A Travellerspoint blog

Day 20 - Yangshuo to Shanghai via Guilin

semi-overcast -2 °C
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Today is an epic travel day, firstly leaving Yangshuo and am quite sad to be going, I actually love the place, views, food, hotel, and the people. Basically it's a two and a half hour bus trip back to Guilin and then another hour bus transfer to the airport and then a flight three hours to Shanghai. So will be leaving at 1.00pm and arriving tonight at 10.30 tonight, leaving time for incidentals and Chinese transportation.

So really nothing to interesting to report today,  just took one last stroll around Yangshuo in the morning soaking up the last of these amazing views. Then head to the bus stations and airport. Pretty sure will be flying cattle class today, but paid for a good seat as always otherwise I have to concertina my legs.

So thought I might add some 'to do's' and 'not to do's' for anyone thinking of traveling China;

Do give yourself a good day and a half to settle into the rush of Chinese Life.

Do have flexibility in your schedule if traveling during spring festival as train tickets are hard to come by with over 250 million locals traveling.

Do learn a bit more Mandarin that I did, it definitely goes a long way.

Do search for the best prices on tours, they can be up to $15AUD difference in price.

Do try everything on a stick, it's usually incredible. Plus do eat with the locals they know what's good.

Do ask to see your room before you pay. Sometimes it could save you for a gross hostel, or a smelly one.

Do come for Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, there is so much going on for the two weeks, it's more lively even though it's freezing.

Do see, eat, and experience everything.

Do book a rest destination, I definitely needed one.

Do allow ample time to get to trains stations and airports. They ARE BUSY and everything takes longer when there are that many people.

Don't get ripped off by taxis, I have, ask the free travel advice places how much you should pay and always try and get one the meter (doesn't always work) in Xi'an all taxis quoted the same inflated prices.

Don't go crazy with the camera, I found at times I missed out because I was too busy taking pictures instead of enjoying the experience.

Don't ask for the price of stuff if you aren't keen on buying from stalls, they get really angry.

Don't eat Western food, most of the people I met have gotten sick from KFC and McDonalds or Western food in smaller restaurants, plus your in China

Don't miss out on seeing something that you walk past because it has a bleak exterior. Most of the incredible things I've seen have ordinary gates, containing incredible sights. Always go in!

Don't drink cheap local wine, it's I guess an acquired taste, so ordering a bottle of 'great wall' branded wine at dinner that's horrible and having to finish it is not fun.

Don't think about what you might be eating, it's tasty and easier if you just eat it.

Don't expect more people to speak English, they don't and/or Won't.

Anyway just about to get on the plane to Shanghai, so I'll leave this here. Tomorrow in Shanghai.

Posted by lee_1986 07.02.2012 00:44 Archived in China Tagged shanghai Comments (1)

Day 19- Yangshuo

rain 6 °C
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Looking like more rain this morning, but am hiring a bike to get further into the country side.

So at about ten it looks like its easing up, so I pop down to the local bike hire,mod which there are 25 I'm told, and hire a bike that would not pass inspection in Australia. The breaks are dodgy, handlebars are loose, I am surprised the wheels aren't falling right off but anyway off I go to experience the farming side of Yangshuo.

About a hour and a half into the ride you ride through some magnificent scenery, rice fields, old buildings, water buffalo, of which I will not go near this time. But every now and then you have to stop to just stand in the most tranquil surrounds I have ever experienced. So after a hour and half of riding it starts to rain a little so I ride to this little shack which I find out is a cafe (of sorts) it's dirty dingy leaking, but it's cover and the rain is only getting heavier. I order some food, dumplings seamed the safest so it took a little while to get them probably finding the produce which I am a little worried about but they look and taste good enough. After a couple of hour or so there (oh and get this it had WiFi) the rain eases and I take my opportunity to get out, so thankfully having a larger than normal rain jacket, it covers my backpack, so down the hill  at speeds this bike should not be clocking and 2 hours later on a different but equally impressive route I make it back. The hardest thing is finding the bike shop you rented to bike from to get your deposit back.

