Category Archives: Houston

Thailand Trip Q&A

This February, Events & Adventures ventured out on a 14-day international trip to the exotic paradise of Thailand. What better way to learn about this amazing trip than hearing from the people that got to go on the adventure themselves?

We had a super fun Q & A with two of our members that joined Events & Adventures on our exciting Thailand trip: Rachel Wolfson from our Chicago Club and Susan Euing from our San Francisco Club. Here’s what they had to say about their time abroad with Events & Adventures:

Q: Have you ever been abroad before this trip?

R: Yes, but not with Events & Adventures. This was a first.

S: Yes, many times, but this was my first time with Events & Adventures.

 

Q: What was your favorite part of traveling with Events & Adventures?

R: My favorite part was meeting the different people from the other Events & Adventures locations and learning about Thailand from Natalie (our tour guide). It was fantastic exploring somewhere I had never been before.

S: The trip itinerary and it was a really great price!

 

Q: Out of all of the excursions you went on while in Thailand, which was your favorite and why?

R: I loved the floating river lodge. You got to be away from the rest of the world, no electricity, very peaceful while hearing the water underneath and relaxing overall. Also, we got to meet our first elephant, Wandi!

S: Personally, my favorite was the Hmong village. It was filled with very interesting people and culture.

 

Q: What was something unexpected that happened on the trip that left you pleasantly surprised?

R: When we got to play with baby tigers- they were so cute and surprisingly big at a month and a half old. I couldn’t believe the size of their paws at that age!

S: I had a wonderful and very compatible roommate. We are keeping up our new friendship even though we live two states away.

 

Q: Did you come back with any fun souvenirs?

R: A photo with frame (made out of recycled elephant dung) of one of my best friends from E&A and myself riding on U2, the elephant. We had lots of laughs on her and another elephant, as well as along the trip! Lots of great memories!

S: I bought a pig made out of rope for the year of the pig!

 

Q: If you could give someone going on Events & Adventures’s next Thailand trip a tip, what would it be?

R: Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before. And make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes; there are lots of stairs! Try sitting with someone new each time you are sitting on the way to one of the spots you are going to explore so you can get to know them! you never know what type of similarities you might have!

S: Bring more dressy clothes than  you think you’ll need and get a full-body Thai massage!

 

Susan and Rachel’s amazing memories prove you can create lasting bonds while traveling the world with Events & Adventures. We can hardly wait for our next journey to a faraway land!

What exhilarating vacation will you be joining us on? Will you be floating down the Amazon River with us in August or staying stateside in NYC during the Holiday Season in November?

The number one requirement to come along? Join Events & Adventures! When you do, you get to live a life you love!

AI and the Dating App

Artificial Intelligence Is Entering the Dating Scene

Over the last couple of years, Artificial Intelligence has started to appear in the dating app scene. With these new and “improved” apps, gone are the days of swiping. Now, data mining is the way of online dating future.

What are these Apps and What Do They Do?

The most prominent AI app stateside was created by Denver native, Kevin Teman. In an article published by 303 Magazine on April 4, Teman explains how his dating app hybrid works. His app, AIMM, is essentially Siri meets matchmaker. The app launched back in 2017 and has taken all of the techniques of dating apps, matchmakers, speed dating, and dating services to create a dating service hybrid.

Again, you talk to this app like you talk to Siri, answering questions like, “Tell me an embarrassing story about your childhood” then the app will analyze your answers, sort them into different personality categories, and introduce you to people on its own accord. It takes roughly a week for the app to “get to know you” if you use it for five to ten minutes a day.

So essentially, you’re dating a robot for a week so you can find a person you might have a connection with.

According to Mashable’s article, “What Will Online Dating Look Like in 2030?,” across the pond in the UK, Loveflutter, is their AI dating app equivalent. This app matches people based on personality traits it decodes from each person’s tweets. The founders also plan to use AI to coach Loveflutter users on where to meet offline after analyzing their chats with matches.

In the future, these apps may dive even deeper into our phone data and start using information like if you pay your bills on time (or at all), what websites you visit (or shows you binge watch), your camera roll, and how much you exercise (thanks FitBit.)

