Monday, 11 September 2017

Interview With Emina - A Lovely Travel Partner

During October 2016, I organized a short trip to China. In each of my trip, I would prefer to invite a small group of travelers to join the party. And as always, I got quite a number of rejection when introduced this to people around. Most of them were skeptical with safety issue in that country. But lucky for me, I'd managed to get in touch with these four amazing souls who were up for the unknown.

Among these four people, one of them drew my attention with the smile she made every time we reached a destination.

Her name is Emina, an IT Support who used to serve in the same company as I did. She got to know about my plan by following my social media, and also from the words passed by everyone around.

Me : Could you tell me what places have you been to for that one week? What were the things you remember most?

"We went to visit Beijing and Xi'an. But due to shortage of time, our group only managed to visit a hand full o historical places in each city. If I had to list down, Terracotta and the Great Wall were the most memorable places to be mentioned. Not simply because they are a must for visitors in these cities. These two places are listed as few of world's wonder, and having to witness them right in front of you is an experience that could never fade."

"But honestly, these weren't the only things I adored. This whole trip has been an eye-opening experience for. In my previous trips abroad, I hadn't had a chance to go for a self-planned trip. All of them were organized by tour agencies. We paid a good amount of money to them and in return, everything was neatly managed, including the itinerary."

"Although there were few times we heard someone spitting loudly in the public space, but it was the local street culture and it was pretty fascinating to learn it up-close."

Me : I was told that you've been to Vietnam and Indonesia, were the trips different from the one we had?

"Definitely, they weren't the same. Back in Vietnam, the trip was organized and altered based on majority's vote. Sadly, most of them in the group preferred to spend their vacation by having shopping-spree. Came with only a luggage on the first day, and went back to Malaysia with boxes of purchase. We ended up visiting only few historical sites."

"I didn't get to experience anything like we had while in China. Rushing from a place to another, trying basically every food we saw on the street, taking our time to slowly sink in every good time we were having."

"One of the most memorable occasion during the trip, was when we took the 14-hour long train from Beijing to Xi'An. We could have cut the time half by taking bullet train. But we didn't, and I truly enjoyed it. We were having great time, it was relaxing time, and I miss the time when we were playing poker on the train to kill time. And it was hilarious to think that we were supposed to meet up for dinner, but I guess everyone was damn tired, so all of us slept through the rest of train ride."

Me : How about the food? Did you manage to take them in? And were they costly?

"I remember most of the food we had consisted of mutton. Skewer, dumpling, dim-sum pao etc. Even the noodles we had were filled with mutton. Frankly, I had a different perception on the kind of food we were about to have in China, as the Chinese Malaysians are likely to enjoy flavorless and less oily food. But in China, the locals would add in as much taste as possible."

"To my surprise, they were quite cheap. When divided for five people, it only cost each of us about RMB 20 to 30 for a meal. They all cost the same regardless of how big the restaurant we dined in."

Me : How do you feel when talking to the local Chinese? Are the outsiders describing them in a right way?

"People asked me to be careful when visiting the country. And when you go to social media, they tend to share all the bad things. The locals are rude, there were thieves everywhere, you would likely to get scammed most of the time, these were some comments I got before visiting."

"But speaking through experience, the locals aren't that crazy. These weren't entirely true. Even in Malaysia, fraudster and scammers are everywhere."

"The drivers that escorted us were super friendly. The pedestrians were very helpful when we asked for direction, they even smiled and greeted us. And that time when you lost you camera in Xi'An, the hawker were kind enough to return it to you. These things I experienced were entirely different from what I heard before the trip."

Me : Any final advice for those out there who are still worried to step foot this country?

"It would be a real shame if got scared only by negative comments from others. If you really want to go, just go. Experience the thing yourself."

"Traveling isn't just a fun thing to do, it's a process of learning. People get matured by traveling."