Anyway with the rain all but over, I make my way the night markets. Unbeknown to me (well I sort of knew but hadn't quite thought about it)'it is the last day of the spring festival and the 2 week long celebration of Chinese New Year. The night markets are mad tonight with everyone trying to get some of these mushy rice balls with a sesame filling in water, I had them in Xi'an and they were pretty gross the only thing I haven't enjoyed here. But there are about 50 stalls around the place making them in big huge pots, and queues of 50 people each stall trying to get them (it's traditional to eat these on the last day of spring festival). But everywhere her is now a rush but an exciting one. After getting a quick video of pushing through the crowds I look for something to eat, but it is really busy, I don't know where all these people came from.

Had street food dinner with a few people from another hostel I met on the cruise, so I got the most incredible pastries, it's like 2 Parathas stuck together with a filling of I don't know but it's so tasty. 

After that everyone wants to get an early night so I go back to the hostel with a bottle of Gordon's Gin ($10AUD) and lemonade, hard to find tonic here. So sitting on the balcony I have been told to wait for the fireworks by the hotel, so sipping Gin in the perfect setting. The fireworks started at about 8.30pm and went for a good two and a half hours there are incredible I mean they are fireworks but the fact that they are getting set off from the river which is maybe 20 meters from the hotel and maybe another 20 meters away into the river is the closest I have probably been to fireworks. It's like a war the noise, they have the stock standard fireworks but then the have these light up lanterns that get shot into the sky, and then parachute down all light up, it is quite fantastic and the picture do not do it justice unfortunately. So no earl,y night for me, finishes up around 11pm and after a bit of Skype, fall asleep after packing and writing this.

Posted by lee_1986 05.02.2012 21:53 Archived in China Tagged yangshuo Comments (0)

Day 18 - Yangshuo

rain 5 °C
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Spent this morning looking at the Li River from my balcony, which is great just to sit back and relax in the scenery of this magnificent county. After a hour or so,   decide to walk to the memorial park, which is set in the side of a mountain, sort of under the cliffs, walking through here gives you a sense of peace and tranquility even though there is a rush of the crowds, and you are constantly bumping into people because you are so enamored by its beauty. 

After a good walk through, lunch is next on the itinerary so I go to this little clay pot restaurant (most menus are in English here) although I can now find pork and chicken in Chinese characters. I get the duck and string bean clay pot, and as with all Chinese food here there isn't a lot of meat but the beans are delicious and all is kept really warm in the traditional clay pot.

After lunch more strolling around to find that that it gets dark quite early and before I knew it it was 5.30 and the lights are coming on, told that I should go to Yangshuo park which lights up at night. The lighting is spectacular, but it's more of a kiddy destination as has carnival rides and such but it was nice to stroll through this small (for China) park.

While in the park is starts to rain so I jump into a little restaurant for dinner, I order steamed dumplings and brocolini with flowers, of which I can get over how cheap it is here, $1.50AUD for a huge plate which would constitute about 5 bunches at $4.00AUD each. The food is incredible, and to top it off the biggest bottle of beer, 1.5 liters and cost next to nothing.

Most of the evening is rained out so spend is on the balcony watching the rain, river and mountains, til I head of to bed to watch some Chinese television, which I am kinda getting into, but each provide shows different shows so can never get into one.

Posted by lee_1986 04.02.2012 21:51 Archived in China Tagged yangshuo Comments (0)

Day 17 - Guilin to Yangshuo

semi-overcast 4 °C
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Up at the crack of dawn today due to rain on the roof, which is disappointing start as its the cruise today from Guilin to Yangshuo my next destination. Anyway packed the backpack and and headed to check out, I'm about 30 minutes early for the transfer to the cruise so the hostel offers if you buy a coffee you get free breakfast (mind you the coffee is very overpriced). But the breakfast is good it's egg and tomatoes in broth, everyone eats it here and is nice on a cold morning.

