Okay peeps, I haven’t finished the second day journal yet. Partly studying, partly writing and partly hanging out with peeps. I thought I should utilize these last days as an undergrad as much as possible. But not to overkill it.
So there goes one saying, the night is darkest before dawn. Well, at 3 AM even the frogs don’t make a sound. TV usually have nothing but old movies playing with commercial break of the station promoting its own prime time shows. Even the drunkards must have fallen asleep. Only the night clubs are playing the loudest music to counter the silence. But they, as well, close around 4 and only on weekends. To make things creepier, there’s only scratching of head or pen on the paper from you guys, the stressed-out students trying in desperate attempt of last minute studying to save your exams as the result of your one semester of ignorance or laze.
Of course there’s a cliche philosophical meaning behind it. But the phrase just occurred to me suddenly and I don’t wanna over-think it. Especially when I need to wake up early in the morning and I have a list of things to do today from studying, writing, and preparing a nice CV.
Oh no, I still have laundry to pick up… Or should I leave it till morning? It’s inside the dryer anyway, so it won’t stink. Ah, I should just get my ass up and get it over with. Geezzz…
Been a long long time.
Just submitted a final draft of the final project yesterday. Just got a nice huge flat a few days ago. Two down, two more to go. A suitable job and the final presentation. Wish me luck.
I’ll return with a continuation of our previous travel journal. Soon. Maybe tonight.
This entry and the next few entries will be about a 7-Days tour to China, particularly Kunming- Dali – Lijiang. I post this as a favor to my friend, Frederikus Elvinto, who himself wrote the journal of the tour with his family and especially took the beautiful photographs you will see along the posts. As a note, I do the translation and editing of the journal (many changes, addition, and some subtraction :p). I hope you will enjoy these entries. 😀
Jakarta, 10 January 2010
10.20 PM Jakarta time (+7 GMT) We were in the Soekarno-Hatta international airport, boarding for a flight to Changi Airport with ValuAir. We took a tour package from an agency in Singapore. I’ll tell you why. It is way cheaper than taking a package from some local tour agents in Jakarta. This is true especially for China tour, as it is more uncommon in Indonesia. For a family of three, you can save up to 50% of the total cost. Quite a deal right? For the flight to Singapore, with advance booking months before we could get return ticket at only USD 100 per person. Adding in the fact that we were not going during high season, the total saving could be up to SGD 2000 per person! (why did I sound like advertising this)
That night, we sat on the rear of the plane cause I forgot to do seat blocking while doing the online reservation. The weather was rough, with thunder and turbulence along the flight. A shaky ride to Singapore indeed.
Singapore, 11 January 2010
01.00 AM Singapore Time (+8 GMT) Arrived in Changi Airport, Singapore. After passing immigration and taking our baggages we met my friend, Andrew. He was the one helping us with the tour booking via CTC travel. While it is cheaper to book a tour package in Singapore, they don’t normally accept online reservation unlike airlines. So you will need to have your friend do a booking for you directly. Afterwards, we checked in to China Eastern Airlines in Terminal 3 of the airport. We were greeted with a little bad news that our flight was delayed for one hour.
Getting hungry in Changi in the middle of the night, the perfect choice is the food court located at B2. Mini Steamboat rice was a stomach fulfilling menu. Mom ordered a set of kaya toast in the food court, which was disappointing in taste. Not long afterwards, we realized they did have Ya Kun Kaya Toast in the terminal.
Having filled our stomach, we hurried to departure gate A11. On the way dad bought a travel package perfume. Apparently the had not opened the gate yet. So while we were waiting, I took Mom & Dad romantic photos, a la pre-wedding (or should I call it “post-wedding”). Being in Changi in the middle of the night was actually not bad at all. It’s as if we were in our own airport. The quiet night in the airport made my photos look more interesting.
