Bai Jiu is the drink of choice for many Chinese. Usually, consumed with dinner to a round of “GanBei!” So what better way to celebrate St Patrick’s day than by getting to know a little more about the history of this treasured Chinese beverage.
Arriving at the museum we were instantly impressed by the seemingly ancient doors which opened up onto a large dark space. It was here we met our tour guide, Tony, who would impart all his knowledge onto us. The history, culture and production process were all meticulously explained to us making for a fantastic tour.
Inside the first room was a model village representing the area of the city where the factory/museum is located. From looking at the model village, you could gain a greater understanding of how life would’ve been in Chengdu over 500 years ago by seeing the factory standing in its historic surroundings, unlike the metropolis which surrounds it today.
After a brief introduction to the history and Shui Jing Fang in Chengdu, we were taken into a next building. Through the doors, we could smell the pungent aroma of fermenting grains. It was in this next building where we saw the fermentation pits, each pit 3m long by 2m wide and 2m deep. This fermentation process lasts for 3 months with the temperature monitored to ensure the process has been completed before the grains are unearthed.
The tour continued as we were then shown the process of condensing the vapour from the grains. This technique has been unchanged for hundreds of years, similar to the whole process used at Shui Jing Fang. The different stages of the condensing period result in different alcohol concentration and therefore flavours.
It is the job of the master blender to make sure all the bottles of Shui Jing Fang taste the same. This highly coveted job is passed from generation to generation and a list of all the master blenders can be found in the museum. Shui Jing Fang is currently in their eighth generation of blenders, now training their ninth.
It was at this point we were then taken to the tasting room. Greeted by a lady in a medical lab coat and 2 little tasting glasses. We were told one had been aged and another hadn’t. Both glasses were over 70% alcohol purity and it was immediately clear that the aged baijiu had a more fragrant flowery flavour whilst the unaged baijiu was nothing but a deep burn.
All in all, we had a fantastic day out. Learning the process of how to make Baijiu as well as learning some history and culture.
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This weekend in Chengdu we went to the Giant Panda Base.
After “warm tips” to go as early as possible before the big crowds we arrived at 8:30 am. Upon entering the Giant Panda Base you’re immediately struck by the serenity and beauty. The whole area contains 16 different enclosures all containing pandas. The largest number of panda’s in captivity can be seen here with over 113 panda’s being born at the base since it opened in 1998.
When we first saw a panda in the base we were amazed, they are truly special creatures. The first panda we saw was sat in his dinner – literally surrounded by bamboo. We watched him for a long time slowly eating his way through the mountain of food that surrounded him.
Everywhere we turned we could see pandas. Some climbing to the tops of tall trees, others laying back relaxing. The pandas seemed to be enjoying themselves snapping off bamboo and some even playing with each other.
We then headed to see the red panda’s, whilst not as famous as the giant panda’s, their little red cousins are still adorably cute. The red pandas were much more active running around climbing trees and playing.
After seeing the animals and exploring the park we headed to the Museum for some more facts on pandas. Learning that the base has improved the survival rate of twins from 50% to 100% as in the wild mothers discard the weaker of twins, there is also a 50% chance of a panda having twins so this has helped to greatly increase the population.
All in all, we had a fantastic time. Seeing the panda’s was definitely on everyone’s to do list whilst here in Chengdu and it did not disappoint.
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This weekend at Intern China Chengdu our team went to Dufu Cottage followed by a relaxing afternoon of Mahjong and Tea drinking.
Dufu is a very famous Chinese poet born in the 7th century. He resided in Chengdu for 4 years during the AnShan Revolution which led to him fleeing from his home town of LuoYang in Henan province. During his time in Chengdu he lived in a modest thatched cottage by the flower rinsing shores of the river in the west of Chengdu.
It is here he is said to have been most prolific in terms of his output of poetry, writing over 240 poems. Taking in the scenery in this beautiful area of Chengdu it is easy to see where he got his influence and motivation for writing such an great number of poems.
In the grounds of Dufu’s Cottage you can see a wide variety of blossoming plants as well as a wide range of classic architecture and buildings. Including the famous hut by the river where Dufu would spend his days gazing over the river watching the wildlife.
After walking the grounds at the cottage and getting some fantastic Sichuan food for lunch we headed to a Mahjong house near to WenShu Monastery.
When arriving at the Mahjong house we chose a room with a view over the street, in hindsight this probably wasn’t the greatest idea. This being my first time playing I was amazed by the table at which we were playing. It had an in built shuffling device, contained two sets of tiles and also an under table heater to keep our feet warm.
