Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 17

July 10th

To void the world of bias and subjectivity is nearly impossible. When it’s in our favor, we never complain or rebel, but when it’s against us, we want to bite off the person or organization that’s responsible. Personally, I’m probably the same way. When I was “selected” to participate in the redemption round of the Miss Chongqing competition, I was more than happy to cast the unselected aside. I also fought hard for that role.

A month prior, we were asked to submit a few memorable photos of ourselves ranging from childhood to present-day and a art platter made from fruits and vegetables. I submitted them immediately, not knowing what they were for until about a month later. this just shows you, never assume anything and always put your 100% into everything even if you don’t understand why. Anyway, so I was selected among 3 other to partner up with one of Miss Chongqing contestant who were eliminated, to give one of them a chance for redemption.

Though the taping was only for the 4 of us, everyone needed to come along to the studio. The taping began fairly early in the day. We got a chance to briefly speak with our partner and come up with a strategy for each of the rounds. Round 1 was a mini game consisting of a roller tape and a ping pong ball.

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The four of us cleared the challenge at around the same time. I lost the first ball but made the second one in. Key is to slowly roll the ball across the measuring tape. Round 2 was Q&A, except this time, we weren’t given the answers ahead of time. I helped with a few questions but we didn’t even come close to answering as many questions as the dynamic local dual.

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Now may be a good time to explain how the elimination works. Each round, the teams gains a point for winning the round. At the end of the competition, the team with the most point receives a free pass and is saved from elimination determined from the previous round. First round went to contestant 20, or the blue team.

Round 2 was two-part: part I involved one partner, Miss NY, to draw to the best of her abilities, a mystery item that is hidden under the box in front of her. We were given a minute to draw the item. The 4 items for each of the teams were… well, you can tell in the pictures…

Hairband

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Remote control

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Ashtray

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And mine was instant noodles

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After a minute of prep, we happily sketched away.

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Part II of the round involved more than guessing the item. The challenge is that you have to give an elevator pitch to sell the product. The most creative pitch was given by the contestant number 11, the remote control. Her remote controlled anything and everything, very futuristic and made me want to own it. Needless to say, they took the round.

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But hey, at least we looked like the best matched pair, one black and one white.

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My favorite round was the third one, vegetable art! I started cooking at a tender age of 12. I enjoy food, a little too much at times, and I enjoy working with my hands, so I can’t think of a best hobby than cooking. I learned to slice and have had plenty of practice. But I did watch some YouTube videos on how to carve. I also like to think I’m pretty creative, but since this wasn’t my competition, I went along with my partner’s idea of a peacock. It would have made for a neater presentation if we had madelons though. Rushed for time, not everything was perfect. Also, notice I was in heels the whole time. It was very painful.

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As I strutted down the runway, I prayed I won’t trip and spill everything. In the end, we got this round in the bag.

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The last and final round was story telling from a picture. Mine was taken at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. There were a lot of stray cats on the resort and new kittens for that matter. Being an animal lover, I lured a kitten into my arms with a hot dog. I didn’t even notice when the picture was taken, pure candid.

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We didn’t get a clear winner for the last round, but elimination had also taken place. The only Miss Chongqing contestant that didn’t win a round was unfortunately eliminated first. The remainder three pair held hands and waited for the verdict.

Drumrolls…

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You all pass!!!

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Yay!!!!

It was bittersweet. Final group photo in front of CBG network.

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Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 16

July 9th

With the temperature reaching unbearable conditions, we received a special treat to the “flea market” and hours of fun at karaoke. We spent the morning browsing through stores upon stores of Chinese memorabilias, snacks and trinkets. The marketplace was actually situated in a structure that resembles the architecture of olden China from way back when. You can see parts of it in the upper left corner of our group photo. Chinese people also really like man-made waterfalls.

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A pit stop at Starbucks for the American coffee drinkers and DQ for ice cream. I can honestly say I have never come across one or noticed one before then. I was educated on the DQ policy of serving the ice cream upside down or get the next one free. How interesting! Of course this DQ appealed to the Asian taste bud with flavors of green tea, red bean and taro. Of course I got the green tea flavored one and savored every last scoop, guilt-free. I was definitely undernourished from all the starvation throughout the trip.