The van arrives to pick me up and the guide says today is the best time to see the mountains and river as it looks all misty (the Chinese have a way of selling anything no matter how grim) so I'm a little skeptical. We arrive at the docks and there are hundreds of people so our guide has a panda flag to follow, but so do many others so it's really the colour you have to look for. Getting on the boat proves much more difficult than one would think, you have to cross the bowes of 4 other boats to get to the furthest one. So safely aboard we are settled in with some green tea and the cruise begins.

If you go to China and have to do anything it should be the Li River Cruise the scenery is spectacular, the mountains with the mist is incredible, although I think in better weather they would look much more magnificent. The pictures I have will not do justice to how amazing the landscape is but I took loads anyway. The cruise is 4 hours and included an less than average lunch (more of a western Chinese substitute) now I've had a taste for real Chinese food is never going to be the same. The trip cost about $60AUD so not bad in western standards.  I booked 2 tours with the same guide, first bamboo rafts, old traditional village, water buffalo, and cormorant (bird) fishing and secondly a light show performed by local villages and fisherman.

Upon arrival at the dock in Yangshuo its a quick rush to check in to the hostel, before meeting the tour guide after the tours free time in Yangshuo before they head back upon which I will be staying. So I know I am already 2 days behind my schedule but I emailed the hostel advising them they will be late but upon arrival they have cancelled my booking, so now with no place to stay the hour I have to find somewhere is wearing short. So of I head to a place along the river called the 'Riverside Hotel Yangshuo' I walk in desperate to see the rate on the wall is 800 Yuan or $115AUD but head to the desk anyway to see if they have rooms as a last resort. The girl takes me to a room which is decked out and so it should be for that price and then says the room is only 200 Yuan or $30AUD so for a great room and views of river and mountains I decide to take it, she says it's their low season, and Chinese New Year/Spring Festival is coming to an end. So grab the room for 3 nights and dump may bags and run to the meeting spot.

I'm not the last one so after a little wait, we commence the 30 minute bus ride to the little fishing village, that is not done up for tourism, and it's not. The houses are dilapidated and the guide explains they build one floor for the parents, then the children have to go out and earn money to pay for the second floor and so on, so the whole family lives under one roof in a 3 story house. It's nice to see an untouched by tourism village and feels like the real China.

 After a quick stroll through the village we get to the bamboo boats, which are also in a bit of a state but were so fun, first stop on this peaceful floating raft is the water buffalo, which you get to feed and pet. The guide jokes that like China they have a one child policy, as pregnancy is 11 months. It's fun to feed them and get really close you even get to lead the around. Next stop is for the Cormorant fishing, the Chinese fishermen tie a rope around their necks so they can't swallow the big fish, and these birds catch them and bring them back to the boat. The tour finishes dropping us off back at the departure point. The group of us decide to get something to eat and we get fried rice, where you add what you want into it after its cooked and cost next to nothing but very tasy after a long afternoon.

Next stop is the light show, after dinner the few of us going met at the departure point for the bus there, we arrive at the show got tickets and moved to our seats. Every seat at this place has a greater view and the stage is a tributary of the Li River with the back drop being the surrounding mountains. The show is a specticle not to be missed if in a Yangshuo, it's directed by the same person that directed 'Hero, House of Flying Daggers' and the olympic opening ceremony.  The farmers and children from surrounding villages have done an amazing job just the costumes and lights, floats and boats used is incredible and the shear number of performers is immense. 

After that the English girl I sat next to asked if I wanted to join her and her friends at a roof top bar called Mojo's, so we headed off to a somewhat dingy bar on the roof of a hotel. This bar has a fantastic view of the river and surrounds, which in any western country would being paying millions in rent, but it's just your normal outlook.

After a few Gin and tonics, darts and pool, we head out to get this Chinese equivalent of a kebab, street food, and it's amazing at 2 in the morning, even more so than usual. Short walk back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

Posted by lee_1986 03.02.2012 21:47 Archived in China Tagged china Comments (0)

Day 16 - Guilin

semi-overcast 4 °C
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Up late-ish today which I attribute to the need to be thawed after the shower last night. After heading down to reception (did I mention I am on the 5th floor with no lift, it's a calf killer and the steps are higher than usual) so anyway grabbed a map from the front desk and the girl told me that there are 3 main sights to Guilin, Seven Star Scenic Area, Elephant Trunk Hill, and Solitary Peak. So I am determined to do all of these today as my only day here.

