The DouDiZhu Addiction

So sometime during the holidays, and even some instances before that, I’ve noticed a lot of people playing this card game on their cellphones and on their computers. It wasn’t Mahjong, and it looked something like hearts. It wasn’t until I asked my cousin and uncle that I found out it was a game called Fight the Landlord (斗地主-doudizhu) which is a very popular game here in China. For my Chinese readers or readers who are very familiar with China and Chinese culture here on the Mainland, I don’t think I need to explain how popular it is.

There’s a cards version of the game, an online version on a computer, and various apps for smartphones. I’ve recently been playing the QQ version, where you play with other real players who are logged in.

The game is very similar to a Filipino game we call Tong Its, and another we call Pusoy Dos, where you try to form combinations (very similar to poker) and try to get rid of the cards in your hand, and where the number 2 card is highest. Of course, in Fight the Landlord, the Joker card is the highest. And in Fight the Landlord, you can drop combinations of cards like straights and pairs together, or something like that…it’s quite difficult to explain. I haven’t fully understood the mechanics of the game, one – since I can’t read the instructions in Chinese, and two – because I don’t fully understand how the instructions on Wikipedia go. I guess you just try out the game and learn it through practice. Of course, playing online means that most plays are somewhat automatic and there’s an online guide to help you and give you hints.

The text above just says that the farmers win the round. This picture is from my QQ game. Other games have other designs for their characters and table settings, though gameplay is always the same.

It’s quite fun though, and most of the time I play it when I’m idle or when i can’t sleep. And the great thing is that if you’re the “farmer”, you play alongside a teammate, which is usually what I choose. I don’t yet have the confidence to boldly choose to be a “landlord” when I see that my cards are good (as players can choose to bid for the landlord position if they think their cards have a chance of winning, because landlords start the game with any cards – combo or otherwise). It’s much easier to partner up with someone. Anyways, it’s a win-win situation if you’re helping out your teammate as you both get points for winning. So, getting rid of all your personal cards isn’t always the answer. Sometimes the strategy is to not do anything so that your partner wins, or to beat the landlord so you can give your partner a chance to win. These strategies work especially well when your partner is only 1-3(more or less) cards away, since some players leave combinations to the very end of the game (which leaves other players surprised and unsuspecting of the turnout).

So far since starting to play, I’ve won some and I’ve lost some. Some are really good wins, and some feel really depressing, especially when I haven’t dropped that many cards and I find myself unable to drop anything before the opponent wins. I’d like to believe though, that I am getting a lot better at playing.

Only time can tell if I’m improving. For now, each game is a learning process, and I still commit a lot of mistakes. But as they say, experience is the best teacher.

Like working from 9-5

So recently, it’s like I’ve been working from 9-5. Some days it’s 8-5, and some days it’s 10-5. The new semester has begun and I’m finally feeling what it is to be studying and doing part-time work at the same time. I know so many people will think that at (almost) 24, I should know how it feels like, but coming from a country that doesn’t generally allow part-time work to students who haven’t graduated from university, it’s not something completely unheard of especially since I came to China soon after graduating from university. Back to topic, I’ve been doing two things since the semester began this week – studying and working. I’ve been granted a very practical schedule that allows me to study in the mornings and work in the afternoons, though it doesn’t leave me with much time to rest or study, though I’ve tried to remedy that by bringing some of my books to work with me so that during breaks or times that students are answering seatwork I can do my studies.

It’s been very draining and tiring, most especially since most of my classes start at 8 and that means having to wake up a lot earlier than I’m used to, and that means that I don’t come to work fully refreshed unlike during the summer holidays. In fact, this week was so stressful because I was trying to fix all my visa and passport documents (before my visa expires next week) plus I was trying to schedule my classes since I initially wanted my listening class to be on a lower level compared to my other classes, but what was most frustrating was that the language program office decided to re-do the level arrangements and I had to rethink the levels I wanted for my classes. In short, it’s just been really confusing and tiring.

