It was last week of May 2016 when my manager talked about a short-term assignment in China. Without hesitations, I agreed to that. I started to process my papers and my to comply with the company’s policies. We have given a month of preparation- NBI, invitation letter, and the visa.
So this is how a visa looks like. It’s my first time going to a country that needs a visa, so I find it amazing to have this sticker on my passport.
The moment I got my invitation letter and the specific location of the workplace, I went straight to google and checked if how does Dalian look like, what’s in Dalian? Are there any beaches? is it more like Hongkong or Macau? do they really eat dogs in China? Where can I see a panda? Can I go to The Great Wall of China? Will I be persecuted if they see me praying in public? Do they really put Christians in prison?
That time, the Philippines and China were still on a conflict with the South China Sea claims, and seriously, I was really worried about that. I was thinking on what to do if incase Chinese will be persecuting Filipinos, where will I go? Few of the questions I asked myself before the day of my departure.
In July 04, 2016 I and Sir Richard flew to Dalian via Shanghai. We deplaned 45 minutes before our flight to Dalian, we got lost in Shanghai airport, we went to the international gate instead of domestic, there were a lot of security checks and no one could tell us where to go. We arrived to our exact gate at 10:25 AM, but supposedly our flight is at 10:20 AM. Luckily, our flight was delayed! 🙂 From Shangai to Dalian, it took almost a 2-hour flight going North., it was a pretty long trip.
Going back to my first question, “How Does Dalian Look Like?” Below are just few of the snippets of my experience in Dalian.
Old Dalian Railway System
This is Dalian’s old railway system. Most of the slow train depart and arrive here. It’s just within the city and it’s surrounded with underground shopping malls the most accessible place to any part of Dalian. For an expat, it will be easier to go to CTRIP first to check out the routes, terminal, prices and the schedule prior buying the ticket.
Dalian Bei Railway Station
Most fast trains are passing through this station.
Youhao Square/Friendship Square
You know it’s Youhao Square if you are already seeing that big ball from afar.
Few meters away from Youhaou square or the next stop, there’s also the Zhongshan Square. The buildings around Zhongshan square are more like Russian-inspired.
Pretty big square. This is where the beer festival is being held. It has a very large book and you can also see here the SanFrancisco-like bridge wherein the lights are pretty interesting. If you are up for a jog, beside the square is the Binhai Road– that is going to Dalian Forest Zoo. There’s also an amusement park in the square.
DCF Congregation- Dalian Christian Fellowship
So nope, Chinese do not really persecute Christians, unless otherwise you are sharing the gosepl of God publicly. As I could remember, we are not allowed to bring Chinese friends in the church and we need to submit a copy of our passport to the church for inspection. Only foreign passport holders are allowed to join the fellowship.
Our Sunday will usually end at Kuya Alex’s bakeshop.
Dalian Olympic Square
Who could have thought that below that entrance lies an big underground electronic store? On the other side, it’s another underground mall for dresses and foods. Haggle is the game. If you cross the street, there’s a big mall- the Olympic 66 if you want to buy branded stuff. On this place, it also has courts that could cater sports enthusiasts folks.
Basement shopping center for all electronics.
This Filipino band colors Paulaner at night.
The feast every after performance.
Bus Fare(s) in Dalian
I can go around the city of Dalian for only 1 RMB and 2 RMB outside the city.
Accenture Inc – Dalian & ACN Officemates
We are just very blessed that one of the project’s requirments is, they need to be bilingual– everyone speaks English, and they were very helpful the whole time that we need assistance.
Overall, my 2 months stay in China proved me wrong about my prejudices. I learned a lot from this short-term assignment about China and its culture. I met new friends and a hardworking and talented Filipinos. The place is not saturated with OFWs as of yet, but there were a lot of Russians, Koreans, Brits, Africans, Americans, and other races as well. Dalian is place that is rich in history and diversity. And oh, btw, Guang Chang means Square!-