Karaoke is Asian people’s favorite pastime. I like to caveat every performance with, “I suck at singing don’t don’t laugh” and then do just above mediocrity to gain the silent admiration of my audience. It also helps with nerves.

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In our group of 14, we only have a few who can truly sing, myself not included. Singing talent aside, we all just wanted to have a good time so none of that really mattered. So we simply donned our sunglasses and bellowed into the mic like we just don’t care.

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And what’s more fun than a group huddle?

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When the beat drops!

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Did I mention the plate after plate of food? Thank you O-Party KTV for the awesome time!

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Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 15

July 8th

After 18 hours of being on set filming and cheering, we were rewarded with a relaxing day to play tourist, almost. Theme for the day, tea. Tea is the beverage I grew up drinking. Winter or summer, my grandmother always had a pot of tea brewed and ready to be consumed. It was chrysanthemum with rock sugar in the summer and green tea in the winter. Anyway, I digress. The day was unbearably hot, possibly the hottest day since we arrived in China. half of us were “randomly selected” to wear a traditional Chinese gown from the Song dynasty.

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Not going to lie, I felt like a mini-celebrity with all the camera and “red carpet”. Did I mention it was a really hot day? I was sweating profusely into my gown and the material nothing but make the gown stuck to every exposed part of my skin. I could feel the sweat pooling and dripping, it was definitely a challenge not to fidget in the least.

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And look at this HUGE banner they made for us. It says 2013 Miss Chinese NY, Journey to the Roots of China, sponsored by…

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Of course we did our dance performance again. The stage was tiny though. We could barely move around, but we made it work. On the same stage, we received a tutorial on how to use a long-spout-kettle to pour tea, or in our case, water. I must say, I imagined myself being more graceful than what the pictures depict.

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But the tea landed in the tea cup nevertheless… Thank goodness our next stop was lunch because I didn’t realize how starved I was until I took that first bite of food. It felt like I hadn’t eaten in months, rather than the 24 hours the day before.

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Belly full of yummy food and slightly buzzed from the wine, we hopped on the bus once again and headed toward tea village. After a quick tour of the establishment, we settled down for an afternoon tea demo.

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The next stop was very exciting; it was the same bamboo forest where a scene from House of the Flying Daggers was filmed.

So we had to take a picture in front of the 十面埋伏 sign.

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As well as the boulder engraved with the title…

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And another in true martial arts style!

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My battle was with mosquitoes as we toured the forest and I almost won.

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The actual name of the forest was called 竹海灯勇, read from right to left.

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In true pageant spirit, we walked away from the bamboo forest and bid our farewells.

Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 14

July 7th

This day was the longest day of the entire trip. Filming for our show took pretty much the whole day starting with rehearsal, running straight through to taping the first show with the first 7 of us and then sitting through the evening into late at night as the second half of us were taped. We were special guests invited to be part of a televised pageant show called 2013 Miss Fashion Chongqing where we battled it out as a team: USA vs China. As soon as they split us into 2 teams the day prior, I knew the game was rigged. I was placed on the team with more native Chinese speakers and just overall stronger abilities. Well, it was pretty obvious to everyone which team was going to “win” and which was destined to “lose”, but then again, we were told to not let the outcome affect our performances.

We were given a breakdown of the show and was told it involved 5 segments. The first segment was a choreographed group walk ending with an individual introduction. Next round was a General Knowledge of Chongqing Q&A in Chinese. Following that was another choreographed group swimsuit walk, then a talent showcase and finally formal-wear walk. We were scored as a team after each round and the score was tallied up in the end to choose the winner. The underdog was also given a chance at redemption in a series of mini-games at the end.

I was part of Team A, along with 6 other girls. We knew we had to bring out A-game since we were suppose to be the “winning” team. Even from the beginning, we received more coaching time, whereas Team B was told to train on their own. Of course we felt bad, but it was out of our control. Plus, Team B was even more motivated to make it hard for the judges to make that decision at the end. We were already rooting for Team B anyway but their strength and determination was truly inspiring; we really wanted them to win but also to make sure we win by a landslide.