Black blazer from H&M Xiamen; Striped tee from H&M Xiamen; Legging pants from UNIQLO Hong Kong; Eyeglass frame necklace from Xiamen; White and gold bracelet from Xiamen

Hype this outfit on Lookbook

Continue reading

Xiamen: Preparing for the medical exam

If you’re a foreigner looking to take the medical exam (because you want to get a residence permit for a multiple entry student [X] or working visa [Z]), living in China for an extended period of time requires you to take the medical examination. When I lived in Beijing for a year, I didn’t need to take the medical examination since my first stay was originally for only 6 months and when I extended my stay, they only extended my visa and I didn’t apply for a multiply entry visa. This is actually the first time that I took the exam, which initially was something I wanted to avoid at all costs, until something came up that well….required me to face this.

Because my visa(allotted to me by the Chinese embassy in Manila) expires about a few days (they only gave me 150days) before my final examination is to take place, and because I need to go home next month and need to have extra entries back into China in case an emergency happens, I decided to go for the medical exam.

A couple of months back, when I was still in Beijing, I wanted to take the exam but heard lots of horror stories from friends, especially about the blood-drawing part of the exam. I’m not a big fan of needles but I’ve been better at the thought of blood drawing since I’ve routinely been having blood tests every 6months back in Manila, for regular check-ups and the like. My friend was suppose to come with me, but last minute she wasn’t feeling well so I ended up going to the place on my own.

Here’s where it starts:

Things you’ll need to have with you:

> 3 copies of your China-passport-sized picture

> passport

> (as of this entry) 503rmb [a few weeks back it was only something like 450rmb and it’s gone up by 50rmb, so check with your school or workplace for cost updates]

> no breakfast-stomach (this is pretty standard, speaks for itself; have an empty stomach for at least 12hrs before you come in)

Xiamen International Travel Healthcare Center [厦门国际旅行卫生保健中心 (Xiàmén guójì lǚxíng wèishēng bǎojiàn zhōngxīn)]

Add: 116号 Dongdu Road  Huli, Xiamen, Fujian, China, 361012

Open: Mondays-Fridays; 8-12nn, 2-5pm

By bus: Take a bus to the 商检 (Shāngjiǎn) Station. The building will be behind the Xiamen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (厦门出入境检验检疫局)

Buses that pass by this station: 4路空调, 11路, 22路, 22路空调, 26路空调, 43路, 67路快线, 84路, 102路空调, 107路, 139路, 520路, 520路空调, 522路, 522路空调, 533路, 655路, 841路, 842路, 853路, 856路, 858路, 954路, 958路, 旅游1线

Procedure upon arrival:

When I arrived, I asked a form from the desk and proceeded to fill out the form. After you’ve filled out the form, you have to line up at one of the aisles that say “Accept”. Prepare your passport and the form, and when everything is okay, the person at the counter will ask for your passport and the payment (503rmb). This part will take a while because they have to check out your information on the computer and then they’ll print something and ask you to check if your name is correctly spelled out. Check your name’s spelling carefully! They will give you a receipt and a bunch of small papers, so keep everything with you. After, they will tell you to go inside and go through the 1st-3rd floors for your check-ups. Take the door to the left of the counter.

Medical Exams:

Based on personal experience, these are the exams that you will have to go through. I talked to my friends about the exam and it seems I might have missed an exam or two, but I’m not sure since the guy at the counter said everything was a’okay. It could just be that my friend had a different count the last time she was there, and I myself had a different count. Based on my trip, these are the exams you have to go through~

> X-ray, ECG, Eye test, Ultrasound, Blood test, Urine Test, Blood Pressure + Weight and Height (same room)

When I get my results later, I’ll check out what else I’m missing, hopefully I did everything okay and this is all that’s needed as I don’t want to repeat the entire thing another time.