Apparently they are all within walking distance 30 minutes tops, but I am wary of time and distance by the Chinese, everything is not too far, but is actually 3 times as far. So upon arrival at 7 star scenic area some 35 mins later I am relieved that she was right about the distance, the area is a huge national park and is very beautiful, bought a ticket to 7 star cave, which is a spectacle in itself, and an unexpected surprise to the park. The cave is magnificent, and beautifully lit up, the tour is in Chinese but English titles to what the rock formations look like are all there, there was also a demonstration of Mongolian hair weaving, and traditional dress which was both a weird and interesting experience.

On the way through to the other sights, walked through a food market, which I love now and seek them out all the time. Had duck neck on a stick which is probably the best tasting duck I have ever had (the flavor is all in the neck I guess) a spicy pastry and some quail eggs on a stick. Full from lunch now I head off to see solitary peak and on the way see fir lake, both of which are beautiful landmarks, and Guilin is shaping up to be an incredible natural beauty.

Made it to solitary peak before it started to get dark, but it is just a Ramon peak that the city is built up around. So after a quick snap, took the rest of the afternoon walking along the Li River which flows quite quickly considering it goes through the city, the hostel is quite close to one section of the river.

Lessons Learnt - Part 9
When people say you are more likely to die getting hit by a bus, they are talking about in China. So still haven't learnt to look the right way when crossing the road as traffic is opposite here. So I did me look left look right look left again and then stepped out right in front of a bus. So that's an experience, now will be walking when the locals walk, preferably behind one.

So followed the Li river for about 40 mins which was a very peaceful stroll until it connected to the street my hostel is on. A quick meal at the local hole in the wall shop, just rice and vegetables today, but you choose what you want vegetable wise and then the put it in a bag and weigh it, and you pay by the weight of the bag, then you get rice free, well I think it's free it just came out but it cost around $3.50AUD so can't complain too much.
 
So chilled in the hostel tonight and played a little pool with some of the other guests, tomorrow Li River Cruise to Yangshuo which is said to be spectacular.

Posted by lee_1986 02.02.2012 21:23 Archived in China Tagged china Comments (0)

Day 15 - Chengdu to Guilin

overcast 4 °C
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Today is yet another traveling day where I am heading onwards to Guilin further towards to south of China which I am flying to save time, and an uncomfortable sleepless train journey which would have taken 26 hours plus waiting at the train station.

So for the morning I am heading out to the art gallery sector that is close to the hostel, so after checking out I manage to get a bus first time alone for buses, to these art galleries. The photos and painting are incredible and the amount of art here, all of which is by local artists is huge, but also pricey, to take an A3 painting away, unformed costs upwards of $3500AUD and this is the first place that has prices in US dollars.

Anyway back to the hostel to pick up my pack and taxi and transfer bus to the airport. Upon arrival I have been upgraded again, so it seems no one buys first class tickets in China, and Westerners must get preference, so I am not going to complain, maybe it's just low season, or maybe because I pay a little more for the better cattle class tickets.

The first class lounge is great, food drinks, slippers if you want, reading material and you are waited on hand and foot which is a little awkward at times when people are waiting for your to finish your food so they can take away your bowl.

It's a 3 hour wait at the airport which I no longer mind as the first class lounge is amazing, thinking of doing this to Shanghai as well. Anyway plane finally leaves for Guilin, and the flight is quick and pleasant.  Airport security here is much more intense that Perth, you need a ticket that matches a code on your bag, that you have to show security before you can leave the airport with your luggage. Which makes me think why don't they do that in Australia, so luggage doesn't get stolen at the pick up conveyer belts.