After being taught the rules by the rest of the IC Chengdu team we began to play. Let’s just say it didn’t go too well for myself but we were having fun.
During our time playing the passing locals seemed shocked and amazed at the foreigners playing Mahjong. Asking if we knew how to play, taking photos. One gentleman even took it upon himself to stand by our table for 20mins offering instructions. Including getting animated if any of us were to do one thing even slightly wrong.
All in all it was a great day out, relaxing enjoying 3 hours of Mahjong and the serenity and tranquility of Dufu’s cottage made for a great Saturday in Chengdu.
Inspired to come to Chengdu? Apply NOW!
This weekend in Chengdu our interns took a visit to the famous Wenshu Monastery. Upon arrival, the beauty of the buildings stunned us. From the towering peace pagoda to the stunning halls, the architecture amazed us all.
Upon entering the monastery, you notice its layout in the traditional Chinese style. Wenshu is made of 5 south facing halls in a row leading up to the stunning main hall at the far end from the entrance. In classic Chinese style there was maintenance underway including this man precariously perched atop scaffolding on wheels using a jet wash to clean the beams.
Having toured the grounds of the monastery we headed outside to an antiques market. Here we found old communist memorabilia, including the famous little red book, and Mao-ist propaganda amongst other treasures. One vendor was sat outside his shop playing his guitar as his dog kept an eye on the passers by.
After looking around the monastery and the antiques market we headed back towards the temple grounds in search of some food.
The surrounding area to the monastery is home to some of the most famous food in Sichuan. Not ones to miss the opportunity to eat, we jumped in the line of a famous restaurant. The restaurant was packed full with no space to sit. Upon ordering our TianShuiMian (this restaurants famous dish) we managed to find a spot to sit and dug into to this amazing delicacy. Our interns loved the sweet and spicy contrast to these amazing hand made noodles!
After sampling this delight we wanted more and headed to another famous spot near the metro station. As is the case with all well-known eateries in China, this place also had a queue out the front. This time we were queuing for Guo Kui. The menu offered Beef, Pork, Pig’s Snout, Pigs Ear, Noodles and other delights to fill this delightful pastry pocket. I personally chose the pig’s snout, which didn’t disappoint.
Having filled our stomachs with great food and our eyes with fantastic scenery we all headed off. On the way back we stopped by Tianfu Square, right in the middle of the city to snap some pictures and take in our surroundings. All in all a great day out!
Interested in visiting Wenshu Monastery and trying some Sichuan cuisine? Apply now!
Early on Saturday morning our interns from the Chengdu branch headed out on the train for Leshan. The forecast suggested it would snow; a rare sight in Sichuan Province, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.
After getting off the train at Leshan, we took a short taxi ride to the Leshan Buddha and surrounding area. After paying our admission fee and entering through the gates, the beauty and the attraction on show stunned us!
Whilst it may be expected that it is just the Buddha on show at Leshan, there is in fact a whole array of statues and monuments to be admired. We started by ascending the mountain up to a look out point over the rivers beneath, where there was a fantastic view over the valley below.
After a short walk through a forested area we ended up at a pagoda standing tall at the top of a wide staircase. When we reached the foot of the pagoda we could see a few Buddhists walking around the square base reciting prayers.
We then headed towards the Giant Buddha taking in the sights as we walked through beautiful lily ponds full of Koi fish gracefully gliding through the water. At the head of the Buddha there was a giant bell being rung by a monk to ward off evil.
After briefly pausing at the top of the Buddha we headed towards the temple at the top of the mountain. Inside the temple were lots of people paying their respect to Buddhist figures, burning incense and leaving offerings.
Then it was time for the main event.
The Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha stands a giant 71m tall and looks over the confluence of the rivers Dadu and Min. Which eventually flow in the giant Yangtze river. The Dadu starts its journey in the Tibetan plateau before winding its way through Kanding. Then onto Leshan eventually ending up in the East China Sea. This towering structure was built between 700-803 AD and contains an elaborate drainage system in order to prevent weathering.
After a short fact file by myself to prepare the interns for what was ahead, we made our way to the top of the stairs, which descend down the cliff face beside the Buddha. This allowed us to get a true feeling for the scale of the massive structure. Descending our way down was the perfect opportunity to capture some fantastic pictures before reaching the bottom. We took our time, and stood at the feet of the world’s largest pre-modern statue, capturing some images and enjoying the roars from the rivers below.
