Xian Representative Group”. Somehow we weren’t really suppose to hold it I think… A quick bus ride and stop at 大雁塔 (Big Wild Goose Pagoda). It’s one of the oldest existing structures and a symbol of Xian. It was built in the Tang dynasty and was used to store Buddhist artifacts. I know our tour guide must have explained the significance of each of these locations, but I couldn’t tell you where we went even if you asked me the day of. Having some time now to do the research finally allowed these moments to settle in. Knowing I’ll quickly forget it again in no time, but having the ability to come back and read about it means a lot. Next stop is 西安钟楼 (Xian Bell Tower). It was build in the Ming dynasty to honor the great city of Xian and all its history. This is definitely one of my favorite pictures with my roommate for 14 days. We could be twins right?? Except she’s about 6 years younger than me, yet, I could definitely pass for an 18 year old in this photo, I think. Despite traveling in flats, my feet were sore and swollen. I wish I could say our day ended there, but of course it had only began. After a short nap on the bus, we arrive at our sponsoring school and immediately began a long, tedious round of rehearsals. Lunch was so sad, I don’t even remember what it was and I’m almost certain I only munched on a snack bar I brought with me the remainder of the day. I think dinner was spicy noodles or something that I also skipped on because I was too tired to eat. When did this trip turn into a weight loss boot camp? I lost about 10 pounds at the end of the trip. All in the name of beauty. Speaking of beauty, I truly and deeply loved my makeup artist! Look at how focused she is. She’s amazing at being subtle but also bringing out my inner beauty queen. Unless you’re paying close attention, it looks like I have no makeup on at all. Flawless execution! As for the performance, it was very messy behind the scenes. You just see half naked girls sweating and scrambling in the closet of a space they called backstage. Not fun. Some highlights were when the audience went crazy for a hip hop number performed by last year’s winner, Maggie Zhang and a short act by runner-up Michelle Kaszuba, Jennifer Ng, and Jennifer Sun. A student even ran up the stage, picked up Michelle in a bear hug, and swung her around in circles. And why do Chinese people all name their daughters these typical names? We had 2 Crystal, 2 Michelle and 2 Jennifer. No solo for me, only group performances. We brought down the house with our Latin/Belly dance number and a group song called “You Raise Me Up”. Let me tell you, I did not sing well to any stretch of the imagination before this trip. Afterwards? Still not a pro, but I can finally argue the fact that I can sing, just not well. Thankfully the performances ended at 10pm and after another 30 minutes of farewell speech, photographs and interviews, we finally sat on the coach bus to return to the hotel. But to end the night on a high note, let’s all eat some birthday cake. Yes, that’s me in a facial mask, gotta take care of my skin after all that makeup and sun. I totally look like I’m passing out in this picture. Wouldn’t be surprised… I believe the cake was amazing, but I was too tired to truly enjoy it. Thinking back, that day was probably the most exhausting day of the whole trip. Though no jet lag, but I was still functioning on 5 hours of sleep, walking around all day and performing on stage for 5+ hours. All of that on top of only having eaten breakfast. Smart move on my part to eat those 2 plates of food and 2 bowls of congee in the morning. Somehow I knew the day was going to be torturous. Oh and PACKING. I had to pack that night because we were checking out the next morning and knowing I’ll likely be too grumpy to do it in the morning. Not to say I’m anti-social, but I’m old enough to not want to pull an all-night-er like many of the girls did. Finally… glorious sleep, even if it’s for only 5 hours. More rambling to come and some MAJOR DRAMA. Stay tuned and please subscribe!!!!
[To be continued…]