25 November 2018


It all started from a simple question from a friend: "Cin, mau jalan-jalan ga?" to which I asked, where? "China." So I instantly took up the offer! So this friend of mine happens to work at Red and White China Indonesia. To be honest, I didn't get what he was up to even after the initial meeting. All I knew was they do journalism while I also post my activities on social media. No info regarding who will be there and who will pick me up either. It all started so mysterious and I was DEAD INSECURE! All alone in a country I can't even speak the language of! But anyway I just went with it and found out all the details when I got to China - TALK ABOUT BEING RECKLESS!

Anyway, the host of this trip was CRI Online China. They are a media company that you can google of, inviting representatives from many country which are Serbia, USA, Ukraine, Australia, France, Thailand, Indonesia (me! hehe), Egypt, Korea, Nepal, Bangladesh. Our itinerary was Chang Chun - Yanbian (Yanji) - Helong - Beijing.

So these are the first (and last) friends I made during the trip. It's kinda like fate because since I landed in Changchun until I went home I only hung with them. They're from Boise, Idaho, United States of America. Coincidentally, our landing schedule was only different by 20 minutes, hence the early introduction. The left one is called Chad Chase, the one on the right would be Jonathan Conti!

Alright let's start the storytelling time! This trip would be more like a sharing of personal experience rather than itinerary list, since it's a media trip that consists of mostly cultural content. I'm even sure that only around 1% of the readers would be truly interested, so are you one of them? Keep reading or just scroll through the pictures if you're up for it :)

You know what, at first I was so scared about this trip since it's my first ever solo trip (not exactly solo, but I knew nobody here and it's a first, so it counts!) The idea of having international friends didn't help it: I became even more nervous! Let's be completely honest here. I sometimes can't even find my own gate and needed my travel companion to help me HAHAHA! So having to do a 4hrs transit also scared me to death! But anyway thanks to this trip, I learned to take care of myself and be more mature and independent!

Jakarta - Guang Zhou took 5 hours 15 mins and Guang Zhou- Changchun took another 4 hours. In total of 9hrs in flight, I was strangely always handed out special meal (halal food). Apparently just realized that they thought I was a Muslim since I'm an Indonesian hence the special treatment HAHA!

The transit at Guang Zhou took 4 hrs and I didn't have any company, which is so sad... Ate my meal alone as well... I suddenly felt so frail..

So I arrived at Chang Chun at midnight and it was -1 celcius! Literally freezing, but my worry went away as soon as I saw a giant picture of me in the pickup area :))

During in Changchun we stayed at Latour Morgan Hotel. I like how they have spacious room that you can see in my IG story highlight, as well as great meals since I had all my BLDs in this hotel!

So here comes the opening ceremony of this trip! It went in the hotel where we stayed, titled Celebrating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up. Here I met all the countries' representatives! Each of us got one interpreter that translated everything into English. Also, since they all are mostly students, we got dedek2 gemezh :p

The schedule in Changchun wasn't that tight, so we got some free time in our hands. 3 of us had the time to explore the hotel's surrounding and I even went to a morning jog IN A FREEZING WEATHER. Thanks John, first and last time. I was dying. That's it.

I have no idea what this is but there were countless street vendors selling these stuffs! Looks like some caramelized fruit since it tasted sour and coated in sugar! I liked it but since most of these aren't packaged and openly oxidized, I didn't buy more of them...

Chang Chun Railway Vehicles Co. : learn about the advanced manufacturing technology of China's railway. As the title suggest, it's all about China's Railway and Transportation System. It's amazing how you build a grand infrastructure for THESE MANY PEOPLE!

As I said before: enormous.

Chang Chun Satellite Technology Co. : to learn about Satellite-launching technology in Jilin and development of "Jilin 1 Satellite"

Now it's something I don't understand at all about LOL....... Just enjoy the pictures ok!

He is my interpreter in Changchun and Yanji! His English name was Eric. He's my only male interpreter, and apparently to be an interpreter they got handpicked by their school teachers, so these people must've been the top in class!

I honestly am at a loss for words about this guy sometimes... We were just having lunch when he suddenly said "I wanna become wolverine!" :)

Then we took a pic of each other :) Sweet ya. HAHAHAH.

Here's Eric's classmate, one of the interpreters. John said she's the Chinese version of Hermione Granger... Enggg...

The third place we visited was Chang Chun Urban and Rural Planning Exhibition Center: to know about the great changes and development planning of Chang Chung.  This place is GIGANTIC. Me for scale.

So anyway he followed me everywhere I go! What a responsible kid and he said that he's responsible for my well being. WOW! He's also a good friend and translator. We even had deep conversations, maybe since we're not that too far apart in terms of age! I feel so blessed having him as my interpreter though! Thank you Eric! He showed me his university here: Jilin HuaQiao 

He told me that once he graduates, he wants to take postgrad program to become a lawyer and move to Shanghai. Best of luck kid!

