AsiaChinaChengdu

Getting lost,pandas,getting lost,tasty treats, getting lost, and Sichuan Opera

Chengdu Travel Blog

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Scenes from Jinli Lu (Road). The fog is fake :(

Once I arrived in Chengdu I took a taxi to my hostel, the Traffic Inn。  I couldn't get the single room that I wanted, so instead I got a nice double.  The hostel is pretty nice and bright.  Even though I had a double, the price was pretty good--just $12 per night.  I gave in to temptation and had one of their pizzas for my dinner, which I later regretted when I saw all of the Sichuanese food I could have been eating that night.  (At least the pizza was something you couldn't get in the US.  It had bacon, onions, and mild and chili peppers.  It was spicy!) 

Once I finished eating I headed out to Jinli Road, which is supposed to be an ancient road downtown.  It was within walking distance from my hostel, but the map they gave us wasn't very good, and I got really lost.  After asking around several times, I finally found the place.  I don't know how ancient it can really claim to be.  It was filled to the brim with souvenir shops.  It even had a Starbucks.  (Yes, I got a latte.  It was my first time this trip!)  I left the souvenir stands and walked down the street with all of the tasty snack foods, but was still stuffed from my pizza, so could not try any of them that night.

 The place seemed really, really commercial.  China has this fast food place called Dico’s, that seems to be just as ubiquitous as McDonalds is in the US.  There is actually an ancient temple on Jinli Lu, but there is a Dico’s adjacent to the wall and it plays annoying commercials, complete with annoying jingles, nonstop at a very high volume.  (I don’t know how the Dico’s employees can stop themselves from plunging into the water just to escape that noise.) 

 

I left the area a little disappointed, but planned to return for lunch the next day so I could try the tasty treats.  I got lost again on my way back, and had to keep asking people for help finding the hostel.

 I really should have been easy to find, because it is located on the river.  But I seem to have a lot of trouble with one particular part of town, and of course that is the part where I need to go all the time.

 

I had signed up to go to the panda reserve the next morning, so I got up bright and early at 6:30 and joined a few other westerners who were taking the same trip.  The pandas did not disappoint!  The reserve is huge, even though it is located within the city.  They had dozens, and the habitats were far less depressing than the ones I saw in Xi’an two years ago.

 

I learned some interesting facts about pandas.

  When a girl panda has her first baby, she has no idea what is happening or what the baby is.  There was a video of a panda giving birth.  She was totally freaked out, and once the baby fell out (yes, fell,) she started batting it around with her paw like it was a toy or something.  It was kind of horrifying.  One of the panda minders had to run in and take the baby.  The people at the reserve hand raise the baby pandas to a large extent, though for subsequent births, the mother seems to know what she is doing.  Twice now I’ve heard interesting theories that pandas should have gone extinct already due to natural selection.  They don’t like the mate, they don’t take good care of newborns, they eat the worst possible diet that provides them very little energy, and so are quite lazy.  The only reason they continue to exist is due to human intervention��"in vitro fertilization, infant care, and huge bamboo stockpiles.  One person claimed they have continued to exist because they have perfected the “cute gene”.
  I like that idea.  It makes sense to me
J

 

After the pandas I went back to the hostel and they told me I could change rooms to a single.  (This would save me 30RMB per night.)  What I didn’t know was that the single rooms were not in the hostel, but in the attached hotel.  While the hostel was bright and airy, the hotel was dark and dingy.  My room had a tv, but there was only one English channel and it was all news.  But they went through a lot of effort to let me change rooms, so I couldn’t really say anything.

 

After the room change ordeal, I decided to go back to Jinli Lu.  This time I took the bus there, and so was able to find it.  I ate lots of tasty foods.  There are some photos attached.  There is a section of the street that is all snack stalls.  I only had one item that was really just too spicy for me to handle.  The rest were really good.

 

Next I went to the Wuhou temple, which is the one on Jinli Lu.  (It was already closed when I got there the night before.)  I was really, really disappointed.  It was 25% temple and 75% souvenir shop.

  And the entrance was more than $10!  I’ve decided I’m done buying individual tickets to temples unless I have a good reason to go.

 

I decided to try to walk back to the hostel again, and guess what?  I got lost again!!!  I don’t know what is wrong with me.  I spent an hour and a half wandering aimlessly until I ran into a fellow westerner who was able to point me towards the river.  Then I had to quickly shower and get ready for the Sichuan Opera.

 

I was a little hesitant about going to this, because the last big show I went to in Xi’an was really disappointing��"like a Vegas show.

  This was better, though it still had a little of that feel.  The price was far lower than the Xi’an place, which I knew was a good sign.  And the majority of the audience were actually Chinese, which was another good sign.  Most of it was pleasant enough, but one really cool part was the “face changing” performance.  The actors were wearing masks, and they would somehow change these masks seemingly instantly.  I don’t know how they did it.  That was the highlight of the show.  

 

Then I got back to the hostel late and went to bed, as I was meeting some friends of a friend who live in Chengdu the next morning.  And I’ll share details about that day next time.  It is bedtime in China, so goodnight all!

 

jenmarie77 says:
I really wanted to go to Jiuzhaigou, but just couldn't swing it on that trip. But I'll make it there someday. Glad you enjoyed my blog!
Posted on: Dec 01, 2012
westwind57 says:
Didn't go to the panda's but had an absolutely fabulous time in Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou (about 450 km north of there by road). Went to Emeishan too, but when we were there the whole mountain was in the fog or cloud, so it was just the experience of the drive up and down. Here is a link to my blog, in case you like to see some of these (it has some 4 or 5 entries about Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Emeishan, Leshan etc.):
http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/105114/summary
Posted on: Nov 30, 2012
jenmarie77 says:
Cuddling pandas costs big money--500RMB for an adult, and 1000RMB for a baby! Much as I would have loved the experience, that just wasn't in my budget!
Posted on: May 26, 2010
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Scenes from Jinli Lu (Road).  The …
Scenes from Jinli Lu (Road). The…
Pandas!!!
Pandas!!!
Did I mention it is really, really…
Did I mention it is really, reall…
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This guy cracked me up. He was g…
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Panda lovin.
Panda lovin.
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Tiny pandas!
Tiny pandas!
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Now some photos for Zach, who ask…
This was so spicy it nearly made m…
This was so spicy it nearly made …
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The previous photo was the item o…
Liangfen, which I recognized since…
Liangfen, which I recognized sinc…
Some of the snack stalls.
Some of the snack stalls.
Ok, I know what this looks like to…
Ok, I know what this looks like t…
Photos from Dufus cottage.  Dufu …
Photos from Dufu's cottage. Dufu…
Mr. Dufu.
Mr. Dufu.
Bamboo tunnel.
Bamboo tunnel.
This sculpture was really cool.
This sculpture was really cool.
The miniature garden in the Dufu c…
The miniature garden in the Dufu …
Scenes from the Sichuan Opera.
Scenes from the Sichuan Opera.
Chengdu Hostels review
Hostel is very nice--avoid the hotel
This hostel is really nice. It is a bright, airy structure with big rooms with individual AC units. The location is convenient if you will arrive or… read entire review
Chengdu
photo by: spocklogic