Tips for the Exam:

> Wear a sort of loose t-shirt as you’ll be required to pull it up during some exams.

> Also bring a book with you or some other form of light entertainment (ipod, ipad, psp, etc) as I heard that sometimes there are long lines for the exam (though that wasn’t the case with when I went).

> If you aren’t sure with the exams and which ones you are suppose to take, just go through the rooms with open doors and ask if you need the exam, most likely (if not most certainly), you do.

> With the blood exam, if you are afraid like me, tell the A-yi ahead of time that you are a bit afraid. She consoled me and told me not to be afraid and that it won’t hurt. I looked away when she was putting the needle through my skin, but it’s actually not as bad as I imagined it to be, just a small prick really….kind of like how it feels back home.

Overall, if there are no lines, the whole procedure should take about 30mins-1hour. As you are required to do the tests without breakfast, the best time to do the exam is in the morning.

Hope this helps!

First Lent in Xiamen

Lent is never really that hard in the Philippines (in general), because we’re a predominantly Catholic/Christian country. It’s only now that I’m on my 2nd or 3rd time away from the Philippines during this season that I can see how we sometimes take the season for granted. Having daily masses, and even having at least 3-5 masses a day on Sundays, these are things you cannot find in China. When I was in Beijing last year, Lent was difficult for me because the Church was far away, even by subway. The only days I was able to attend mass for that season were Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Now that it’s just a little more convenient (as compared to Beijing) that I am able to attend mass here in Xiamen, I try to attend mass each Sunday.

Coincidentally, the Sunday that passed by was Palm Sunday, which coincided with the weekend before 清明节 (Qing Ming Jie/Tomb-sweeping Holiday) which is when Chinese go back to their hometowns to visit graves and the like (something like All Souls Day I guess). Unlike my time in Tsinghua where the school celebrates the holiday like any normal holiday, my classes here at XMU try to  make the most out of the holidays by giving classes beforehand, so I had classes during the weekend which resuletd in a 7-day straight schedule.

Right after my 8-930am class at XMU, I made my way to the nearest school gate and took a taxi straight to the ferry port (I usually take a bus, but it takes about 15-20minutes to get to the ferry port from my flat). Then I used my Gulangyu unlicard for the first time and took the ferry to Gulangyu before making my way to Church. I was already 20minutes late for mass, but it was still worth the effort. Our Church had baskets of palaspas (palms?) which they were handing out for free to the churchgoers (since we’re a pretty small community, with loads of Pinoys, fyi). I was able to take 3, 1 of which I handed to my friend. I even placed it on my door when I got home. It’s not as nice-looking as the palaspas we use back home, and this thing is painful (it has sharp leaves! i got pricked at least 5 times), but am trying to work with it nonetheless. Back home, my parents place our palaspas above our picture of the sacred heart of Jesus, so when I was talking to my mom, I asked hem to send me a picture/poster that I could hang on my door as well.

It really makes you appreciate the little things, doesn’t it?

I’m kind of looking forward to attending mass this Friday and Saturday, though the schedule at the Church mentioned that both masses will be completely in Mandarin. Scary and challenging! We’ll see if my schedule permits. The next few days are scary hectic, not to mention the HSK4 exam on the 14th~

Haven’t been back since 2004

Going off to Xiamen in a few hours. I’m very excited since I haven’t been back there since 2004, which was my first trip to China. I’ll only be staying for a few days, so no worries with regard to what’s happening with my life and when I’m coming back. I shall be back….next week.

