DAY 1:

For the Easter we decided to go to mainland China to this place called Guilin. I heard that GuiLin is considered as the most beautiful area in China so I had big hopes for it. There were bunch of us going to Guilin already on thursday but we left there on Friday. It takes about an hour to get to China's border from our halls by the MTR. We left quite early as there was a problem with our tickets: the group leaving day before had two of our tickets so we had two tickets from the day before. Luckily we managed to get tickets for the full train. The train was pretty good, we were sleeping in a 6-bed compartment. Unfortunately there were no doors for the compartments so we had to keep a close eye on our belongings. Our train left around 5pm so there wasn't many hours of daylight left. That was a shame as I really wanted to see the views along the railroad.

Once we got to the train station in Guilin, I got a flashback from my Thailand trip a few years ago. We got the tourist treatment there. Lots of people tried to get us a taxi and for a moment I was in despair. But once we got this one minibus things started to go better. We took a little sightseeing tour around Guilin. Guilin is quite a big city and we were actually not planning to stay there overnight as we wanted to go to this smaller and more touristic place south from Guilin. First place we visited was called Jingjiang Princes City which was some royal complex from the Ming dynasty. In it's park there rises the Duxiu Peak. We climbed there and got some nice photos. After Jingjiang we went to this place called Moon Hill and once again did some climbing.

View from Duxiu Peak

Group photo from the Moon Hill (Martin, Donkki, Jenni, Karkki & me)

After sightseeing and lunch in the city we took the same mini bus to Lijiang river. We drove through some nice looking countryside and stopped to buy some strawberries... mmm...

Don't really know what those were. I just know we could have had those for lunch:)

Jenni going through the menu

Me posing in front of a strawberry field

Once we got to the river, first we took a boat to this one big cave which name I don't remember (the names are all weird chinese names:-P). The cave was pretty awesome. After the cave we left towards Yangshuo by boat. The scenery was amazing along the river. They even put the view from the lake to one of the the 20-yuan bills (google it if you're interested). Once we got to Yangshuo it was already dark. We had late dinner, met some of the guys from the other group and called it a day.

Waterfall in a cave

Boat trip

View from the boat

Sunset in Lijiang river

Chinese barbeque

DAY 2:

We had an early wake up. After breakfast we went to rent bicycles. We had heard from the other group what places are worth to visit so we wanted to make a bike trip to this another Moon Hill. I was pretty terrified of the plan as I had saw day before the way they drive in the streets of China. It's a mess! There's lot of people with bikes and scooters driving with the cars in the busy streets. You really need to pay attention on the streets here. Once we got out of the city we finally got to focus on the beautiful scenery rather than the traffic.

Early morning on West street

The Hong Kong PolyU biking team

The view from the Moon Hill was pretty amazing. After climbing and lunch most of the guys wanted to do some more biking but me, Jenni and Martin decided to head back to the city. The reason: It was cloudless day so me and Jenni had burnt our Finnish skin pretty badly:)

View from the Moon Hill

Me and Karkki as the King & Queen of the Hill

Once we got back to our hotel we decided to book tickets for this one show called the Impressions on Sanjie Liu. I was a bit sceptical of going there as it cost over 20 euros, but now I'm glad I didn't miss it. The "stage" was unbelievable. It is the world's largest natural theater which utilizes the waters of the Lijiang river as it's stage. Behind the river you can see 12 hills which are lit. In the show there are over 600 performers! It's hard to describe how spectacular the show was. I just know that I will never ever in my life see anything like that! During our stay I have been regretting why I did not take my video camera with us and after this show I regret it even more:( There's just some problems with my camera now, so there might not be so many videos in my blog in the future... Sorry.

Two bad quality photos of the Impressions

DAY 3:

For the last day we had arranged a trip to some rice fields. We had to leave early as the place was quite far away. We drove there about 5 hours. I didn't mind as we had a good chance to see some nice scenery all the way there. The last hour we had to drive in mountains so at times the view was breathtaking. We spent several hours in the rice fields enjoying the landscape. Unfortunately it wasn't the rainy season so the fields were not in their best shape but it still was one memorable experience. After the rice fields we drove 3 hours back to Guilin, ate a dinner and were on our way back to HK by the night train. The trip was pretty succesful. It changed some misconceptions I had about China and it's people. I just wish we would have had more time to spend there.

Some scenery...

... and some posing.


Hong Kong is unbelievable! We went out last night to Lan Kwai Fong. In case you're not that familiar with places in Hong Kong, Lan Kwai Fong is a popular party area. The streets are full of bars and clubs and we students spend many late hours there. But I must say I'm not big fan of LKF, mostly because it's too western and touristic place. When the night comes, lots of expatriates and tourists pour in there. And I also don't like the small and crowded bars and clubs there. I like big clubs! I was actually quite surprised about the fact that there aren't really big clubs in HK. Even in my home city the clubs are bigger.

