31 Desember 2007

Three Stooges in Liuzhou & Guigang, Nov – Dec 2007 (+Guilin)

Click above title for Photos related to this blog

Ini dia penggalan penggalan pengalaman three stooges selama penugasan ke China kali ini.

Breakfast DIMSUM
Ini ritual setiap pagi (tapi ngga eneg2 hehe). Dengan menu yang sama: Siomay, Hakau, Bakpao isi kacang, bakpao isi babi + onde. Roy dan gue selalu chang fen isi udang, Darwin selalu pitancou (bubur telor pitan). Dan selalu minta cabe racik. Every morning the same. Sampai sampai minggu terakhir, pelayan pelayannya udah tau menu kita hehehe. Sebenarnya ini bukan karena kita doyan, tapi karena memang ngga ada pilihan lain. Ngga ada resto lain yang buka sepagi itu (jam 7an) deket deket hotel dan kita ngejer dijemput jam 8 lewat 10 di hotel. Jadi yang paling nyaman, ya makan di hotel. Ohya, hotel kita ini rate-nya 198/night TIDAK termasuk breakfast, so breakfastnya kita bayar sendiri dan charge ke AKR. Sekali makan (bertiga) kurang lebih habis RMB 60 – 80, itu sekitar Rp 75,000 – Rp 100,000. Tapi sumpe dimsumnya enak banget, siomaynya gurih banget, dan udang di dalam hakau dan chang fennya tuh bener bener maknyus, udangnya ngelawan kalo digigit.

Tiap pagi yang makan disini rata rata orang tua (para pensiunan). Boleh dikata, most of time, cuma kita yang masih mudanya. Paling Sabtu dan Minggu aja yang agak rame dengan anak muda, hari lain, weleh, orang tua semua, kakek nenek dengan cucunya. Dan tempat duduknya pun sama setiap pagi, seperti udah di reserved, sampai hapal kita. Ada seorang ‘raja kecil’ yang tiap pagi di dudukin di bangku kecil dan diangkat sama pelayannya masuk ke restoran, persis raja jaman dulu. Tiap pagi selalu begitu, dia datang dengan kakek neneknya. Ternyata disini kehidupan para orang tua pensiunan disupport sama pemerintah. Semacam uang pension, RMB 1000 (sekitar Rp 1,250,000), diberikan oleh pemerintah sebagai jaminan hari tua mereka. No wonder, mereka orang-orang tua mengisi sisa hidup spt ini, tanpa rasa khawatir.

Riverside at night
Ini juga semacam ritual malam hari. Tau dong, kita kan badannya subur subur alias bongsor alias gendud. Jadi tau diri. Abis makan malam, pasti kita sempetin jalan jalan ke riverside. Ini tempat favorite kita. Sekitar 15 menit jalan dari hotel kita, ngelewatin pusat belanja trus lewat gang kecil, lalu turun tangga dan nyebrang jalan, nyampe deh. Liuzhou adalah kota sungai, dengan pusat keramaian kotanya ada di bagian tengah, yang dikelilingi oleh sungai, dan hotel kita, ada di pusat keramaian itu. Disini memang landscape-nya kota Liuzhou: Sungai, jembatan dan gunung (bukit sih lebih tepatnya). Dan disini, juga favoritenya orang sini. Setiap malam ngga pernah sepi. Ada yang pacaran (dingin dingin empuk bo’ hehe kita dibikin ngiri nih, soalnya 3-3nya co kesepian haha), ada yang sekedar jalan jalan, kadang bawa bawa anjing piaraan, ada yang mancing dan ada yang nari nari juga. Biasanya nih yang nari nari orang tua.

Ada juga jasa sewa perahu untuk keliling keliling sungai, tertulis biayanya RMB 60. Tapi kita ngga pernah naik, karena, rutenya keliatannya pendek, dan dengan jalan kaki aja bisa kita susurin. Walaupun keliatannya enak juga sih, mirip mirip nyusurin Chao Praya di Bangkok, tapi tanpa makan malam. Pikir pikir sih, mau juga, tapi nanti, kalau ada kesempatan datang kesini lagi bareng Natz, lagian, ngapain juga ni co betiga tigaan naik perahu nyusurin sungai malam malam, romantis banget en homo banget ngga sih he he.

Tapi ada juga sih kita naik perahu, tapi ini buat liat air terjun dari dekat. Di sungai seberang sana, ada dibuat air terjun buatan. Megah lho, malam malam di kasih lampu. Kita naik perahu kecil ke sana RMB 10/orang. Asik juga.

Yang paling banyak kita lakukan di riverside ini tak lain adalah: Berfoto. Udah kayak sesi pemotretan deh kalau udah di sini. Apalagi Darwin bawa bawa tripod (beli disini RMB 75). Tapi ngga malu kok, orang orang sini juga banyak yang foto, tapi he he, tetep aja ngga ada yang ngalahin kita deh hebohnya. Memang landscape yang sempurna untuk berfoto. Sungai, gunung, lampu, 2 pagoda putih dan kuning, dekor dan lampu yang unik yang berbeda antara 1 jembatan dengan yang lain. Bagi kita, ini memang tempat berfoto, dan foto yang sempurna untuk ber-narsis. Walaupun cuma pake kamera poket (disana ada tk foto yang nawarin pake kamera pro, tapi kita ngga tanya 1 jempretan berapa harganya), hasilnya tetep oke, dan sekali lagi, sempurna untuk ber-narsis ria…

Riverside in the morning
Nah, kalau yang ini, bukan sesuatu yang bisa lo dapat tiap hari. Hari biasa, kerja, hari libur, bangun siang hahaha. Pada suatu hari minggu, kita sempetin ke sana, untuk berfoto he he, untuk apa lagi? Dan itu bukan pagi, hampir jam 11 he he. Tapi kalau dilihat dari fotonya, kayak masih pagi banget, soalnya memang cuaca musim dingin, berkabut. Walaupun dingin banget, boleh percaya boleh ngga, ada orang yang berenang !! Gelo ngga tuh orang ?? Ada juga orang yang ngelatih anjingnya dengan ngelemparin sesuatu ke air sungai yang dingin, trus anjingnya disuruh berenang, ngambilin.. wuuuhhhh, pasti dingin banget tuh ya…


Liuhou Gong Yuan
Sabtu pertama kita di Liuzhou, kita manfaatkan untuk jalan jalan sekitar kota. Di pusat kota ada sebuah taman yang populer banget bagi orang Liuzhou. Namanya Liuhou Gong Yuan (Liuhou Park). Liuhou ini sebenarnya nama orang, orang besar, pemikir, penulis, dan sastrawan dijaman dulu, dan dia adalah pendiri kota Liuzhou. Tamannya gede banget, ada sungai dan jembatan segala. Masuknya juga gratis. Makanya ngga heran, tamannya rame banget, sama ortu dengan anaknya (yang cuma semata wayang), anak anak ABG dan para manula. Bener bener nikmat dan terasa banget kualitas hidup yang tinggi disini. Anak anak lari lari, main komedi putar, main mancing mancingan (mancing ikan mas, dari kolam kecil), main marmut, dll deh. Keliatan banget ortunya bahagia dengan keceriaan anaknya. Yang ABG sibuk berfoto. Sebagian Manula asik main mahyong, yang lainnya terlihat berlatih paduan suara. Ada pula yang berlatih Tai Chi. Pokoknya OK banget, Kita menghabiskan setengah hari disana, dan rasanya betah banget berada disana..

Ohya, sebelum kesana, kita sempet mau mampir ke museum. Tapi kita ngga jadi masuk karena ternyata bayar he he, apalagi untuk kita orang asing (ceileee) ternyata tarifnya lebih mahal, RMB 15 per orang. Dengan tidak tahu apa yang ada di dalam, ditambah ngga boleh foto foto, kita memutuskan ngga jadi masuk ke dalam.

Ma An San
Ini dia gunung (bukit sih sebenarnya) yang paling ngetop di Liuzhou. Kenapa gue sebut gunung, karena dalam bahasa China, ngga ada beda antara bukit dan gunung, semua disebut gunung (san). Dilihat dari kriterianya sih, lebih tepat bukit daripada gunung. Bukit inilah yang menghiasi jendela kamar hotel kita. Boleh dibilang, kita dikasih view terbaik sama hotel kita. Sebenarnya ada bukit bukit yang lain di kota Liuzhou ini, memang kotanya terkenal dengan landscape berbukit bukit. Kalau dilihat penampilannya dari bawah, Ma An San ini ngga lebih keren dari bukit yang lain. Bukit yang lain malah terlihat lebih megah. Ada yang punya pagoda diatasnya, ada juga yang ada bangunan khas china yang tajem tajem itu lho. Menurut gue sih, Ma An San biasa aja ya, cuma ada tiang menara di atasnya, mungkin menara sinyal telepon he he. Tapi kalau untuk view dari atas gunung, semua orang pasti akan bilang Ma An San lah yang paling worth untuk di daki. Dan memang benar.

Abis capek jalan di Liuhou Park, sore harinya, jam 3, kita diajak sama orang kantor (Liao Jun – asmen accounting, bhs Inggrisnya jago, cuma aksennya aja yang rada pelo he he), untuk mendaki bukit ini. Sebenarnya untuk mencapai bukit ini, bisa dengan jalan kaki, tapi Liao Jun insist untuk naik taxi, untuk hemat tenaga, katanya. Dia bener. Soalnya kita mengira akan ada gondola untuk naik ke atas, karena dari jendela kamar, terlihat ada gndolanya. Ternyata, ngga. Itu gondola buat dari Ma An San ke bukit yang lain yang berdekatan. So, untuk naik ke puncaknya cuma ada satu cara, yaitu, mendaki. Untungnya bukan mendaki seperti mendaki gunung gunung di Indo yg beneran mendaki he he, ini udah disiapkan tangga, jadi cukup menyusuri anak tangganya. Tapi tetep jangan dikira gampang… perjuangan berat juga lho, apalagi buat kita yang ngga biasa naik tangga, bentar bentar minta istirahat, bentar bentar minta istirahat he he, tapi bagi mereka orang China, contohnya si Liao Jun, ngga ada capenya sama sekali, napasnya pun tetep teratur. Pendakian ini kira kira mirip dengan naik ke Bukit Kasih di Manado, yang waktu itu karena hujan, ngga jadi daki sampai atas. Kali ini beda, Ma An San kita benar benar sampai atas, dan…. Benar benar worth banget, ngga salah yang dibilang sama orang orang. Dari atas sini bisa lihat seluruh kota Liuzhou.

Dari sini bisa dilihat pusat kotanya yang dikelilingi sungai, membentuk bulatan di tengah tengahnya. Seperti terlihat di gambar atas. Di sisi yang lain bisa dilihat rumah rumah susun, dan di agak kejauhan, terlihat bukit bukit yang tersusun indah. No wonder bukit inilah yang paling top among the others, e, tapi ngga tau juga sih, soalnya kan belum daki bukit bukit yang lain, next time deh, sempetin.

Yang uniknya, sebelum nyampe puncak, ada sebuah goa yang mirip terowongan. Dan pada waktu turun, bisa liat telapak Dewa (Immortal footprint). Setidaknya itulah yang tertulis di awal awal pendakian. Tapi makin di cari, makin ngga ketemu itu telapak he he. Akhirnya sampai sore jam 6, kita menyerah, soalnya saking capeknya, si Darwin ampe kram kakinya, ya, akhirnya kita memutuskan untuk kembali ke bawah. Pulang kembali ke hotel, kayak masih kurang cape, kita memutuskan untuk jalan kaki. Sampai deket hotel, kita nunggu. Ternyata si Liao Jun sudah janjian ketemuan sama Li Cai Xia (Managernya) sama Dewi untuk dinner bareng. Ternyata Dewi juga lagi main ke Liuzhou, belanja katanya.

Guilin Mi Fen vs Ro Se Fen
Ini pertama kalinya (dan sedihnya, sekali kalinya) gue makan ro se fen. Sama Dewi, Li Cai Xia, Liao Jun dan Zhou Li (orang accounting juga). Tentunya juga Roy dan Darwin. Entah karena emang enak atau karena capek abis daki Ma An San, gue makannya lahap banget dah… sampai kuah kuahnya yang pedes habis ngga bersisa. Plus baso daging yang mirip perkedel rasanya, gue lahap sampe lebih dari 10 kayaknya. Nikmat abis.