Is This Too Good to Be True? (Most Definitely)

At first, this shiny new approach to modern dating looks pretty nice. Why wouldn’t we want help weeding out people we probably won’t have compatibility with? And we can do it from the comfort of our couches? Win-win.

However, when you take off the cupid-inspired rose colored glasses of technology-fueled romance, you’ll realize that the founders of these apps don’t have an end goal of people’s happiness; they want people to use their services, not leave them.

As Jean Meyer, the founder and CEO of European dating app Once said in Mashable’s article,

 “The dating industry has zero incentive to create this perfect matching algorithm […] The optimum for a dating service is to show you profiles of people that might be good enough, but not perfection. People who you go on dates with, and then after two, three dates you realize it won’t work out and you go back to the app.”

In the long run, these developments in technologically-fueled dating services will result in more disappointment and discouragement for their users than anything else. Why not spend your time investing in your life and happiness than using newer and nicer apps that are being programmed to sabotage the fulfilling experience of finding meaningful relationships?

Events & Adventures is the Best Alternative to AI

Events & Adventures uses the greatest strategy of all to introduce people. It creates daily opportunities for you to meet actual people (yes, humans) while doing fun and interesting activities. You develop friendships and lasting relationships by getting to know people that want to take a step back from their phones and enjoy their lives.

Do you want to know what’s even better about Events & Adventures? If you meet someone, we consider that a success story, not a loss. We’ve done our job if you find someone special. What makes a better story anyways, meeting your person while jumping out of a plane or while staring at your phone screen? It’s time to cut out the electronic middleman and live a life you love with Events & Adventures.

Dating App Experiment

The Dating App Experiment

The Dating App Experiment

As a single staff member of one of the Events & Adventures clubhouses, I decided to do a bit of an experiment with myself. Like a lot of people, I’m a dating app user; as a person dating in the 21st century it often feels like there aren’t many other options. As a simultaneous member of Events & Adventures, I started to compare and contrast my experiences with my online relationships and the ones I was seeing develop at Events & Adventures.

I’ve been on the classic apps like Tinder and Bumble and have tried some of the more obscure apps like Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel. They each have different layouts and specialties that make them seem like lights at the end of a tunnel filled with fellow singles. In the end, each app seems to turn out to have a similar end: possible dates and little connection.

 

The Findings

Dating apps turned the very real and emotional experience of dating into a very numb and robotic game. I’ve found myself mindlessly swiping through people without even looking at them. The sensation of matching with someone seems to create more of an endorphin boost than an actual opportunity for a true connection.

I’ll never forget when I matched with a guy and mentioned meeting up for dinner with him pretty quickly, trying to bypass the small talk and make something out of a match that seemed promising. He agreed, we set a time and location. The next morning, he was gone. He deleted our match and seeing as that was the only form of contact I had with him, there was no way of getting in touch to see what happened.

The experience stung, but a part of me accepted it because we hadn’t even met. How could I hold this guy accountable when he was only a picture on a screen?

I’ve gone on my fair share of actual dates through these apps too. I’ve even been in short-term relationships with some of the men I’ve meet. The large majority of the time the connection I thought I had with these guys online didn’t come through in person. If we did actually have something in common, there seemed to be a pressure to put a definition on whatever we had right away, which ended up scaring one of us away. When you make dating the primary focus of any activity, there’s an expectation of trust and vulnerability almost instantly. How can you put that kind of pressure on someone you barely know?

Having heard friends express similar frustrations, I know I’m not alone in my dating app woes. I even hear us wondering aloud if there is something wrong with us because of our lack of success.

 

The Solution

Having experienced Events & Adventures for the last six months, I honestly believe it’s not us but the online dating system that’s to blame. Unlike the forced nature of online dating, Events & Adventures creates an organic environment for members to have fun being themselves.

Are you filled with random facts or a board game connoisseur? You can guarantee there’s a trivia or game night coming up with Events & Adventures. More of a sports fan? Every club has at least one viewing party or pickup game on the books. Are you a whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, or adrenaline junkie—or do you want to be? Events & Adventures has you covered there, too.

And the best part? Other people are doing all of these things with you. You’ll be able to build connections with people that have similar interests and have the opportunity to see these same people on a weekly, or even daily basis, without having to plan the get togethers yourself.