Upon arrival in Guilin, you can catch a shuttle and a taxi or just a taxi, now that I am used to luxury I decided to take the taxi which is a little more expensive, but it's quite late now and just want to get to the hostel. Almost immediately you can tell that it's not Chinas biggest city and definitely one of Chinas greener counterparts, there are lush trees and shrubs everywhere, very different from winter Beijing. It's less cold here (but still freezing) and smells like fresh rain,which I hope won't put a stop to sight seeing tomorrow.

Upon arrival at the hostel the room is the smallest I have been in but is very clean, only there is no hot water, so cold shower and bed for the day.

Posted by lee_1986 01.02.2012 21:21 Archived in China Tagged china Comments (0)

Day 14 - Chengdu

semi-overcast 3 °C
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I have decided to have a lazy day in Chengdu today, as that seems to be the normal around this city, most people are very laid back and take time off from the hustle and bustle, so I am going to do the same.

Had a little bit of a sleep in til 10 today, and spend the morning at the markets. There are so many things here that I still want to eat, so I am also going to have a food day. First dough balls covered in honey, which for something so simple taste fantastic and make for a good breakfast. Then I pass a Chinese bakery, which has Beautiful cakes and buns, so I stopped for coffee and some savory and sweet treats for lunch.

After lunch I walk down the main shopping strip and stop to look at one of the many stalls that sell panda merchandise, not looking to buy just window shopping to see the shear amount of panda stuff for sale in Chengdu the home of pandas in China. I'm just about to leave when the lady who owns the store start shoving merchandise at me and yelling prices, I try to leave and she keeps grabbing my arm, thinking I may have spent to long in this store, she keeps yelling so I'm yelling, and suddenly it's a screaming match between two languages, but I eventually get out and some lady outside said from what I could tell that she is crazy.

After that little adventure started looking for more subdued shops to look at, so head into a store that sells chinese calligraphy stuff, the store is beautiful and has hand painted calligraphy covering the walls, they even sell hand painted wallpaper which I find amazing as every piece is unique.

After some more shopping, stopped for tea in this lovely garden bar, you pay 10 yuan or $1.70AUD for a glass and you can sit there as long as you want with unlimited refills, the just give you a flask with hot water and you can stay forever. So just sat back and enjoyed the view with my unlimited green tea.

After couple of hours of tea drinking, I decide to find somewhere for dinner, and find a decent enough looking noodle shop to eat, the noodles at this place are great, huge portions and the sauce is nice and spicy, like all food in Chengdu. After dinner I head out to the night markets, which were suggested by the hostel, the night markets are interesting but mostly just sell random crap that they sell at home in discount shops. They have some decent stalls though that sell combs, jewelry, and silk so had a look at those and bought some spun sugar covered in pollen, which is then rolled up into bite size pieces, definitely satisfying my sweet tooth.

After a great dinner and desert i head back to the hostel for a early night.

Posted by lee_1986 31.01.2012 21:17 Archived in China Tagged china Comments (0)

Day 13 - Chengdu

semi-overcast 4 °C
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So problem one of the day is that my flight has been cancelled and they have rebooked me for the following day, so another night in Chengdu which is not to bad as I like it here. Now just for information sake I will now be skipping the trip to Mount Huangshan, I have been told more time in Shanghai is needed as there are some surrounding towns there that seem intriguing so will spend more time there and because train tickets are hard to come by am already behind by almost 2 days but catch up one from the flight (praying for a first class upgrade haha)

So off early again this morning to see Dujiangyan Scenic Spot and Irrigation system, long bus and train ride there nicely escorted by Weinpiang the journey is made easy, it is nice to have tickets easily bought without a confused fight at the ticket counter. A short walk to the entrance and a couple of tickets later the Dujiangyan scenic spot is very fascinating, has natural beauty and was developed thousands of years ago to irrigate the Sichuan province, with damns and channels made by man it really is quite immense. We crossed there bamboo roped bridged across the river systems which swayed like crazy that you couldn't even walk without holding on made for a scary experience but safely across we are climbing the stairs of the hill face to get a better view. At the top the view is breathtaking and after a short rest back down again we go.

After leaving we decide to have lunch at this little hole on the wall shop.