Ada 1 lagi jenis mi yang mirip ro se fen, namanya Guilin mi fen, dari namanya aja udah ketahuan, asalnya memang dari Guilin. Di Guigang juga pernah makan, tapi aslinya kita makan di tempat asalnya, Guilin. Ciri khasnya Guilin Mi fen adalah pedes, dan memang aslinya pedes banget, ampe jontor makannya he he.

Bedanya apa ya antara mi fen biasa, Guilin mi fen dan ro se fen? Kira kira bisa gue jelasin begini nih: mi fen biasa dengan Guilin mi fen hampir ngga ada bedanya kecuali pedasnya, dan juga bumbunya. Guilin mi fen biasanya nyediain cabe kering dan minyak cabe + kacang, daun bawang dll. Kalau mi fen biasa, ngga. Isinya sih kurang lebih sama, daging babi iris. Dengan pilihan tambahan kayak sam can, kaki babi, kembang tahu, dan telur rebus masak kecap. Kalo ro se fen? Ya, kurang lebih sama juga he he, cuma, kuahnya aja yang ngebedain. Kuahnya ro se fen itu = kuah rebusan kerang, memang kuahnya rasanya mantap, nikmat.

Di Guigang, makan Guilin mi fen sekali dan mi fen biasa beberapa kali yang di tepi sungai, pinggir jalan begitu, tapi nikmat lho, sampai 2 kali kita makan ke situ. Yang di pinggir sungai ini, pake irisan babi, irisan daging sapid an hati babi. Uhuy…
Di Guilin 3 kali makan Guilin mi fen. 2 kali makan pagi di depan hotel, 1 kali dlm perjalanan (kaki) ke Elephant trunk hill.
Di Liuzhou, 1 kali makan siang mie fen ditemenin si Cai (orang accounting). Dan semuanya ENAK. Mi nya ngga sama lho dengan mi di Indo. Minya terbuat dari beras (= kuetiau), bentuknya bulet panjang kayak mi, tapi warnanya putih. Rasanya juga lebih soft. Kalau mi rebus kayak Indo disana gue ngga nemuin, mungkin ngga ada, kecuali mi instant. Tapi kalau mi goreng ada, namanya Zhao Mien (mi goreng). Jadi ada 3 macam Zhao: Zhao mien (mi goreng), Zhao Fen (kuetiau goreng, tapi bentuknya kyk mi) dan Zhao Fan (nasi goreng). Hati hati, lidah kepeleset dikit, bisa keluarnya menu yang beda dari yang dipesen.

Jin Long Jai and others
Masih soal makanan, ini salah satu resto favorite kita, dan memang resto franchise yang ada di beberapa kota, Jin Long Jai. Makanannya ya, standard, Chinese food. Tapi yang bikin beda, makanannya mirip dengan makanan indo, ngga perlu takut takut untuk mesen, ngga perlu takut rasanya ngga keruan. Lagi, pelayannya baik baik dan ramah, kalau resto lain, kalau mereka ngga ngerti kita ngomong apa (maklum, orang asing), kita suka ditinggal dan ngga diladenin. Kalau disini, ngga begitu, semuanya ramah, bahkan seneng dengan kedatangan orang asing. Bahkan Jin Long Jai yang di Liuzhou, deket hotel kita, ada satu pelayan yang manis, cakep gitu deh, mirip anak Untar. Darwin bilang, kalau di Indo, dia udah jadi bini-nya laupan deh, atau paling ngga pacarnya OK hehe, disini cuma jadi pelayan restoran.

Makanan lain yang berkesan disini, yaitu Yang Yang (di Guigang), juga ada 1 resto yang masakannya mirip banget sama masakan indo (lupa namanya), itu favoritenya Pak Lino (GM di Guigang), tapi kata mereka (orang local), makanannya keasinan hehe, emang mereka demennya yang tawar tawar. Ada juga barbeque malam malam di lapangan Guigang. Lumayan lah makanannya, soalnya bosen juga kalau tiap saat makannya Chinese food. Disini memang makanan bentuknya Chinese food semua, mirip mirip semua, cara penyajian maupun rasa, juga alat makannya yang berupa mangkok nasi, mangkok sop, piring kecil dan tempat sambel lengkap dengan sumpit. Kalau mau sendok, ya harus minta sama pelayannya. Begitu juga dengan cabe, ngga akan tersedia kalau ngga diminta.

Kalau di Liuzhou, favorite kita, 1) dimsum hotel hehe, walaupun doyan, bosen juga sih, tiap pagi sih soalnya. 2) makanan pilih pilih di deket hotel. Makanannya macem macem, mulai dari dimsum (kalah enak dari hotel punya), celup celup (kuah pedes), goreng goreng (nasi, mie dll), babi-ayam-bebek panggang dan macem macem deh. 3) kuotie yang isinya sop (nahlo). Ini oke banget lho, dan unik banget. Makannya aja ada caranya yaitu, diambil pelan pelan, tarik pake sumpit, jemput pake sendok, supaya ngga sobek kulitnya kan nanti sopnya tumpah. Nah, begitu gigit, langsung di seruput tuh sopnya panas panas, kalau ngga juga bisa tumpah kan. Wah, pas diseruput itu loh yang nikmat banget… Maknyus gitu rasanya.. Mantap deh… Sopnya bisa pilih, babi, kambing, sapi atau rasa pedas. Spt dijelaskan Sheng Wei Hua (manager production – yg ngajak kita ke sana), cara bikinnya pun khusus, yaitu, sopnya dimasukkan freezer dulu. Pas kita pesen, baru dikeluarin dan dibungkus dengan kulit kuotie, trus dikukus. Mantab deh pokoke.. 4) Udah itu doang deh kayaknya hehehe, soalnya, most of time di Liuzhou, kita dinnernya makanan kantin, soalnya kita kerja sampai jam 7, jam 6 udah laper, jadi kita selalu (hampir selalu) makan di kantin siang dan malam. Ohya, tapi ada 1 malam mereka (bos bos di kantor) ajak kita makan buffet hot pot all you can eat. Cuma RMB 38 per orang, bisa makan sampai besok pagi (begitu tulis spanduknya, kita sih ngga ngerti, itu di jelasin sama Pak Sanjaya – GM, orang Indo). Makanannya mirip Little Ship di Nanning, sayur, tahu dll dengan irisan daging kambing yang amat tipis sekali. Enak, tapi bahaya bagi kesehatan he he

Kantin Guigang vs Liuzhou
Kalau di Liuzhou, kita ‘rajin’ makan di kantin, soalnya menunya masih ok lah dan cukup manusiawi. Misalnya nih, udang goreng mentega (masih berkulit sih), bakut kecap, ayam goreng gurih yang segede gaban, dan sop jagungnya itu loh, jagungnya manis banget, ngga nemuin deh di Indo yg kayak gitu.

Beda banget sama kantin Guigang (Lumberyard). Mau mati deh rasanya. Ngga selera banget. Untungnya nih, kita siap dengan sambel botol, Lao Gan Pa (beli di Liuzhou, gambarnya orang tua cowo). Kata mereka (orang orang local), ada lagi yang lebih enak, yaitu Lao Gan Ma (gambarnya orangtua cewe), tapi pas kita coba, ternyata ngga, enakan Lao Gan Pa. Malah kita berencana mau beli untuk bawa pulang, tapi niatnya harus diurungkan, karena koper udah masyaalah kepenuhan. Tapi herannya, si Dewi (yg notabene orang Indo) juga bilang Lao Gan Ma lebih enak. Makanya gue bilang “si Dewi ini bukan cewe Indo yang bisa berbahasa china, tapi cewe China yang kebetulan bisa berbahasa Indonesia”. Ini dia tampang si Darwin yang ketangkep kamera, sesaat dia liat menu-nya kantin Guigang. Selera ngga? :_)

Da Long Tan
Hari minggu pertama, kita sempetin untuk pergi tamasya, setelah Sabtunya ke Liuhou Park dan Ma An San. Masih dalam kota Liuzhou sih, sebuah taman dan danau yang letaknya agak pinggiran kota. Bersama Dewi yang kebetulan lagi main ke Liuzhou, yang semalemnya nemenin kita juga makan ro se fen. Dengan naik bus RMB 1.2 per orang, cuma sekitar 45 menit, udah nyampe persis di depan pintu gerbang taman. Dan spt Liuhou Park, Da Long Tan ini juga free of charge. Enak banget sih orang China.

Taman ini walaupun mirip dengan Liuhou Park, nuansanya beda banget. Lanscapenya yang beda, danau yang luas dengan latar belakang bukit bukit yang megah banget. Biasalah kita langsung berfoto foto ria he he. Emang bagus banget buat foto, dan memang orang local foto prewed-nya disini, kalau ngga mau jauh jauh ke Guilin. Hari itu aja kita liat ada 2 pasang calon pengantin yang lagi foto prewed. Juga ada foto model yang lagi sesi pemotretan di seberang danau sana.

Enaknya begitu. Ada perkumpulan orang orang tua bahagia yang lagi spend week end di sana. Semua berpakaian serba putih putih ala Tai Chi, ada juga yang pink pink ciong sam (kebaya ncim). Mereka ngajarin kita main nendang nendang bulu lho. Bulu warna warni yang dikasih pemberat terus di tendang tendang ke atas, jangan sampai jatuh ke tanah, makin lama makin dianggap jago. Dari kita ngga ada yang ‘keliatan’ mahir pun ngga he he. Malu deh sama a’i a’i.

Ngga jauh dari situ ada meja pemujaan, zaman dulu dipake buat acara minta hujan dan lain lain. Dari situ, naik tangga ada kelenteng. Ditengahnya ada danau kecil dengan patung kura kura ditengah, di cangkangnya ada semacam centong. Kalau bisa lempar koin dan masuk ke dalam centong itu, wishnya bisa terwujud, begitu katanya. Ya udah kita tuker uang koin sama a’i a’i yang jaga. Roy, Dewi dan gue. Cuma gue yang masuk lemparannya he he, pada lemparan pertama, tapi gue lupa make a wish :_( “Makanya masuk” celetuk si Roy.

Turun dari situ, ngeliat orang orang naik perahu nyusurin danau, jiwa anak anak kita bergejolak juga pengen ikutan nyebur. Dewi kita minta nanya nanya si penjaga perahu, ada 2 macam perahu, yang pake motor RMB 35, yang pake dayung (goes pake kaki) RMB 25. Sama sama 45 menit. Kita pilih yang RMB 25 dayung sendiri, ngirit RMB 10 he he… Ngeliat pemandangan bukit bukitnya emang jadi lebih dramatik dan terasa lebih teduh ngeliatnya dari tengah danau.

Abis puas berfoto dari pagi sampai siang, kita bersiap balik hotel, karena sudah janji late check-out jam 2. Jam 2 abis check-out janjian ketemu Karen dan adiknya (Amei) untuk makan siang bareng (di Jin Long Jai dkt hotel). Jam 4, mobil VW Passat dari Guigang (sopirnya: A Jie = sopir dan mobil yang sama yg dulu jemput kita di bandara Nanning tengah malam jam 1, Agustus lalu) datang menjemput kita untuk membawa kita ke Guigang. Ada penugasan khusus yang ngga dischedule sebelumnya, request mendadak dari bos besar mumpung kita berada di China dan hanya 4 jam dari Guigang. Kita ‘diculik’ 1 minggu untuk penugasan khusus ini.

Toko Roti Guigang
Ngomong ngomong soal Guigang, ada sesuatu di sini yang menggelikan banget. Disini kan kita nginep di hotel melati, jadi ngga ada breakfast. Untuk breakfast yang deket hotel, boleh dibilang ngga ada, ada juga resto yang ngga enak dan bukanya sore pula. Walhasil, kita harus menyiapkan breakfast sendiri, dan biasanya malam kita beli roti untuk besok pagi. Toko roti disini banyak sebenarnya, tapi rasanya ancur semua. Satu satunya yang bisa dimakan hanyalah toko roti yang di mal. Dulu, waktu penugasan Agustus, kita (Roy dan gue) sering mampir ke toko roti ini, dan ada 1 penjaganya yang ngajak gue kenalan soalnya dia bilang dia mau belajar bhs Inggris. Duh, pokoknya sampai ngasih no HP segala. Nah, kalau temen temennya ganjen sama si Roy, pokoknya heboh deh, kalau kita datang. Dari jauh aja kalau udah keliatan, langsung diteriakin kayak celebritis kampong. Jadi malu lho. Masak fans nya penjaga toko roti he he, merah deh mukanya…

Kasian juga lho dia, dia menyebut namanya Ally. Waktu bulan Agustus juga pernah ngasih no HP, trus gue coba telp karena Dewi nyuruh nyuruh. Nah pas gue telp, ada jawaban yg kira kira artinya begini, “tlp yg anda tuju tidak cukup dana untuk dihubungi”. Ternyata disana masih kayak di Indo dulu, yang kalau HP ngga ada pulsa, bukan cuma ngga bisa telp keluar, tapi juga ngga bisa diteleponin. Ya, begitulah, dia kan cuma seorang gadis penjaga toko roti. Ni, ada fotonya.