All of the romantic relationships I’ve seen develop between Events & Adventures members have come out of the weeks and months they have spent together at Events & Adventures events. When people have the chance to develop friendships, those friendships turn into trust, and that trust can very easily blossom into something more substantial like commitment and love.

Our members have the chance to cultivate relationships with each other without having to worry about defining their experiences, romantic or otherwise, because that’s not what Events & Adventures is about. Our goal is to help people live a life they love, and that definition is different for everyone.

As a self-proclaimed wallflower, I’ve really had the chance to soak up all of the wonderful benefits Events & Adventures provides its members. In a world so fueled by instant gratification, Events & Adventures slows things down and gives its members the change to enjoy their lives with friends, new and old. So why keep staring at a dating app filled with what-ifs and maybes and come have some promised fun with Events and Adventures? You never know where it might lead until you give it a try!

the peru trip

The Peru Trip with Events & Adventures Houston

Journey to Peru with Events & Adventures Houston

Events & Adventures Houston had the experience of a lifetime as they ventured to Peru for a 10 day excursion. So much was in store for the members on this Peru trip, including a visit to Machu Picchu, several nights in the amazing city of Cusco and even a three-day trek through Peru’s Andes Mountains. Members were able to escape the mundane and immerse themselves in the fascinating culture of Peru. Every detail of this journey was planned and ready to go, members simply had to get on the plane and brace themselves for an adventure they’d never forget.

Members departed the states from Miami International Airport, heading straight for the Peruvian Andes. After the long flight, they arrived in Cusco, a beautiful city known for its archeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. The members were met by their Peruvian trip staff and tour guides, who brought them to their 4 star hotel. Everyone had a quick meet and greet while tasting Coca leaf tea, a traditional Peruvian drink that introduced them to the culture.

The next few days were spent exploring the city of Cusco and its incredible surroundings

Members enjoyed a tour of the main square, colonial churches and local markets. After everyone was adjusted to the high elevation of over 11,000 feet, they ventured outside city limits to visit the Inca Ruins. Many site-seeing opportunities presented themselves at Sacsayhuaman (temple of the Lightning), Qenqo (ceremonial place), Tambomachay (temple of the water and Coricancha (the temple of the sun).

After spending several days in Cusco and visiting the village of Pisac, it was time for the Lares Inca Trail trek through Peru’s Andes Mountains. This was a fun and exhilarating experience for the members as they got to scale mountaintops and catch a stunning view of some of the famous glacial mountain peaks up to 5,750 meters in height.

Towards the end of their Peru trip, members visited Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains. They arrived early in the morning so they could witness a breathtaking sunrise over the majestic stronghold. After a guided tour through the complex, some of the members took a hike up Montana Mountain for an amazing view back down to Machu Picchu ruins and the surrounding area.

Although this challenging hike was not for the faint of heart, the rewarding view was well worth the journey

The 10 day Peru trip ended where it began, in the city of Cusco. The members were given a farewell group dinner at a beautiful restaurant in the city. This was their last chance to sample Peruvian cuisine, experience more music and culture from the Andes and socialize with fellow members. In the end, this amazing adventure in Peru was an unforgettable experience that left the members in awe. The group formed lasting friendships and will always remember this special trip that they spent together. Only with Events & Adventures can you enjoy a spectacular international adventure that you don’t even have to plan yourself. You never know where we’re going next!

Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl Party with Events & Adventures Houston

This Year’s Super Bowl Party Was One to Remember for Events & Adventures Houston Members

Whether it’s for the game itself or the commercials, the Super Bowl is one of the most anticipated events of the year. It’s a time for friends and family to come together and celebrate with food, drinks and good old competition. Events & Adventures Houston members got to experience a Super Bowl Party like never before, partying at a house in the Heights with other fun-loving Events & Adventures members.

To go along with the big game, the event had several awesome activities in store for the members, including a party garage, corn hole, giant Jenga, beer pong, free cocktails and, of course, a super feast. Saint Arnold Brewing Company provided guests with complimentary beer, keeping their thirsts quenched for the entire night. Additionally, Railean Distillery provided spirits for the evening. Guests could cheer on their team either inside or outside, with two screening options to view the game.

What’s a Super Bowl Party without prizes?