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Written by Sylvia Liu
It’s been a bit over a month now since I first began my internship experience in Chengdu with InternChina, and I can easily say that this experience is definitely one that will be remembered!
Having travelled to many other Chinese cities before, Chengdu is a breath of fresh air; not literally however, but rather in the sense of its pace of life.
Chengdu meanders peacefully through each day; while other cities rush and are filled with spontaneity. That’s not to say Chengdu is less developed economically, quite the contrary! Just as its numerous shopping centres, nightlife and still expanding public transport systems like to prove.
Personally I have found the pace of life charming. I have enjoyed spending my Sundays temple-seeing, sipping tea at monasteries, and nibbling on sunflower seeds while listening to the indistinct chatter of Sichuanese.
Food has also held a prominent role in my time here! You will be hard pressed to find a restaurant who won’t serve at least a bowl of chilli with the famous Sichuan Peppercorns along with your meal.
The old streets of Chengdu, the majority located in the inner South West of the city, are a delight to walk through. There is plenty of opportunity to snack on the delicious street food, while being surrounded by traditional architecture permeating with historical significance.
I believe that there is knowledge that can only be learned from doing an internship in China. In particular cultural proficiency, which is always a handy skill to have even if one does not pursue a career in international business.
Some of the more interesting tasks I’ve done at the company have included researching the potential of incorporating blockchain technology with gaming, as well as game testing for current beta projects.
The employees at the company are all very inclusive, and it is interesting to gain insight into general Chinese organisational culture. The food options available at lunch are an additional highlight of the workday. The local 7-Eleven is frequented often for its lunchtime pick-and-mix boxes!
The people I have met in Chengdu have been the best part of my internship yet. Being able to meet people from all over the world through my internship in Chengdu is something I’m grateful for. I always look forward to spending time with the other interns or going to events organised by InternChina, such as Thursday Dinner, or even weekend activities outside the city.
I can say with no doubt that it is the people I have met here that make this trip the enjoyable experience it has been!
Interested in seeing everything that Sylvia has during her time in Chengdu? Then apply now!
Nun neigt sich auch der Herbst in China seinem Ende und es wird kühler.
Aus diesem Grund mussten wir einfach noch die Gelegenheit ergreifen einen der bedeutendsten Orte des Taoismus hier in Sichuan zu besuchen. Der Berg Qingcheng war unser Ziel.
Unsere Reise begann um kurz nach 9Uhr. Von der Xipu Station in Chengdu haben wir für 10kuai pro Fahrt, 45 Minuten den Komfort des chinesischen Reisens genießen dürfen bevor wir in Qingcheng vom Zug auf einen Bus wechselten. Nachdem wir ein kleines Dorf hinter uns gelassen hatten, erstreckte sich nach wenigen Minuten bereits der Eingang mit einem kleinen Wanderpfad den es für die kommenden 4 Stunden zu beschreiten galt.
Zugegebenermaßen: Der Anfang war noch recht einfach, auch für die weniger Wander-geübten.
Unser Weg führte uns jedoch schon bald Bergauf. Manche der Stufen waren steiler, manche kürzer als Andere, weswegen man durchaus auf seine nächsten Schritte achten musste. Die Landschaft die sich uns auf dem Weg bot war nicht nur wunderschön sondern auch sehr idyllisch. Entlang mehrerer Wasserfälle und Bäche, an Felswänden vorbei, über Brücken, Stege und ab und an sogar unter riesigen, heruntergefallenen Felsen hindurch. Qingchengshan bot uns wirklich eine abwechslungsreiche Landschaft.
Nach ca. 2 Stunden hatte ein Großteil der sich bis dahin aufgespaltenen Gruppe einen der Knotenpunkte des Berges erreicht. Von hier aus stand es einem jeden frei ob er entweder den Weg zu Fuß, oder mit der Seilbahn fortführen wollte. Ein Großteil der Gruppe entschied sich tatsächlich für die erste Option, was nichts anderes bedeutete als 2 weitere Stunden Treppen zu steigen. Der andere Teil der Gruppe bevorzugte die komfortablere aber auch kostenintensivere Variante: die Seilbahn.
Am oberen Ende der Seilbahn angekommen ging es dann für beide Gruppen auf zur letzten Etappe. 457 Stufen sollten noch erklommen werden bis der „Tempel der weißen Wolken“ in 1260 Metern Höhe erreicht war. In Anbetracht der schwindenden Kräfte musste hierfür zwar nochmal sämtliche Motivation gebündelt werden, der Ausblick und das Gefühl es dann doch endlich geschafft zu haben war es aber mehr als wert!
