We had some time in Chengdu without tour guides so we wandered the area. We found a 7-11 across
the street that had BBQ pork buns at the counter.
The Tianfu Sunshine Hotel in Chengdu, our home for a few nights.
Natalia and I took a cab and used some basic mandarin to get us to a neat area of the city
where we tried our luck at choosing and ordering in a restaurant on our own. I thought this
area was really cute and the roofs looked super fun. I kep imagining a group of kung fu kids
jumping across the roof.
I was so proud of us for having found a great restaurant (matching characters in Chinese is hard),
and then having ordered a hot pot with a bunch of stuff in it (even though we didn't know what most
of it was), and then being the only white people in the restaurant. Look at the chilis bubbling in
the hot pot! We had a two flavour hot pot with spicy for me and not-so-spicy for Natalia. We had beef,
pork, meat balls, something else that looked like pasta-wrapped meat fingers, as well as lotus root,
potato, cabbage, and mushrooms.
Video of us eating hot pot
We didn't totally finish our hot pots but they were really awesome. Then, we took a wander down to this
lovely pagoda for a few photos.
Some of the gold-glammed jewelry shops in this area of Chengdu.
Natalia tried to emulate the lion out front of a jewelry store.
Of course, Natalia has an unbelievable gift of finding cake and ice cream shops. She did it again
on our way back from dinner. We had beer and dessert while watching crazy Asian TV. I think the crazy
TV was some of Natalia's favourite stuff in China. On this night, we found out about the terrorist
shootings in Norway.
The Chengdu Panda Base
We tried our hotel breakfast and even though it seems increasingly obvious that the Chinese
can't make bread, I still tried the croissant. Again, it was too eggy.
One of the highlights of our trip was going to see the giant panda research centre in Chengdu.
This is the entrance to the panda centre. Link to the centre is HERE
The historical (green) and present (red) distribution of giant pandas.
We walked around the panda centre. It was a good thing that the weather was a little cooler and rainier
since it meant that the animals were out and about a little bit more. These are red pandas and they're
actually closer-looking to raccoons than to pandas or bears.
I got a photo of me with a giant panda as well.
Natalia and I and a giant panda bear. I didn't get photos of it, but we actually watched a film about
artificial insemination in pandas. It was awesome. They used the word 'copulation' again.
We had likely the best lunch we've had to date with mostly Sichuan (spicy) food. The 'twice-cooked' pork
and the peanut chicken were my favourites and Natalia preferred the pepper beef with vegetables.
This was the first meal on our trip when our tour guide actually ate with us. Our next stop was out
at DuJiangYun to see an ancient non-dam irrigation project.
Our tour guide Lily told us that she didn't want to remain a tour guide much longer. For most of the
time she was with us, she was looking at job postings and want ads for an office job.
The colours and the wood used in the temple I thought was gorgeous.
As we wandered through the Taoist temple, we ran into this guy with a great shirt.
Video inside the Taoist Temple
The stairwell coming down from the Taoist temple.
I thought these trees were a nice photo.
Natalia really likes seeing trees and shrubs pruned into shapes.
Du Fu Thatched Cottage
After going to a Buddhist temple (called Weng Shu) this morning, we came to the Du Fu thatched cottage
which is a reproduction of the cottage that the revered poet built in the 8th century.
As much as this is nice Chinese history, we wouldn't have come to Chengdu just for these sites.
Instead, the panda centre, along with the food and the counterfeit phones are what I would go back
to see in Chengdu.
However, this trip will be remembered for the twin girls who wanted a photo with Natalia and I.
After lunch, we went to the 'narrow and wide' lanes which is a government-rebuilt 'tourist site'
which used to be one of the Dynasty's homes that was governed by an ethnic minority (one of the
few non-Han) and so kept a separate walled city to keep the Hans and others separate. Natalia was
so happy to find a Starbucks here. Even China is getting gentrified.
I had lemon gelato (excellent) and we again took photos with a bunch of young girls. They seem to like
Natalia's white face and lighter hair. We also saw quite a few photo shoots going on in this area, which
is rebuilt to look like an older wooden chinese district.
That is one rough-looking dress if they're calling it scat.
After this, we ran out of things to do (tour guide recommended foot massages) and so instead we
wandered a big outdoor and indoor mall area. We did have a $12 ice cream at Haägen Dazs that was quite fancy though.
Natalia found a store called pirate ship.
Natalia also found a massage chair in one of the department stores.
Natalia was unsuccesful in trying dresses or shoes due to her not having a tiny 'boy' body.
Dinner was at a duck place (called 'Duck duck'). The duck was good, the seawood pork was bad, and the
egg cake continues to impress me. The shop across the street sells Pig's Intestine Powder.
The Sichuan Face-Changing Opera
The Face-Changing Opera itself was really cool. But, they surrounded the opera with a weird
variety show full of people doing strange activities - like a shadow puppet show and karaoke.
Video of some musical interludes
The face-changing bit of this is pretty cool. The actors have multiple silk painted masks and they
very swiftly change them.
Video of an awkward zither
Video of the Sichuan Face Changing Opera
Video of the Puppet Show at the Face Changing Opera
Video of an impressive Face Changing Event
Video of Shadow Puppets, really
This guy was some kind of a weird actor with silk pants. Yeehaw.
Our tour guide Lily seeing us off at the train station from Chengdu to Chongqing.
Mr Li, our driver. We hopped the high speed train to Chongqing from here.