Category Archives: Phoenix

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!

st. patricks day

St. Patrick’s Day Party with Events & Adventures Phoenix

Experience A New Kind Of St. Patrick’s Day with Events & Adventures Phoenix

Why celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in one place when you can party on the go? This is exactly what Events & Adventures Phoenix did when members boarded a giant London-style party bus and took to the fun-filled streets of Phoenix. This event was an exciting time for members to let loose and get to know each other during a familiar holiday while gaining an entirely new experience!

The evening began at a local hotel where the members met up. The Real London Bus Tour Company provided the mode of transportation, which was a giant double-decker party bus. The bus was a replica of the classic red-colored buses that roam the streets of London. It had tinted windows, more than enough room for food and drinks and an impressive sound system so that members could listen to their favorite tunes. Irish rock music was a popular choice since everyone wanted to get into that St. Patty’s Day spirit.

This was just the beginning of their evening as the party bus toured the city of Tempe and West Mesa

The group went to four different bars where they had special discounts waiting for them. These discounts were offered to Events & Adventures members only, which gave everyone a feeling of exclusivity. The members played games at the bars and enjoyed making new friends over some drinks and laughter.

After each bar, the members boarded the party bus and headed for the next one. This event was a round-trip occasion so that members didn’t have to worry about transportation or car-pooling. The party was kept alive when they stepped back onto the bus as the members were greeted with food, music and dancing. By the end of the night, the members were dropped off at the hotel where it all began.

The St. Patrick’s Day Party by Events & Adventures Phoenix was an outstanding event with a great turnout

Over 40 members attended and ended up having the time of their lives. Getting around and worrying about traffic while trying to focus on having a good time is difficult, so why not have the way of transportation become the main event? Spending St. Patrick’s Day on a double-decker party bus was a fun and unique twist to the holiday. Events & Adventures gave their Phoenix members an experience that they’ll never forget. Get excited for our next great event!

sedona

Getaway in Sedona with Events & Adventures Phoenix!

“But it’s a dry heat!” Yeah, right! With it being monsoon season, Arizona has been a little more on the humid side than any of us would like. It’s no secret that Arizona summers can be a tad brutal, but the humidity hasn’t helped. So instead of letting it cramp our style, Events & Adventures Phoenix recently decided to get out of town. We took the party up to Sedona where the weather is more comfortable and the scenery is a pleasant change from our typical urban sprawl. Who am I kidding—Sedona is absolutely beautiful!

We stayed at Sky Ranch Lodge and enjoyed horizon-to-horizon views of the gorgeous blue skies. We soaked in the red rocks and escaped into the quiet serenity of the six-and-a-half acre garden. It was a wonderful escape from the city; it’s hard to believe such beauty is just a few hours away and it was so awesome getting to indulge in the scenery and make memories with friends. We definitely didn’t waste any of the good weather just lounging around our hotel rooms!

On Saturday we went horseback riding through the working ranches of Sedona, riding our way through two stunning vineyards.

On Sunday we put our adventurous side to the test and headed to Flagstaff to challenge our fear of heights and strap up for an obstacle course that did not disappoint. The Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course has multiple large courses with a mixture of 10 to 17 different obstacles and zip lines. From rope swings and hanging nets to wobbly bridges and suspended “surprises”, the courses definitely didn’t let us down (pun intended)! Moving our way from the beginner’s course to the more extreme course brought us closer and closer to the sky. It actually started to get a little dark and gloomy, but the coming storm never interrupted our adventure. In fact, the sounds of thunder made our trek up into the trees quite thrilling!

Our Sedona weekend getaway trip was full of smiles and laughter, and the only obstacles we faced were at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course, which we tackled with a “bring it on” attitude. Needless to say, the memories and friendships we made over the weekend were amazing. I can’t wait to get out there and do it again! I guess the summers here aren’t all that bad when you get to escape to beautiful Sedona with good friends from Events & Adventures!

 

July 4th

4th of July with Events & Adventures Phoenix

July 4th is so much more fun when you get to spend it with both old and new friends! Events & Adventures Phoenix took the holiday to the lake and spent a few hours dining, relaxing, and making memories that are sure to last a lifetime! We were spoiled with a buffet perfectly filled with everything you need for Independence Day. Our July 4th dinner cruise would not have been complete without a little BBQ, right? We had pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, BBQ beans, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad! I’m pretty sure a few of us made plates bigger than our stomachs, but can you blame us? The food was amazing and if you saved some room for dessert, there were fudge brownies to indulge in! I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it!

My favorite part of our July 4th evening had to be that the entire dinner cruise was VIP for Events & Adventures members only!

