Early this year when I was busy on my routine since many months, during lunch time at office, go preheat my food at pantry, and eat at my working place, surfing internet. Mostly searching info on Xinjiang and China, and among that, finding possible hosts in CouchSurfing. When there’s very few CSer in Xinjiang, there are apparently quite a number from Chengdu, and I actually received a few invitations from Chengdu alone. Pity that Chengdu is not our main destination, and we’re not going to spend long in the city. Although, we might want to have a place to stay and meet people there.
I came across a profile belong to Derek and his wife from Chengdu, and instantly sent message asking if he could host us when we come to China in April. Surprisingly, he replied saying that he was coming to Malaysia first in March! They were coming for a short sightseeing in KL and one week diving in Semporna, Sabah. Derek is awesome guy, when I was hopelessly trying to find a way to get China train tickets (which you cannot book online.. I mean, the website is only in Chinese and does not accept foreign credit card!) Derek came as a savior, and helped us book all the tickets we need to get a ride on a China train. The other alternative is to book at train station itself, yet you cannot be secured with available immediate tickets.
Although we have yet to be a proper CS host (until we move to stay in a proper house, hopefully), it was great to hang out with guests from faraway. We picked them at KL Sentral and went for dinner at Syed Restaurant in PJ (for Az’s favorite mutton biryani). It was so exciting meeting someone whom you’ll visit them later in their place.. it’s so much like an exchange :) We shared alot of things about places in KL (and Sabah, as they’re heading to Semporna the next day) and they shared all the things about traveling in China we had to know. Also, we shared each other wedding photos from each other’s tablet! ^_^
I actually forgot to take photos during the dinner (too busy discussing!) and photos above were actually emailed by Derek when they returned to Chengdu. And this was meant to be published months ago, and the reason suddenly I posted now coz finally I managed the first China episode in our travelogue ;) of course, featuring Derek.
[jbox color=”gray” icon=”http://ilyani.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/P1100401-190×190.jpg” title=”Chengdu with Derek”]Now. We arrived around 11pm in Chengdu Airport, and the moment we got worried that we couldnt get through Derek’s phone when using mobile phone belongs to a girl in the same flight, Derek was right at the arrival hall, smiling and waving at us. We immediately followed him to his car, both surprisingly and unsurprisingly a BMW 3-series, and had a ride directly to his house. And the first thing we noticed when we landed in China other than Chengdu being so cold (brr!!), all the signboards and building signage are in Chinese and we hardly see anything English! (Read more..) [/jbox]
I know that first few days in China went pretty dull (long trains and trains) but it took us 3 days to reach our main destination!