Bu Xing Jie Guigang vs Bu Xing Jie Nanning vs Fei Er Liuzhou
It’s shoping time !! To be in China is to shops !! :”) Kota sekecil Guigang pun bisa ada tempat belanja yang murah dan ok, walaupun kurang begitu nyaman dibanding Nanning. Murah, murah dan murah. Kualitas, tau dah he he he…

Di Guigang, Roy dan Darwin belanja jacket. Murah banget, cuma RMB 49. Tapi ukuran Darwin ngga ada ha ha ha, yang ukuran Darwin harganya mahalan dikit, RMB 69. Gue belanja jacket juga, tapi bukan buat gue, buat my baby :_) jaket tebel lho, ada topi pinggiran bulu yg bisa dilepas (seleting), dalemnya kayak mantel, anget banget, sale, cuma RMB 49. Disana juga beli HP (titipan Pak Masyuni, sopir AKR), cuma RMB 500, MP3, MP4, Kamera 1.3 MP, touchscreen (iya, touchscreen !!), bentuknya tipis, warna hitam dengan warna krom dipinggirannya. Looks cool, cool banget.

Di Guigang, karena kita stay 1 week end di Guigang, minggunya kita manfaatin jalan jalan ke Nanning (cuma 2 jam perjalanan bus). Dewi, Xiao Lin (Accounting Manager Mao Er – pengganti Dewi), dan kita bertiga, naik bus RMB 42 per orang (dapet minum gratis) menuju Nanning, Minggu pagi jam 10. Sampai disana jam 12, langsung makan siang deket Bu Xing Jie. Makan siangnya mantep, dan banyak, soalnya siap siap tenaga untuk belanja he he. Ohya, jadi inget, kita makan paginya juga mantep. Pangsit isi daging babi, panas panas. Di Nanning, gue beli anting dan bros pesenan my baby, sampai habis RMB 100 lebih. Sama baju sweater hangat tapi bolong bolong, harganya cuma RMB 39. Dewi juga bawa kita ke tempat jualan tas cewe yang bagus dan murah murah. Disitu gue beli 2 tas + 1 tempat koin, total cuma RMB 50. Dapet 1 tas pesta (ibu ibu – buat mama), 1 tas bunga bunga untuk jalan jalan dan 1 tempat koin RMB 4. Puas belanja, kita kembali ke bus stasion jam 6 sore. Makan malam KFC di sana, trus naik bus jam 7. Jam 9 malam nyampe kembali ke Guigang. Puas belanja kaki nyut nyut karena nyusurin Bu Xing Jie Nanning yang emang luas banget. Sampai hotel taroh barang dan mandi, gue dan Darwin keluar lagi. Ke tempat refleksi deket hotel, RMB 20 per orang. Wah, nyaman banget lho. Pertama dikasih air panas untuk rendem kaki (mungkin untuk menghilangkan bau kaki juga kali ya), sambil pijet punggung. Abis itu baru dipijet kakinya. Terakhir, rendem kaki lagi. Wuah, pokoknya enak banget, kaki langsung hilang pegel pegelnya. TOP.

Kalau di Liuzhou, tempat belanja yang murah dan ok-nya bukan di Bu Xing Jie. Bu Xing Jie yang deket hotel kita itu harganya walahualam mahal, dan banyakan branded, kita kan nyarinya yang murah dan bagus, bukan yang mahal hehe. Ada tempat namanya Fei Er, mirip Mangga Dua kalo di Indo. Letaknya deket Ma An San, jalan dikit. Di sana kita ditemenin si Cai (orang accounting), Yoyo dan Zhen Yi (orang purchasing). Disana kita borong pernak pernik olimpiade berupa gantungan kunci Fu Wa (Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying dan Nini, jadi Beijing Huan Ying Ni = Beijing welcomes you). Sampai 50 biji = 10 set, untuk bagi bagi ke anak anak kantor di Jakarta. Karena beli banyak, kita dikasih cuma RMB 1.5 sebijinya. Juga beli mainan bentuk Fu Wa, yang kalo ditarik talinya, tangan dan kakinya bisa ngangkat. 1 set RMB 17.5. Ada lagi nih pernak pernik lain yang kita beli, soalnya disini selain jual pakaian, juga jual pernak pernik, kayak di Mangga Dua atau TokoTiga kalau di Indo. Boneka babi putih babi hitam RMB 15. Darwin juga beli boneka Sinchan sampai 2 set, RMB 20/set, 1 set isi 2 boneka. Gue beli sandal bulu berbentuk Garfield yang mukanya lagi memelas, lucu banget, I couldn’t resist not to buy :_P RMB 20/pair. Tas kecil bergambar Mickey Mouse Cuma RMB 4. Kita juga beli angpao untuk kondangan. Juga penahan kotor lengan yang ada karet di kedua ujungnya. Biasanya dipakai di musim dingin, untuk melindungi jaket/baju panjang dari kotor, RMB 2 per buah, gue beli 2 buah, iseng aja. Emang sini pusatnya pernak pernik, mau makanan cemilan juga ada, tapi kita ngga beli, soalnya makanan China mah ngga ada yang enak, rasanya aneh buat lidah orang Indo, enakan juga cemilan Indo sendiri.

Abis dari pusat pernak pernik, kita beralih ke pusat pakaian. Gue beli baju dalam hanget buat Nat RMB 25. Ada juga sih yg murah, yang RMB 19 juga ada, tapi kata Cai, jangan beli yg begitu, ngga bagus, ngga nempel di kulit, kalau dipakai lari lari. Juga jaket tebel yang dalamnya ada bulu bulu yang mau gue hadiahin buat bokap in case beliau ke China lagi musim dingin, atau pergi lagi ke dataran tinggi macam Huang San atau Tibet. Harganya RMB 79 doang, yang pas besokannya cerita ke Liao Jun, komentarnya singkat, “hard to believe”. Padahal katanya jaketnya itu untuk di daerah North yang jauh lebih dinginpun masih sanggup. Roy dan Darwin juga beli jaket lagi, harga RMB 59, lebih tipis. Mereka belinya sama dan dipakai bersamaan, kayak dari panti asuhan.

Malamnya kita berlima (Yoyo pulang lebih awal karena ada janji sama keluarganya), makan malam di Jin Long Jai deket Fei Er, disana, kita pesen menu yang kurang lebih sama dengan yang dipesan sebelum sebelumnya, tapi di Jin Long Jai yang ini rasanya lebih kurang enak.

Pulangnya, ditemenin jalan kaki sama Cai sampai pinggir Ma An San. Si Cai ini bisa bahasa khe lho, bahasa leluhur gue. Kadang kalau ada bahasa yang gue ngga ngerti, dia coba dengan bahasa khe, e.. malah gue ngerti, jadinya nyambung deh sama dia. Fresh graduated dan baru kerja 2 bulan di kantor tempat kita ngaudit. Gue panggil dia Xiao Mei (adik perempuan) karena sama sama orang khe.

You Yi BingGuan vs Liuzhou BinGuan vs Home Inn
Ini tentang penginapan kita di Liuzhou dan di Guigang. Walaupun sama sama namanya BinGuan, ngga berarti keduanya sama lho. BinGuan memang sekelas di bawah FanDien (Hotel), jadi bolehlah diartikan losmen.

Kalau You Yi BinGuan, tau sendiri lah ya, udah pernah gue ceritain sebelumnya (assignment August 2007). Yang ini beneran losmen. Bentuknya aja ruko, 6 lantai, masing masing lantai ada 4 kamar, 2 kamar gede, 2 kamar yang kecilan. Letaknya pun ngga strategis. 30 menit jalan kaki ke Mal satu satunya di kota Guigang. Makan pagi pun susah, makanya malamnya kita beli roti untuk persiapan sarapan pagi. Kali ini parah, dulu, gue dapet kamar lantai 2, Roy lantai 4. Kali ini, kita bertiga dapet kamar lantai 5, hehe gede deh tuh betis. Tapi walaupun kelasnya losmen, kecil, fasilitas boleh dibilang memadai. Ada air panas, TV 21”, AC dan pemanas, telepon, jasa laundry, WC bersih dengan kloset jongkok, dan ada line internet, gratis pula. Harganya pun murah, RMB 60 semalam (cuma IDR 75,000). Lau pan nya pun baik, udah kenal lah dengan kita, gimana ngga, ini udah semacam hotelnya AKR. Dulu, waktu lagi akuisisi, semua orang AKR, termasuk big bos, semuanya tinggal dan bermarkas disini. Xiao Tang, Xiao Mao dan 1 lagi (lupa namanya), selalu menyapa dipagi dan malam hari, dan siap membantu, walaupun kita dengan bahasa mandarin yang sangat terbatas. Ada 1 hal yang enak di sini, deket ke tempat pijet refleksi, refleksinya pun murah, RMB 20 selama 1.5 jam sudah termasuk rendam kaki di air panas berisi ramuan obat plus pijat punggung yang sangat melegakan otot otot, apalagi pas pulang dari belanja di Nanning.

Lain lagi Liuzhou BinGuan. Ini mah ngga layaknya losmen. Kelasnya pun bintang 3. Semacam Somerset-lah kalo di Surabaya. Lengkap dan OKEH. AC, pemanas, air panas, telepon, kloset jongkok, bath tub, meja dan kursi tamu, lengkap. Ngga ketinggalan line internet yang juga gratis. Dan kamar kita menghadap ke landscape yang paling terkenal di kota ini, Ma An San. Apalagi letaknya yg sangat strategis, deket kemana mana. Keluar aja, udah Wu Xing Jie, dengan banyak tempat makan dan jualan. Riversidepun paling Cuma 15 menit jalan kaki. Tapi ya, itu deh, ratenya cukup mahal. Kita stay kurang dari 3 minggu disana, habis RMB 13,000 an (sekitar 16 Jutaan), termasuk laundry sih, jadi 1 orang kena 5 Jutaan untuk 2 minggu lebih. Kira kira kalau dibandingkan Somerset ya dia lebih mahal. Di Somerset 2 minggu dengan laundry dan makan malam (kdg kdg) habis 4 Jutaan per orang. Tapi ya, walaupun bintang 3, yang bisa servis kita dengan bahasa Inggris, minim banget, rasanya sih cuma 1 orang yang bisa. Untung cek in cek out dibantu sopir atau Karen.

Kalau Home Inn, ini hotel kita di Guilin, nginep semalam aja. Keliatannya ini jaringan hotel, kata Karen, ada di banyak kota di China. Dia juga yang bookingin kita disini. Hotelnya kecil, di pojokan walaupun masih itungan tengah kota. Tapi dari luar juga keliatan asri dan bersih, dengan nuansa kuning. Bener, dalamnya pun apik, bersih dan oke banget. Kayak hotel hotel kelas menengah di Bandung. Ratenya sekitar RMB 160. OK kok. No complain. Nyari makan (breakfast) pun gampang. Keluar hotel langsung ketemu Guilin Mi Fen. Highly recommended.

Beli Teh
Ini juga pengalaman tersendiri. Ketika nemenin Roy nyari teh buat Ardiansyah. Jadi ceritanya begini, mertua si Ardi lagi sakit kanker, katanya, dengan minum teh hitam (black tea) bisa pulih kankernya. Jadi Ardi ngasih kita uang cukup banyak, RMB 1,000 untuk belikan teh hitam kualitas bagus, pokoknya spend aja tuh uang, habisin, kalau kurang nanti dia ganti, untuk 1 Kg teh hitam, kualitas bagus.