I swear from the whole itinerary in Chang Chun, here's my favorite day. It's the national park! NATURE WOOT! It's called Jingyuetan National Forest Park, and my itinerary was: to know about the achievements of protection and construction of ecology. Whatever, I'm already sold by the view, although if you might ask, it's not that majestic either, but still good! I took a lot of pics here, so enjoy the view!

Eric did this!

I wanna tell a little story about this lady. She's so sweet because she suddenly gave me a pack of snack. It meant a lot since I was the only one she gave it to. Thank you!

When I posted this on IG, lots of people said he's handsome! Ok I get your point though: tall, muscular, and neat teeth, ain't it? He does possess an ideal build! I swear if John was reading this he'd be so full of himself and bully me with such pride!

Faw Hongqi Automobile Culture Exhibition Center
Trust me, I only took photos most of the time....

Chang Chun Sculpture Park: to feel the cultural symbol of the connection between ChangChun and the world.

This place is this enormous park that even requires you a vehicle to explore around. The outdoor has these statues and symbols, and the indoor has... statues and symbols. WELL SCULPTURE PARK WHAT DO YOU EXPECT HAHAHA.

We headed out of town with a high speed railway G8035 to Yanji. It took 3 hours and the town is located to North Korea border, so most of the buildings have Korean writing, and this city is even colder than Chang Chun despite having similar temperature, at -4 celcius.

Here's the train station! It's so well maintained! 

Here's when I posted Eric's pic on IG and my followers said that he ain't bad looking! SO I told him that, and he answered me that he doesn't like girls. Wow. He seems to be looking for a boyfriend though!

Alright moving on~ my schedule in Yanji was exciting: school visit! Why exciting? Because what they learn at school was not just mathematics and such; but cooking, dancing, soccer, sewing, singing, karate, etc. SO exciting huh?

When my aspiration to be a teacher is achieved HAHA!

Korean Folk Performance (Good song of the four seasons) by arts center of Yanji International Convention Center. Ok the thing about this is that they had 2 hours duration! Crazy! Honestly though, I think it was too long :( It got me excited at first but I don't think I have that long of an attention span. Sorry, but I really do appreciate their hard work since they were only performing in front of us!

Another trip out of town. Yanji to Helong took a 1.5hrs bus trip and it wasn't for naught since I loved this city as well! It's called Jindalai Korean Folk Village. Well village was artificial, but they got the Korea vibe right! Here's the village gate though, isn't it beautiful?


So how they play with swing is by standing on it! It was a bit scary but I'm content-crazy!

There's this really high stairway where you can see the whole village from above! It was freezing cold yet I had to climb them. Die. At least it was totally worth it since the view up here was great! We were so antisocial since we only took the photos of us 3 together hehe...

Giant cabbage... Anyway this is a place to ferment and produce kimchi, and you can enter the basement inside this cabbage. Smelled bad since it's a fermenting place, and the kimchi here is also for retail sale as well!

We also were given out hanbok. So Korean, huh!

Bibimbap? HUGE, eh? Below the topping was rice where we were told to stir the rice with this shovel-like spoons. Tasted okay, just wish that they had put protein in it.

The bibimbap is the one on the left side of that tissue box! That's what we mixed!

After almost a week of being together, there had to be goodbye. Since I'm scheduled to fly to Beijing and Eric studies in Chang Chun, they all had to stay and continue their studies! After taking this pic he cried though :( Wish I could share you the pic but it's his privacy! So emotional and sweet :') He was even afraid that we couldn't stay in contact after I get back to Indonesia because he thought WeChat is blocked here HAHA! Reminiscing this makes me wanna laugh again! Anyway, all of my pics in Chang Chun were taken by him! It was difficult telling him how to do it but he gets A for effort!

Off to Beijing!
Anyway I was genuinely surprised that the pollution in Beijing was CRAZY. It seemed like fog while it was just pollution. People had to wear masks and when I got here, my throat became itchy and I'm suffering from cough and cold until now! Perhaps a sudden change in climate also affected me though, since I came back to scorching Jakarta right after Beijing's chilly autumn. Well, if you happen to wanna go there, I'd suggest a mask!

Beijing is such a big metropolitan that it's jammed everywhere despite it being more modern. I somehow prefer a small town like Chang Chun. It's more.. homey? Besides, I missed it all the more knowing that it started snowing as soon as I left for Beijing! Huuu :"(

Our itinerary in Beijing was just as tight as ever! In Changchun we used to do 4 places a day. Here? Nine. Friggin. Places. I got to a point where I wanted to stop taking photos and just fade out. Anyway since it's practically a city, I didn't take all the photos I could since it was mostly cultural and historical, which made me felt a bit crammed, being inside buildings all the time!

Pageone Library
Well it's one of my favorite for a simple factor: INSTAGENIC! It's not that spacious but look at this neat layout!

So who took my photos in Beijing? My new interpreter in Beijing was a female, and as she stuck with me for a few first hours, she left me for the French representatives, leaving me alone :) I'm ok. Hence the ones who took the role were my new besties, John and Chad. HAHAHA!