But anyways, this is what happened: we were standing in front of club 7/11 when few of our female exchange students came there all excited. They said they had just been in a photo with Kanye West. I follow the news about who's performing in HK and when and had not read anything about Kanye performing here, so of course I thought they were too drunk and making things up. But once I took a look in the street I saw the man! Kanye West walking up the streets of Lan Kwai Fong!!! This is too much for me! In a week I've seen both David Beckham and Kanye West in person. For a small town boy from the forrests of Finland this is unbelievable:) WOW!

I also got other things to tell you. Today it was the beginning of Formula One season. So of course I wanted to go watch it in some bar. It was difficult to find anyone interested in Formula 1 here but luckily Martin saved my day and I didn't have to go watch the race alone. We had to wake up early... well, around noon but we were out last night so it was difficult. I wanted to go to the same place where we watched the Super Bowl. We arrived in Dan Ryan's just in time for the start. I ordered a hamburger meal for a breakfast and enjoyed it while watching the race. The race was a disaster but it still was the best way to enjoy sunday afternoon!


Today we had the Tug of War competition in our student halls. We had had trainings two times before the actual competition and I attended both of them. They seem to take competitions quite serious here as they give points for each hall for their success in different competitions. The competition was held indoors as we had trainings outdoors and had made so much noise that the residents in nearby buildings had complained. In the first match we were up against last year's champion but suprise suprise... we won! I was part of our tug of war group on that victory but I had to skip the next ones as there were too many of us wanting to compete. Of course without me my hall lost the next matches;) Our men's team ended up being the fourth best, which is quite ok. Our ladies team did better though, they were second runner ups. One thing you might not realize is how much noise asian people can make:) Few days earlier we had some Variety show competition in our halls and already there I got a taste of how the local people cheer here. Hall residents are very proud of their own halls and they don't hesitate to show it:) Watch the video below to have an idea of what I've just explained:


Definitely one of the top 5 days in Hong Kong. Earlier this week I read from newspaper that LA Galaxy's match in Hong Kong has been confirmed, few days later I hear that Andre from Sweden is going to go get tickets for the match, so I sent him an sms asking for two tickets for myself. After few hours I was holding tickets to David Beckham's match in my hands!!! For few moments it felt like it was christmas:)

So this sunday was the magical day! We gathered at the 1st floor with some other exchange students and left to Hong Kong stadium. The stadium wasn't full as I expected, there were lots of empty seats. Once David Beckham, the god himself, came to the field to warm up, everybody in the stadium went crazy, me included. I think my fellow exchange students might have been a bit ashamed of me at the game because of my shouting:) But I was just so happy being there. I never thought I would see Beckham in person, as he would never come to a place like Finland, but now that small dream has come true.

The reactions of the spectators were pretty funny. Once there was a chance for LA Galaxy to get a corner kick people started cheering as they wanted to see Beckham to make the corner kick. And everytime they actually got a corner kick or a free kick the spectators went crazy and they... I mean WE started cheering like Beckham himself would have scored a goal. In the end LA Galaxy lost the game in penalty shots, but Beckham scored two goals on penalty shots so I was very happy for the whole experience. After the game I was speechless. The day was perfect and I realized how lucky I am to be able to study in Hong Kong and be able to experience all these things that I would never experience back home.
Below some video I took from my perfect day:

I also got to mention that this week we had our midterm tests. I only had midterm tests from two subjects. The first one was from the course Supply Chain Management. I'm mentioning it because I was quite shocked about the whole test event. At the test people were just talking with each others and copying their papers without any care in the world. At one point the lecturer mentioned about it but still they continued copying by not making that much noise. After the class I spoke to one local student and she said the lecturers never want to fill up papers about students cheating so they ignore it. I don't care much about it but it just not what I expected of this culture. Anyways, in the other test people behaved better so i'm not totally disappointed of the local people.


The man of the day: Mr. Charlie Jarvis. It was Charlie's birthday today. If you don't know who Charlie is, then I tell you that Charlie is a banker and comes from Canada and will be a billionaire in the future. So if you want to get invited to his villa in the Bahamas in the future you better not piss him off. I'm already planning to spend my days as jobless person in the future at his villa. Anyways, we threw a few suprise parties for Charlie today and went to eat in Pizza Hut in a group. I promised him not to tell anyone that he was so happy that he cried like a baby there;)
Go Charlie, it's your birthday...