Begitulah, sampai sana, kita tanya tanya orang, apa sih teh hitam itu, berapa harganya, beli di mana? Masalahnya adalah, 1) ngga ada itu yang namanya teh hitam, orang sana ngga ngerti, atau jangan jangan memang beneran ngga ada. 2) ngga ada teh spesifik yang bisa nyembuhin kanker, ngga ada. Ini menurut penjelasan Sheng Wei Hua (manager produksi), teh itu ada 3 macam, teh biasa (warnanya coklat muda), teh hijau, dan teh merah (warnanya cokelat pekat), mungkin yg terakhir ini yang disebut teh hitam. Dan ngga ada teh spesifik untuk nyembuhin kanker, mungkin, menurut dia, mungkin seseorang yang senang minum teh, dia merasa puas dan senang, lalu berbagai penyakit bisa dikalahkan, mungkin, katanya sambil ketawa.

Jadi gimana dong. Roy SMS Ardi. Ternyata oh ternyata, mertua nya itu sudah meninggal. Tapi titipan tehnya tetep jadi, ngga dibatalin, mungkin keburu janji sama mendiang mertua, jadi tetep mesti dibeliin juga. Dan tetep dia minta RMB 1,000 dihabiskan, pokoknya beli yang kualitas bagus. Kalau menurut orang sana RMB 1,000 bisa beli yang sangat bagus, walaupun ada juga yang mencapai RMB 10,000 per Kg, tapi yang RMB 1,000 per Kg sudah masuk kategori kualitas terbaik.

Sampai kita pergi ke Guigang, nanya nanya, kesimpulannya masih abu abu, masih ngga begitu jelas. Sampai si Linda (penerjemah kita) memperkenalkan Yunan Puer Ca (Teh dari Yunan), yang rasanya pahit, dan warnanya coklat pekat. OK, kita sepakat, inilah yang (mungkin) disebut teh hitam. Lagipula, Ardi sudah diwanti wanti kalau ngga ada teh yang untuk kanker, tetep dia minta, beli aja teh hitam. Mungkin karena mertuanya sudah meninggal anyway. Tapi tetep belinya di Liuzhou, lebih lengkap dan ada pusat penjualan teh, daripada di Guigang yang kota kecil. Tapi paling ngga kita udah punya kesimpulan: Yunan Puer Ca.

Kembalinya kita ke Liuzhou, abis seminggu di Guigang, kita sempetin untuk mampir ke pusat penjualan teh disana, dengan minta ditunjukin sama sopir (Lao Lan). Disana ternyata lengkap semua, dan asli baru tau kalau teh itu ternyata seperti wine, yang kalau disimpan makin lama makin enak/harum dan otomatis juga makin mahal. Dan di tempat teh itu, si pemilik toko punya meja penyajian teh dimana dia bisa menjamu tamunya untuk minum berbagai macam tehnya sebelum memutuskan untuk membeli. Kita juga begitu, ditawari dan dijamu dengan macam macam teh, sampai kebelet kencing hehe. Tapi memang unik, menyajikan tehnya dengan style, cara dia meracik, menyiapkan dan membersihkan gelas, menuang dan menyajikan itu benar benar ada cara tersendiri yang bagi kita cukup memukau.

Akhirnya Roy belikan Yunan Puer Ca, buatan tahun 2006. Karena dari yang kita coba, memang itu yang paling terasa enak, terasa tehnya dan mantap. Harganya pun ngga mahal, RMB 120 per bungkus sekitar 360 g. Belinya 2 bungkus. Plus kotak ekslusif totalnya RMB 270. Jadi uangnya bukannya kurang, malah lebih banyak, cuma kepake seperempat lebih sedikit. Mudah mudahan yang nitip puas.

Tentang kejorokan orang China
Semua yang jorok tentang orang China mau gue ceritain disini. Beberapa memang sudah menjadi habitt dan ngga aneh bagi mereka. Kita membuktikannya sendiri.

1) Kuuuuaaarrrrrk Phuiiiihhhh…. Ini yang paling sering dijumpai. Ini adalah cara mereka mengeluarkan reak. Pake intro dulu, tarik dulu, persis Son Go Ku (Dragon Ball) mau melakukan Kamehameha. Ditarik dulu sampai ujung tenggorokan maka keluarlah semua. Ngga tua ngga muda, ngga di taman, di danau, di pinggir sungai, di Gunung, di taxi, di restoran (ilfil ngga?), anywhere, bahkan di toko buku. Iya loh, di toko buku !! Trus yang gue bingung, itu buangnya kemana, toko buku lho, buang ke mana??!! “ya dibuang ke isi buku, trus tutup dan tarok kembali bukunya” seloroh Darwin. Mmmmhh… he’s probably right. Suara latar kuark phuih sampai beberapa kali terekam di handycam gue, parah deh. Yang gue inget, terekam waktu lagi di Ma An San, dan lagi di Yu Long River (Guilin). Gue pernah iseng, melakukan itu di depan banyak orang di riverside, waktu orang lagi ramai dan gampang banget untuk drow attention, tapi apa yang terjadi? Ngga terjadi apa apa, ngga ada 1 orang pun yang menoleh ataupun merasa aneh. Semua berlaku spt ngga terjadi apa apa, seperti hal yang gue lakuin itu biasa, dan memang hal biasa bagi mereka. Ancurrrrr….

2) Ngencingin anak di sembarang tempat. Ini juga yang bikin dongkol. Could be anywhere. Air tergenang dijalan yang keinjek sama elo itu belum tentu air hujan, bisa jadi kencing anak kecil. Beneran! Kita saksikan dengan mata kepala sendiri, waktu makan Mi fen di deket sungai Guigang, belakang kita itu pintu rumah orang. Ibu muda yang punya rumah, sambil menggendong anaknya, dengan santainya melorotkan celana anaknya, lalu “sssssssssshhhhh…” dan mengalirlah kencing anaknya. Persis di depan rumahnya sendiri. Orang bodoh mana yang mengencingin anaknya di depan pintu rumahnya sendiri. Tapi begitulah. Ngga cuma itu, even ada tempat yang lebih layak untuk ngencingin anak ngga jauh dari situ (di deket pohon misalnya), mereka tetep ngencingin anaknya sembarangan. Di depan mal, di ubinnya mal, padahal deket situ ada pohon, kan bisa kencing di tanah deket bawah pohon, walaupun itu juga jorok, tapi daripada di ubin dan menyisakan genangan kuning. Bener bener ngga habis pikir lho gue. Pokoknya kapan dan dimanapun si anak mau kencing, langsung buka celana dan seeerrrr, dan itu ajaran orang tuanya. JOROKNYA TURUNAN. Anak anak dari kecil aja diajarin jorok, ya ngga heran kalo gedenya juga jorok.

3) Yang namanya tangga, pasti bau kencing dan kadang, malah ada ee-nya. Di tangga riverside, dari jembatan (jalan raya) menuju ke bawah. Duh baunya. Dan ini bukan di satu dua tangga, tapi di setiap tangga di setiap jembatan. Ngga di Liuzhou, ngga di Guilin. Kenapa ya? Masak kencingin tangga bisa bawa hoki?

4) WC umum ngga ada yang bersih, even di mal yang bagus sekalipun. WCnya pasti jorok, bau dan tergenang air. Itu baru WC mal, belum WC umumnya Pom bensin atau tempat umum lainnya, wah tak terlukiskan deh. Bau dan malah ada ee di mana mana. Orang sana bahkan ee ngga tutup pintu, dan ngga disiram, jadi eenya masih pluk, nempel disitu. Gue liat dengan mata kepala sendiri. Makanya kalau stop di pom bensin, gue tahan tahan sebisa mungkin untuk ngga kencing, wueleh, kalau terpaksa sekali baru gue sudi. Juga dengan WC kantor kita di Guigang, joroknya ngga ketulungan. Mereka pernah nanya ke gue, mau ngga kalau seandainya stay kerja di sana, gue bilang, “if they fixed the toilet, maybe I’ll consider” sampai segitunya, kalau toiletnya spt itu, mempertimbangkan pun ngga mau gue. Sampai sampai ya, kalau kita kebelet boker, kita tahan sampai di hotel, kalau bener bener ngga tahan lagi, pura pura ketinggalan sesuatu di hotel, minta dianter sopir balik hotel :_) Dan kalau udah di hotel sebelum pergi, pasti bela belain boker dulu biar bersih, kalau ngga, berabe dan menderita deh. Ya, satu satunya tempat yang aman untuk boker (dan kencing) ya di hotel. Even hotel melati kita di Guigang sangat bersih dan klosetnya kloset duduk. Most of kloset umum adalah jongkok. Malahan, ketika di Nanning, abis belanja dan mau pulang, sebelum naik bus berjam jam dan harus pipis di pom bensin, kita sempetin pipis bersih dulu di Nanning Hotel **** he he, idenya Dewi tuh, soalnya hotelnya deket Bu Xing Jie tempat kita belanja.

5) Pupuk dari ee manusia. Ini bukan hanya mitos atau issue. Kita menyaksikan sendiri. Kebon yang dilengkapi dengan tempat boker, yang ada parit saluran ee ke kebon mereka. No wonder, sayurnya manis manis dan gede gede seger lagi he he. Yang ini, gue sih ngga mau bayangin pas lagi makan, pokoknya makan aja, lahap aja deh, ngga usah pikirin pupuknya.

6) Kalau makan orang sini pasti pasti ngecap. Cap cap cap… Ngga ada table manner. Even yang cakep sekalipun, yang biasanya sopan, ngga nyangka deh bisa membuat loe ilfil ketika makan bersama.

7) Mulutnya bau. Mungkin karena musim dingin ya. Soalnya kita juga ngerasain, mulut tuh kering, jadi bau. Jadi, kalau mau discus dengan seseorang, kita siap permen he he, kita makan, dia juga kita tawarin, supaya mulutnya sama sama wangi.

8) Jarang mandi, kalau lagi musim dingin. Ini diakui sendiri sama mereka. Kebanyakan ngga mandi pagi, tapi tetep mandi malam. Jadi sehari sekali. Ini sih gue anggap ngga jorok jorok amat. Soalnya kan musim dingin ngga berkeringat, dan ngga bau. Gue sendiri begitu kok he he, mandinya cuma malem aja, pagi cuci muka, gosok gigi dan boker, udah.

Atoi dan Ncek Apiaw
Sebutan Atoi menjadi begitu populer diucapkan sama kita. Mulanya sih dari gue yang selalu nyebut, “uuuu… Atoi” atau “Atoi bangeeetttt”. Itu untuk nyebut orang China sini, yang cowok dan yang kerempeng dgn gaya yang sok cool, sok asyik dan sok keren. Jadinya si Darwin dan Roy juga ikut ikutan he he. Emang cowok sini tuh ya, atoi atoi semua, alias, kerempeng, sok gaul, sok gaya dan sok keren, sok cool padahal, bujubuneng dah… Ngga ada keren kerennya, malah geli liatnya…

Ada lagi yang lebih rendah kelasnya dari Atoi, yaitu, Ncek Apiaw, ini sih istilahnya Darwin. Tau Marcy Grey ngga? Nah rambutnya lagi ngetrend di kalangan Atoi. Kebayang ngga sih, badan begeng, kepala kecil, rambut segede bagong… bener bener ngga proprsional. Nah itulah yg kita sebut Ncek Apiaw. Setiap kali yang begituan lewat, gue langsung panggil Darwin, “Win, keren banget tuh orang, gila, mau dong kayak gitu” hehehe. Pusing liat kelakuan co co sini. Yang bikin geregetan tuh, ce-nya cakep cakep, sampai sampai Darwin ngumpat ngumpat tiap kali liat co ce lagi jalan, yang co Atoi abis, yg ce cakep dan manis gitu deh hehe, “Ngga rela gue, ngga rela” umpat si Darwin hahaha.

Penutup
Beginilah suka duka, lucu dan seriusnya pengalaman Three Stooges in China. Akan ada banyak lagi “aksi” kita lho he he, soalnya jadwal tahun depan, 3x ke China, 2x ke Guigang dan 1x ke Liuzhou. Next time, sebisa mungkin, mau mengunjungi lebih banyak tempat lagi yang belum sempet kali ini, spt suku Miao (deket Liuzhou), Vietnam (deket Guigang), Li Jiang River, Reed Flute Cave dan the famous Yang Shuo. Next time maybe sama My Natz, dan kalo berani lebih jauh, mau ke Beijing, Shanghai, maybe Jiu Jai Gou, Xi an, Huang San dll deh he he. Dan kalo bisa, jangan transit Guangzhou lagi deh (always that Bin Bin Plaza), sebisa mungkin transit Hongkong hehe, e, ngga ding, sekarang udah ada penerbangan langsung Jkt – Nanning (2 jam dari Guigang, 6 jam dari Liuzhou, naik mobil). Liat nanti deh he he, apa cerita berikutnya. Yang jelas, cerita kali ini, bagi gue, cukup berkesan dan gue merasa sangat beruntung bisa mengalaminya.

