The Fiji Times

A visit with many firsts


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-alifetime 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.

 ?? Pictures: SUPPLIED ?? John Chetty, back right, with other participan­ts during a night cruise along Jinjiang River in China.
Pictures: SUPPLIED John Chetty, back right, with other participan­ts during a night cruise along Jinjiang River in China.

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