05.00AM Our plane left Singapore to China. Maybe it’s because cheap tickets from tour agent, we got seat on the rear again. I have expected it to be a long and painful flight. Four and a half hours of flight in such small aircraft (3 seats left, 3 seats right and an aisle, standard Boeing 737 plane you usually find in Indonesia domestic flights). But I was so tired I just fell sound asleep immediately. About one hour later a stewardess woke me up to offer me fried noodle or egg for breakfast. I chose egg, which was served with sausages, mushroom, broccoli, and croissant. I didn’t touch the yogurt dessert they serve ‘thanks to’ my digestion problem 😦
Kunming, 11 January 2010
07.30AM Kunming Time (+8 GMT) No we were not there yet. It was my stomach, demanding for proper restroom and a nice morning ‘exercise. I wanted to wait until we arrived at Kunming airport, but the steward said we would only arrive in an hour time. There’s no way I can hold it that long! So I made up my mind to take my first ‘exercise’ up in the air. Okay, I only think it’s worth mentioning because it’s a first time thingy 😄
08.30AM now we really arrive at Kunming airport. Immigration was tight in Kunming, they even told Mom to take off her glasses to see her face more clearly. I went to the restroom then and was surprised by how dirty, smelly, and unattended it was! This is an international airport in the capital of a province. How bad could it be? How far worse are public restrooms in more remote places in this country. I could only imagine.
Kunming at the first sight.
The tour participants including us were gathered together by a local guide called Xiao Bai. We took a walk to the bus provided and I got my first sight of Kunming. The city is located on a highland at the altitude of 1800 m above sea level. It was a sunny day that day but the weather was cold and dry.
We went to Danguan Park next. A beautiful park surrounding a lake (kinda like Chinese Garden in Singapore). The clear morning sky was reflected on the murky water of the lake. The surface glistened not so brightly covered partly with shadow of the water plant in the middle of the lake that still smelled like the dawn. Morning photos in Danguan Park can be eye-catching.
morning in Danguan
From the front gate to the dock beside the lake, it did feel lot like China (of course, d’oh!).
And by the way, the Danguan Park is inhabited by a lot of pigeons. They are white pigeons migrated from Siberia on the far north. You can see a flock of pigeons hovering over the lake as you stroll on the bridge across it.
Getting healthy in Kunming: Lu Yu Tea Center.
10.30AM we continued our journey to Lu Yu Tea Center. They gave us a lecture on the benefits of consuming tea and how to differentiate expensive 9-years old tea to normal 1-year old tea (I wonder whether the tea becomes alcoholic cause I’ll be then interested – alright this one is added by Jonx). It might seem interesting in the beginning but of course at the end what hey really want is to sell their products. Seems like it’s already part of normal practice in tours around the world to bring their participants to their sponsoring companies. Dad offered to buy one packet for 400 CNY (almost IDR 600K) with buy one get one free option. But the best they could offer was only a bonus of one small packet of tea. As the result, none of 14 tour participants buy anything there. Never mind, we can also get healthy consuming Sari Wangi back in Indonesia (why did I sound like advertising again).
Lunch, the inn, the dinner, and the end of the day.
12.00PM We had lunch at a place behind the Yunnan Grand Theater. Fourteen tour participants were divided into two big tables. After lunch we went back to the bus going for the inn to end today’s tour. One thing interesting when we were walking back to the bus: some people were selling souvenirs and there is a beggar missing one arm asking for money. But nobody gave him anything and he stood in front of our bus grumbling. It was then said that if somebody gave the beggar money, soon you’ll find another ten to twenty beggars come and ask for money too. It was a harsh reality in China whose people is almost four times as much as in Indonesia and in which the gap between rich and poor is sometimes bigger than in my country.
The place we’ll be spending the night in is called La Nice Inn (are u sure? why it sounds so French?). A beautiful small hotel. And yes, the name is La Nice, here’s some proof.