Lessons Learnt - Part 8
If you are 6 ft in China, nothing is built for you, the tables in the restaurant I cannot even get my knees under so I have to sit Side saddle, and this is not the first time it has happened, and it doesn't help that I am all legs. So some other things where you can't sit in china include, buses, trains, laying down in a sleeper train,  desks, tiny vans and sadly a lot of doorways.

The shop for lunch is quite dirty but busy so the food has to be good, I am a little concerned that there is a cat on a rope in the kitchen but I am assured it is a pet, but I have my doubts ( I'm just happy I could still here is mewing after we had finished eating). There food is brilliant though a huge amount of food mostly vegetables and rice this time but all the different spices compliment the vegetables fantastically.

After lunch it is decided to go to QingCheng Mountains of which you can hike up the mountain and the negative oxygen at the top is supposed to be good for your health and immune system. So this seems like a good alternative as I'm missing the mountain part of my holiday. The mountain is spectacular and we commence the climb, okay so I only made it just passed the half way point, so kinda glad I'm not tracking the mountain now but was still a great experience.

After the journey down, we realised we could have taken a cable car but the walk was good to burn off lunch. After a long bus to the train station we find we have to wait an hour for the train so we rest at the station for our return to the city centre and back to the hostel.

Weinpiang asked if I had had Hot Pot yet and shocked that I hadn't decides that's where we should go for dinner, so we go to one down the road from the hostel. You order by ticking the boxes of what you want to come to your table and we get a half and half, spicy and not spicy boiling broth to cook in.  We have 8 dishes in all, mutton, mushrooms, beef, lotus root, lettuce, quail eggs, noodle, and fish. Apparently the concept of hotspot is fishing for the food, so you load up what you want in and then fish around for it with chopsticks (of which I now have mad chopstick skills, but still can't debone fish) the food again is fantastic and the spicy is not hot, so suits me great.

After hotpot we walk the streets for a bit and then retire to the hostel for the night.

Posted by lee_1986 31.01.2012 08:17 Archived in China Tagged china_chengdu Comments (0)

Day 12 - Chengdu

semi-overcast 4 °C
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Up very early this morning to get the tour to the Panda Research and Breeding Facility. There are four of us going from our hostel, and picking up another 3 from another hostel.

The trip in total takes about an hour, and we arrive at 8.30 it only cost about $15AUD for return transport and entry to the centre. Once inside we get a tour guide who really isn't very good but leads you around the centre. First part there is one adult panda who is sleeping near the back with his head buried in the grass and everyone is very disappointed and worried that this will be what it's like the whole way.

Further on we see our first moving/awake panda and it's amazing to see, they look a lot different from the discovery channel pandas, but incredible none the less, it's drinking and eating bamboo and got some quite good photos although he really didn't want to stay still for anyone and kept turning around.

Next we pass the red panda enclosures, and a sign quickly tells you they are not relation to pandas, which is amusing. The red pandas are lively and pose for photos, and we all joked it's because no one is really there to see them so they have to get attention some how, but they are quite amusing to watch. Next they take us to where the cubs are, and there are 5 of them, two are playing on a fallen tree right in front, it's difficult to get pictures through all the tourist there and some are in trees like Koalas, which was news to me that they climbed trees like that, but got a few decent pictures here to. The enclosures are amazing and the amount of effort they go to to aid in the saving of the species is incredible, which is shown on a movie you can watch while there.

A few more panda enclosures and great pictures later we are given free time to wander the centre and meet back at the van. After we dropped the other hostel group back, the couple on the tour invited me to go to lunch in a traditional Chinese town for local food. So the four of us took a bus there, with me not knowing what to expect.

We arrive at this place called Luodai Ancient Town and this place is beautiful, the town is packed with locals, and the atmosphere is intense within array of market stalls. The Chinese lady and her South African partner, and a Chinese girl who I had been speaking with at the hostel previously (she studied English at University and now teaches it at a prep schools for students to get ready to study abroad) sat down to lunch in this busy restaurant.

