NOVEMBER 14, 2019

Đời người cũng như con đường, cần phải đi từ trong hoang vu ra đến chốn phong cảnh phồn hoa.
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人生如路,须在荒凉中走出繁华的风景来。
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Life is like a road, you need to go from the wilderness to the picturesque scenery.

P.s.: Picture taken in Xidi, Huangshan, Anhui, China in 2019.

Continue ReadingNOVEMBER 14, 2019

Anhui – Zhejiang – Shanghai 2019, Day 6: Yanguan Ancient Town, Xidi Ancient Village And Flying Home

Before leaving Haining, Jiaxing, we dropped by a place called Yanguan Old Town. It was raining a bit while I walked through some old houses, the Qiantang River Dam, Jin Young’s college, the former residence of Wang Guowei. Most doors were closed, and there were only a few tourists here. It was a pity. I wished to see more inside of the town.

Then we really left Zhejiang to come back to Anhui province. On the way, the tour guide introduced to us a dry fruit called wuyanguo (5-eye fruit) which later I found out was called Nepali hog plum. I tasted really good.

We had a late lunch at 2PM somewhere in Anhui, then we went to see another UNESCO world heritage site called Xidi Ancient Village at 4PM. This place must have been the best place of this trip.

After seeing a nice welcome dance, I was strolling around the village. There were art students with their sketchbooks, easels and tools which made this village so romantic.

I saw them drying sausages and ducks on the walls. I then went to the hill nearby and looked down the village. It was peaceful here.
On the way out, I found a student card someone dropped. I couldn’t find the guy so I gave it to someone instead.

This was the first time I looked carefully at the Huizhou architecture: white wall, black tile, arch over the gate, and horse-head wall.

Because we had to be present at the airport early in the evening, we had an early dinner at 6:30PM. I also tried for the first time the popular boba milk tea ice cream.

At 7:30PM, I said goodbye to Anhui at Huangshan Tunxi Airport and waited for the flight to take me home to Ho Chi Minh City.

Continue ReadingAnhui – Zhejiang – Shanghai 2019, Day 6: Yanguan Ancient Town, Xidi Ancient Village And Flying Home

Anhui – Zhejiang – Shanghai 2019, Day 1: Saigon To Huangshan Tunxi Airport

Only 9 days before had I decided to go on another trip to China with my twin sis, this time to 3 provinces/cities of Anhui, Zhejiang, Shanghai. My main visits would be Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Yanguan Ancient Town.

This was another trip that required no individual visa (like my previous trip to Hunan and Hubei). The 4-hour non-stop flight stopped at the Huangshan Tunxi International Airport at 9PM. Some local officials with banners saying that this was the first flight from Ho Chi Minh City. They also gave us some Chinese and Vietnamese flags. I learned that this trip was sponsored by China. That was why this tour of 6 days was so cheap. With the same amount of money, I might have bought the plane tickets only.

I was asked in English by two customs officers how many times I’ve been to China. This time I didn’t have to scan my finger prints any more. It was my easiest Chinese customs check ever. I loved Huangshan!

Because of taking photos for some local newspapers or promotion(?), it took us all an hour to get out of the airport. Around 30 mins later, I could lie down on my bed and call it a night.
Outside of my window I saw a pine tree with the top turning to the the color of fall. I hoped to see more autumn leaves on this Jiangnan trip.

Continue ReadingAnhui – Zhejiang – Shanghai 2019, Day 1: Saigon To Huangshan Tunxi Airport

5 Tips To Pick On The Road Songs

On celebrating 10 years of my domain NgocNga.net, I decided to post an entry on how I picked music to listen on the road.

First, songs whose lyrics inspired me to go.
– This type of songs accounted for the big part of my playlist. For several years now, Đen and Da Lab’s raps have been famous all over Vietnam. These tracks were in my list: Chạy Trốn Mặt Trời, Đi Theo Bóng Mặt Trời, Ngày Khác Lạ, Ta Cứ Đi Cùng Nhau, Đưa Nhau Đi Trốn, Cho Tôi Lang Thang, Đời Là Đi, Lái Xe Một Mình.
– English songs: Airplane (Plain White T’s), Moving Along (The All-American Rejects), I Am The Highway (Audioslave), Somewhere Only We Know (Keane), Have It All (Jason Mraz).
– Chinese songs: Ping Fan Zhi Lu (Pu Shu), Piao Xiang Bei Fang (Namewee ft. Wang Lee Hom), Mi Lu Lu Wen Wen Dao (Zeng Zhao Wei), Yi Lu Xiang Bei (Jay Chou), Jin Ri Wo Li Bie (Mao Bu Yi), Ru Guo Wo Men Bu Ceng Xiang Yu (Mayday), Ren Yi Men (Mayday), Bu Jian Bu San (Ashin).

Second, songs with places in titles.
– Worldly, there were songs like Across The Universe (The Beatles), On Top Of The World (Tim McMorris), Li Kai Di Qiu Bao Mian (Mayday).
– Songs with country names: In Italia (Fabri Fibra ft. Gianna Nannini).
– Songs with city names: Dien Bien Victory (Various Artists), Hue Saigon Hanoi (Hong Nhung), Tokyo (Owl City ft. Sekai No Owari), Chengdu (Zhao Lei), Copenhagen Fairytale (Cynthia Wang), Prague Square (Jolin Tsai), Harbin Snow (Gao Jin).
– Just some random places: Trường Sơn Đông, Trường Sơn Tây (Thuỳ Chi and Tạ Quang Thắng), Lake Baikal (Li Jian), Beverly Hills (Weezer).

Third, songs about home.
After all, I’d come back home after a trip. And these songs I’d like to play on the way back: Đi Để Trở Về (Soobin Hoàng Sơn), Sẽ Hứa Đi Cùng Nhau (Da Lab ft. Soobin Hoàng Sơn), Về Nhà (Da Lab ft Kaang), Bình Yên Là Khi Trở Về (Thuỳ Chi), The Man Who Can’t Be Moved (The Script), Next Plane Home (Daniel Powter), Svet V Tvoyom Okne (Alsu), Zai Jia Xiang (Li Jian Qing), Zhong Yu Jie Shu De Qi Dian (Mayday).
Fourth, classical music.
Sometimes it was hard to sleep on the plane. Then I chose to listen to some classical crossover by Maksim Mrvica.

Last but not least, international songs.
I don’t mean world music. I like listening to songs of many languages. I’m not a multilinguist, but I listen to English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, and Italian music, anything that suits my ears. Sometimes I put my player on shuffle mode and it made me feel like I was traveling to other countries when jumping from language to language. Interesting!

Continue Reading5 Tips To Pick On The Road Songs