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            Golden week in China is the national holiday of the Formation of the China Republic. This year celebrating 70 years of formation. All of China is on Vacation for a whole week. Since I only have class on Tuesdays, I have a few extra days off. Not only did I take advantage of this, but I traveled all around south China and enjoyed every second of it. Not much sleeping during these 12 days and 8 cities, but totally worth the long days and short nights. I believe we did a great job planning the trip, since each city got better and better. The trip began with a plane ride the “worst” city (YET STILL SUPER AMAZING) Xi’an. A city that is rich of history and has a lot of story to tell the world. The Emperor Qinshihuang’s Museum- Terracota was our first stop. Not a very local place to go since it is top 10 tourist spots to visit in China but it is also a must see. But within the museum we did very local things. We ate in the museum food hall an arepa type with what I think was pork but I am not certain of it but it was amazing. After this we had planned on visiting the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. We did but really did not make it inside. You wonder why? Well since it’s all about living in the local’s shoes; we started walking around the area and found an amazing park across the street that was in a nutshell what China is. Not only was this park beautiful but it took us to a gorgeous fountain in which we are celebrating the beginning of Golden week. They had a light and music show to begin the celebrations of this national holiday. The show was a tribute to mother nature for giving Xi’an all that it has. It was right in front of the pagoda which gave the background of the show the amazing China Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. This was a great beginning to the trip but it simply only got better from here. The next morning, we traveled to Chengdu for the amazing experience of meeting the China only PANDAS! These cute animals did not only give us a day of fun, but it also brought us another friend. On the way to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda we met a family that guided us all around the park and gave us tips and tricks only locals would know. We had a great time seeing them play and breed. After the long day at the park we decided to go to a local street full of street food and China customs. Here we learned a lot about the Chinese culture and got to eat some amazing hotpot local style. This culminated a great day and the next day took us to LeShan. A City we were in only for 10 hours but enjoyed every second of it. Here we walked more than I have in years. It was a true journey getting to the top of the famous Giant Buddha. First, we are no longer Chinese tourist, which means we do not carry cash. We only have We chat and Ali pay, for the first time this was not a good thing. We needed a Chinese ID to be able to pay with We chat or Ali pay the other option was cash if we wanted our student discount or our tourist discount or tickets at all. The only problem was that the nearest ATM was 20 minutes away. Finally, we could buy the tickets with a local’s id help. When we got inside we had to go up so many stairs but it was totally worth it. We got to the top and had a lot of fun taking crazy pictures feeding and kissing the Buddha. Not only did we visit the Buddha in this park, but we were able to go all the way up to two pagodas and under a cave. This was an amazing day that started with a train ride and ended on a plane. Taking us to sleep in Guilin, my personal absolute favorite crazy local day. It was a long next day that consisted of the Reed Flute Cave, the Li river view and bamboo raft tour around the river, the elephant hill, the sun&moon pagodas, the many emperor residencies and even the local theater. I think I mentioned everything, but I have no idea how we did the whole city in a day but we did. It was one of the only cities that we had the opportunity of calmly enjoying everything local and tourist offered. The next day it was time to begin the garden, pagoda craziness. We visited Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Suzhou each giving it a special spin but all offered amazing skylines, pagodas and eye opening gardens. The highlight of these three cities was the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the canton tower, the intercontinental in Hangzhou (which is the sun of the city), and the Lingering Garden. These cities were amazing but in my memory, they feel like one giant city. Since they were very different yet extremely similar. After all these amazing southern cities of China we had the great opportunity of finalizing our trip in Shanghai. Where we visited the world’s second tallest building, amazing pagodas and temples and DISNEY. Disney was great, not only because of the people I was with the whole day, but because even though the park is small it gives you everything you need in a park. We had an amazing time, and not only was each city better than the one before but the people I was with mad my trip even the more special. In each city, we made new friends that helped us navigate the cities as locals and enjoyed local cuisine and fun. I would not change anything from this week and I will forever remember the great adventures we had in such a short time. 12 days that will be forever marked in my memory. Thank you China for such amazing landscapes and memories and happy national day!

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