Der perfekte Ort um sich auszuruhen, neue Kräfte zu sammeln und die Aussicht zu genießen.
Nun stand uns aber der Abstieg bevor, welcher zwar in weniger Zeit zu bewältigen war aber hinsichtlich der bereits müden und beanspruchten Bein-, Waden-und Gesäßmuskeln nur in geringem Maße weniger anstrengender war als der Aufstieg.
In jedem Fall ein Workout der anderen Art! Das perfekte Ausflugsziel für jeden der seine Beine und seinen Po in wunderschöner Natur trainieren möchte!
你们好 once again aus dem wunderschönen Chengdu! Wer glaubt, dass es sportlich außer Tischtennis und Badminton in China nichts weiter zu sehen gibt, der wird hier eines besseren belehrt. Im September 2016 fand das ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Turnier von Chengdu das erste mal überhaupt statt! Mit ein paar anderen Praktikanten hatten wir es geschafft uns Karten für das Halbfinale zu besorgen.
Wer die organisierten Deutschen liebt wird in China schnell enttäuscht werden. “Organisierte” Großveranstaltungen wirken oft zusammengewürfelt oder wie ein Kartenhaus, welches jeden Moment einstürzen könnte. Wir hatten uns an dem Tag also auf ein Abenteuer vorbereitet. Doch außer der Taxifahrt, die jedes Mal aufs neue ein Abenteuer ist und uns diesmal bis an die Grenze der Stadt führte an der sich das Station befand, wäre jeder Deutsche stolz gewesen. Vom Kartenverkauf bis zum verlassen des Stadions verlief alles reibungslos.
Die Stadionanzeige meldete 27 Grad und die Sonne prallte auf den Platz. Ich muss zugeben, ich bin kein Tennis-Experte, dennoch würde ich diese Veranstaltug jedem Sportbegeisterten ans Herz legen. Selbst ein ungeschultes Auge wie meines konnte das hohe Niveau auf dem Platz und die Begeisterung der Fans bei so manch einem Ballwechsel spüren. Das Stadion war zwar bei weitem nicht ausverkauft, worunter die Atmosphäre aber keineswegs litt. Zwischen den beiden hoch intensiven Spielen hatte man die Möglichkeit sich Getränke oder Autogramme zu besorgen. Das zweite Halbfinale war an Spannung kaum zu überbieten was sich in der Spielzeit von über drei Stunden widerspiegelte.
Alles in allem kann ich nur wiederholen, dass ich nicht nur Fans ein solches Turnier ans Herz legen würde.
You think this is weird? Welcome to China!
When I talk to my family and friends back home, either on Skype or on Whats App Call (such a genius invention!), they often ask me what is life in China is like. They want to know what the differences are between everyday life here compared to life back home. They want to know what the weather is like, how the food tastes, how many people were on the metro this morning, how much you pay for clothes and what the city looks like between the skyscrapers. They are generally very curious about what people in Chengdu are like. I always try my best to answer their questions in as much detail as possible, but I often find that there are some things about China you just cannot explain. You have to experience them yourself. Still, I would like to share some of my “What China is really like” knowledge with you and tell you a bit about what I experience here every day.
Living in China’s food capital, Chengdu, it almost certainly means putting on some weight. However, for some reason this seems to be quite surprising for people at home. “In China they eat so healthy and they have lots of vegetables so how is this even possible?”. What they do not understand is, the food here is simply amazing and there are just so many new dishes to try that you do not want to miss out on anything! If your Chinese friends invite you over for dinner or want to take you on a city food tour to introduce their favourite dishes to you, you do not want to offend them by saying no. Luckily, there are quite a lot of gyms here in Chengdu…
It is very common to share dishes here in China so when you have lunch together you often order several dishes that are served in the middle of the table so everybody can help themselves. If you are invited for dinner you can be certain that your host has prepared one dish per person. That might sound like a lot of work (and I am sure it probably is) but if you think about the concept of sharing dishes this actually makes sense. Your host can be sure that no one goes hungry and as a guest you are able to enjoy a variety of dishes rather than just one. Just think about all those times that you spent dreading the food at Western parties, but had to put on a brave face in order to please your host…
Direct English translations of Chinese dishes may sometimes sound, well, a little exotic and slightly misleading. I do not mean this in a negative but in a positive way. One of my favourite dishes is 鱼香茄子 , translated to “Fish flavoured eggplant”. If I had known this before I tried it I would have probably thought twice about eating it. But don’t judge a book by its cover (or in this case a dish by its name)!