Some time around 03.00PM After few hours of nap we decided to take a walk around and search for some bites. We saw a group of Korean teenagers in soccer uniform after pratice (don’t ask me how do I know they’re Koreans, I can tell Song Hye-gyo from Zhang Ziyi but of course for them it’s the language). We saw two huge buildings which appeared to be Sport Center (which I forgot to take the photos). Then we strolled to some kind of electronic center plaza. We found a store that sells cellphones but strangely they did not sell SIM card. Some stores that sell SIM card are quite far from the inn. So I have to stay not contactable for one more day.
Some time around… dinner time. We were looking for a nice steamboat dinner and we decided to have it in Shi Shang Yu Du Restaurant. We had steamboat of Chi fish (it looked like catfish but it’s not) with additional vegetables, mushrooms, and tofu. Good food 🙂
So after dinner, I just found out that any stores selling SIM card closed at 7 and only open at 9 the next day. But we have to depart early at 8 tomorrow morning for our next tour. So I decided not to get a SIM card first but go back to the inn, have a good rest and enjoy the holiday. And that’s the end of our first day! 🙂
p.s. wait for the next chapter with more interesting photos, which will be posted depending on Jonx’s mood and how busy he is. He is very busy right now. LOL :p
This is a video of Bob Dylan’s concert at Newport Folk Festival back in 1965. He asked the audience for a harmonica and somebody did bring it. In the ’60s people bring harmonica to a concert? How cool was that!
On the other hand, Mr. Tambourine Man is one of the coolest of Dylan’s songs. I think it captured very nicely a youth’s restlessness for adventure, more than anything else. Although for some it might sound like a song about weeds and LSD. But for me, the forst time I heard this it sounds like somebody’s hoping for an adventure.
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
I promise to go under it.
p.s. I know most of you who read this will find that my taste is sometimes uncommon. But I did enforce the taste of classic movies to some friends, so I’m gonna say the same thing on this. If you can’t take ’60s music, bear with it for a while and read the lyrics, slowly you’ll find appreciation in it and suddenly it’ll sound real cool. Mostly it’ll work if you have a bit of interest to history or prominent figures in the past (not like Napoleon but more like MLK).
p.p.s. After this post I will start on doing something a bit different. It’ll be more like blogging but in a different way. Just wait and see..haha…
I have an interesting writing project from Elvinto but I have to postpone doing it despite the already complete material.
You know most of the time when you post something about how you are feeling now, your words are not enough that people tend to see it in many different ways? There’s no better way to do it than through a song. If you only listen closely to the lyrics.
I just have to hear
Those sweet words
Spoken like a melody
gonna spend the night trying to sleep to the sound of The Beach Boys. I don’t understand how complicated recording Pet Sounds was, but I know that it’s great and you should get the whole album. This is my personal favorite, I think not because I like it best but it just sounds so right this time being.
I’m bloody tired.
I wanted to show how independent I’d grown now, but that’s not me
Ah, bloody tired.
Just something before crashing off. The Beach Boys is great. People should know them more. And kids these days should listen more to the ’60s or ’70s. I wish I was there.
p.s. big bunch of thanks for the wallet. I really really like it. Even though knowing I’d get a wallet beforehand makes it less exciting (yeah, you just can’t keep surprise secret, huh?). But really, like it. =)
p.s.s. big sorry I put the thanks in a p.s. I think I should write something specially for you. But wait until I have an idea to do something funny, okay?
It is true that we, the facebook generation, sometimes feel closer to people with whom we are connecting every day through the internet no matter how far they are from us.
When our family first moved to our house now, we couldn’t get a telephone line. I wasn’t clear why, but I guessed the connection had been too crowded in the neighborhood that adding up a new line would be more costly. So it was deemed unnecessary, especially it was in year 2000 when cellphone started to spread. Then a decade passed. When internet connection was easily available via Telkom Speedy, we didn’t have a telephone line yet. But now, you don’t need a phone line to have unlimited connection. It was a year ago, a local provider gave an internet service promotion at Rp 300,000 /mth without charging for the receiver and router. That was totally affordable for most household in town, including ours. As ironic as it might sound, I now write and post this up at home, but you still have to reach me on my cell, with which I can’t call you since I haven’t topped-up the prepaid. Yes, we’re moving through time with or without a phone line, a car, and an annual family vacation.