Here's the French fyi!


Qianmen Area/ Street
This area is so crowded with pedestrians, and exactly across this Chinese Starbucks Coffee is a tram named "DangDang". I asked why the name, they said it's because it sounds like "dong dong". ENGGGGG. BTW! There's this good siomay in Duyichu, across this one. Place was so packed! You can even choose its filling!

It's charged for 50 yuan per pax. I think it's so for tourists and more for the experience since it's only a straight way ride, and you can literally walk back since it's still in Qianmen area.

Yep, still here with all these street food vendors!

Sanlihe Park
Alright this one's still walking distance from the Starbucks. It's such a sorry sight that the sky was grey that day. It's a free public park where we just took a casual stroll. Pretty!

Here is where I felt my temporary Chinese pride because I had to join this flag rising ceremony at 7am (WHICH IS 6AM JAKARTA TIME). Also, the preparation to be able to get this close to the flag was real hardship. I went from the dawn to get past the governmental guards, showed passport, etc. It was so formal and the roads were closed everywhere. Duration was only for 10 minutes, but they do it EVERY MORNING. Patriotism at work! I can't even imagine how would the officials must've felt since the autumn here is already so cold... How about winter?! Also amazed that people who came to watch were NUMEROUS, both tourists and locals. Salute.

Blue sky! finally!!!!

Actually at the ceremony's end and the road closures been opened, I felt that it kinda resembles Kota Tua in Jakarta. There were street vendors and photographers. After this, we went to this restaurant called Tasty. So packed with people getting their breakfast!

Most people ordered their bun and dough fritters, but I got la mian as well! It's alright since the buns were great!

Zhongsan Park
(Still taking the same long walk). It's in Tianmen. There was a purpose being here but I sneaked out with John and took some photos HAHA!

When I told him to take a pic of me and he used my camera for a selfie... It's ok Jon fortunately you look good.

THIS! WE FOUND THIS PLACE!!!!! Isn't it CRAY BEAUTIFUL! I was so amazed and John dared to say meh, so-so. Then I realized and told him that everything in Indonesia is green, no yellow leaves like this, then he understood. Well, grass is always greener on the other side, eh?

National Centre for the performing Arts (NCPA)
This huge place had also made me in awe. High ceilings make it so majestic? This place, as its name suggests, is for performing arts stage. 

When I said it's big, it IS.

The "9 theater": Beijing's well-known new landmark of the drama art and Golden Hedgehog event. This place is the shooting's sets!

Capital Library
It's much larger than Page One, but mostly filled with locals as a place to study or hoard information. Interior wise losing by far to Page One, but I guess this is a typical conservative library.

It's our last day and we were about to go for Tour of Beijing Cultural Innovation. Cultural, cultural, and the first place is called Beijing Exhibition Center of the Cultural and Creative Industries. Photogenic entrance!

Let's go in! This one is so interactive and futuristic: Virtual reality, lasers, so engaging! 

Qinglong Cultural Business Street
So! We climbed to the rooftop of this company that does animation and TV. I'm grateful that I could see a scenery that's seeminly pollution free. Anyway, I didn't happen to record all of my activities since most of them are cultural and historical information that would make the whole post look like a national directory HAHA! So, I come back to my root and allow you to see what I love to see!

Forever the three of us......

Now it's Song Zhuang. This complex is filled with coffee shop ,galleries, museum, zither guitar classroom, so artsy, huh? We went inside EVERY building here!

What I like is the serenity of this complex with great view of falling autumn leaves and chill weather!

My personal photo and video guy :3

Here's the coffee shop! Glass is clear and view is majestic as this... Damn.

Ok so I honestly forgot what museum this was so I named this one myself:
Sperm Museum


Ok then there's this one with one bull and one testicle..... Art..... bhaique

SongZhuang Literature Museum of Contemporary Art.
Here's our last stop! Had enough of exhibition, museum, gallery or whatever their friends are.

If you happen to love art, they truly are unique and personal:

Look at how tired he was that he lied down on museum's floor!
Ok lastly, a short speech from me!

Thank you to John and Chad who've been good friends. I really appreciate their company and felt so genuinely connected to them. They kept me company everywhere through every meal and moment. We became instant friends as we had similar complaints as well as deep talk, and the talk went on! We could even bully one another HA! I'm so grateful since it's actually hard for me to be able to connect with people whom I newly knew. It made me happy. Honest.

But anyway, there's always a goodbye. I'm sad but I hope to be able to see these guys again one day. They invited me to visit Idaho and showed me how beautiful it is: and it truly is! Catch up with y'all soon ok!  Love you guys!!

Also for my interpreter who works at CRI Online China called Ellen. Thanks for being so patient for all three of us! She's been so helpful and I liked her company! 

Stay tuned on my next destination! Psst, since you're at the last part of the article, I suppose you deserve a hint:



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