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Student from Kazakhstan soaks up Spring Festival in Beijing

China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-14 09:05
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With his GoPro camera rolling, Bissenov Temirlan from Kazakhstan tries to capture the vibe of Spring Festival as he rode an ice bicycle on the frozen Shichahai Lake in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — With his GoPro camera rolling, Bissenov Temirlan from Kazakhstan tried to capture the vibe of Spring Festival as he rode an ice bicycle on the frozen Shichahai Lake in Beijing.

The 20-year-old is an international student at Beijing Language and Culture University. He was celebrating Chinese New Year, which recently concluded, for the second time.

"Shichahai is famous for embodying the historic spirit of Beijing, so I went there to experience it for myself and capture this exciting moment," he said.

Traditional Beijing dishes such as copper hotpot and noodles with soybean paste are among Bissenov's favorites. During the holiday, his Kazakh friends in the city joined him for an appetizing meal.

"Wherever you went during the festival days — malls, restaurants or business streets — you couldn't miss the crowds. There was an air of exhilaration," he said.

To celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, the young man, together with some exercise pals, went for a run through the hutong and bustling blocks, passing multiple historical spots such as Beihai Park, as he followed a rabbit-shaped route on the map on his mobile phone.

"It's quite fun to greet the Lunar New Year by mapping out a rabbit," said Bissenov, adding that running in Beijing is a real treat because he can immerse himself in ancient and modern cultures.

He first came to the Chinese capital in 2007 for a short visit.

"Despite the language barrier back then, I was impressed by the historical palaces and brand new skyscrapers standing together," he recalled.

Nostalgia ultimately led him back to Beijing in 2019 as a university student.

"China is huge and culturally diverse with countless dialects," said Bissenov, who is now fluent in Mandarin.

"And I'm learning Beijing's dialect as well."

With China's continued refining of its COVID-19 management in recent months, Bissenov has restarted his long-anticipated exploration of the country.

Last month, he traveled from Beijing to Sanya, a coastal resort city in Hainan province, by train.

"It was a super experience to see different cities and views from the window, and to hear people on the train talking in different dialects," he said.

He's planning to visit 10 other cities this year, including Harbin in Heilongjiang province, Suzhou in Jiangsu province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Kunming in Yunnan province.

"I can't wait to explore all 10 cities and capture all the fascination with my camera," the young man said.


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