I was talking to my cousin on 人人网 a few hours ago and it made me realize that if I stay a bit longer, I could actually make it to the 10/1 National Holidays….but that would mean missing a lot of things planned for next week here in Manila. Nonetheless, I’m excited, to be sort-of going home. Xiamen has definitely changed in the 7 years I’ve not been back. Last night as I was going through Google Maps, I was a bit confused as to how the place actually looked, it looks a heck of a lot different from the last time I had seen it so it took a bit of adjusting to. Back in 2004, I didn’t really go around the city much, besides staying in my uncle’s apartment, going to SM, going downtown (for a bit) and going to Xiamen Univesity and Gulangyu, visiting JiMei University and some temple that apparently is pretty famous in Xiamen. A lot of what I remember about Xiamen is vague so this trip will definitely either bring back a lot of memories, or will be spent making new memories.

Also, since my last trip, my Mandarin and Hokkien has improved by leaps and bounds….so I’m excited to sort-of break the barrier when talking to my family there. One of my uncles from there has seen my improvement over the years since my dad would let me chat with him on the phone a few times. He used to have a hard time talking to me since he was used to speaking mostly Hokkien and back then, I had almost close to nil skills in 闽南语. Now, it’s much better. He still talks to me in Hokkien, though I can ask him to switch to Mandarin when his Hokkien starts getting too fast or too complicated for my basic level Hokkien.

This trip will definitely be 1) an eye-opener, 2) family reunion of sorts and 3) a possible look into my future. And yes, my Mandarin skills have probably rusted a little in the last 2 and a half months since I’ve been back…so hopefully that’ll work out okay. Besides that, I have my trustworthy Chinese dictionary to keep me company and to help me when the language barrier arises.

And of course, my copy of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin is coming with me. I’m already on p260 out of 708 so at I’ll at least have something to keep me company when there’s nothing to do or when I’ll be alone somewhere and would be too afraid to talk to the locals. Haha. Always have to have a back-up plan, or companion!

Introduction2011

Hi and welcome to my almost 3 year old blog and my crappy new (obviously photoshopped) introduction header! I just came back from a (more or less) one year stint in Beijing studying Mandarin. I miss Beijing and I’m back in Manila, but sometimes I feel like I left my heart in Peking. I really loved it there and all the places I got to go to, and all the things I was able to see and experience.

So how did the name dolldalera come about? Daldalera in Tagalog actually refers to someone very talkative, in other words me…someone who cannot stop talking. And well, since I started my blogs with a doll theme that began with Dresdendoll (the nickname my grandma gave me), I just combined the two.

My blog is basically that. A bunch of random things that just happen to pop into my head. My brain is really talkative, and on average, my brain never stops thinking about things to write about and things to discuss. It’s just one big mess of ideas and thoughts up there. My blog is an extension of that, online. I write about almost anything and everything that I can think of. Be it personal things, my travels, my interests or things that piss me off, and other random whatnots. I welcome you to view my entries if you’re interested in just about anything, and you happen to find my blog interesting or funny, or whatever. 🙂

I blog as a hobby and I use my blog to de-stress so I don’t have any routine posts. If you’re okay with subscribing to my blog so you’ll be updated when I update, then I give you my gratitude in advance. Just click on the side of the blog that says “Sign Me Up” to get you started.

Hope you find my entries interesting. Cheers!

2011年08月03日

Goodbye March and hello HuangShan (黄山/Yellow Mountains)

Time flies by so quickly, it seems much quicker than just days passing by. Last week my sister graduated from university, and sadly I wasn’t there to congratulate her personally on her memorable accomplishment. It seems so fast, especially since I just graduated last year and it hasn’t (at times) even fully sunk in that I have an undergraduate degree.

Before I know it, April will have passed and May and June will just be around the corner. Time to go back then, and time to find work. Sigh. April also signifies another phase of our life passing by, one flatmate and her fiancée who were here for the last few weeks will be moving out. Though they were here for only a short while, it was nice to have been able to experience something new by being around them. Sad to have to see them go.