I think the best part about the club is knowing that everyone you interact with is essentially there for the same reason–to do things outside of their comfort zone, enjoy different events they normally wouldn’t try on their own, or to do things they already enjoy while getting to make friendships and potential relationships that are sure to last a lifetime. This dinner cruise really took the pressure off the holiday and it was so nice getting to hang back, relax, viewing a perfectly yellow orange beautiful sunset with such great friends.

To top the evening off we started a dance party on the deck and it was an absolute blast. Some Events & Adventures members rocked out dance moves like never before, others stepped out of their comfort zone and put on their dancing shoes, and some giggled at us lovingly in the distance. Don’t worry, we pulled them out onto the deck and had them join in on our fun and they did not disappoint!  All in all, this 4th of July was definitely one to remember and I couldn’t have been happier with the evening. Consider this 4th of July a challenge by to 2018, because it was surely one to try and beat!

~ Meggie, Events & Adventures Phoenix

memorial day weekend

Memorial Day Weekend with E&A Phoenix

This past Memorial Day weekend Events & Adventures Phoenix took to the open road and made our way out to Copper Cloud Ranch in Kanab, Utah. Our days started with sunrises and ended with sunsets that beautifully lit up over the canyons.

On Saturday, our first full day at the ranch, we made our way to Page, Arizona and right over to Lower Antelope Canyon. Located in a large Navajo reservation that extends from Utah to Arizona to New Mexico, Lower Antelope Canyon—called Hazdistazi, or “spiral rock arches”, by the Navajo Indians—was absolutely breathtaking. Pictures simply don’t do any justice to the canyons once you’ve seen them in person. Our guided tour of the canyon was an hour-long hike led by an experienced guide. It was both spectacular and informative!

Sunday we went paddle boarding and kayaking on Lake Powell. The weather was in the mid-80s and the water was perfect. From playing football to swimming around playing “alligator” to goofing off around the rich blue lake with friends, this Sunday was a total win and one for the books! Not only did we have Phoenix members building friendships and making memories, but we had three members from our new Denver club join in on the fun. We were sad to say goodbye to them because we want to adopt all three of them into Events & Adventures Phoenix. One of them jokingly agreed, but shhh…don’t tell the Denver club that! Even coyotes and roosters wanted to join our party, but we were already in bed by the time they showed up.

This Memorial Day weekend had had everything you’d think of when you think of “camping trip”–and so much more!

We gathered around the campfire to sing and get to know one another. We immersed ourselves in stargazing and pointed out as many constellations as we could. Being in the city, it’s a sight we rarely see and none of us took the clear skies for granted! On the last night, one of our members pulled out his guitar and put on a show for us that brought the whole trip full circle.

Monday morning when everyone was up packing up and getting ready to head out, some of us just weren’t ready for the trip to end yet. We took advantage of where we were and stayed back to view Horseshoe Bend. Whether or not our members were afraid of heights, Horseshoe Bend didn’t keep us from standing on the edge of canyon cliffs that drop 1,000 feet straight into the Colorado River below. The distant panoramic horizon views were mesmerizing. It was the perfect way for us to end our Memorial Day weekend trip.

After seeing not one, but three top Arizona destinations in one weekend, this camping trip was what I’d call an eventful adventure that gave us all memories and friendships we’ll hold onto for life! Only with Events & Adventures can you get this kind of experience.

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!

hang gliding

Hang Gliding with Events & Adventures Phoenix

Events & Adventures Phoenix took things to all new heights and spent Sunday soaring above the city. We went hang gliding and experienced a whole new world. High above the zooming cars, city lights, and endless noise we found ourselves at peace among the birds. We were strapped safely and securely into the harness and got the whole thing started with a little help from a tow rope and an airplane specially designed to pull hang gliders.

Once we smoothly reached 3,000 feet we were released from the plane and left to our own devices… well, okay, maybe not entirely alone. We flew tandem, of course, and with the assistance of our instructors some of us even got to try our hand at piloting the hang glider. Some of the turns were similar to those on a roller-coaster, but nothing crazier than that! The entire experience from start to finish lasted about 15 minutes, but a lot of us felt like we could hang out up there for hours! Landing even seemed as effortless and gentle as the take off and perfectly brought everything full circle.

Some members conquered their fear of heights, others stepped outside of their normal comfort zone, and some members just came along for the ride completely without worry. One member recalled his experience as being incredibly nervous the night before and leading up to the event, but once walking out onto the pavement and towards the hang glider he was filled with a sense of calm. Another member was even lucky enough to glide alongside a red hawk and was left with an unforgettable memory. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience!

From start to finish and with the support of friends, we all knocked something new off our bucket lists.

We even overheard a member that was originally afraid of heights talk about potentially going skydiving in the future! It’s safe to say you can’t knock something until you try it and you never know what experiences might open up a whole new world of adventures. Hang gliding for Events & Adventures was another huge success and we can’t wait to get out there and do it all over again!

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!