We checked out of our hotel at noon and decided to explore Baihuaton Park, an area near our Chengdu hotel that we had yet to venture into. We walked slowly down Qintai Road, trying to avoid sweating in the midday sun since we would be sleeping on a train that night. We crossed over an ornate, covered, oriental bridge to the shaded park where we followed the stone pathways, focusing on each turn we made so that we wouldn't get lost. We sauntered through a maze of greenery and rock formations. All the while, cicadas sung in the trees above so loudly that we could scarcely hear each other's voices over the cacophany of shrill shrieks.
Next on our to-do list for the day was a trip to the market to purchase food for the sixteen hour train ride that awaited us.
Here I am in the beautiful park!
Shopping in Chinese food markets is always and frustrating and disappointing experience because the small marts offer a limited variety and no healthy snacks. Other than noodles and rice, food that isn't practical on a train ride, candy and cookies are our only other option. I have tirelessly searched for protein bars or boxes of cereal over the past few weeks, but all to no avail. After stopping in countless markets, we accept the fact that we are going to have to live off of junk food on the train. We package up a sweet selection of chocolate cookies, a Snickers bar, a bag of Skittles, and a package of Mentos.
Since we had already checked out of our hotel, yet didn't need to leave for the train station until seven in the evening, we returned to our previous hostel, Sim's Cozy Garden Hostel, to use the internet and read in the gardens.
This adorable bunny was hopping in the gardens!
As we were comfortably lounging near the Chinese garden and reading our books, we noticed a fuzzy, white rabbit hopping along between the gardens. Excited to see a bunny that wasn't on a menu, I quietly approached the skinny creature as he munched on a colorful flower in the garden. I took a few photos and gushed over the adorable rabbit until it hopped off in another direction. Next, we noticed that the three black Tibetan pigs were making a mess in another section of the garden, rolling around in the dirt and vigorously stuffing their snouts into piles of mud. After giving the pigs some needed attention, we returned to our books at the edge of the garden. A few minutes into my novel, I noticed a shadow beneath my lounge chair. I quickly flung my feet up and hesitantly peered under the chair, afraid to see a nasty rat.
Jason in waiting to catch our train to Xi'an.
Instead, I was looking into the curious, red eyes of the white rabbit. He must have sensed that we were rabbit people because he came right up to our hands without feeling the need to scamper away, as most rabbits would. Out of the corner of our eyes, we then spotted another white rabbit who also had the unusual courage to approach us. We spent the next few hours, before our train ride, juggling our time between our books, the internet, three dirty pigs, two adorable rabbits, and even a lone cat we spotted near the end of the day.
With all of the entertainment, the time flew by quickly. Before we knew it, we were sitting in the crowded, filthy waiting room of the train station, preparing for the next leg of our journey - Xi'an.