Members got involved by participating in a football squares game, giving them the chance to win $25 gift cards each quarter. To raise the stakes, there was also a 4th quarter jackpot opportunity where one lucky member could take home a cash prize. Congratulations to Steven for being the lucky winner! Towards the end of the night, members got to wind down by roasting s’mores over an open fire pit.

Overall, this well-planned Super Bowl Party gave members the golden opportunity to make friends while enjoying the sports event of the year. The Events & Adventures Houston members got to join in on the preparation for the event by helping to cook food, set up decorations and prepare an amazing night for everyone. Although this wasn’t required of them, what better way to make friends than by coming together to create such a fun festivity?

This was the perfect event for brand new members

This get-together was coming off the heels of the monthly New Member’s Game Night, which took place the day before. During the game night, new members had the chance to get to know each other while playing games and eating a delicious spread of food, including briskets, pork shoulders, chicken, ribs and fajitas. They even got to show off their skills with a chili cook-off!

The New Member’s Game Night flowed smoothly into the Super Bowl Party the next day, as members had the chance to meet each other and get excited for the next great event. The Super Bowl Party was a great kick-off to an upwards of 30 events per month that Events and Adventures members get to enjoy.

trip to china

My Trip to China, by Events & Adventures Member Gustavo

Many people asked me, “Why do you want to take a trip to China?” Everyone knows the food is horrible, it’s crowded, and it has a lot of pollution. Regardless, my answer has always been the same—because I had never been there and I wanted to experience for myself how China is different from the countries that I have visited. And I can tell you, I do not regret it at all; China has been one of the most amazing trips that I have ever taken. It was different, it was magnificent, it was…simply amazing!

Let’s start with the language barrier. When you are trying to order food and you have no idea what you are ordering, basically you just go by the pictures or how it looks on the table. You just try it, because at the end of the day this is all about experiencing the unknown. When do you really get to eat something crazy, anyway? It was always good food; sometimes it was better than others but overall it was healthy.

We visited three different cities, and when I say different, I mean it. Beijing is a combination of an ancient city mixed with modern construction; the contrast between the styles of architecture was really clear. Xi’an is a smaller city but with a lot of people. It’s very crowded and there’s a lot of traffic, and despite it seeming more polluted than Beijing it still felt like an ancient city. Shanghai was just magnificent. It looks like a modern metropolis and has an amazing skyline with big, colorful buildings. It looks like what it represents–a cosmopolitan and important global center.

As far as sightseeing during my trip to China, the Great Wall just blew my mind!

This should come as no surprise, but what a hike. Obviously, there are no elevators or any easy ways up the wall. There are only stairs and all of them are different heights, sometimes narrow and sometimes very wide. We hiked through 12 separate forts built into the wall to make it to what we think was the top of the wall. Going up was challenging but going down was downright scary, you always want to make sure that you watch your every step.

We visited the Ming Tombs, the Sacred Way, the Temple Of Heaven, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Last Government Protected Historical Hutong District—all of in Beijing. In Xi’an we had the chance to visit the Terracotta Army, a Buddhist Temple, the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Xi’an City Wall. Finally, in Shanghai, with its spectacular skyline and impressive new architecture, we still got to enjoy the city’s old gardens and a town market where you can buy almost anything and bargain for everything.

I do not have a bucket list of the places that I want to visit—I just want to go everywhere. But before the trip, it was clear to me that China was one of those countries where I would go only with a group, and once again Events & Adventures did not disappoint. The trip was very well-organized from the beginning, the tour guides were terrific, and the staff was always trying to make sure everyone had a great time. I had the chance to make new friends that I had so much in common with and I am sure we will share more awesome adventures in the future. That was my trip to China!

shanghai adventure

A Shanghai Adventure Ends Our Amazing Trip to China

On Day 5 was the first day of our Shanghai adventure, but we were finally able to have a bit of a downtime before our afternoon flight there. The tour days are long and packed so it was nice to be able to relax at the hotel and visit a few local spots. It wasn’t too long before we arrived in Shanghai and met our local tour guide Allen, who was extremely knowledgeable about the city and gave us so much information on the way to our hotel.