At Pizza Hut, seems like I've got some extra pounds from eating out every single day:)

The birthday boy


Today we had an International Cultural Night. Each country had a chance to show their own culture, traditions, cuisine, costumes, tourist attractions... etc. We had met with the finnish people on previous sunday to prepare for this day. Every country had also a chance to make some kind of 5 minute show on a stage. For the show we decided to show one video of Finland and dance "Letkajenkka". On our stand we had a slideshow of our own photos taken in Finland, some Finnish books and also something to eat. Some of us had brought candy from Finland and we had got some nice snacks from this one Scandinavian restaurant in Hong Kong owned by a Finnish person. The snacks were soooo gooood and didn't cost anything as we were promoting this restaurant. Unfortunately people didn't really like the Finnish sweet called "Salmiakki":) But all in all, the night was a success and I enjoyed it even though I was feeling pretty weak because of my flu.

Our stand



The first week of Chinese Lunar New Year isn't the only time when they arrange some new year celebrations. This weekend it was time for the Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals. I had been waiting for this event since I heard about it. I read from tourist guides that this lantern carnival is considered as the Chinese Valentine's Day. This year's carnival lasted for 3 nights starting from thursday. For every night the place of the event was different. I was trying to find these places on my map book and found out that the first one was held in a park quite near from our Student Halls. So after my putonghua class we decided to take a taxi there.

The Lantern Carnival was not like I imagined it to be but I was positively surprised. I thought the place would be full of these traditional basic chinese lanterns but the lanterns turned out to be pieces of art. The lanterns were in shape of animals, humans and all kinds of objects. Watching lanterns was not the only activity you could do there, there was also a big stage where there were some performers on stage. Of course they were speaking in cantonese so it wasn't for us. There was also this tent full of tables for two and a big line of people waiting to get there. First we thought it was some speed dating thing as people were talking and holding hands. After all, it was the chinese valentine's day. But after some more research we found out that the people there were telling other people's fortune by reading their hands:) Anyways, we didn't have time or courage to know our future.

On friday I didn't go to any lantern carnivals but on saturday we went again and this time it was in Tsing Yi Park. The park was quite far away so we had to take an MTR there. This park was bigger and more beautiful than the one we saw on thursday. They had small lakes there and even a waterfall. We went there quite early so this time we decided to know our future. We queued for the fortune teller quite long and finally got on the table. Me and Martin were in the same table and our fortune teller was a face reader. Seems like my future is bright and what was the best news was that I will make more money than Martin, the swedish guy:) Finland vs. Sweden: 1 - 0.
Below you can see few photos from the park:

Panda lanterns

Amazing lantern display on a lake

Saturday's group: (from left) Martin, Karin, Chelsea, Antonietta, Angel, Me and Sebastian.


I had an early wake up as we we're having a City Orienteering this saturday organized by AECO. We were divided into groups of about 10 persons. We had a list of places we could visit and at each place we had to do some tasks. Points were given from each task completed and also for using different kind of transports. We decided to visit New Territories first as everybody was heading to the Hong Kong island. New territories was also good choice as I don't go there so often so I had a chance to see what's in there. We visited few nice temples and also the famous wishing tree. People can't hang their wishes from the tree anymore as few years back the wishes were so heavy that it damaged the tree:) So we had to put our wishes on this wall.

We didn't do so well in the competition as we didn't get any prizes in the end, but it was a perfect way to spend a beautiful saturday so I didn't mind:) Unfortunately it was impossible to visit all the places on the list. There were very interesting places I wanted to visit and I forgot to write them down. I maybe got to go to AECO office and ask for those. Below you can see few photos from our city orienteering:

Team number 7 ready to explore Hong Kong

At the wishing tree (or the wishing board next to it)

Martin wishing Sweden's national ice hockey team to win Finland at the next World Cup (no chance, Martin)


Tonight's Lunar New Year attraction was the fireworks over Victoria Harbour. As I didn't have other plans for the day I packed some food on my backpack, uploaded south park episodes on my ipod and went to the harbour early to get a good seat. I was waiting the fireworks to be same kind as on New Year's Eve, so I had a good view of the IFC tower. However, the fireworks took place on top of the harbour so I didn't have a perfect view because this one building was blocking me. Anyways, the fireworks were awesome and it lasted for 20 minutes. Below you can see the best parts of the fireworks:


Today's Chinese New Year activity was the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade. It started at 8pm but I wanted to be there on time to get a good spot. The parade was great! It wasn't quite what I expected as I expected it to be a traditional chinese parade, you know those kinds we see in TV with lots of dragons and stuff:) But I still enjoyed all the colourful floats and performers from different countries. The Parade lasted about 2 hours and I couldn't get all with my videocamera, but I made about 7 minute collection of it so enjoy!