And so I thought.
Sore kemarin kita pergi makan di Siantan, utaranya Pontianak. Tempatnya klasik a la rumah Pecinan tahun 80an di sini. Cuma mungkin karena usahanya udah makin sukses, lantainya pake ubin bagus. Nah, yang menarik itu ternyata selain menjual chai kue (sejenis dumpling pake sayur), si warung masih ngejual es potong jaman dulu. Ada 3 rasa, bikinnya pake susu coklat, sari duren, ama sari cempedak, dibikin sirup gitu trus bekuin langsung di freezer, jadi es balok. Ada juga rasa jeruk kecil (kalo di luar Ponti gw ga tau nyebutnya apa). Air jeruk kecil masukin kantong plastik yang biasa buat masukin cabe trus di freezer juga. Terakhir gw liat dan makan es begituan tuh entah uda 10 tahun lalu ato lebih. Ga nyangka masih ada yg bikin begituan jaman skrg.
Ini choi pan, tp ga ada poto es potongnya malah…haha…
That place where we ate was not a restaurant. It’s just a house, normal Chinese house in the Chinese populated area of the town. They only have 3 tables inside which is never enough. So we sat in their living room, with a 20″ made in China TV, a fan that seemed to be older than me, a fairly new Honda, and a tiny kitchen just right beyond the staircase where a kettle was boiling. Outside, three families were eating. All came with brand new, shiny cars.
People do get richer in this town, judging from the increasing number of traffic jam every time I go back. Honda Jazz is everywhere, sneaking around the town traffic with bulky Toyota Innova or huge Nissan Xtrail and Honda CRV of the slightly wealthier. The cars are battling the fierce traffic with motorcycles everywhere. All the Supras, the Yamahas, the Suzukis (name all the Japanese families) , they are getting more and more since now you can take one back with a mere half million rupiahs of down payment. And don’t forget the fancy houses. In a conservative town like this you still couldn’t find apartments (but I heard one is on its way). But house is a must to show wealth. Shiny tiles, high fence, huge pillars, with architectural style that only the designer thinks it’s artistic.
But back to our little dumpling house, inside it was as if time never moves. They’ve been selling the same dishes for God knows how long (I think 15-20 years?). In place like that, the taste don’t change. Neither do the ice cream. Doesn’t really matter how many billions the people in this town had made, inside they’re still struggling to make the same penny with the same old recipe. Only prices are adjusted to inflation.
So businesses have been good for a lot of people in town. But it doesn’t work for everybody. I know that papa’s bankbook was never big enough to send any of his kids to any good college out of town (I was just lucky enough peeps). And it’s not getting any better now. It’s still the same old struggling for the same penny at home, too, with the same old office in the old neighborhood now full of expensive cars. So despite now my sister does play facebook and update her twitter status almost every hour in school break, the other part of the house is somehow, stands still in time.
Eventually it’s the economic change that affect our town the most. I’m not really sure yet how they did it, I guess it started with loggings, illegal loggings, many logistics businesses, big retailers who sell things from sugar to underwear to all the middle class families, export and import of practically anything (from fertilizer to instant food), raw commodities of rubber or palm oil somewhere in Tayan, the three-stars hotels, and anything else they can turn into gold. Some thought on this were, money enables people to change their life culture. Ten years ago junk food was the food for wealthy people. Now, junk food is for everybody middle-classed. Wealthier people look for traditional home-made dumpling and go for an expensive vacation to Singapore or China or Thailand. And they send their kids to study in Malaysia or Australia. My thought is, our parents bring the economic change and the kids, the foreign educated ones, bring the cultural and lifestyle changes.
I live in between the change and the stillness, so it is more evident to me than others. I practically live in a foreign country now, but back home there’s always this feeling of good ol’ days. And I still slightly more believe in the depth of mind rather than depth of pocket. God knows whether or how long it will last.