ALP – Day 0

22 May

By Guan Rong (Theme 1 – Product Design: design concepts)

Firstly, I apologize for this super delayed post hahaha. I just got my VPN up so please bear with my previous posts starting from day 0 : p But here goes!

Still dead tired and recovering from SUTD Might & Magic orientation, day 0 started off with a last round of frantic packing for me. While my mom boiled some herbal soup and cooked up a yummy meal, I was cooking up my own storm in my room with clothes, toiletries and documents flying everywhere. However, minutes before we were supposed to leave, I eventually managed to get my luggage closed after jumping on it,  just as my mom was done cooking. After a quick 15min meal, I changed up and we were off to the airport.

Though I was in quite a panicky mode since I was late, I was immediately calmer the moment I walked into the airport and saw all the familiar faces around me! Some of my friends quickly told me where to go whilst others helped me along with my luggage, and I was settled and checked in within minutes (: whew! The day’s drama was over for me, but not for some of our friends!

1) Nishard getting stuck at the airport in the morning because he didn’t have HK Visa D:

2) Asmidah almost getting stuck because her name was spelt wrongly on her e-ticket! (no, not even her name. Her Dad’s name!)

3) Our luggage getting sent to Hong Kong airport instead of Hang Zhou airport. This caused such a big delay during the transfer that we only got our boarding passes barely 30+min before departure time! D:

However, the best memory of today would still be number 4:

4) Getting sent off by our whole troupe of 2-2 classmates 😀 And other friends as well! You guys rock. love yall! We’re gonna miss you all over here!!

But alas! We finally reached Hangzhou airport despite a delay in our second transfer flight, and we were greeted by two Zhejiang Uni students holding up SUTD signs for us! Somehow it makes you feel so important and welcome when you have someone holding up a namecard calling for you at the airport xD After a role call by Swee Hock, and another hour plus long ride to the hotel, we finally reached our home for the next 3.5 months:

Presenting- Zijingang Hotel, welcoming us with a hugee welcome e-banner 😀  (see the red scrolling signage in the picture) Really so awesome of them.

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It was already around 1am by then for those of us who took the second flight, so we all crashed on our super awesome comfy beds, ending off day 0!

15th May: Free and easy!

NISHARD JOINS US! (:

Flew here direct with no transfer on jet star!

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Today, other than settling the opening of our bank accounts with Bank of China and collecting our SIM cards that we had ordered the day before, we were allowed to go roam the rest of the day in our own time! After sleeping in till quite late (Still tired from the late night on day 0!), a group of us started off the day by heading out to check out the nearby shops along the streets.

First we went to find out more about the bicycle rental service just 100m down from our hotel.

Hi matt!

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However, we were informed that we needed to get a public transportation card (Somewhat like our ez-link cards) from another place, in order to use the bike rental service. Hence, we still ended up travelling on foot for the rest of the day 😮

Some photos from the streets!

Some of the residential areas around the area. Not bad!

Excited chin wen

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They almost have as many bubble tea shops as in Taiwan!

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More street food: 手抓饼, something like a chinese version of roti prata. We added egg so it became egg prata! Plus some vege and sauce (optional)

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and much more food like some kimchi pancake and seasoned potatoes (We have since found out that the street guy not only does free delivery for no minimum order (even just one single serving!), but even has his own website!!! :O :O :O Talk about entrepreneurship :P)

However, we still ended up craving for some familiar food in the end and stopped at a western food joint for our lunch, where we had some pizza and pasta and salads, with a dash of hilarious translations.

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After walking around some more, we returned to Zijingang hotel to collect our phone cards and settle our bank accounts. While we took turns going to the bank, the rest of us relaxed in Chin Wen and Nishard’s room watching movies from a whole range that our TV provided 😀 (movies ranged from super horrible movies like one called alien vs avatar that was so bad it was so funny, to good movies like john carter, ted, clash of titens etc and pitch perfect that we ended up watching. Better variety and quality than SQ shows! And it even refreshes itself every few days :o).

Nishard the merman.

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After everyone was done, the whole troupe of 12 of us headed off to find some good shopping and dinner! We walked for about 15-20min before reaching this huge mall that had walmart, and also a famous eatery that we had heard about,  called 外婆家 (Wai4 Po2 Jia1)。It was pretty easy to find, because we actually heard it before we saw it. It was blasting announcements calling out queue numbers, that went something like “xxx号,外婆和你吃饭咯!  xxx号,外婆和你吃饭咯! xxx号,外婆和你吃饭咯!  xxx号,外婆和你吃饭咯!…”and it just blasted noisily, over and over again till the person holding that queue number turned up. We were just about getting fed up with all the noise when they thankfully called us in to our seats. I wonder how the surrounding shops live with the racket!

But all the wait and tolerating the noise was worth it!!

For S$8 per person, we got a super super super yummy meal 😀

Here are some photos from the restaurant:

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After dinner, we took a stroll down a small river just by the mall. We had walked there intending to just catch some fresh air and take a stroll but we were pleasantly surprised as the walk offered more than we had expected!

Some beautiful artwork by the river:

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Honestly, it was a little bit scary walking down by the river because it was really dark and the path was quite narrow, with vegetation close by on both sides shrouding many areas in shadows. It didn’t help that some people started creating and spouting random urban myths and tales. However, I thankfully survived the walk (luckily we were in a big group…), and after making it to one end and back, we finally decided to call it a day and head back, so we braved a light but very chilly drizzle for another 20min walk back to the hotel.

Today was such a nice and relaxing day, exploring and learning more about Hangzhou, and more importantly, spending time with a group of awesome friends. I think it’s the company that makes mundane things fun, and the shared memories that really makes events meaningful! I realise that many of the things I have been doing would not actually have excited me at all had I heard I was going to explore it with some random tour group. However, with such a great group of friends by me, everything just becomes so much more exciting and I’m so blessed and hyped up about spending this next 3-4 months with such an awesome group of people 😀

The school has really taken care of us a lot, booking flight tickets, hotels for us, getting masks, insurance, jabs, medicine, washing machines for us, having staff, Provost, zhejiang friends take care, recce, liaise for us and so much more.

I heard that in other unis students have to book their own flight, accomodation and everything on their own!

So let’s appreciate everything the school has done for us, by making the best of this rare, wonderful opportunity, and rest well, learn well, expose ourselves more, work hard, explore harder, play hardest!

woohoo!!!!! (:

LaughCelebrateLoveSmile!

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