CHENGDU – 成都
Ciao i miei tesorini!
So this weekend, despite the fact that I did not go to Bangkok, I managed to have a ball in Chengdu!
Getting there was a bit rough, my flight was supposed to leave Guangzhou at 20.30 on Friday so I left work a bit early but by the time I had gone through security and waited a bit, the status of the flight was changed to delayed. Jamie had forewarned me about domestic Chinese flights being infamous for delays so I couldn’t say that I was too surprised. A delay of about 5 hours, however, was not expected. The mixture of frustration along with the propensity to complain by Chinese people was something to see – the poor airline employee was surrounded by an angry mob of flyers yelling at him. Don’t kill the messenger, guys! But never fear! McDonalds and bottled water quickly arrived and placated most of the crowd, although a few of the angrier ones went over to the Air China counter and demanded that we fly out on time, only to no avail. For me, it was a good 5 hours actually, I made the acquaintance of three Hong Kongers who were going to Tibet via Chengdu and we changed contact info and I plan to meet up with them in August when I am in HK!
I arrived in Chengdu and got to my hostel at about 5.00, much later than I was expecting! I slept for about 4 hours and then woke up and headed over to the “People’s Garden” which is a massive park in Chengdu with many tea houses where you can just sip on some longjing tea and read/chat/play mah-jong for hours. I opted for reading and thoroughly enjoyed Italo Calvino’s Eremita a Parigi.
The rest of the first day I wandered quite a bit – saw some nice temples, a science museum, the main shopping area/pedestrian street where I people-watched for quite a bit but actually found that people were often so interested in me that they’d ask for some photos and make small talk, often limited by a combination of my bad Putonghua and their limited command of English.
A note about the food: AMAZING. SPICES AND PEPPERS GALORE. I can truly only hope to hire my own personal chef from Sichuan when I am older 😉
Saturday night was a bit crazy and I met up with some people in the Couch Surfing community – thanks for the suggestion, Jamie! Went to a chill Jamaican-esque bar called “Hemp House” and played the illustrious dice-game and then went to the most ridiculous club I have ever been in my life! The only option was table service with either brandy or cognac – luckily one of my new acquaintances knew people and we didn’t have to pay! 😉 – The night went into morning and I didn’t get to sleep until 5.30, which normally isn’t a problem, but I had to wake up at 7 to go see the famous PANDAS. I managed and although I was suffering – the visit to the panda centre was well worth it. The pandas are so lively and playful – even watching them munch on bamboo is interesting!!
The rest of Sunday is a mix of eating, napping, wandering and reading.
Had to wake up at 5 this morning to catch my flight back to Guangzhou and then a bus back to Zhuhai and here I am.
I ADORED Chengdu and plan to go back there ASAP – the dichotomy of the “most relaxed city” in China along with the energy of the people leads to such a chill yet happening place.
This upcoming weekend, white water river rafting with my host mother and her colleagues is on the agenda so expect another good blog post then!!