The first evening in Shanghai was like a dream. Our tour guides offered a cruise on the Huangpu River, where we were situated in the boat’s VIP section. Being in the VIP meant we wouldn’t have to fight for good photos of the Shanghai skyline! The Huangpu River is considered a symbol of Shanghai, originating at Dianshan Lake and emptying into the Yangtze River at Wusongkou. It is 71 miles long and 437 yards wide and is ice-free year round. The river basically divides Shanghai into east and west. One spectacular sight is that the two suspension bridges, the Nanpu Bridge and the Yangpu Bridge, appear to arch over the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and is said to resemble “two dragons playing with a ball”.

The west bank of the Huangpu River is the cultural, residential and entertainment center of Shanghai. The Bund, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Waibaidu Bridge, and the oldest park in Shanghai, Huangpu Park, are located on the west bank. In addition, many historical buildings left over from Shanghai’s colonial days have been preserved. The east bank of the river (Pudong) is the newer district of Shanghai and is its financial and commercial hub. Steel and glass structures are abundant here. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, skyscraper hotels, offices, and malls of the Lujiazui Financial Zone are located on this side of the river.

Cruising on the Huangpu River has become a must for most visitors to Shanghai. The busy wharfs and the “three-layer waters (or three-color waters)” at Wusongkou are within sight while on the boat. The ‘three-layer waters’ are formed by the convergence of the Huangpu River (gray white), the Yangtze River (yellow), and the East Sea (green) during high tide. When the sun sets, the river is veiled in the glittery neon lights. The nighttime skyline of the city was definitely one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen.

Day 6 was our last full tour day of the trip as Day 7 was a free day. Our Shanghai adventure continued with a tour of the silk factory. China, and specifically Shanghai, is known for its silk and Suzhou is most famous place for silk producing. We learned about the entire lifespan of the silkworm followed by watching them make silk products.

After the silk factory we arrived at The Jin Mao Tower which is 420.5 m high, with altogether 88 stories and total construction area of 290,000 square meters. It is a perfect combination between the Chinese Traditional Architecture Style and the advanced building technologies of the modern world. Some of our members decided to try the Sky Walk—walking around the outside of the tower on the 88th floor attached to just a bungee rope. Don’t look down!

After exploring the views at The Jin Mao Tower we arrived at The Bund, which we had seen on the boat tour the evening before. It was a beautiful day for walking, exploring, and seeing that it is a boulevard lined with impressive neo-classical buildings. The Bund is the classic image of Shanghai and the city’s main attraction. Sweeping along the western side of the Huangpu River, the majestic building dates back to Shanghai’s grandest days. Many banks and financial companies built impressive offices here in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the financial capital of Asia.

After The Bund we decided to head to what they call the “Shanghai Bazaar”, the Yu Yuan Markets. It was packed as it just so happens it was a National Holiday in China called “Labour Day”. Here we were able to purchase a mish-mash of items including traditional Chinese arts and crafts and souvenirs, ornate chopsticks, Chinese medicine, walking sticks, fans, silk umbrellas, bamboo and rattan furniture, goldfish, pottery, and much more. We all did some shopping, had lunch on our own and then met up with everyone to go check out the Yu Yuan Gardens which was a stunning layout of beautiful pavilions, miniature lakes, bridges and rock formations.

After exploring the Yu Yuan Gardens we had time left over so our tour guide’s brought us to what is called The Shanghai French Concession. The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today’s Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan’s Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists. Xuhui is also ever popular for tourists and is home to Shanghai Stadium. The tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions in the area still retain an air of the “Paris of the East”. This place was a little bit of home to us as it had classic western food, draft beer and many people spoke English.

It was bitter sweet arriving at dinner that night knowing it was the last dinner together as the little family we had created on our travels! The friendships created, the memories made, and the laughter would be something that would last a lifetime. To travel with 42 strangers who would become like family was the most surreal experience of the trip. I had expectations going into this trip and this experience had exceeded them all.

The last day of our Shanghai adventure we had to ourselves to be able to explore whatever our hearts desired. Our tour guide Allen put together a tour of his home village of Suzhou, which they call the “Venice of China”. The city’s canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. Some of our members visited The Classical Gardens of Suzhou that were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000.

Other members visited Shanghai Disney which was only opened last June and is the biggest Disney in the world. They went on rides, ate food, bought souvenirs and had a blast seeing the differences between Disney US and Disney China. Some members went on food tours and ate things such as Szechwan tofu, lamb kebabs, crawfish and wok fired snake. Others checked out markets and museums.