Arriving at the filming studio as early as 7AM, we waited for the stage to be set up and ready for rehearsal. As we sat around anticipating the day to begin, we were all on the edge of our seats. I didn’t eat breakfast, nor did I have the appetite. There were many days like this one, which was probably why I lost over 10lbs over the course of the 2 weeks. I forced down an energy bar quickly and jumped right into rehearsing. We ran through our group walks several times with and without music. Lunch was bread from the nearby bakery, which I wasn’t interested in eating either. It wasn’t until around 2:30PM that we officially started taping. Before that was about an hour of makeup and another hour of waiting around. When we finally got to backstage, I was about ready to collapse from lack of sleep and food. Not the best state to be in… again.

Like a miracle, and no it’s not a cliche, when I stepped into the spotlight, everything simply faded into the background. My face, my body, everything went into autopilot. My brain just sat back and observed through the two openings that were my eyes. It was like I was there but not in full control; I was watching myself through first person scopes. I was killing it though.

I suspect the 7 of us were chosen to be in this group based on our catwalk. I’ve had 4 years of practice in college – each year starting as a freshman, I would be selected to walk in the fashion segment of all the cultural shows. You would think walking in heels would be second-nature to women, but you would be wrong. Every girl had struggled to walk in heels at some point. That awkward, unbalanced feeling of literally being on one’s tip-toes, wobbling from side to side, focusing one step in front of the other. Once you get the hang of a 4-inch, you move on to a 4.5 and finally to a 6-inch like these nude ones I was wearing from Steven Madden during some of the performances. The things we do to make ourselves look good…

This was the first segment where we all walk out and make individual introductions.

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Following the introduction was our first group walk. Being second-shortest in the group has its perks. It means I was always the first or second to walk out.

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In pageants, they teach you how to walk, stand and pose that’s actually somewhat different from a fashion show. There’s a mold that you fit yourself into, which is why you can always stereotype a pageant girl from a model. How you stand: hand on waist, same side leg bent facing forward with knees pointed at the direction of the camera, back feet form 40 degree angle, front side hip up and shoulders down. Vice versa for the other side. That’s the “stance” we’re in 100% of the time, unless we’re posing or walking, which is similar to catwalks.

The next segment was Q&A in Chinese where we were given the questions and answers ahead of time to memorize. I guess so we don’t embarrass ourselves on national television. I was selected to do this segment. Of course we were asked to not make it too obvious that we had known the answers ahead of time, so we needed to act “unsure” of our answers. I must say we were all pretty convincing with the exception of one time. Her justification for her response didn’t match the correct answer, in fact, it should have led her to pick another multiple choice. Of course knowing the answer meant she had to go against her own justification in order to pick the “right” answer. Luckily the MC let is slide.

We were tied for this round until one of the girls on the China team missed a question, giving us the win.

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Round 3 was swimwear group walk. Notice the 6-inch heels please. This was a really fun round because we got to work with props, in our case, a toy rifle.

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Post emotional breakdown, we all slipped into our evening gowns and came out one by one for our finale.

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And the winner was, by a landslide, Team USA!!! Wooot!!

But wait, they do have a chance at the redemption round of mini games! It was a relay to see who can complete all 5 tasks first.

Task 1 – remove the tissue from the box as quickly as possible with only one hand

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LAM_5446Task 2 – Move an oreo cookie from your forehead to your mouth without using your hands

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Task 3 – Stack and disassemble solo cups into a tower

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Task 4 – Create a domino train using CD’s and knock the last CD over the edge of the table

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Task 5 – Bounce the ping pong ball once on the table to get it into a tic-tac-toe formation cups of water

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Yeah…. I didn’t do so well. Here we were scrambling to pick up the balls since I was running out… haha

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In the end, Team China won the relay. Nevertheless, we were happy we won the competition.

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I couldn’t be happier that we completed the filming and I can finally rest, but it was also sad that it was over. All that’s left to do is sit back and back our sister team go through the same rounds.

