Friday, October 01, 2010

chengdu, china

For the Great Wall, we wore our panda hats, but when Tien went home, we sent the panda hats with her. I was sad to not have my panda hat when we went to Chengdu, but that may have been a better idea. *_*  Can't compete with the REAL pandas!!!!  This is the Panda Research and Reserve Center in Chengdu. It houses about 80 of the cutest pandas I've ever seen. All the pandas have names that are Ling Ling, Ting Ting, Po Po. So cute. I bought a little stuffed panda for my collection at home, and named it Jin Jin. In Chinese, it's actually Qian Jin, which means "princess," but since i wanted a double name, it will be Jin Jin instead!

This panda is my favorite. He eats and eats, and just looks like the happiest drunk man on earth. 
they eat, play, sleep. what a life...oh wait, that's what I'm doing right now! hehehe

we found a starbucks in chengdu, and i couldn't resist a drink and this pic

On Chengdu, I absolutely love this place. Our hostel was amazing!!! The Traffic Inn booked all the tours for us, and then they also got us into Tibet!!! One of the reasons we came to Chengdu was because this is the port city to get into Tibet. However, up until then, everything we tried and everyone we talked to, told us that Tibet was out of the question, and that they were not accepting permits until late October. Traffic Inn got us permits within 3 days, and we were so happy that we got in!!! They even got us a really good tour guide, and made sure that we had extra days to stay in Tibet so that we can roam on our own! 

Sichuan food is numbingly spicy. When I say numb, i mean NUMB. You cannot feel your lips after a few bites. We had this noodle dish, which looked so amazingly appealing, and I started inhaling it. Within a few bites, i realized that my shirt was wet from sweat, my eyes were tearing up to almost a sob, and my lip were puffy like I just had botox. This has to be the spiciest dish i have ever had in my life....and yet i couldn't stop eating it. The reason for the cuisine being this spicy is because the Sichuan province is a very wet province. It rains all the time, and in order to acclimate against the wetness, people eat spicy to not get sick. The hot pot here is supposed to be the best but in Beijing, we had the spicy hot pot one night that was divided into two sides: the hot side, and the even hotter side. I was later told in Chengdu that the hot pot i had was actually Sichuan style, so i actually did get to have Sichuan hot pot, just not in the province.

I took this picture after i mixed everything together and tried to eat it. Deceiving, isn't it?
The smog here is unbelievable. Of the top 20 cities in the world for smog, China takes up 16 of them!! Chengdu is top of the list as well, which is why the sunsets and sunrises are o beautiful. It looks like a watercolor painting, but the reason for it is less than appealing!

alleyways of Chengdu at night
People's Park

Tea infused into the lemon. We had no idea how to drink this, but when we did, it was amazing.

We walked a million miles (5 km actually) in one day. We went to People's Park to have tea in the teahouse there. It was quite nice since all the bamboo chairs were out. I wanted to see the old men with their songbirds, but it was not to be. There were old men, yes....but they were spitting and playing cards, not tending to their songbirds. The tea was amazing though, and was a great refresher for the day. Then we went in search of the Bookworm, a hip bookstore in Chengdu that supposedly carries a ton of English books, has wi-fi, and a fun travel vibe. It took us almost 3 hours to find it, and when we did, we devoured the place in an hour buying books and eating in the cafe...and then hurried back to catch the 44 hour train to Lhasa, Tibet!

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