Upon arrival back to the hotel we decided to go out as a group for one last dinner to close out our Shanghai adventure. We went to a French restaurant called Va Bene located in the French Concession that we had seen the day before. We ate the most delicious French cuisine, drank some wine, and reminisced over the past week of our China adventure. Shanghai adventure

Although there are some things I won’t miss, such as Squatty Potties, the smog, language barriers, and having to pay for water everywhere I go (just some of the luxuries we have living in the US and Canada), it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this amazing group of people that I did not know a week ago. Watching the dynamics of everyone come out of their shell from Day 1 to Day 7 was really great to see. The best thing about Events & Adventures is the lasting friendships created, the love connections that have flourished, and that we are all here for one purpose—to have an adventure of a lifetime. Until next time, whether it’s a Shanghai adventure or another amazing place across the world!

exploring china

Exploring China with Events & Adventures Members!

We started Day 3 of exploring China with a trip to the Beijing Zoo…and we got to see the pandas (amazing!), among many other animals, such as hyenas, monkeys, wolves, and many more. After the zoo we took an hour rickshaw tour to a 250-acre village of the Shichahai area, which is the most renowned historical and cultural quarter in Beijing. The ancient imperial mansions, celebrities’ residences, and the trendy boutiques and bars along the narrow alleys showcased both ancient and modern glamour of Beijing.

We experienced the local resident’s daily life by tracing the age-old hutongs (alleys) and courtyards. When we got there we went to visit a local family. While in their home we soon found out that the man of the house was actually an artist who has travelled to 35 countries showcasing his art. They told us about the village, told us some family history, and showcased some of the art work. We were also able to purchase signed artwork from the home studio itself.

After the rickshaw tour, we had to quickly go to the airport as we had an afternoon flight to our next destination—Xian! Upon arriving in Xian we met our local tour guide, Francis, who led us on a very informative tour of Xian on our way to dinner and the hotel. (Did I mention it was all you can eat & drink?) It was a short day for us as it was a travel day and a free night to recuperate. We would need the energy for our Day 4 trip to see another great Wonder of the World!

Day 4 of exploring China was our first full day in Xian. We had a jam-packed agenda as we leave tomorrow for Shanghai. We started our day at the Terracotta Workshop where they actually create the world-famous warriors. They use clay to mold the statues; they then put them in a kiln and bake them. The craftsmen let them bake for up to a few days depending on the size of the statue. Next they let them cool before painting them by hand. We also got to see the statues in the different steps of creation. After the workshop we were able to purchase our own warrior statues.

Once we had finished at the workshops, we ventured to the Terracotta Warriors Museum which is considered an “Eighth World Wonder”. The museum was founded in 1974 when villagers happened upon one of the world’s most astonishing archaeological findings—an 8,000 man army in battle ready formation, each warrior a life-size figure made over 2,200 years ago. When the warriors were found, people in the community thought it was a bad omen from the earth god and that a curse was coming. We explored three different pits, each showcasing a different size, style, and form of statue before grabbing lunch at a local restaurant nearby.

After lunch, we arrived at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which was built in 652 AD and is filled with many Buddha shrines, gardens, and courtyards. At the Pagoda there were many shops, filled with items for sale such as like Buddha statues, books, jewelry, incense, and much more. The whole courtyard smelled of incense with a huge pot containing all the incense sticks in the middle. We quickly went to explore the Xian city wall while we still had about a half-hour to kill before our show and dinner. The Xian wall runs 12 kilometers in length and features some very imposing guard towers. It also features a lamp post with a red drapery and a small dragon that outlines the city wall. You will find a mixture of old and new Chinese architecture along the wall, as you will exploring China in general.

We arrived at our nightly show, which this night was the Tang Dynasty show. The Tang Dynasty is distinguished as the most progressive and prosperous era in the history of China. The dances were traditional Chinese dances that gave thanks to prosperous seasons and weather. The costumes and the performances were simply stunning. After the show we were treated to a Dumpling Ceremony right in the theatre. Chinese dumplings are among one of the most famous dishes in Xian. Each dumpling is hand-wrapped and stuffed with a freshly prepared filling. Sweet, savory, vegetarian, meat-filled, fruit-filled, and many other flavours were available, each with its own unique design.

