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Black and White

Chengdu Travel Blog

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We had a one hour flight from Xi'an to Chengdu where someone was waiting to pick us up. The hostel was awesome!  The atmosphere was calming with wood and the gardens, the room was basic, but spacious- great shower, and the staff was beyond helpful.

Chengdu was hit by an earthquake and tourism has been down.  IN an attempt to help boost tourism, they offer the "Panda Card" for one Yuan (about 15 cents).  This allows free admittance into eleven of the major sites including the Panda Breeding Center.  We went to get one and I introduced mom to Magnum ice cream bars- I think she fell in love!  ON our way back from getting the Panda Cards we stopped at a recommended restaurant.  We got egg and tomatoes as one dish.  The second was a pork and vegetables poured over deep fried rice.  Both were delicious and way too much food.  While we were there a young traveler from Poland came by and asked what we were eating.  I asked if he wanted to join us since we weren’t going to be able to finish it all.  He asked if we were sure and we insisted.  He was staying at the same hostel as us as well.

The next morning we went to the Panda Center.  The pandas were amazing.  We were there at a good time because they were really active.  We saw Giant Pandas and one baby about three months old.  We also saw Red Pandas which have tails like raccoons.  They belong to the cat family, but eat bamboo so they are called Red Pandas.  While we were waiting for the rest of our group we saw Shaquille O’Neil.  He was in China doing a basketball camp.  That guy is ridiculously tall! 

After the pandas we went back to the hostel for lunch.  Then we headed to Wu Hou Temple.  It was another beautifully landscaped area and connected to Jun Li, an ancient style street.  It had a bunch of stands selling the same stuff.  There were two different guys making different candy.  One used melted sugar to make animals and shapes into suckers.  The other did blown candy.  It was neat to watch, but would you really want to eat something someone was blowing into to make?  On the way out I realized the map had fallen out of my backpack.  I tried to ask at the tourist center, but they weren’t very helpful.  I was getting frustrated because only one person seemed to speak English and no one would help us out.  We had a general idea of where we wanted to go and luckily while at the bus stop a woman helped us figure out how many stops to go and which bus to take to get to the Thatched Cottage of DuFu, a famous poet.  Again the landscaping was beautiful.  There was a Pagoda of Buddhas.  When they were excavating they found pillars underneath which they covered with clear glass so people could see them.  It was also the first pagoda I’ve been to that you could go inside of.  It was really neat to climb to the top.

On our way home we wanted to try a hot pot place.  We found one, but it was really bad and not really hot pot.  We decide to go back to the hostel and have them write down something to eat and go back to the restaurant we were at the night before, but they didn’t have what we wanted.  The server who spoke very little English opened the menu to the vegetables page.  I slide my finger up and down and stopped on one.  That was our vegetable for the night- a place of eggplant that tasty.  The server picked a chicken dish, but it was WAY too spicy for both of us.  It was not our night for dinner and the server felt really bad.  Good thing we knew where to get Magnum Ice Cream!

The next morning we slept in and it was great!  Then we walked around People’s park- again beautiful!  From the park we went to the Sichuan Art Museum which was more like a gallery.  We walked down the street to Tian Fu Square.  The statues made up Yin and Yang with the fish eyes being dragons.  I wish we could have gone up in one of the buildings and seen it from above.  After the square we went back to the hostel to get a recommendation for noodles.  It was quite the production, but we figured it out.  As soon as we got to the restaurant it started to pour!  The noodles were amazing and just want we wanted.  We trekked our way back to the hostel through a bunch of puddles.  We ordered some stuff to make PB and J’s to go just in case we got hungry on the train to Chongqing.  Since it was pouring when we left we couldn’t get a taxi outside of the hostel, so we decided to walk a short distance to the bus station.  Mom fought hard for a taxi- it was quite impressive!  It was fun to see her get a little aggressive mixed with some frustration. 

Definitely one of our favorite places on the trip!


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photo by: spocklogic