27 Desember 2007

Guilin, winter 2007

Click above title for Photos related to this blog

Wake up at 5.30 in the winter morning of Liuzhou city, still too dark and a little bit foggy, but thank God, not very cold. Just last night, the long and somewhat tough meeting ended smoothly with laugh and warm goodbye happy holiday from the auditee’s management. Still going on in my head, all the crazy work and never enough sleep for the past 4 weeks that finally ended. Time to forget about it. Today’s beautiful Saturday, and guess what….? We’re about to the journey (of three stooges in China), by visiting to one of “the most favorite tourist destination” in China, one of the most beautiful places in the world, Guilin.

Famous for its wonderful scenery, rivers and karst peaks covered in lush greenery, Guilin is one of the most beautiful places in China.” Guilin is situated along the Lijiang River. Though Guilin is very beautiful, many travelers simply pass here on the way to their true destination, Yangshuo. Yangshuo, 83 kilometers along Lijiang River, is settled amongst the most beautiful part of the Lijiang River's karst scenery.” Said one of the website promoting the place we’re just going to visit.

Still me, Darwin and Roy, with Karen Lim, our friend from the office, who is originally a Guilin girl, she surely know where to take us and will be a great tour guide.

Our first destination, off course, the famous Li Jiang river. This is why we have to wake up and start the journey so early. It took 2.5 hours from Liuzhou to Guilin, and by started at 6, hopefully we can catch the boat at 10 (last boat) after check in to the hotel. We stay one night at Guilin before taking off to Jakarta the next morning.

So, after check-in to this small but very nice and tidy hotel called Home-Inn (RMB 160 net per room per night), and having a delicious RMB 2.5 Guilin Mi Fen, we headed right away to the river and prepare to be mesmerized by the “sceneries that inspired many ancient Chinese poems and writings” and by the Yangshuo, the legend, that attracted so many tourists to come. We were keen to experience them, especially me, I’m dying wanted to go. Just last night at the phone, Karen said that we don’t have to wake up and go too early if we’re not going to Li Jiang river, she asked “do you know how much the boat for one person? RMB 200 – 300..” I reply, “I come this far to China, and only 2 hours away to see the beauty, even RMB 500, still I want to go…”. She asked me because last year, Roy didn’t want to go because of the price. For me, you hasn’t gone to Guilin if you’re not visiting Li Jiang river, especially when money is your only consideration.

Arrived at Li Jiang river port, we’re very disappointed to find out that what we’re afraid of is coming true. Someone back in the office has told us that the water level might be subsided during the winter time. It turned out to be true. Not wanting to waste our holiday in vain, we asked the driver to drive us directly to the end of the river, i.e. the “true destination”, Yangshuo. Although it said like that by the promotion, the true excitement is along the river, I believe, not the Yangshuo. Yangshou is just an old town, with houses like the myth, and small path to travel with bike. That’s what attract the tourist so much, especially the western, which for us, Asian, probably would be a bit boring, as the scene like that could be easily found in many of places Indonesia. So, when the driver suggest other river near Yangshuo, smaller river that can be cross with the small raft, we immediately agreed. On the way there, I text a message to my Natz at home, “…baby, it’s a destiny, that WE have to go to Li Jiang river together, maybe next year, or a year after, or after our ‘Kelly’ reached 5…” :_)

Yi Long river. This is really a tremendous view ahead. Clear water and the hills or shadow of the hills behind the thin layer of the clouds created by the winter. With a small raft of two seats, cost only RMB 55 per raft for about 1 hour crossing this small river. The raft is made by 10 big bamboo sticks tied together, with 2 twigged chairs tied on it, and a 5 meter long bamboo as the paddle. Here are some pictures taken there. Really worth the money. It turned out that this river has been a destination of the other tourists since Li Jiang river is running out of water.

After an hour, we get back to the place where we started. And going back to Guilin with the driver. Arrived at Guilin, the driver drop us to the street where we can find something to eat (already 2.30 PM), and he headed back to Liuzhou.

On the way to the Elephant Trunk Hill (by walk), we stop by for a small bowl of Guilin Mi Fan (again). Near the Elephant Hill, an A’i A’i asked Karen, whether we want a cheaper way to enjoy the hill. Instead of paying RMB 25/person to enter to the site, she offer us RMB 10/person ride by small boat to see not only the elephant trunk hill, but also a boat trip to the fish hill and finished at the other side of elephant trunk hill, where she said, a better view to take picture rather that from the side that paying RMB 25. So, we agreed, although we can not stand close to the ‘elephant trunk’, at least we have a beautiful picture taken from the right side. After all, is the picture that said it all, is the picture that more important than saying hey, I’ve been in the hill, but cannot took picture of the whole hill because I’m standing too close. Yeah, right…

Except for the cold wind created by the movement of the boat that makes not only my teeth trembled but also my bones and ribs, I have no complaint about this trip. Even the boat man asked for RMB 50 for 4 of us, I would still happily paid him. This is really something. The scene that usually seen only at the magazine, now it’s in front my own eyes, and a picture with me in it. Unfortunately, the hill is under some repairmen, you can see, there’s a green nets that really annoying and making the picture less dramatic.

At noon, we stop by in the Moon and Star Pagoda. There’s also a night cruise cost RMB 149 per person to across 2 river and 4 bridges. But tonight, the ticket girl said, due to Li Jiang river is subsided, only RMB 139 per person. We already too tired for this one, besides, the price seems too high this time. Maybe next time, with my Natz, in summer he he.

After took a view pictures we decided to find our selves a good dinner. Puo guo, said Karen, Hot Pot in Chinese, and we all nod. In the cold weather like this, what could be better than hot pot.. hmmm yummy already…

Before arrive at the restaurant, we stop by at the souvenir market. Me and Darwin each bought 2 sets of postcard with Guilin/Li Jiang river pictures. Roy bought a pair of small and cute Chinese traditional clothes for his son that has just born a month ago. Many cute and somewhat cheap souvenir to buy here, like a painting that offered to me for RMB 900 that would certainly look nice hanging at my living room. But unfortunately, due to baggage full, I have to restrain my shopping appetite that gone a little bit wild these few days (after Bu Xing Jie at Guigang and Nanning, then Fei Er at Liuzhou and then this…).

At the cold night, the Puo guo is really an ultimate satisfied. After visiting the beautiful places, taking a lot of nice pictures at the great scene, and after long, tired but happy walking, a clay wok of hot and spicy soup of frog leg with sweet bamboo bud would be a great ending. Still seems not enough satisfied, Roy order another wok of spicy fish head with tofu. This one turned out, even better than frog… uhmmm yummy yummyyyy….

Going out from restaurant, with smell of frog and fish still adhere at our clothes, again, we walk to the hotel. It’s not a short distance work, it’s about 45 minutes walk. But in China, walking is always comfort, anywhere, people going by walk. Even at night, a girl can walk alone and still feel safe. In here, is conditioned to be comfort for walker. A side walk dedicated for people to walk and separated from the cars and bus. This is a something you cannot find in Indonesia, in Jakarta precisely. No wonder, I’m very seldom to walk in Jakarta, not because I’m lazy, all other people also not walk, are they all lazy? No, it’s the city that very not being friendly for people to walk.

On the way, we’re lucky to saw the waterfall show from one of the five star hotel in Guilin. The water fall from the top of the building to the pool below it. We were lucky because this show only half an hour every night, from 8.30 to 9 PM. This waterfall show is recorded in the Guinness book, said Karen. After that, we again, stop by at the Moon and Star Pagoda, to, again, took some pictures. Because noon and night scene is really different down here. The Pagodas is shinning brightly at night.

9 o’clock at night, we saying goodbye and thank you for Karen, we going back to hotel, and Karen going back to her home. After rest for a while at hotel, we decided to go out again since this is the very last night in Guilin and in China. A 20 minutes walk to the bazaar. Until nearly 11 o’clock we come back to hotel and get some rest. Tomorrow’s flight is 11 AM, and we must start from hotel at least 9.

That night, I stay awake until 12 (00.00) as the changing of the day to 16th December, is Natz’s birthday. Yes, is my baby’s birthday ! It’s really an ultimate end of the China journey, it’s my baby’s birthday, and I’m gonna be a present (= presence) for her :_) After a whole month fasting from making love, it’s gonna be a great present for me too… (blushing face).

The next morning, wake up in a miserably cold. Probably the coldest during my stay in China. They said, in Jan and Feb, would be even colder. Thank God, I’m coming home, to the warm tropic island :_) After a Guilin Mi Fan (again !) near the hotel, we ready to go. From Guilin to Guangzhou approximately 1 hour. Lunch at Guangzhou airport (buffet for RMB 68 per person – great lunch). Flight from Guangzhou at 3 PM by Garuda. Arrived at Jakarta at 7.40 PM, out the airport about 8.30 (taking baggage took too long time, nearly get mad). And there she were… my baby picking me up. First hug and kiss to the birthday girl, and stop by to eat ‘pempek’ that I’d really miss. Arrived at home late at Sunday night and guess what..? Tomorrow still need to go to work ! Conclusion: Guilin is great, but tomorrow have to work?? Sucks !!

I sleep like a baby that night. And waking up in the morning, exited for the sharing of souvenir (2008 Olympic mascots – FUYA – Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni) and photos and all the ‘three stooges adventure in China’ story to friends at office. See what’s next ‘three stooges story’ to come :_)

19 Desember 2007

Conectiquers' Favorite Photo 2007


Hi Cqers,

Terima kasih atas partisipasi Anda dalam Conectiquers' Favorite Photo 2007.

Sebanyak 422 peserta telah turut berpartisipasi dalam pemilihan Conectiquers' Favorite Photo 2007 yang berlangsung selama Oktober 2007. Kami telah mendapatkan 1 foto terfavorit pilihan Conectiquers dan 1 pemenang beruntung dari para peserta yang memilihnya.

Selamat kepada pemenang, Anda berhak mendapatkan hadiah berupa 2 tiket pesawat PP Jakarta - Kuala Lumpur - Jakarta, yang dapat digunakan bersama pasangan Anda.

Berikut foto terfavorit dan peserta yang beruntung:

http://www.conectique.com/photo_comp/

Oh my GOD, oh my GOD, itu kan foto honeymoon kita di Pattaya...
Ngga nyangka, ngga nyangka...
Apalagi comment-nya itu loh... "This single picture can represent a thousand words :) simple and nice..." wiiidiiiihhhh ngerenyuh gitu rasanya he he
Walaupun ngga ada hadiahnya buat kita (cuma untuk voters yang beruntung - 2 tiket PP JKT - KL bo'!), sama sekali ngga ada perasaan kecewa.
Malah bangga, senang, surprise banget, romantis dan makin cinta.
Mengetahui banyak orang telah terinspirasi oleh foto kita yang memang ... sangat romantis :)
Baby, love you even more and more ...

06 Desember 2007

I'm a bad women at office

I will never thinking that in my life I have been made two persons in my Company resigned because of what I have done. At the day those two persons submit the resignation letters to my boss, he directly called me to make it clear (29/11/07).

Here is the part of conversation between me and my boss:

Boss: Nat, I've heard that my purchasing manager and her staff want to resign because of you. They said that you are taking all of the purchasing job, like choosing the suppliers and negotiate to suppliers. It is not correct, right. Although you're a purchasing panel, but the authorities of purchasing panel is only to review at the final decision of purchasing, not to take all the purchasing job.

Nat: Dear Boss, I know that I've go too far to purchasing area, but I do it for reasons. I really care about this Company, that's why I do this.

Remember when we have a meeting with doctor Amelia (not real name). Dr. Amelia complains why the ABC book is not released yet. At that time, you were very upset and also asking the team why it is not release yet. You directly pushed the project manager to make it and you also assigned me to responsible for this.

The day after, the project manager came to me and asked me to approve the purchase request of those ABC book with only quotation from one SINGLE supplier while the specification already final 1-2 weeks before. Then I said to him that I will NOT approve until we get the quotations from at least 3 suppliers. He said that he became crazy because of this situations, in which you as a boss pushes him like this while the purchasing person can not effort for this.

The project manager goes back to purchasing and asks for 3 quotations from 3 different suppliers, but at that time purchasing can not make it quickly.

