Arriving back in Sydney, I already miss the lovely Hus I stayed with, the jiaozi and the thrill of the Beijing lifestyle. In the month that I lived in Beijing, I gained insight into which stereotypes China fulfils and which ones it does not.

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The Great Wall of China. A true symbol of Chinese fortitude. Photo by Marina Yang

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After a big last week in which I had two packages go to air, explored Seoul almost every night, and slept for no longer than four hours at a time, I’ve come to the rather obvious conclusion that I need a rest. Seoul is a city where nothing ever seems to close, an urban playground where temptation is everywhere you look. This might lead to trouble somewhere else, yet Seoul will go down as one of the safest places I have ever been.

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Posing before an intensely fought game of beer pong. Photo by Svetlana Pasechnik

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The long anticipated rain I wrote about in my previous post ended up lasting only one night. In the morning I woke up to find the humidity had doubled, and barring the occasional spot downpour it’s remained that way for the entire week. In a way, it is almost appropriate: the sticky and muggy Seoul, where you’re only ever completely dry for the first five minutes after a shower, is the one I have come to know and value over the past month. I’ll be sad to leave this amazing country, but these four weeks have left me with a wealth of fantastic experiences and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity which the Australia–Korea Foundation has given me.

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A final sunny traffic jam near The Korea Herald’s offices in Gwanghwamun. Photo by Nick Gowland

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My weekend trip to Shanghai was a whirlwind, squeezing in a trip to a city over a thousand kilometres away.

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Headed for the biggest buildings in town. Photo by Jia Liang Yang

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Where I live in Sydney, the shops start closing from 5 pm, and a few hours later the only thing still open is a karaoke bar and Coles. But here in Beijing, the city never sleeps.

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At the starting end of the Wangfujing Night Markets. Photo by Wang Zheng

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Though This Morning is a news and current affairs show and will sometimes incorporate updates regarding unfolding events, each show is carefully planned out by the day before — at latest. Guests are booked, packages are locked in, and news segments are defined in length. After three weeks at tbs I had become used to the routine, but wondered what would happen in the event of a massive news story. Would the show’s structure be completely thrown out the window, or would regular updates simply be squeezed in wherever there was an opening?

On Friday I found out that the truth lies somewhere in between.

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An umbrella art installation in City Hall Station. Photo by Brendan Day

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The rainy season is finally tipped to arrive in Seoul. After three weeks of oppressive humidity and drenching sweats, the heavens finally opened for the first time last night, and the omnipresent July mugginess lifted for a brief but incredibly relieving ten minutes. The first rains of summer capped off what has been a week of firsts for me: my first experience of inner-city camping, my first and hopefully last published spelling error, and my first (innocuous) taste of sweet, sweet corporate kickbacks.

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A man takes his dogs for a cheeky Saturday cycle along the Han River. Both owner and pets were having an absolute ball. Photo by Nick Gowland

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About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.
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