In the end, they lost. The other China team was very obviously much much better. Better walks, attitude and appearance. But still, Team USA did superbly and won the rounds that we weren’t able to win. In some ways, we complement each other.

It was midnight by the time we got back to our hotel room and I was simply too exhausted to talk or even eat; straight to sleep! Zzzzz….

[to be continued…]

Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 13

July 6th

That morning was an indicator, if any, of the craziness that would transpire. Information delivery was not our strong suit and in the worst case scenario, we ran around like a bunch of headless chickens and in the best case scenario, we were disappointed at not receiving what was originally promised.

We line up in the lobby with our hair and makeup impeccably done, though I was still scrambling to put my heels on and trying not to look frustrated. At this point, I’m fully expecting a line of Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, etc., to be waiting for us outside the hotel. Why you ask? It’s either because we were told so or I was just imagined it while daydreaming again. If you said the latter, good guess, but not this time.

30 minutes of waiting around later, we were told there has been a change in plan. Instead of 14 individual cars, we’re only getting 4 cars and 3 “limo”. I think we had a Bentley, a Ferrari, a Aston Martin and a Porsche maybe. Needless to say, those who didn’t get to ride in one of those four cars were bitter and disappointed. Yes, I was bitter! My “limo” was like an over-sized four-wheeler that was hot and stuffy with limited AC. I was already sweating without even getting out of the car. And when I did for the first time since arriving at Chongqing, I felt like I’ve just stepped into a burning furnace. Looking back, the AC was probably working, but because the car was absorbing so much heat from the sun, it couldn’t cool down even with AC.

A quick car ride later, we arrived on set. We probably spent more time waiting in the car to get the “entrance” just right than on our way there. I think they were going for auto-show-model entrance when they originally rented the cars. I just don’t think any of us were quite model-material quite yet.

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Nevertheless, we lined up next to the cars, smiling and waving at the cameraman as he came around to get our closeups.

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Perhaps it was because we were so dolled up that made the other team underestimate us. In a way, this competition revealed who we were on the inside. We can hold our own in any situation, no matter how messy things get, both literally and figuratively speaking. Throughout that day, no one complained, except maybe “It’s really hot” or “I’m really sweaty”.

The actual show may only have been an hour, but rehearsal and prep took another hour. All throughout rehearsal, we were walking on plastic covering in 6 inch heels and a tight dress; up stairs, across the stage, down the stairs and repeat. We did this several times until the taping official began. My only goal was to stay on my feet and remember to look up.

I understand why they wanted to film us first looking like pageant girls, but it was silly on our end to wear the 6 inch heels instead of the 4 inch, which would have been much safer and more comfortable. I call it unnecessary risk. But we look damn good! Way out of place, but we definitely outshining our competitors.

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Hair up and lashes (fake eye lashes of course) off, for safety reasons, and we were really to begin the games. If I could go back, I would definitely use lighter, more natural looking makeup that day. In the rest of the pictures, I have these dark lips, though intimidating, but also not flattering.

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After introductions were done, we were sent to our team tents behind the stage to await further instructions. At this point, we still had no clue as to what any of the games were. Finally, a man in glasses finally came over to explain all the different games we might encounter. I took on the role of translator if anyone didn’t understand the Chinese explanations. There were a total of 12 or 14 possible mini games. Whichever teams wins 3 mini games first, is the winner. Meanwhile, everything takes place in MUD!

Lucky for us, we’re not talking about mud that’s made from soil and water. This is a special type of mud that resemble the mud baths and mud masks you can get at beauty salons. In essence, it’s actually quite good for your skin. It also made the mud that much more slippery.

The first game was called 流浆溢彩, (A Stream of Glowing Rainbow of Mud). Yea, a very pretty name.

Basically, the rule of the game is to transport buckets filled with muddy water from one end of the pool to the other by carrying the bucket on one’s head. The first team to float the balloon from the container wins. to make it more challenging, these buckets also have little holes drilled around the middle. As if running on slippery mud wasn’t already a challenge of its own. We were not use to walking in mud, let alone running in it.