The Chinese girls decide we should have the banquet, which costs in total $17.50AUD for the four of us and there is so much food, a special vegetable you can only get in Chengdu, beef and bamboo, Kung pow Chicken, lotus root, spiced mutton, egg soup, bean curd and rice. Sichuan food is amazing, so much better than anything in Australia and its sad it's not more traditional at home. After we eat we wander the markets and there is so much to see from handicrafts to food preparation and sweet making its great, walked past a store with various meat produce, Wein Piang (who has taken it upon herself to be my tour guide) showed me rabbit head which I don't think I will be eating and she assures me she never has either. 

On the way out we spot a store selling insects on a stick, which I have not seen a lot of, well not as frequent as I expected. So I decided to have Crickets and the couple got the lava. We were asked if we wanted it spiced so decided that was best to give it more flavor, they are quickly fried in oil and dipped in spice and then the stick is pushed at you, and to tell you now Crickets actually taste quite good, but doesn't everything on a stick, and now very keen to try more bugs. Also had quail eggs on a stick which are also very tasty.

After a long day and long mulit-bus ride back to the hostel;

Lessons Learnt - Part 7
When you are crammed into a bus that has been filled passed its max 55 person capacity as per signage, it is every man and women for themselves, do not, I repeat, do not try and offer your seat to the poor lady carrying an infant because it will be taken before she can sit down, by an able bodied student or business man, which happened on two occasions today and I was quite shocked but the poor women did not seamed surprised. Also be prepared to push you way out as the doors only open for a few seconds.

 I end up relaxing and talking to Weinpiang about the differences between everything and anything in Australia and China and she is very curious about everything, probably the benefit of majoring in English at University.

After that we decide to head off for the night, and she has invited me to go with her to a 2000 year old irrigation system so will be doing that tomorrow.

Posted by lee_1986 30.01.2012 08:10 Archived in China Tagged panda chengdu research breeding luodai Comments (0)

Day 11 -Chengdu

semi-overcast 3 °C
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Arrived in Chengdu after the epic train ride, which wasn't to bad aside from the fact that it was so long. 

Taxi to hostel was short but such a long queue to get one and at 5am was very tired having not slept on the train. Upon arriving at the hostel I have found that they are not 24 hour reception even though I had emailed and advised of my early arrival time. So will have to wit outside the front for 2.5 hours which isn't the relaxing start I had hoped for. The street the Dragon Town Youth Hostel is on is particularly beautiful, and had a conversation with an elderly Chinese lady for about 10 mins even though she spoke no English, was just curious about the iPad so showed her some photos and stuff. The one thing I have found in China is that the elderly are the most friendly and curious of the generations.

Chengdu may be Chinas most livable city, but unfortunately has Chinas smelliest hostel room, it reeks of stale water so won't be spending much time in here. Upon checking in after a short nap, walked out to find a buzzing market right outside the hostel, which is really busy, with food, shops, artwork, museums, galleries it took a full day to explore the entire place. 

Today is a food day, in the markets, have eaten fried pastries, beef skewers, noodles, sweets, chocolate, spicy tofu and the list goes on, it was nice to see a familiar face in Starbucks though and grabbed my first real coffee of the trip and it was good. 

After spending hours at the markets outside, went to the supermarket to stock up on snacks for the next few days and get some water. Walking through the streets of Chengdu you can see why it's voted the most livable city. It's clean, green, and has a very beautiful outlook everywhere you go. Even the people are friendlier, probably because the enjoy such great surroundings.

Went to the Chengdu museum and the Sichuan Museum today and haven found that Chengdu is a very artistic city, with vast collections of painting and embroidery both museums are very fascinating. Even in the streets in the market they have photographs lining the walkways and painting galleries showing off work from local artists.

Booked the Panda Breeding Centre trip for tomorrow which is half a day and booked another night at the hostel, even with the gross room as train tickets are impossible to come by and will now need to book a flight to Guilin which I will be getting onto first thing in the morning, hopefully before the tour and early start, thus an early night today to sleep off the train ride.

Posted by lee_1986 29.01.2012 08:06 Archived in China Tagged chengdu Comments (0)

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