Chinese Hot Pot – Not only cure the winter blues

Last week, the Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot near UT campus opened. It’s the first chain store in Austin. This was good news for people who love Chinese hot pot. The Little Sheep is the Mongolian-style hot pot, which is famous for its flavorful broth, including ingredients like goji berries, jujubes, and a mix of herbs.

 

Actually, there are many regional versions of hot pot throughout China due to the variety of broth and the specific meats used. Lamb is a common choice in colder Northern China while fresh seafood like live shrimp, oysters, and squid are used in coastal cities like Guangdong. Chongqing is known for Sichuan peppercorns and other mouth-numbing ingredients.

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Escape to the Hamilton Pool Preserve

Graduate life becomes much busy and hectic near the end of this semester! But we wanted to do something different last weekend other than usually staying at home and working on projects. So we searched online, found this spot and decided to venture out there. The Hamilton Pool Preserve was just a breathtaking place when I visited it for the first time. The secluded swimming spot was about 45 minutes’ drive outside of Austin downtown area. On sweltering summer days in Austin, people flock here to escape the heat. Since it’s not quite peak season yet, we didn’t need to make a reservation in advance and didn’t wait long before getting in.

The pool was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago, resulting in this kind of Karst landscape. Water trickles down from above the mossy dome, gradually forming stalactites, and run into the jade-toned pool.

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Qingming Festival

There are few festivals in China like Qingming, also called Tomb-sweeping Day, for which people have so many mixed feelings. It’s a festival full of sorrow and nostalgia – people mourn for the dead. But at the same time, it’s a lithesome time with spring brightness – everything is growing, full of the laughter of spring outing. The combination of sadness and happiness makes this traditional Chinese festival very unique. I feel a little bit regretful that I can’t go back to China to revisit the tombs of my ancestors in Qingming Festival. And I found that this kind of nostalgia grew more intense as I left my country.

Qingming is also one of the Chinese Twenty-four Solar Terms. There are many paintings and classic Chinese poems about Qingming. The most famous one is the Qingming scroll created by Zhang Zeduan. This ancient Chinese painting portrays the prosperous scene of Kaifeng city, the capital of the Song Dynasty during a Qingming festival.

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This is a painting about another famous poem written by Du Mu.

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Come let the river float your stress away!

Austin is a great place to go kayaking as the Colorado River runs through the city like a green silk belt. The water keeps running southeastward day and night, witnessing the rise of this city. James Graham says traveling aboard a kayak is the ultimate means of individual navigation. Spring has set in Austin and it’s a great time to go kayaking to feel the beauty of the warm spring water in the sunshine.

My boyfriend and I have long been dreaming of kayaking in the Colorado River since we came to UT Austin. This last weekend, we finally made it.  We searched for groupons for kayaking in Austin yesterday night. We woke up this morning and headed directly off to the Rowing Dock.

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