For now, I’m trying to look forward to tomorrow as more than just being the first day of April, the end of March 2011. Tomorrow evening, me and a couple of other Filipino friends will make our way to HuangShan for the Pure Bright festival holidays. So this entire weekend till Wednesday morning, we shall be immersed into more than just the usual Beijing city environment. As another of many firsts, not counting climbing up a mountain, sleeping on an overnight train. I’ve not done that before so I’m slightly nervous and excited as well. During the decision-making period for this trip, I did some research on HuangShan and discovered that many Chinese paintings that I’ve seen around the internet as well on some books was based on the scenery here. Especially those paintings where you can see a sea of clouds, yup that’s based on HuangShan. Maybe inspiration will strike me while on the trip, like all those Classical Chinese painters and poets who sat on the mountain or sat in view of the mountains and drew inspiration from it.

Instead of getting sad, I shall try to look forward to April. How often can people enjoy first experiences in the company of good friends. I pray that I shall have enough camera memory to take photos of everything I see there. And, that I just don’t sleep the nights away, which is what happened back during the Inner Mongolia trip. Slept away the 2 nights that we were there. Haha.

Woman In Heels

One thing I’ve learned in my stays in China, I can’t walk as far in heels as these Chinese women can. It surprises me to no end how a lot of these women can stand walking for kilometers, on the road, or in the subway, or even when climbing a mountain. When I was a student at Sun Yat-Sen University way back in 2008, it was the first time I really noticed Chinese people walking around in heels. Even on campus, I was surprised to see both Chinese friends and strangers alike walking to and from class in heels. Didn’t they hurt? I could maybe imagine women walking along the streets, and fathom even commuting in subways wearing heels though I couldn’t imagine why they’d want to do that. Well anyways, the biggest surprises come when I spot these Chinese women going to tourist destinations, like this one mountain park here in Beijing, wearing heels. And to think they climb up those steps in heels! Aren’t they afraid of falling down and twisting their ankle or something?

Their varieties of heels, whether it’s stilettos or boots, it both strikes me as strange but strangely also as a fashion item.

I can’t complain much though. Since arriving, I’ve only been wearing flats. Flat everything. I walk around a lot so I hate wearing heels that’ll just burden my feet while walking. Recently though as I’ve moved to a new flat closer to the restaurants and places foreigners and students frequent often in my area, heels are not as frustrating to wear as before and I have tried to get used to them. Of course when I go back to Manila, I’ll have to try to wear heels more often for work or other reasons so it’s imperative that while in China I try to get used to wearing them again.

Also, I cannot complain that I love their boots and heels here. The Philippines is too hot a place to wear boots for long periods of time though I tend to wear my mom’s boots when I feel like it. Boots in the Philippines are either too expensive or don’t have a lot of variety so in some sense, you could say that the me on the inside is trying to tell myself to buy boots while I can still can.

It takes some getting used to I guess. Plus not only are boots and heels so lovely to look at, they make your legs look longer. For Asians like me who are generally short in stature, we need all the help we can get in order to look taller. Haha.

Coat: A.YiLian; Top: Esprit; Boots: Westlink

Taken on: 2011年03月10日. You can find this look on Chictopia. Hype this look on LOOKBOOK.

Starting the new semester

A few hours ago, I began my second semester at TsingHua University. Post-proficiency exam plus calculating in my grades from last semester, they’ve moved me up a level in the language program. When I learned about my results yesterday, I was quite disappointed as practically all my classmates moved up 2 levels, and I only moved up 1 level (from 中级1-中级2). This week is the whole sit-in stage so tomorrow I’m sitting-in the 高级1 class of my old classmates to determine whether or not I belong where I am now or I move up since going up to a level that’s too difficult for me would be a waste of a whole semester. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s all about the personal improvement and that one shouldn’t compare themselves with other people, but then as we were discussing in class awhile ago, sometimes a person can’t help but try to level themselves with other people.

