A visit with many firsts

Night Market economy on Sanse Road in Chendu, China, an amazing array of food and culture. Picture: SUPPLIED

My visit to China is filled with many firsts. My first time travelling out of Fiji and first time on an airplane.

And to experience China in my first overseas trip has been nothing short of amazing.

Chengdu is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me personally. Because before this, my life was centred around Wainiveidio and Navua.

As a participant in the China International Press Communication Centre (CIPCC) program, I had the incredible opportunity to visit one of the largest cities in the world and explore its rich history and vibrant culture.

Alongside 80 journalists from various countries, I am in the middle of a four-month journey that I can confidently say will leave an indelible mark on my life.

Chengdu, located in Sichuan Province, is renowned for its fascinating past and is home to the adorable giant pandas.

Our first visit took us to the night market economy on Sanse Rd – a bustling hub of food stalls offering various delicacies.

As a representative of Fiji, I was delighted to find a wide array of dishes that could have been from home.

From spicy dishes to fragrant seafood, the flavours reminded me of the familiar tastes of Fiji. The vibrant atmosphere of the night market was a feast for the senses.

The aroma of sizzling street food filled the air as locals and visitors alike indulged in the culinary delights on offer.

The market was a melting pot of cultures, with people from all walks of life coming together to explore the diverse cuisines available.

What struck me the most during my time in Chengdu was the warmth and friendliness of the locals.

Despite the language barrier, the people of Chengdu went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

Their hospitality and genuine interest in our cultures reminded me of the tight-knit communities back in Fiji.

As part of the CIPCC program, we also had the chance to engage with local media organisations and attend cultural events.

These interactions gave us valuable insights into China’s media industry and fostered cross-cultural understanding among journalists from different countries.

My time in Chengdu has undoubtedly been a transformative experience.

The opportunity to explore one of the world’s largest cities, immerse myself in its rich culture, and interact with fellow journalists from around the globe has been truly unforgettable.

I will forever cherish the memories of this four-month program under the CIPCC and the friendships and knowledge gained along the way.

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