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I was the first one to go and I was trying very hard not to fall in the beginning. It didn’t even cross my mind to run.

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I realized, after looking through the pictures and video (below), my biggest weak points were not starting off with a fuller bucket and spilling half of it because I wasn’t holding it evenly. If only I can do it all over again…

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It wasn’t until my second round that my competitive nature took over and I just ran like the wind. I also fell like a sack of potatoes as a result.

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We were a very optimistic group. I think that’s what America had taught us. We might have lost the first game, but we can still celebrate and have smiles on our faces. Our unity is what impressed our Chinese counterparts the most.

In the next game, 有球必赢 (Mud Soccer), two players are attached by the arms and you have to play as a single unit. I played the first round where we almost scored a goal, but unfortunately the ball went behind the goal net. 😦

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Even though we lost again, we did manage to score a goal! We couldn’t have been happier with that single point, a glimmer of hope for that chance to win. The 2 loses only made us that much more determined to win the next game. We had a common enemy and a single mission, to kick the other team’s butts!

The third round turned out to have some of the most intense moments in our China experience. The game was called 一站到底 (Last One Standing). It involves the whole team on a 1v1 knockout basis. Whether they were trying to intimidate us or prepare us, we were told the first player on the China team will be their captain, who was once undefeated in this game where she knocked out all 8 of the players on the other team. Her entire team was chanting “1v8” and she even said herself that if she doesn’t knock us all out, she would drink the mud from the pool.I think even though everyone believed she was indeed very strong, our confidence wasn’t reduced in the least. In fact, we have never been more eager to prove them wrong.

As always, I was the first to go. Unfortunately I miscalculated my strategy and ended up getting pushed over the edge within 10 seconds. Embarrassing… I was hoping that I can avoid direct impact and knock her over by pushing her on one side when she least expected it. Instead, I was too slow and ended up getting pushed when I least expected it. Though, I am grateful that I didn’t get hurt is all.

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When 3 of us got knocked out, Fiona stepped up and within 10 seconds, knocked the reigning champion into the mud.  HAHA! While we screamed and jumped with excitement, the other team was dead silent, completely shocked. Could a new champion be born? In the interviews with the other players from the China team, I saw how completely unprepared they were to witness such an event. I saw panic when Fiona continued to knock more people out until we were evenly matched in players. Her win brought the entire arena into a heightened frenzy. Our entire team was screaming at the top of our lungs.

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The key is being stable and knocking your opponent off balance, immediately followed by forceful pushing until she’s completely off the platform. I think the reason Fiona was undefeated for a long time was because she practiced yoga. This is also another reason I love going to yoga. It teaches you how to ground yourself and find balance in life. In this game, once you lose your balance, it’s very hard to regain it.

Fiona was finally knocked out after defeating 5 players in a row and instilling fear in our enemy’s heart. In her place was Crystal, who also put up an amazing fight, also injuring herself in the process. Everyone put up an amazing fight till the end, but faced with a more experienced team, we couldn’t triumph in the end. Losing is understandable. Yes, the taste is bitter, but we can say without regret that we gave it all we got and came together like a family.

In a friendly bonus round, we played a game of team tag where we show the world just how in sync we were. We claimed our little victory and celebrated like winners.

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At the end of the day, we were exhausted, but unbelievably happy. The smiles on our faces could not be any more genuine.

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What a truly amazing day this was. I knew then and there, the journey of a lifetime has finally begun.

Click here to see the actually footage of the whole game. Please SHARE and SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed reading this tidbit for more exciting stories to follow!

[To be continued…]

Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 12

July 5th

I woke up to my alarm. Feeling the rock solid bed beneath me and seeing pitch darkness with the curtains pulled tightly shut, it took me a minute to realize I was officially in Chongqin, Xichuan Province (重庆,西川). I slept for about 7 hours, the longest I’ve ever slept since the beginning of the trip. Yet, that 7 hours felt like minutes. Despite the wooden board they call a bed, I slept really well. Taking a moment to wake up, I slowly make my way to the bathroom and go through my morning routine.

