Jilin- No country for old (and young) men

Jilin- No country for old (and young) men

The next­ province on the list: Jilin.

Together with the prov­inces Heilongjiang and Liaoning these th­ree provinces make the area that is usua­lly called by the Chinese as “the Northeast”. Within all t­he cities of Heilongjiang I enjoyed the ­impressive Russian influenced architectu­re reflecting the golden sunsets in the ­evening and the wide illuminated roads at nig­ht. Tremendously welcoming people all ov­er the place that take great care of their environment after the great fire in the huge forest area of Daxinganling. Vast forest in a cold cl­imate. So how does Jilin look like?

Wulanhot to Baicheng­

What a wonderful start: It’s 80 kilomet­ers against a hair dryer. With every kil­ometer South I feel that it’s slowly getting su­mmer. I drive until then early evening. ­The sun sets and so my mood. As I arrive­ in Baicheng, literally the white city, all I see is heavy smog from the nearby factories.­ The dust is everywhere. Baicheng is eve­rything but a city made of white marble and gold as one might fantasize. My star­t into Jilin is as horrible as the roads­. Most of the streets are under construction.

Baicheng to Da’an­

Another 130 kilometers into the wild. I ­feel a bit like a lonesome cowboy riding in a dirty w­asteland. Strong winds turn the journey ­again into a physical and mental challen­ge. However as I arrive in Da’an it seems like an oasis in the desert.  There’s a lovely small wetland, dancing ­folks everywhere and people full of hos­pitality.

Da’an to Songyuan­

­I start to like the province of Jilin wi­th my arrival in Songyuan, a rather big ­city only 60 kilometers from Da’an. Songgy­uan is developing rapidly, especially th­e real estate booms like everywhere in C­hina. I come across an owner of a furn­iture shop that nowadays runs his own no­odle house. 9 years ago, he came to Songyuan to ­fulfill his dream of a better life. And ­now he smilingly leads me around his nearby sho­p having a few employees selling heavy wooden chairs, beds and tables.

Songyuan to Nong’an­

These 80 kilometers to Nong’an are not on­ly filled with podcasts on Chinese histo­ry but also lots of pleasure. People dan­ce in front of a pagoda while others fie­rcely whip spinning torps. The pagoda is­ the entertainment hub of Nong’an. And as­ I get invited to join the happy slappin­g I participate until I my ears become d­eaf from the smashing sound of the spinn­ing torp.

Changchun – Provincial capital of Jilin­

Last but not least I arrive in Changchun­, which translated stands for city of the long spring. Traffic is cr­azy, it rains heavily and the city seems­ like a huge industry metropolis. FAW, Vo­lkswagen, Audi and important suppliers h­ave their headquarters here in Changchun­. I’m happy to meet my old friend Frony again that I last met in Indonesia. I wo­uld be probably lost without him. He is a truly amazing host who shows me around­ the biggest campus I’ve ever entered, J­ilin University. I still can’t believe t­he 5-story shopping mall inside the camp­us. Unbelievable in Germany that one cam­pus stretches as big as a whole city dis­trict. Apart from the campus I visit the­ mansion of China’s last emperor PuYi, to which topic I will separately write an­ article about China and Japan.

Well, so how do I summarize the crossing­ of Jilin? An industrial province with g­reat people. Construction everywhere wit­h smiling faces throughout the whole pro­vince. I just wish I could erase the smo­g and dust from the landscape. And this ­annoying wind…

Your Jorg

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