One of the most striking things I noticed about China when I first arrived here was the fact that it is always incredibly loud. Of course this is somewhat normal for a big city but there is a difference between big city noise in China and big city noise in the rest of the world. This is probably because the Chinese love all kinds of entertainment so there are always various radio or TV programmes on all at the same time. Display screens are literally everywhere.
The traffic here is also super loud. Not just because there are so many cars but because everybody, particularly taxi drivers, seems to love honking their car horns for no apparent reason. After more than three months of living here I have come to the conclusion that this is probably not the unfriendly “get out of my way why did they even give you a driver’s license!” kind of honking you often find in the West, but more like a way of communicating. After living in China for a while you just blend out the noise and it becomes normal.
If you are feeling unwell here in China you often hear “just rest and drink hot water”, as if this was some sort of miracle cure to make all kinds of pain disappear immediately. You know what? It works! This may seem totally weird to Westerners and I must admit I felt a bit strange about it as well when I was first given this piece of advice. After all, if you want a hot drink why not just drink tea or coffee? but just like with all things in life, this is something you’ll eventually get used to. Drinking hot water is actually really good for you!
If you are a foreigner like me, get used to people whispering “Wooow, beautiful” when you walk by. Even if you actually look your ‘worst’ on that day. It gives your ego a nice boost and I often cannot help but think how nice it would be if people at home did the same. At least to some Chinese people I look like a top model, so I do not have to worry about make-up and clothes all that much. I am not sure how many family albums or WeChat moments my picture has graced so far but it must be a lot. I often ask myself what people do with the photos after having taken them but I guess I´ll never find out. All that remains to say then is: Happy snapping!
Last but not least, some of my “top weird China experiences ” :
- One morning, when I stepped in the elevator there was a young gentleman on a ladder trying to change the light bulb. I was slightly confused and wanted to take the other lift but the repairman apparently thought that this was not necessary. He asked me to just ignore him and kept on working while the lift was going up and down…
- When I took an overnight train, people tried to sell me singing fish and toe clippers.
- There are no seat belts in taxis’ in Chengdu.
- Chinese song covers of popular Western pop songs are extremely funny.
- There are cars with only three wheels.
- There are so many things Chinese people manage to stack on their bikes…
- No limit on where you can sleep in China – everywhere is a possibility.
- Shops or restaurants vanish over night.
- Two days later there’ll be a new shop in it’s place.
- There are employees for literally everything.
- Some buildings have elevators just for scooter drivers.
If you want first hand China experience, apply now!
…and suddenly it is 2016 and my China adventure is over!I definitely learned a lot within the last 5 months. Not only did I gain a lot of experience within the working life, I also met people from across the world, and got around in a country without speaking the language.
I arrived in Chengdu at night time and the Anshun bridge was one of the first things I saw during my first night. I think, I stopped every 10m to take a picture from a different angle.
Living in a country with over 1 billion people, 7 major different dialects, and a culture completely different than the one I grew up in was interesting, challeging and exciting. It was also a lot of fun though because I never knew what the next day was going to bring.
During my internship I co- organized a trip to Kangding which is approx. 8h away from Chengdu. A group of 12 people went on the trip and it was absolutely amazing. It was the first time in a while that I had seen a blue sky, and it was the very first time ever I was over 4,000 metres above sea level and climbed up a mountain. The view was absolutely breathtaking and it was a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
I was also very delighted when I got to see the Giant Buddha in Leshan because in 1996 it was listed one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The area around the Buddha looked absoluely mystical the day we visited it because it was kind of foggy. Leshan is only 2h away from Chengdu and it is just amazing how much cultural sites the Sichuan province has to offer.
I really enjoyed using my weekends, travelling outside of Chengdu but also spending a lot of time within the city, exploring it and definitely eating a lot of local dishes. My most favourite dish which I probably ate once a week, was handmade noodles with potatoes, vegetables and a small amount of meat. I would have never thought about eating noodles and potatoes in one dish but now that my time is China is coming to an end, I don’t know what I will do without this dish in my future. Generally, the variety of food and its prize in China absolutely amazed me. I no longer want to cook at home because it so cheap and convenient to just get noodles down the road.
I am really thankful for the opportunity the InternChina team has given me and the things I have learned during my marketing internship. I know exactly what I want to do in life but as for now, it is time to say goodbye to the crazy, the different, the lovely, the very unique China!
If you are struggling with what to do next, if you want to get your ducks in a row, get out of your comfort zone, widen your horizon, don’t be afraid to try something new and apply here for a life changing experience.