Due to that situation, I as purchasing panel take initiative to search another 2 suppliers. We (purchasing panel team) call some of suppliers in the morning, and at the same day we've already got the quotation from 4 different suppliers. Isn't it quick? Then why purchasing dept can not do this? Noted also that the price from these last suppliers are much lower then the first price that purchasing person gives us!

After we get those quotations, we invite the purchasing dept to deal negotiation with suppliers, but it is a bad deal, because after the purchasing person says that this is final price, I check to supplier whether the price can be negotiated or not, then the price can get LOWER.

Dear boss, I as purchasing panel don't want to take the purchasing job. We also have our own job, but the condition makes it so.

Boss: So you're doing this because you have reasons.

Nat: Yes, that's only for ABC book. There are many other conditions of book JKU, folder BDE and book XYZ.

Boss:
Okay, that's why I call you, I want to make it clear, I want to be an objective person of this situations. Based on your story, our purchasing persons are not capable and can not give their best performance to our company. I also have heard this before at long time ago. If you have things like this again in the future, then you noted and report all of the conditions to me then the purchasing persons should be removed.

AND the happy news is ...... the purchasing manager and her staff want to resign, and I'm HAPPY for that. Just tell HRD to find another person with strong capability.
Another time, you have one like this, you noted and reported to me, and remove the person (he said once again).

Nat: Thank you boss, for your trust.
=========

At the rest of that day, I'm just feel that I'm a bad women, because I have made other persons resign........
God, please forgive me.......
-by nattz-

05 Desember 2007

What if God was one of us

Click above title for Song related to this blog

“Jika kamu melakukannya pada salah satu saudaraku yang paling hina ini, kamu melakukannya untuk aku”

What if God was one of us. Lagu ini gue denger dari salah satu koleksi lagu di HP gue, dalam perjalanan naik Bus antar kota dari Guigang ke Nanning. Got me thinking. Kalau di kaitkan dengan ayat tersebut di atas, nyambung banget… Tuhan memang ada di antara kita, bersama sama dengan kita.

Gue teringat sama kakek penjual korek kuping yang ramah dan sama sekali ngga maksa kita untuk beli. Dialah Tuhan. Yang dalam lagu ini, digambarkan, hidup kesepian.

Lagu ini juga membuat gue berpikir, betapa gue dulu orang yang baik, ramah dan ngga pernah marah. Batapa gue memperlakukan orang dengan baik, semua orang, dan gue selalu menawarkan kebaikan apakah itu menguntungkan apa ngga buat gue, apakah orang yang gue bantu baik apa ngga sama gue. Gue melihat banyak ‘Tuhan’ dalam hidup gue. KOK sekarang gue jadi orang yang rada sombong, arogan, dan mulai nyebelin ya? Dan gue mulai tidak memperhatikan ‘Tuhan-Tuhan’ yang tersedia buat gue untuk gue bantu. Even yang terdekat.

Nat pernah bilang, dia pengen liat gue yang dulu, yang sabar, penyayang, ngga pernah marah dan baik sama semua orang. That is the man I wanted to be, the man that I used to be, before I’m getting to be worst. I want to treat every body ‘GOD’.

Joan Osborne dalam penggalan lagunya 'If God have a face, what would it be'. I would say, it would be just like si kakek penjual korek kuping.

03 Desember 2007

My Father, China, and Me

My Father once studied in a Chinese curriculum school in our home village in Bangka. No wonder his Chinese speaking and writing is outstanding better than common Chinese people in Indonesia. Also, he's a first generation of the family that born in Indonesia from the home country, China (at Mei Xian, Guangdong province). In the year of sixties, when he was only at age 12 or 13, he went to the bigger city Palembang to continue his study in the same Chinese School. At that time, our home village has no middle school. But, because of the wipe out of the communist in Indonesia by the Government at that time, all Chinese curriculum school were closed, my Father failed to continue his study.

Being a teenager that has not proper education, I’m sure my Father still learning by himself, he likes Chinese literatures, and good on it. I heard this from my uncle, that my father is a champion every years, and often win the literature competition in school. In his whole life, he’s struggling hard, to raise his four kids until all become someone. He proud of himself as a Chinese, and proud of Chinese it self. He read, watch, speak, and practice Chinese everyday of his life. Now, he had traveled to China 4 times in only 3 years. Beijing, Shanghai, Jiujaigou, Huangsan, even Tibet, he (and my mother) had been traveled.

He also had me, his son -by all his effort and struggling for my education and protection my whole life- now be in China. Although it’s not as huge as Beijing or Shanghai and other big city in China, only in small city in Guigang and Liuzhou; although it’s not a ‘real’ job, only an assignment, only once in a while; I’m here, living a life like Chinese people, working, eating, hanging out, and spending a week-end. When I told her that I’d assigned to China, he was very happy. The second time, and I told him that this would be routine each year, I know he was very proud.

My Father, that has his study discontinued because of our government cut-off the relationship with China back at sixties. Love China, and never stop to learn something about it. He watch Chinese TV thru parabola, instead of Indonesian or western TV. He listen to the Mandarin song, folksong, traditional and modern one. He live his life in such way that represent his loving and proud of China. And he had me here, living in China for a month once in a while.

I just got back from Guigang, a little town. Now, from my hotel room in Liuzhou tonight, I feel glad, that I am a part of my father’s life, my father’s proud. I really hope that he’s proud of me, I know he do, he just probably never say.

25 November 2007

Liuzhou & Guigang, Guangxi, China

I still hard to believe they sent the three of us here, the three stooges. Everytime I saw the pictures taken or when we three eaten together, I still smiling why the hell they sent us all here… But that’s the excitement. First, the stooges goes to Lampung, and then even the bigger city, overseas pula, Liuzhou, in China ! For a month ! Now, not only to Liuzhou, they also ask us to visit Guigang, the other city in Guangxi province.

This is a once in a life time opportunity. Visiting overseas, experiences Chinese life in their own country. Working, making friends, hangin’ around, what they eat and what they do to spend time. This is one hell of experience. If I have chance, next time I come, with company’s or my own, I wanna bring along my wife and kid, to live this life for a week. Showing them how good the quality life the Chinese people get here.

Now, I’m sitting alone in You Yi BinGuan. The hotel in Guigang, which I’d stayed in my last visit (August). This afternoon, we were taken a 3.5 hours trip from Liuzhou to Guigang. After having a pleasant lunch and chat with Dewi, Karen and Amei, and a walk in the amazing lake side of Da Long Tan with Dewi, we were picked up at the hotel at 4 PM.

Da Long Tan is a lake with tremendous view of Chinese characteristic hills around it. The atmosphere is like in Taman Bunga Puncak in Indonesia. Here, couples taken a pre-wedding pictures, married people hangin’ around with their kid, old people having tai chi and singing. Good place. We took bus from our hotel to the place. Number 19, only RMB 1.2 each.

Before, on Saturday, we visiting the most famous hill in Liuzhou and it’s a symbol of the city, the Ma An San. The one that we used to took pictures as a background from the riverside at night. This time we climb up to the top of the hill. Yeah !!! I can say, I’ve been to the top of it, in case somebody say, hey, that mountain is beautiful… Eventhough it’s not very high, only 180m from ground, from the top of it, we can see the whole Liuzhou. That’s why this hill more famous compare to others. Liuzhou city is quite unique, because it has a river that surrounding the centre of the city, and they built many bridge to connect the two side of the river. You can see this from the top of the hill. In the other side, there’s a bit different view. Smaller buildings with mountains and hills scenery as the background. Very beautiful scene.

On Saturday morning, we went to Liuhou Park. Liuhou Gungyuen, a park to commemorate General Liu Zongyuan, who built this city. This is one huge park, with many open spaces to enjoy. More or less the same with Da Long Tan, but this one is in the center of the city, with less mountains view.

Tonight, me and the other two stooges is in Guigang, much smaller city compare to Liuzhou. Another adventure awaits for the three stooges.

22 November 2007

Now, pk 23.30 waktu Liuzhou. Nearly midnight. Gunung yang melambangkan kota Liuzhou pun sudah ngga keliatan. Lampu lampu yg menghiasinya sudah dimatikan. Iya, jendela kamar gue yang besar persis menghadap ke Gunung itu, dengan sungai dan jembatan yang megah di bawahnya. Suhu hari ini much more friendly dibanding cuaca dan angin musim gugur malam malam sebelumnya. Yang rasanya menusuk ke kulit, bagi kita orang Indonesia yang ngga terbiasa.

Dan sendirian di kamar ini, I am only thinking about one thing... One sweet thing... sleeping there, lonely too...
wondering what she's dreaming... cause, I wish I could dream about her tonight.... No, I don't want to dream about her... I wish she were here with me, more than anything, more than ever...

20 November 2007

Assignment to Liuzhou

This is my second assignment abroad. Still going with Roy, this time plus Darwin, become like “the three stooges going to China” story. Like the first time, first we transit to Guangzhou. This time only five hours, but that don’t stop us from getting out of the airport to try once again to go to Beijing Lu. But before that, we have to check-in for the next flight and get away our big big baggage from us and left us “only” the laptop traveling out airport with us. The funny thing is, me and Roy has a very little ability to speak Chinese, and plus Darwin, even worst, his Chinese even worst than us. So, the check-in not done smoothly, in fact, we don’t have idea what’s the China Southern girl behind the check-in desk saying when she seems to complaining our excess baggage. We only guessing because she said “san lo” like “3 kilos overweight”. But in fact, she’s asking us whether we want to have ourselves insured by paying additional money. She finally get us understand by pointing some writing in her desk, saying something about insurance. The funny part is, she’s pointing at the Chinese character, which off course that’s only getting the situation worst. However, we finally understand by reading the small part of the writing that in English. Everything is settled, we laugh, she irritably laugh. It’s not really our false, isn’t you need to be able to speak international language (i.e. English) to work in an international airport? At that moment, one thing goes on my mind is, the “three stooges story” begins. This will be fun, as the stories continues…

Beside funny, I felt a ‘universality’ feeling that afternoon. As we merge as one with Japanese, Indian, Arabian, African, and off course, Chinese. For me that is an ‘international airport’ is all about, Universality. We can see many kind of people here and they see us as one of those many kinds as we see them. I’m walking behind a Kenyan woman (I supposed, because we landed nearly the same time with Kenya Airline). She’s wearing all yellow, from hat to toe, with all shiny accessories in her hands, feet, ear, even in her nose. And even though I found yellow color doesn’t match her kinda dark red skin, that’s the way she and many other Kenyan wear proudly. They look elegant, I must say, those tall skinny shining yellow walking slowly and gently. I also met my fellow Indonesian, who taking his wife to Guangzhou hospital. Nowadays, many Indonesian, not only we – Indonesian Chinese – come and try the medication in China’s hospital. They say it cheaper and more dependable. But isn’t it become high cost if you come with other relatives that we in Indonesia say “aji mumpung” which only accompany one person who need the medication. Anyway, it’s good to know that we’re not alone.

Wo men bu se mi lu
Cold windy autumn afternoon welcome us as we taking our first step out from the airport to the city of Guangzhou. We don’t have problem getting on the bus since we’ve been done this on the previous time. The problem arise when we want to get off. Where to get off when we want to go to Beijing Lu. Everybody is saying that we have to get off in Haizhu square. OK, we keep that in mind. And you know what? We end up got off at ….. Bin Bin Plaza, again. It came out, that, we’re not really lost the last time. Bin Bin Plaza is indeed Haizhu square. And it’s only about 15 minutes walk from there to Beijing Lu. But, even we are ‘smarter’ this time, we didn’t smart enough to race against the time. Arriving there at about 4.30 PM, we have to manage ourselves to get back to airport at no longer than 6.30. So, we must take the bus at the latest is 5.30. It leaving us less than one hour to have our very late lunch, where our stomach already ‘un-controlable’. The only reasonable meals on our mind is fast foods since the Chinese foods usually took more time to chose the menu, to prepare and also to eat. So, what else beside McDonald inside the Bin Bin Plaza. We took ‘emergency’ meals due to poor language and the limited time on this crowded, hard to find a seat McDonald in the middle of Guangzhou city. Still, even we get smarter to know where the Beijing Lu this time, we could get to it and end up, again, at Bin Bin Plaza. Thank God, at precisely 5.30 PM, we get on bus to get back to Bayun airport, after buying a ticket at Airport express Ticket box, which we know exactly where, un-like the last time. 

