Around China for less than a million rupiahs
“How come? It’s impossible!” yes it is impossible, unless you have your company sent you to China for a business trip, just like what happened to me last week (april 4th – 11th 2012) hahaha, envy me come on.. It was my 1st visit to China, and was a combo coz I went to Beijing, Fuzhou, Guang Zhou, and Shanghai! Yes Shanghai! My dream one! China is mezmerising, I never thought they are this BIG. I knew they’re growing fast, but I never imagined like this BIG. My first impression was in their capital: Beijing, a megapolitant city, beautiful cityscapes built from exotic skycrappers. Very modern and edgy.
That night was 9 degrees when I arrived in Beijing, quite torturing for a tropical-beach girl like me. I was willing to buy boots, but seconds by seconds, I think I could handle the cold weather only with my ballerine shoes. Taruli, my work mate in China, picked me up at the airport, what a convenient for me. I was full, thanks to the dinner served during my HK-Beijing flight. It was just the beginning that I was full, the rest days in my China trip were a hunger games.. I feel hungry most of the time! I blame the cold weather, and the delicious food they have. I almost ate anything, except shark fin. Halal or not halal :D
Smile and hospitality are so rare here. I think China never care about the word “service” in its life. It took me half an hour to ask shop-assistant in Beijing to buy a cell sim card, then another 30 minutes to top-up the credit, then next day another 45 minutes in China Mobile outlet to turn on the GPRS, then 20 minutes in Guangzhou’s China Mobile Outlet to re-check my GPRS connection. Pathetic.
If you visit a small restaurant, the waiter will look like they want to dare you for a fight. But don’t worry, that’s the way they are. Speak loud and sometimes spitting everywhere actually are the things I try so hard to “accept” when I was in China. They way they look at me is humiliating. I feel like an alien.. but it’s just the way they are, I don’t really care.
It felt good to be illiterate. I really enjoy while I don’t understand what people are actually talking about, what a calm life! Hahaha, especially when you’re already get bored with works. Translation is amazing.
Everything’s made in China. You know industry grow bigger and bigger here. People starts getting more money, and so they can afford lifestyle. Chinese people are consumptive. Creditcards swiped everywhere. You can find international brands easily, and so high-quality local brand. Real ones, or fake ones – oh yes I am talking about fashion. Some looks very chic, some are still typical Chinese – curled hair and tattoed eyebrows. I thought I only saw these typical in Indonesia.
Beijing – Shanghai – Guangzhou is kinda similar, megapolitant, 1st tier city. Everyone’s really busy, and sometimes they don’t care each other. Apart from those 3 megacities, Fuzhou is kinda different. I feel it’s more like Semarang – Central Java capital city. Kinda “old”, slow, and I still see teenagers greets the elderly, and smile to each other. But still, this 2nd tier city can not be compared to Jakarta. It’s beautiful, clean, big roads, and have metro. Damn. Indonesia, why are you sleeping?
Some people asked me, why did I travel to China, leisure or business? Yes it was a business trip, a whole week for a qualitative market research. You know why I enjoy my work? Coz it enable me to travel and see people. Listen to what they believe and value. Though in fact I could manage my time to visit Forbidden City, Tianmen Square, and Lama temple in Beijing. Also The Bund, Tianzifang, Yuyuan Garden, and Xintian Di in Shanghai. I even met my fellow Indonesian traveler, Harry Kawanda, during his around-the-world-adventure in Shanghai.. amazing!
Trip in China is kinda hard if you don’t speak and literate their language. Most of the sign are written in Pinyin letter, and least people speak english. Thanks to Taruli, my work mate, who accompany me each day of my China trip, he does speak mandarin very well. I also install Chinese Phrasebook in my android phone, in case, just in case I am forced to talk to them. In the airports, often the officer talk to me in mandarin, put my face into a blank one. Also hotel front officer gave me a prank-call speaking in mandarin, in a long sentences, and I just answer “I don’t understand”. Sometimes I got smiley face, or a slight anger reaction from them.. hihihi..