中国美术学院（象山校区）China Academy of Art (Xiangshan Campus)
We were brought to China Academy of Art (Xiangshan Campus) to be immersed in a rich arts, culture, and design experience within its campus.
First off, the architecture and design of the campus buildings are all so inspirational, as if it is there to remind and motivate the students. Furthermore, the surroundings of the buildings are particularly calming, quaint, and alluring; they remind me of what the scenic views that were portrayed in ancient Chinese movies I used to see on television. True to its name, the buildings and its surroundings were tastefully and artistically constructed in a way that is reflective of the rich Chinese culture and heritage.
Secondly, there was a graduate projects exhibition going on, quite like the capstone projects exhibition we have here back in SUTD, but on a much larger scale with much larger varieties of projects. These projects are all design-related, and they range from industrial design product-focused types to artistic expression types to architecture projects. Kudos to some of them, who had won design awards as well.
西湖 West Lake
How could any mention of Hangzhou not include the world-acclaimed Xi Hu of Hangzhou? As I was part of the last batch of students to arrive to Hangzhou for ALP, I had missed the buddy day visit to Xi Hu. Because of how iconic Xi Hu is, it would be a lie, almost, to say that I’ve visited Hangzhou without visiting Xi Hu – what more to even mention that I stayed there for 3 months. The scenery around Xi Hu reminds me somewhat of palace backyards with huge lakes during ancient times commonly portrayed in the all too familiar 武侠片 martial arts films. The architecture of the buildings too, are all constructed with a common theme in mind to fit the scenery. We would probably need at least a week to explore everything around Xi Hu by foot, but at least I am familiar with Xi Hu enough to bring my mum around later when she comes to visit.
The tastiest 臭豆腐 smelly tofu I had eaten in China so far was near Xi Hu, her exact location undisclosed because we were led by its smell rather than by sight. A good smelly tofu, as my more experienced (I had never tried it prior to this trip) friends had shared with me, is one that you can smell it before you even see the stall. And we almost missed it, because this unassuming old lady was managing her humble set-up of a stall in one of the small alleys, just outside where she stays I assumed. You know its legit good food when you see charcoal as the source of fuel for the burner used to heat up the wok of oil. The fried tofu can then be dressed up in a choice selection of accompaniments which customers are free to take however much they want. Aside from the standard usual spring onions and chili paste, there was another sauce provided which is more commonly seen elsewhere in road side 小吃 street snack stalls like Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and maybe even Singapore, but not so much in China from what I’ve observed. Its taste is very familiar, almost like the chee cheong fun sauce we are used to but it is more like its saltier sibling.
It’s sad that I have to end here while you were engrossed with my post, salivating at my description of the smelly tofu I had but as we all know, good times always have to come to an end.