After waking my roommate up, I worked my way to hair and makeup. My makeup artist was still asleep when I knocked on her door, guess maybe she knew something I didn’t about our activities for today. Rain, rain and more rain…

Breakfast was anti-climatic compared to what I was used to eating in Xian. Since the hotel was also just okay, I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much. The plan for the day was for use to visit and tour the site where we’ll be taping a show called “妹儿雄赳赳” or “Rise Up Girls”. Obviously at the time, the rain refused to let up and all we did was stay in the bus, only to return to the hotel again after an hour of waiting.

1368669_10200661634248528_478173882_nMeanwhile, let’s take some selfies! The makeup is very light with hair is braided to one side.

Thinking back, it was probably bad luck on our end to have not seen what the fuss this competition was all about and not doing the necessary research for the following day.

Our team leader called for a meeting immediately upon returning to the hotel to tell us a little more about the competition. Everything was very, very vague. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized what I had gotten myself into.

I’ve always been an athletic person, so of course I volunteered after learning the fact that it was a series of mini games against another team of girls, all taking place in MUD. No problem, I’ve done Tough Mudder before so I’m used to getting down and dirty. How hard can it be?

I really wished I had been less confident and more anxious, maybe then I would have Googled what the competition was actually about and made a plan of attack. I was named team captain, probably due to my over-confidence… Note to self, take things that are unclear VERY seriously so that I would be propelled to find out exactly what I’ve signed up for.

The competition was BRUTAL. To find out, I’m afraid you’ll have to tune in next week. Remember to follow me via Email or Facebook to get the latest posts and updates!

Oh, here’s a sneak peak:

IMG_1949_副本The remainder of the day was very relaxing. I was treated to a foot/body massage by a good family friend. I slept like a baby that day. It was probably the most relaxing day out of the entire trip, just like the calm before the storm…

[To be continued…]

Miss Chinese New York 2013 – Part 11

Friday again and time for another snippet of my adventures in China during my pageant days. Big thank you to all 99 viewers that visited my blog for my last release. Please spread the word and sign up at the bottom to receive email notifications. Let’s continue…

July 4th

While all my friends back in the states were celebrating Independence Day, I was busy touring one of the oldest and historically significant sites in Xian, China: the Mausoleum of First Qin Emperor, aka, buried terracotta soldiers in the tomb of Qin Emperor.

I’ve only heard about Terracotta ALL my life, no big deal. For the first time, I arrive at the world-famous Mausoleum of the first “Emperor” of China, 秦始皇, (Qin Shi Huang). Qin Shi Huang directly translates to “first emperor of the Qin Dynasty.” Rulers before him were simply kings of warring states that constantly engaged in battles for territory. Qin Shi Huang ended the Warring States period and unified China. As much as he was ruthless, he was an important person that single-handly changed China’s history.

Our day began with a mad rush to bring our own luggage down to the lobby and loaded onto our coach bus. Having packed the night before, I got to enjoy a quick break before makeup and hair. Of course despite the mad dash, we had time for a group photo!

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Jet lag and the rainy weather that morning made me just want to curl up in bed and pass out. Unfortunately, a quick nap on the bus will have to suffice.

In my mind, I had always envisioned the Mausoleum to be this grand site with huge banners and people in costumes of the time, like I’ve been transformed back in time. What I saw was just a normal and plain entrance, nothing like I imagined. Everything around me just looked and felt wet, blurry, cheesy and broken down. Here’s all of us posing in front of a giant statue of Qin Shi Huang. Looking around me, it actually felt fairly empty and unusually deserted.

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The only benefit of rain is that the weather didn’t feel humid or hot and these cute red umbrellas, courtesy of Northwest University.

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It was quite an adventure to get to the actual location where the terracotta soldiers were buried. Through a gate, walk for a bit, ride a trolley cart and passed another gate. Along the way, we got stares for sure and curious bystanders trying to talk to us. Rule of thumb is that we can’t offend them by ignoring their questions but nor were we suppose to engage in a conversation. Our only option is to smile politely (pretend not to speak Chinese?) and walk away. If they tried to follow us, we had a giant “body guard”, who we nicknamed 菠萝包, Bo Luo Bao or pineapple bread, to keep them at bay. I have no idea who came up with the name, probably my roommate, but the name just sort of stuck the remainder of the trip.