Back to the airport at 6.20, get on the plane on 7.30 and take off around 8.00. Arrived at Liuzhou airport at 9 PM, 15 degree cold weather awaits us outside the plane. Yes, for us 15 degree Celsius for us is enough cold to make our skin stand-up. Amazingly, still there’s a young woman who wears very short pans with mini backless shirt showing the backside of her black laced bra. Not only one wearing shorts in this cold windy night. I think Chinese woman is emphasize fashion, style, more than anything, even this shaky cold weather.

Get out from the baggage gate, a sign written “ROY, ANDIJAYA & DARWIN” welcome us. The driver, Xiao Liu, took us to our hotel, Liuzhou Grand Hotel *** known also as Liuzhou Bin guan. Along the road, we enjoying the beautiful modern-combined-with-nature view. All the lamp in the streets, buildings, river and even the mountains and Pagodas making us to agree one thing, Liuzhou is indeed, one beautiful city.

Junk Food day
Liuzhou Bin Guan is a fine hotel for me, although it’s only a three star hotel, it can be compared to, let say, Somerset and Garden Palace in Surabaya. Since it’s already late when we settled the Hotel check-in, no restaurant is still open except KFC and McD. Off course we’re not taking McD twice, instead, we’re have ourselves the KFC for the supper. After eat, we back to the hotel to get a nice sleep after a long fully traveling day.

In the morning, 7 AM morning sunshine awaked me, calling me to see what’s view do I get. I feel please to see the mountain and river beautifully decorated my 18 floor room’s window view. Although it is not the best view because too many tall building between me and the view, I’m happy to think that I can enjoy this view not only from my room, but I can go there. Just can’t wait to Saturday to come. Not to mentioned the sun rise which I’m sure will satisfied my ‘amateur photographer’ desire… Can’t wait to capture that yellow-red perfect shining circle arise from those admiring grey-looking mountains with my Sony handy-cam I take with me.

And again, before we arrive at the office to start work, we were served with this fine sights of bridge, river, pedestrian, and off course the mountains and the Pagodas. River and mountain has been the characteristic of this 3rd biggest city in Guangxi province. After work, we have dinner at Jin Long Jai restaurant very near the hotel. Is the same Jin Long Jai we ate at Guigang. The food is good, except for the Goose (not Duck) we ordered. Just to experience eating Goose, it came out not really good. “At least we’ve tasted” said Roy. That night, three of us go on walking around the Bu Xing Jie, where our hotel located. Just similar than the one (Bu Xing Jie) in Nanning, only this time we don’t have to travel far away to get the good quality reasonable price clothes. It really near us, in fact, it is in our neighborhood. “My target is to spend the whole RMB 1,000 I take with me” said Roy with enthusiasm.

The night was cold, but the road is busy. Being here, with all these people wearing Jackets and up-to-knee leather high heels is really make me feel like I were in the one of those Korean movies. Scene like this you can not see in Indonesia, because we don’t have any autumn season there. “Luar Negri banget !”

Tonight, I intentionally left my window open wide. To let the feeling of this romantic cold autumn night gently stay with me, stay inside of me. I miss my Natz. Wish you were here, baby.

08 November 2007

Assignment to Guigang

Click above title for Photos related to this blog


This was my first time to China. I was assigned here last August (2007) with Roy for a month. Guigang is a small city at Guangxi province, southern China. We owned 5 ports along the Pearl River, which bought from the government last year. We merged the 5 ports into 3 Companies. 1 Company focus on containers and bulk, the other two focus on coal and bulk. Frankly, none of us can speak Chinese fluently, in fact, our mandarin is very poor. This has made the adventure even more amusing.

“Wo men mi lu” (we were lost)
From Jakarta, we took a plane to transit at Guangzhou then continue flight to Nanning. The flight to Nanning is 11.30 at night, so we have time to get out of the airport and take a short tour by ourselves to the city of Guangzhou. Our destination is Beijing Lu, a street that sell many cheap and fun stuff. But, due to poor mandarin, we can’t managed to get there. Only got to Guangzhou International Hotel and Bin Bin Plaza. After taking early dinner at 4 PM and taking pictures, we decide to go back to airport, since we are totally strangers here, and we don’t want to take any risk of cannot back to airport on time. This first day, can be considered a brave adventure. Having zero knowledge of Guangzhou and very poor mandarin, we can take bus to center of city and finally managed ourselves to get back to airport, also by bus. We don’t even know where to take a bus and how to stop the bus or a taxi. Lucky, we found a ticket box for airport bus in the corner of Bin Bin Plaza. Later, we know that every 15 minutes, there is a bus (Airport Express) to airport. Really good service. With RMB 21 each, we can get back to airport safely. Wink.

Arrived at Nanning already 1 in the morning, our plane delayed half an hour. Ah Jie (pronounced Ah Ci), the driver who has already waiting for us, is the first Chinese people I met and introduced my self. We can’t help but sleep over the ride. Approximately 2 hours from Nanning airport to Guigang. 3 AM, Ah Jie took us to eat Mi Fan, Chinese noodle. I have to say ‘chinese’ before the word ‘noodle’, because it different from Indonesian noodle that usually in yellow color; Mi Fan, and all noodle in China is white, since it made from rice. In Indonesia, close to kwetiaw, only with different shape. That night (or in fact, morning) we stayed at Guigang international hotel; the ‘motel’ that people from office booked for us had been full that night. They booked for us for 11 PM, but since we didn’t show up until 12, they gave the room to others. Guigang has a lot of motel like this kind which mostly serve short-time guests. Short time quests, you know what I mean.

Guigang, tidy city
I’m so tired, but cannot easily sleep, until 5 AM. Wake up very late at 12, looking out the window and … wow… awesome view. Guigang turn up not like what I thought. This is what they called ‘small’ city in China. I was indeed surprised. Not long, Mario (an Indonesian, Javanese, who work and stay here with his wife, Vivi) came to pick us up. After having lunch at the hotel’s restaurant, we were taken to Youyi bin guan.

Youyi bin guan is a bin guan, a motel in Chinese. It’s more like ‘ruko’ which renovated in to a motel. Like China-Town Inn in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hotel is indeed clean and comfort. The toilet is clean and has seated-toilet, which later I found out, is very rare in China. Even in the shopping mall, the toilet is dirty and normal to have an unpleasant smell. Youyi bin guan is OK, the ‘lau ban’ (boss/owner) and the employees welcome us well, we have no complain about the service. The small motel like this has free internet service. I write an e-mail to Natz everyday, also upload the photos I’ve taken so she can view me from Jakarta. In China, internet is very cheap compare to Indonesia, but has a tide control from government. I cannot open certain sites here, like multiply or yahoo-flickr.

That afternoon, Mario took us to a short tour in Guigang and visit a while to one of the company’s office. My first impression of the city is clean, very clean and tidy. And totally different from my idea of small city. This is no small city compare to Indonesia. Physically, the town, can say, better than Surabaya. Tall building everywhere, since Chinese used to stay at apartment. No houses residence here, even Pak Gik (my boss) stay at penthouse on top of the apartment. The road is wide, with each vehicle track separated. Cars and motorcycle in the main road while bicycle and electric bike have their own track. In other word, the city is tidy. Threes and flowers, wide space between road an a building and many public area bring comfort for eyes to watch.

That afternoon, we have dinner with Mario and Dewi (another Indonesian, also Javanese, single) at the restaurant at the shopping mall. Later I know that this is the only mall in Guigang. The mall named Meng Zhi Dao (The island of dream). People here also called it ‘the park’ because it located just next to the park. Surrounding the park is Hotel International Guigang. Meng Xhi Dao, and Mayor’s office. We came to this mall quite often, since this is the nearest place go by walk. Although not that near, it took 20 minutes walk. And imagine the sweat when we walk at noon in the Southern Chinese summer. We’ve been eaten at this restaurant a several time with different people, but I never catch the name. Also have been to Dicos (also in the mall), kind of fried chicken and another restaurant serving international food at the second floor, which once I order fine fried rice with pineapple. The fried rice is placed inside the empty pineapple shell. Inspired me to cook the same for Natz. Near the mall, there is a bread store where we used to bought our breakfast since the bin guan did not served any breakfast. There, I met a kind salesgirl named her self Ally, who keen to introduce her self to me. She said she want to learn English from me.

Work and work, loosing passport, and still having fun
The next day and the day after, is busy days. We only given 3 weeks to audit the 3 companies and a week of reporting. So, we must work in the high speed. We allocate the first week to company located at Mao Er san (mountain of Kitty Cat). We were accompany by 2 translators (Anne and Karen). Here, we ate at canteen and everyday they serve pork. In Guigang, sun sink out very late, at 7 or 7.30 PM. We usually work until that hour because we often don’t realize the time, when the sun still shinning bright. Unlike Indonesia which already dark at 6 or 6.30 PM. Our obstacle working here beside the language is that the local people is not very helpful and cooperative. The resistance was high and they push away any idea of improvement. They just do usual stuff and don’t want to accept any responsibility. No sense of work at all. Manager level also have this kind of attitude. Pathetic.

Early the first week, something disaster happened. Roy missing his passport ! Just the 2nd day from we started work, the 3rd day from we arrived in Guigang. How can this happen? No body knows for sure. The Passport just missing, gone, disappeared. He realized the passport missing in the morning, usually he put it in the pocket. That morning, when we ready to go from hotel and want to put the passport in the pocket, it gone. The last time we (me, Anne and Karen) saw the passport is when Roy showing it to the girls. The girls laugh at it and make fun of Roy for a while and then, they assured they put it on the table. Some say, by kidding of course, Karen (one of the translator) took it because she wants Roy to stay longer in Guigang. No body knows. That day, Mao Er management has do anything to search, even bringing my passport for everyone to see, whether they see or found something similar than it, afraid they might not understand if we simple say passport. No body (admit) to found. It could be dropped on the way to restaurant or bread store or anywhere. So, Karen with a driver, accompany Roy, to search the town, going to the place that we stop by the other day, hoping that someone might found it and –if we lucky- that someone might kept it instead of throw it away not knowing what is it. We not that lucky. And it’s gonna be a long assignment both for me and Roy. He will have to get a new passport and visa from KBRI which located in Guangzhou. And me, my work will be twice heavier, the fact that Roy will be leaving office very often in order to take care of his missing passport.

About the missing passport ‘adventure’, only Roy himself can specifically told. I just know that he gone to Guigang immigration and police station several times. Phone call and e-mail to KBRI (Indonesian Embassy) in Guangzhou over and over again. Then finally going to the KBRI in Guangzhou (accompanied by Mario) for 2 days, and coming back with not a new passport but only a SPLP (Surat Perjalanan Laksana Passport – Letter acting as Passport) and haven’t got a new visa, which, all people in Guigang said, “very easy to issued in Guigang”. It came out, not that easy, in fact, it’s quite difficult and complicated by the Guigang authority.

Afraid that we will not able to complete the job, we still work at the first week-end. But of course we can wake up a little late and work from the hotel. That Saturday morning, I woke up at 8 AM to take a walk near the hotel to see the morning living of the local. That morning, At the open space dedicated to public just behind the business spot, I saw children playing rollerblade and the older watch them while sitting and talking over tea or coffee. So many public place in here, that the people can comfortably do the fun stuff like what I saw that morning. Later, we’re going to office to continue work, with Dewi accompany us. That afternoon, we ask driver to take us to the place where we can print photo. He took us to a place where there is a beautiful lotus garden. Amazingly we can managed to get the store guy understand what we want to print, by body language and drawing. While waiting for the photo being printed, I took some nice photos you’ll never find the same in the middle of Jakarta’s busy road.

That night, we took Anne to dinner. We want to take Karen also, but due to sudden invitation, she cannot come with us. She have to cook for her family. Speaking about her family, her parent have 3 children and they have to pay RMB 3000 for each excess of child. China is implementing tight policy about one family one child. They have to pay to government for their children’s life, RMB 3000 each, price at that time, don’t know how much now. That night, after dinner, felling not very well, Roy went back to the hotel. Me and Anne going to the market, to find me a pair of sandal. My sandal brought from Jakarta is very not comfortable, rather hurt my legs. I bought a pair that really comfortable and soft, with a cheap price, only RMB 12. Later that night, we went to bakery shop to buy our breakfast. That’s where Ally, the salesgirl, made friend with me, gave me her number and asked for mine, which she never call.

