The Tales of Hoffmann (Les contes d'Hoffmann)

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The Tales of Hoffmann (Les contes d'Hoffmann) is an opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, who is the protagonist of the story.

I’m pretty sure this was my first opera and probably my last. I was really confused the entire time and had a hard time understanding the translated subtitles. I was impressed that the actors/singers were able to memorize 3.5 hours of dialogue/songs and the set design was incredible. However, pretty sure opera isn’t my thing.

However, I was pretty excited to go inside the National Centre for the Performing Arts, which is super cool looking building surrounded by water.

Xi’an, China

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Xi'an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang'an in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. It is one of the oldest cities in China and the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals. Xi'an is also the starting point of the Silk Road.

Xi'an means "Western Peace" and as of 2015, had a population of 8.7 million people.

Fun fact: Xi'an was the first city in China to be introduced to Islam. The Emperor of the Tang Dynasty officially allowed the practice of Islam in AD 651. Xi'an has a large Muslim community, the significant majority are from the Hui ethnic minority. 

Jingshan Park

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This is my favorite spot in Beijing. It’s right in the middle of the city, offering a 360 degree view of how big Beijing actually is. It was cold, so I wasn’t here long, but sometimes it’s nice to be outside and just take a moment to appreciate the city in which you live