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Traveling with a lot of girls, you’re constantly losing people to bathroom breaks. I calculate it took us about an hour to actually get to the burial site. I was quite surprised at seeing the whole burial site to be at the surface and surrounded by four walls and a ceiling. In my mind, I imagined us entering a dark, underground tunnel, surrounded by terracotta soldiers. I’m not sure why I thought we would go into a cave of some sort.

The entrace is just like many other entrances with a heavy and metalic-knobby door. Thinking it’s just another museum, I didn’t expect to see this. The whole excavated site seemed to be about the size of 4 football fields put together side by side. Unfortunately, we were only able to look down at the terracotta soldiers, not at eye-level. Just to get this picture, we had to pay extra and beg/bribe some security guards. Typical…

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Actually that day for some reason my allergies were acting up and I couldn’t put in my contacts without tearing. I was pretty much walking around either blind or with my thick pair of glasses. Mostly blind since I wanted to look normal in the videos, knowing we had the whole camera crew following us everywhere. I occasionally put them on if I really wanted to see something clearly. You won’t see me in glasses in any of these photos, hehe.

The gift shop was surprisingly small for a site so significant. I don’t think anyone was tempted to buy a souvenir. To think we would have to carry it the whole trip, and all on our own too, no thank you!

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Terracotta means “baked earth”. I suppose it makes sense the term was made famous by the terracotta soldiers of the tomb of Qin Shi Huang. As a child, I thought these soldier actually had real soldier encased inside. Vefry morbib, I know. They just looked so “real” and unique. Well, actually they are unique, each one had a different face, possibly based on real people.

Also unknown to me was the fact that these terracotta soldiers were actually hidden until a farmer (still alive today) discovered it while digging in his field. How well preserved they are so naturally. Here is the discoverer!

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He doesn’t look happy you say? I thought the same thing, until someone explained to met he fact that he probably didn’t get a penny out of his discovery; just an honorable mention and his own booth next to the gift shop. A very grumpy man that could not be cheered up by 14 gorgeous girls. Go figure.

At least the tour was over and we got to eat lunch. Most of our meals were sponsored by someone or some group. No way we can get through a meal without thanking our sponsor. But that’s only secondary to that table full of food. Yes, our Xian sponsor was very generous!

Everything was so yummy. I got my first taste of 肉夹馍 (rou jia mo), meaning “meat stuffed bun”. This dish is native to 陕西, Shanxi Province, to which Xian is the capital of. If I wasn’t on a diet, I could have eaten 10 of those.

Another famous dish is called 五谷丰收 (wu gu feng shou), directly translated to mean “five grain harvest”. This dish consists of corn, peanuts/edamame, and 3 varieties of potato. It’s nothing special, but we do see it come up a lot at meal times.

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China has no drinking age, plus the fact that I’m over 21, I have no issues with drinking. But for “appearances” sake, I must “pretend” not to drink but still drink. It’s a confusing thing. After the meal, we were quickly rushed downstairs where we boarded the bus and airport bound, once again.

On a side note, ever seen a blue glittery rose before? Chinese people tries to make everything appear extraordinary and luxurious. Oh and there’s me with my nerdy glasses again, I guess I lied before…

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The bus ride plus flight landed us at our next destination, Chongqing, around night-time. Again, exhausted and jet lagged, we stumbled into a surprisingly warm welcome with flowery leis and news media crews. A true celebrity’s welcome and probably the closest we got that entire trip.

Still groggy, we were brought to eat dinner, spicy Chongqing hotpot! Very spicy but oh so delicious. It was the only authentic Chongqing hot pot we got treated to. I really wish I could have eaten more of it, but I was way too tired.  Check out that hot pot and flower leis!

IMG_1532_副本After dinner, we checked into a pretty crappy hotel, probably the worst one out of the whole trip, and one we stayed at for the longest. The day was tiring because of all the walking and flying, otherwise it was a pretty fun and touristy day.

[To be continued…]