Chengdu, China ~ 11th – 12th September 2012
Tuesday , 11th September 2012 – Oh My God! We are finally getting off the Boat! Our Yangzi cruise ends with our arrival in the port city of Chongqing. After a short bus ride and 2 hours sitting around Starbucks Coffee and walking through a city mall we are collected to take a Fast Train (reaching a max of 193km/h) to arrive in Chengdu after midday.
It might be one of China’s biggest cities but Chengdu has preserved plenty of its traditional flavour and visitors can still find famous tea houses, numerous markets and some of the most interesting food in China.
We are staying at the Emeishan Hotel, our room provides air-conditioning, large LCD TV, bigger twin beds, large bathroom, a table and chairs, and the power sockets have an Australian option. Quickly refreshing ourselves we meet in the lobby for a walking tour of Chengdu.
We visited the Village markets to have an afternoon snack, view painting galleries, statues, The Panda Store. I purchased a Panda Painting, a Cool Kung Fu Panda and a Panda Sleeping mask…. Very Panda of me.
Given some free time to browse the markets ourselves, I bumped into Russel videoing the markets and spent an hour or so walking along with him and chatting about each other and our lives, lost loves, and what it’s like back home.
Meeting back up with the rest of the group at 6pm, Richard took us a few streets away to a cooking class where we cooked 4 meals, ate them and enjoyed a few beers together.
Wednesday, 12th September 2012 – Today is the day! We are up early at 6.30am to leave at 7.20 to go see the PANDA’S! The Panda’s are located on a Research Base 40 minute drive from the main city. We arrive at the Panda Breeding Centre at 8am, Richard leads us through the park to the first enclosure. Words can not describe how excited I was to see the Panda’s, I yelped!
The Panda’s are inviting to the eye, viewing them as lost artifacts in a museum. Beautiful creatures, eating their bamboo breakfast together. The Panda’s are more active in the mornings and we saw this by their performance of climbing trees, sometimes 3 to a tree, weaving in and out of the trees, some just sitting happily.
The Zoo also has Red Panda’s that were also eating and running around their enclosures. Having lost the main group, Russell and I found them at a cafe mid morning, we joined them for coffee before leaving on the Bus back to the city centre.
Back in Chengdu’s city centre we visit the Moa statue before having a banquet lunch. Today we visit the Old Town market which is a high-end shopping market with boutique stores, coffee shops etc. After deciding this was not a place for me to spend money, I took a trip back to the hotel in a taxi with Laura and Bea. I enjoyed a 2 hour nap while Laura explored the city some more. The girls of the tour had decided upon a 5pm Hobo party, we visited the local convenience store, stocked up on drinking supplies and returned to Laura and I’s room for some girly chit-chat.
The group then met at 7:30pm in the foyer to take a bus to the Shu Feng Ya Yun Sichuan Opera with a range of traditional Chinese performances including outstanding face changers, acrobats and music. We were treated to tea sitting close to the stage and entertained by various acts of Chinese entertainment. If you get there before the show begins you can watch the performers putting on their makeup and costumes. I loved the face changer (Bian Lian) and still don’t know how they do it. The show was a great way to spend a night in Chengdu. The show finished at 9.30pm, Richard took Bea, Russell, Laura and I to have Hot Pot at a local venue that is open late. The Hot Pot was amazing with all the different vegetables, meats and flavors (with a beer of cause). A must try! After a short walk to the main road Richard waved us a taxi down and cramped the 4 of us in the back, with himself in the front. It was a very entertaining taxi ride back to the hotel. Tomorrow we will make our way to Hangzhou.