We continue exploring China tomorrow in the vast country’s largest metropolis—Shanghai! I, and all the members of Events & Adventures, can’t wait to see what’s in store for us there!

china trip

Events & Adventures China Trip Day 2

We started off the second day of our China trip by heading to the Temple of Heaven, which is ranked among the most famous structures in China. The temple was used several times annually when the emperor, bearing the hopes and sins of the Chinese people, humbled himself before heaven and performed rituals believed to ensure good harvests. It is a very popular place for retired Chinese folk to hang out, exercise, and play games such as hacky sack or cards.

From there we went to The Pearl Exhibition Centre were we learned a pearl’s life, how to tell the difference between a fake and a real pearl, and the different colours and sizes of pearls. We had lunch at a local restaurant and then went to Tiananmen Square, which covers 44 hectares and is the largest public square in the world. In the centre of the square are the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, where Mao Tse Tung’s embalmed body lies in state. The most recognizable feature of the Rostrum is Mao’s portrait–an almost required backdrop for any photo visitors may take of themselves. Often people go here to protest by lighting themselves on fire (true story) and you will find guards here standing near fire extinguishers.

Crossing Changan Avenue and directly behind the Rostrum is the entry to the Forbidden City, so called because it was off limits to commoners throughout the history of Imperial China. Commoners caught in the palace during this period were executed. The current construction was originally built between 1406 and 1420 by 100,000 artisans and a million labourers as a palace for the Ming and Qing Emperors; it lies on more than 178 acres and has more than 9,999 rooms (9 is a lucky number in China).

After the Forbidden City, the next stop for our China trip was the Academy of Chinese Medicine to get reflexology massages–which was much needed after the hike up The Great Wall yesterday! Both form Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and President Obama have been treated at this academy. We finished our evening at a kung fu show with acrobats, kung fu masters and a story of a boy who grew up to be a kung fu master. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for Events & Adventures!

visit china

Events & Adventures Members Visit China!

The chance for Events & Adventures members to visit China is finally here! Day 1 here in Beijing is winding down and it was nothing short of incredible! It was a jam-packed day full of adventure, laughter, and a lot of great new memories.

Our first stop of the day was The Sacred Way—referring to the road travelled to heaven—of the Ming Tombs. Our tour guide Frank was well-informed of the area’s history as he shared the meaning and significance of the many things we would see and experience. The pathway starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying near the entrance. It was constructed in 1540, during the Ming Dynasty, and is archway is the earliest and biggest stone archway in China.

The pathway is lined with stone statues which are considered crucial decorations to the mausoleum. These statues include 12 human figures, including a general, civil officials, and meritorious officials, and 24 animals, including lions, camels, elephants, xiezhis (a mythological unicorn), horses, and qilin, which is one of the four “divine animals”. The other three divine animals are the dragon, phoenix, and tortoise. There are four of each of the animals, two standing and two squatting, each implying a different meaning.

We learned that the lion symbolizes awesome solemnity because of their ferocity. The camels and elephants suggest the vastness of the territory controlled by the court because of their dependability in places like the desert and tropics. Xiezhi was placed there to keep evil spirits away because it was believed to possess the sixth sense to tell right and wrong. The horse, as the emperor’s mount, is absolutely indispensable. It is said that these animals are supposed to change guard at midnight.

We knew if we were going to visit China, we had to see how jade was made!

After exploring The Sacred Way, our next stop was The Jade Factory. This factory was actual produced the 2008 Olympic Medals that featured white jades. We learned about the different textures and colors of jade and how each figure has its own meaning. For example, the Psu statue made from jade is believed to bring more money into the household. The male statue represents bringing the money and the female represents keeping the money.

After The Jade Factory we stopped for lunch before heading onto The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (obviously). It was a dream come true. I can honestly say I never thought I would have ever made it to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We hiked up to the top of the wall, which was beautiful and provided spectacular views (and was also really windy).

We closed out the day with a visit to a Chinese Tea Factory, where they brew the most delicious loose leaf teas, and followed that with dinner and an acrobatic show. It feels as if we have been here for a week instead of just a day. We cannot wait to see what the rest of the week will bring. Only Events & Adventures can play host to a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this, it’s definitely the only way to visit China!