The next day (Sunday), we woke up a bit late. That day, due to strange dream last night, Roy asked me to accompany him to find photo store, to take a new photo. He dreamed about his current photo (printed last night) cannot accept by Guigang immigration cause they required the most recent one. That afternoon, under the thick rain, we go and luckily found one in the corner. Very small shop and very not eye-catching. After talk in a a-e-a-e Chinese for a while, finally, the owner know what we want. Click click, the photo instantly made. After done, we stop by in the small fruit store to buy some apple. We wanted to buy orange, but, unlike Indonesia, here, orange has it own season. Also, with a-e-a-e Chinese, we managed ourselves to buy as we want. Later that afternoon, Mario pick us up to went to the port, to witness the lift-up of the sinking ship in front of our port. Yes, there were an accident happen right before we came. An in one and a half month, we cannot load/unload in that particular spot. This has raised the anger of the mayor of Guigang, because such accident never happen before. Bad reputation for us.

Speaking about a-e-a-e Chinese, we once went to a restaurant and walk out again immediately since the restaurant don’t have menu with pictures on it. The other time in other restaurant, when we though we finally can order something different than shown in the pictures, they served us beef with chili, whereas, we order beef with green beans.

The 2nd week, we’re moving to 2nd company located at Lumberyard. In the speed of flash, we accomplished the work only 2 days. Fantastic. People there were very helpful, thanks to Pak Ansel, who is originally Philippine but able to speak bahasa Indonesia quite fluently. One night, they took us to eat special seafood porridge, which very very delicious. It served with the big clay hardened bowl, as big as half meter high and half meter diameter. Very excited to eat since we were only given very small bowl, you have to add the porridge to your bowl a several times before you get enough, and every time you add you must stand up. Very delicious, till all sweat coming out, the crab, the shrimp and the sea shell taste very good in the smooth mushy rice porridge. Ohya, the first night after audit Lumberyard, Pak Ansel took us eat at KFC. The chicken taste the same, only here, you cannot asked for chili easily like in Indonesia. Chinese don’t like chili, in fact they don’t like too much spice. The food mostly taste insipid, always seems to less taste. When we feel the food is OK, and similar to Indonesian taste, they complain that the food is too salty, too spicy, too biting etc.

On the same week, after complete the work, we move to the last company to audit, at Lobowan. Here where we met Chong. A funky Singaporean CFO and very fun to work with. Actually, our audit schedule is matching his resignation. We came 4 weeks before his last day, so we can have discussion with him before hand over our recommendation to the new guy. During our audit here, is Zhong Li, the accountant who help us a lot. Speaking a very little of English, she can understand and manage all the file and work we requested her. In other words, she’s getting the things done for us. She told us that she’s getting married this November, and she’s so keen to show us her pre-wedding photos. We’re quite stunned seeing her photos, far much prettier compare to the real person. The magic of photography. Here, many translators helps us, including Xiao Wei (Celina), Xiao Tan (Elaine), another Xiao Tan from Liuzhou, Veronica, and Ah Mei.

Finally, after working hard, another Saturday come. This time, we’re not planning to work, but of course, drafting report is not consider “work” compare to so many busy days the day before. We went to supermarket at Meng Zhi Dao in the morning to buy some snacks and other gift to take home. Also we bought an instant noodle only to try the taste. It came out not so bad, taste good, but again, unlike Indonesian instant noodle that more spicy of course. I bought ear mushroom to my father in law, he seems like it very much and ask for the same if next time I assigned to China.

On the way home, we were teased to try a ride with tricycle pedicab, ride by a’i a’i (old aunt). Here, mostly rough-work were done by women. Women here are super compared to men. Men were pathetically lazy and less responsible for their family. Here are some pictures showing ‘super’ women in Guigang.

At night, we ask Dewi to accompany us to Bu Xing Jie, a night market, to buy Chinese handphone. Henny Tanjung from Jakarta office ask us to buy it for her. Chinese handphone is very cheap, touch screen, mp3, mp4, global map, 2 MB camera and video recording + external memory 256 MB, only RMB 800 (less than Rp 1 million). The clothes also cheap. I bought a pair of T-shirt and pants with only RMB 49, I get the fine and comfort one. Cheaper than that also available, but less comfort to wear, although the model is quite fashionable. Then we go home and get rest, tomorrow we’re going to Nanning, jalan jalan.

Nanning, capital city of GuangXi province
We go there with Dewi and Xiao Lin (new employee – coming from Liuzhou, to replace Dewi, Dewi is coming back to HQ in Indonesia). Xiao Lin (a man), took his degree in Nanning 5 years ago, so he quite familiar with this town. Took approximately 2 hours from Guigang to Nanning. First, we stop by and visit Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center, known as ASEAN Center, since it is use for exhibition for ASEAN Country, the gate of ASEAN country to China. The building is not yet fully completed and not yet open for public. So, we can only take picture outside the building.

From there, we went to electronic stores center, like Glodok in Indonesia, accompany Dewi to buy a digital camera. Electronics really cheap here. I bought my self a Sony memory stick 2 GB for my Sony Ericsson, only cost me RMB 170 (about Rp 200,000), while in Jakarta, the cheapest (with unknown brand) could cost Rp 350,000. After getting new Olympus digital camera, at 1 PM, all hungry, we went to find something good to eat. ‘Where can we get a good lunch here’ I asked Xiao Lin. ‘Good lunch mmmmhh’ he think for a while, then made a phone call to his friend, and we headed to a restaurant called “Little Sheep”, quite popular in China, special serving lamb in a shabu shabu bowl, with regular Chinese soup and chili soup. Not mistaken. Really really a good lunch. Best I ever had in China. All sweat, hot and spicy. Wiuh wiuh.

Next stop, is Bu Xing Jie, Nanning Bu Xing Jie different from in Guigang, more tidy, bigger, more comfortable, and open from morning. Later I know, that Bu Xing Jie means a market that only allowed people walking, car and other vehicle is not allowed. So, Bu Xing Jie is not a market name, it could be everywhere, not only in Guigang or Nanning. Here, things are, again as usual, cheap ! I bought 2 funky Korean skirt for Natz with the price only RMB 80, a trouser for only RMB 29, a lady shirt only RMB 39, a fine sleep wear RMB 25 and 3 pairs of earrings for only RMB 33 !

Before going back to Guigang, we stop by at the lake to enjoy the sun set afternoon at Nanning. The lake is for recreation, small boat, duck boat, fishing or just a relax walk is things you can do here. We spend the whole afternoon until the sun goes down, then headed back to Guigang. Arrived at Guigang at nearly 9 o’clock, we stop by to have Mi Fan before back to hotel. One FUN day, compared to other full of busywork day.

Back to work, but still having fun
Back to work, not that hard at Lobowan, not as hard as Mao Er and Lumberyard, because we already know what to do and getting familiar of certain things, including the language and certain terms. Mao Er, Lumberyard and Lobowan are basically not much different. After work-hour we can still going out to have fun with CFO and the gang. Is him that introduced me to the Chinese drinking habit. Chinese people likes to drink, they like to play card too, and the one who loose has to drink, sometimes have to finished until the bottom of glass. This is what I remember about Chinese way of having fun: bottles of drinks, card, boiled snail, little roasted shrimp, and ginger chicken. And they do it at night, for supper. They even tough me how to play certain game with cards, how to effectively taking out the snail from the shell. I find it fun, really fun.

At the week end, Friday night, we go out with our translators (Anne, Celina, and Xiao Tan). They accompany us to Bu Xing Jie, because Roy and me still want to find something to us and our wife. At the restaurant, before going to Bu Xing Jie, come friend of Anne, Xiao Cao, accompany by her father, Lao Jiu (old nine). This little Xiao Cao (only 16) is eager to meet us, to learn and speak English, which her English, for us, is very good, nearly excellent. Later that night, her father come to Bu Xing Jie to pick us up and invite us to Anne’s apartment to have supper. Again, we were served with drink, chicken and snail. Chatting with Xiao Cao, we found out that she named her self Joblyn, as her English name. Hearing that name, Roy suddenly said, “No, you cannot named Joblyn, not good” We suggest a few name for her, finally she agreed with me, I named her “Candy”. “Tang Guo” she explained to her fellow Chinese who don’t understand English. Candy is Tang Guo in Chinese.

Saturday come. Wake up late, having lunch with Ah Mei and going back hotel to rest. 4 PM, I’m going out to try the cream bath in Guigang. Dewi accompany me to a salon. With price of RMB 18, you can get special treatment cream bath, including head and back massage. Really not bad and refreshing. Before meeting Dewi, I stop by at the park to take an afternoon photos. Good view and very tidy. Youngster playing skateboard, children ridding bike, old people walking or sitting, I saw 3 young girls also stop by to take pictures near the European style “goddess statue”. At night, the park playing attractive water spring. Many local come to see as if they never seen this before, although it plays every night.
Spooky dream
Sunday, we’re doing nothing but sleep, mostly. But that afternoon, when sleeping, I felt something strange. I dreamed a spooky dream, that I’ve been talking to two girls, but one of them not really exist, then my room was filled with unidentified ‘things’, perhaps ghost. Realized that this is dream, I fought very hard to wake up, but I can not open my eyes, I even feel ‘something’ want to keep me here, not allowed me to get out the room. When I finally woke up and told Roy about my dream, funny, he also felt the same. He even felt that somebody is sleeping on his bed. Later that night, after having diner at Meng Zhi Dao, eating pineapple fried rice, on the way walking back to hotel, we realized what our strange and spooky feeling coming from. We saw people praying and burning joss stick (hio), all around the Guigang, probably all around China, praying for the death to celebrate the Ghost day. Perhaps, the only person who not doing prayer is us. No wonder so many ‘things’ I saw in my room, although only in dream, they seem very real. Hiiiiii iiiii spooky day. But thank God, only one day, the celebration of Ghost (ceng beng in Medan dialect).

Final week
Final week is relax week. All job has been done. Not quite. Relax week but yet terrifying week. Finalized the reports is the most ‘hard work’. From Monday to Wednesday, meeting every day, with all related person. Only two of us, sometimes only me alone when Roy going out for new passport/visa, against everybody, from 3 companies. Luckily, we finally get through it and finalized a good reports.

After that, really a relax days. That Thursday, they having a farewell party for Chong, the CFO, and we’re invited. Similar to the Chinese party in Indonesia, they book a huge karaoke room, singing, dancing and of course, drinking. In fact, one of the girl ask me and Roy, separately, to dance with her. And the marketing head, Meng Xiao Lin, repeatedly asked us to drink with him, “gan bei” they said, and sometimes we have to drink more than one glass for one gan bei, “double, double” he said. That ‘crazy’ man, he don’t even get drunk or get red. This is the 2nd farewell party, the fist one is with the Accounting team, also they invite me (Roy at Guangzhou for new passport). In the other words, our last days in China is celebration coincide with the farewell of the CFO that they love so much.

Until Friday night, our last night in Guigang, our boss call us for meeting at his apartment at 21.30 to discuss our reports. We were picked up at Meng Zhi Dao by a brand new Mercedes Benz when having dinner with Mario, Vivi and Dewi (all Indonesian friend) for the last time. Meeting finished at 22.30, our boss caught yawn several times ha ha.

Home Sweet Home
The next morning, very early, we prepare to fly home. Going to Nanning with driver at 5 AM. Pak Harmani (also Indonesia fellow) coming home with us in the same day different flight. From Nanning to Guangzhou we took the same flight. But from Guangzhou to Jakarta, he took the late flight. So we go separate way in Guangzhou airport. At Nanning airport, the new pasport and visa have no problem to passed the gate since this is just a domestic flight. The problem arise when Roy passing the imigration gate at Guangzhou airport. They not easily believe us since the photo on the passport has missing part of embassy stamp. It took us an hour waiting for them to check. I don't mind at all to wait, sit beside me is two beautiful chinese female aircrew of Japan Airlines. After an hour, they let Roy go. It came out that the missing part of stamp is stick on the other side of the paper, because the photo is printed on a glossy paper. Thank God we took the early flight from Nanning, so we can anticipate things like this. In the waiting room for Garuda flight, surprisingly, we met another fellows from Indonesia (Pak Slamet and Mario) at the same flight.
Arrived at Jakarta at 10 PM, my lovely wife already awaits for me. Seeing her there after a month separated, I remember the day when I left her to fly to China. That sad and frown face has turned to a bright, happy and smiley lovely face. So did mine. Very Happy to be home.