So, just a preface:
I went back to China with my Czech friend, M. I decided it would be better to meet in Chengdu. Good flights for both of us as well as…..
This is the main reason to go to Chengdu, honestly.
I arrived the night before her flight and we stayed at Lazybones.
It’s a nice hostel with some foreigners, which was good as my Chinese hostel experience before wasn’t that great.
From the airport there is a metro so no point taking the expensive shuttle bus or taxi.
I arrived late and basically went to bed.
I did meet an arogant American study abroad student who thought he knew a lot about China and was learning Mandarin. But, the Chinese man in the bunk above me didn’t understand anything he said in Chinese lol. I also didn’t have the heart to tell him I already spent around 17 days in China prior since he was so gun-ho about telling me things about the country.
The next day, I did some laundry at the sister hostel, Mix hostel, which also seemed pleasant.
I figured M would arrive at a certain time so I waited for her and watched movies. Well, it took her several hours due to a flight delay as well as getting lost.
But no matter.
That night we walked around and saw 2 temples/monastry and a food street. She had her first little Chinese restaurant experience.
It was funny because the people gave us the menu with the most expensive side up. I had a heart attack even though by Western standards it was still decent.
However, I flipped it over and normal prices were there.
Later, M realized why I was freaking out before.
Again, a normal meal should cost around 10-15 yuan/RMB. Sometimes you can find cheaper, but I’m happy if it’s in between this.
In one of the temples, they also had a bunch of food shops and we got this pineapple thing, inside had sweet rice, pineapple, and cherries. It was good.
During this visit, someone wanted to take a photo of M because she’s a white blonde person (totally not racist at all (sarcasm)). I forewarned her about this, but she didn’t believe me because she was arguing with me about who they wanted the photo of. I also had asked them for 5 RMB as the price for the photo with her. Hey, if they are going to be racist, might as well make some money from it.
Anyways, we took too long discussing it and so the guy and his friend left. Later, she would get more stares and pictures taken of her to the point it now males her uncomfortable….and I think glad she lives in the Western world.
The next day, we woke up early and went to see the pandas.
We wanted to get there early because
1. Beat the crowds as best we could
2. The pandas are more active as they are eating.
The park opens at 7.30 and we got there at 8.30 (we left the hostel at 6.50).
There’s a metro stop and outside the stop there’s a free shuttle, you just need to buy your park entrance ticket from them (it’s the same price). The way they get their money is on the way to the park, 3km, they drive super slow to let the tour guide talk. Basically, she was trying to sell her tour guide service for the park, which the majority of the Chinese passengers took (we were the only foreigners). She didn’t speak in English at all.
We saw so many cute pandas and by the end of our time a lot of them were starting to sleep so I highly recommend you get there early.
They do have student price admission at 50%, so we paid 29 RMB.
We only spent 2 hours there because we needed to get back to the hostel to check out.
Honestly, there’s no need to stay longer except to walk every single corner or to watch the pandas ear. But after 4 pandas eating bamboo….they are all the same.
This is a research base to help the pandas gain number and not go extinct. The reason their numbers are decreasing are not due to limited food or hunting, but because they are lazy to mate.
But it is set up like a zoo, which was nice.
But all throughout the city are panda things. Definitely proves this is the main attraction. There are some foreigners as I mentioned, but still not that much in comparison to Xi’an.
After checking out, we went to a food market nearby the hostel and grabbed some lunch then went to an archeological site, Jinisha. It used to be the powerhouse of the Su kingdom and they found a lot of burial goods and evidence of how they lived.
Again, there’s a student price for half price. It took us about 2 hours.
After, we made our way to a tomb, but the tomb is in a park and we somehow got lost. We took a break because we walked a lot and M was still jet lagged.
While sitting, a Chinese woman comes up to us and starts speaking English with us.
She has a strange look about her and then she started making weird comments such as,
“You are beautiful. I think ice cream color skin is beautiful.”
We made our excuse to leave and to this day we have a laugh about M being “ice cream colored.” I assume that’s vanilla, but maybe not.
We gave up on the tomb and went back towards the hostel, stopping in a little restaurant to eat and get out of the rain.
M hasn’t had much practice with chopsticks, but in these small shops, they don’t offer anything else, so she is definitely getting practice now!
We had a short rest in the hostel, even took naps on their uncomfortable lounge chairs before heading back to the airport.
Our flight to Changsha was at 10.50 pm. We originally wanted to take the sleeper train, but for some reason it stopped selling tickets (like even the travel agent didn’t know why they stopped either), so we ended up taking the flight.
It was a good start to our time together. I really have missed her!
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