Surprisingly though, I’m understanding things a lot better than I did last semester. Maybe it’s me getting used to the environment (习惯环境) or learning better, but it’s made me quite happy that I don’t feel as lost in class. In some way, my foundation compared to others in my class is not as good since a lot of them took their Chinese when they were much older while I had been made to study it since little and well I didn’t have the interest to learn it then, plus my school didn’t teach it well…but I’m coping. A lot of people have mentioned that my improvement has been quite good, and to my dad and other people, that’s what really matters. Maybe expecting too much from myself is not good, so trying to accept where I am now and staying optimistic is important.

Classes today were quite interesting though. Two of my teachers from last semester are my teachers for this semester again, despite me moving up a level. One of them had their class today though their subject got changed from 口语 to 泛读 though it’s quite funny that the teacher teaches the class the same way he did back in his old subject. Tomorrow, my 综合 teacher from last semester will be teaching my class so that’ll be quite interesting since she’s quite the teacher (I love her teaching style) and she’s familiar with my habits.

Tomorrow, me and my roommate will have to leave the flat earlier. Today, the 731 bus took forever to get to the stop, and well that (besides walking for over 20-30minutes or taking the bike in the cold weather) is the only option since 731 is the only bus that stops at 大石桥 which stops outside 东北门 of 清华大学 (which is the closest gate to the classrooms at C楼). Makes me wonder how the bike is doing since it’s been at the shed near the South Gate for the past 2 months (too lazy to bike in the cold weather). Also have to check up on 2 other bikes my friends left to me when they went home, so there’s that too.

Living in the new flat with understanding flatmates (2 of whom are local Chinese = oh yeah practice!) has been quite helpful though. One of the fears for this new semester was living with people we didn’t know well, but it’s been okay so far. They’re all older than me and my roommate so they’re quite kind to us, and we’ve been able to discuss with them situations regarding the flat (which have recently popped up). Knowing that they’re like that takes a big load off the shoulders, especially since this is the first time I’m living long-term with people I don’t really know.

Time is moving quite fast already and before I know it, it’ll be July and the end of another semester. But for now, I hope time doesn’t pass too quickly, but I hope that my improvement increases more than last time.

我希望自己进步高和快,但是我也希望经过时间不那么快。想我每天有很多机会联系普通话,还有不要失去学习的兴趣。

To Fragrant Hills we go

Sometime during the end of October, my flatmates and I plus my classmate and another Chinoy friend decided to take a spur of the moment afternoon trip to Fragrant Hills (香山) which is not that far from our university. Taking the 331 bus, we made our way from our bus stop to the end of the bus route. After all the troubling transportation problems we encountered with our buses headed to the Fragrant Hills stop, we finally got to the Fragrant Hills stop, and made our way up to the entrance of Fragrant Hills.

There are many entrances that lead to Fragrant Hills, as with many locations in China, tourist areas and buildings have “direction” gates (ex. North Gate, South Gate, etc.). The path me and my companions took, was it South or East…I can’t really recall, anyways it was quite a long path. It’s basically like a road leading and uphill and along the way there are various stores likes food stalls or souvenirs stores that really cater to tourists. So be prepared for drinks and food that might be a bit more expensive than if you bought them outside, examples would be water and sodas. Other local snacks cost about the same, or are a bit more expensive.

Once you get to the top leading from the area which I just described, there’s like a gate that basically announces that you’ve arrived at Fragrant Hills. Here you’ll have to buy a ticket to get in. Students get discounts so don’t forget to bring your id book if you’re a student studying in China. Tickets are reasonably priced. If I remember correctly, student ticket costs 5rmb and the normal tickets costs about 10-15rmb. Inside, there are various places you can enjoy while you’re there. Some places require you to pay extra fees, like we encountered this temple that had its own separate entrance fee. We did not bother going in there. The picture below is the pathway leading towards the temple. I quite like the environment here because there is like an entranceway and trees on either side of the path, it reminds me very much of something from Alice in Wonderland. It’s quite ethereal with the colors of Autumn coming out (but not really coming out) of the leaves and trees.

Another pathway leads to the main garden of Fragrant Hills (for that side of the Fragrant Hills Park). Here there’s a really wide park with 2 small ponds and infrastructures, and a good view of the mountain. Here you have two choices with regard to getting up the hill (more like mountain though), either taking the cable car or climbing up the path. The cable car cost 50rmb, no student discounts when we tried asking. For those visiting Fragrant Hills in late Autumn-early Spring, gloves and proper outfits are required when climbing up or taking the cable car. As me and my companions discovered on our cable car trip going up, being stationary on a cable seat while steadily climbing to a higher altitude does not make one comfortable. Gloves are quite the necessity, so are thick clothes. As I also discovered on my way down, I should have worn proper shoes. My boots (not even uggs) were not at all comfortable on the trek down, as I’ll mention later on.

Arriving at the top, the view of the mountain and the city and the surrounding area is the thing one most definitely notices. Especially at night, the view of Beijing from afar is quite the spectacular perspective. The top of the mountain gives way to views of the park as well as the mountain ranges surrounding the park and the city. Food concessionaires are available at the top of the mountain, like one stall was selling chicken aside from the usual hotdog snacks I’ve seen around Beijing. Prices are a bit more expensive as compared to those being sold at the bottom of the mountain though. Of course a few souvenir stalls can be found here as well, can never get tired of seeing this at practically every corner of every tourist destination in Beijing, unless they nag you silly by following you till you ignore them completely. Trees lined with well-wishes written on red tags decorated part of the top of the mountain as well.

Going down, there are quite the number of choices. Taking the cable car again, if you’re willing to shell out 50rmb again, finding a rent car (not quite sure if it’s the HeiChe aka Black Car that waits for passengers) or taking one of the many paths going down. I went down the mountain with my flatmate, it was the worst experience ever, especially as it was nearing sunset. Bad part of the experience, lack of light, improper footwear and really slanted slopes and walkways that can trip you. It took me and my companion about an hour and a half to two hours to get down the mountain, including quite a number of rest stops to take a breather. The bad part of getting down is that not the entire path going down has lights to accompany you. At times, we used our cellphones to make our way down, especially since the path is not always flat and smooth, parts of the pathway have that humpish design to supposedly add friction between the path and your feet. Those hurt. But those flat and smooth paths were quite hell-ish too since they were sometimes slanted too high and….well you get the picture. The path going down was slow and painful. Stairs were also part of the exercise. Somewhere mid-mountain, the path is much clearer though all the more confusing as the maps and pathways can lead to just about anywhere, depending on which exit you want to leave through. Maps were not too helpful as me and a few locals discovered on our way down. Eventually though, we finally got down the mountain. Apparently two of my friends who had descended the mountain much later than us, got to our meeting place much earlier. I don’t know which path they took or if they took breaks at all but it was definitely a pain in the arse. For those thinking of coming here, flashlights would definitely help a lot.

Because we took too long climbing down the mountain, and we arrived at Fragrant Hills a bit too late in the afternoon, we weren’t able to go around the various places within the park as we would have wanted to. From the top of the mountain, we were able to see that the park was much larger and had more attractions that it would seem from below. Since we didn’t know what things were available, we weren’t able to go around as much as we would have originally liked. A friend of mine went there as well, and I saw his pictures and found a lot of places that I didn’t get to see when I went on my trip, so there are really a lot of things to do when you’re there.

I guess if I had the opportunity to go back I would, and I’d go much earlier and hopefully pray that no bus transportation problems arise so there would be no delays. Also, proper footwear, must remember to go when the weather is not as cold so I can just go in my breathable sneakers. Fragrant Hills is definitely a place to go to, and it’s frequented by many locals and foreigners alike. The surrounding residential areas that sell food and souvenirs treat visitors very well so one would always want to come back (if one has the time). Also as it’s right at the end of a bus route, it makes it an easy place to remember to go to.

I would consider going back in a few months to see what things and places I missed out on.