29.01.2012 - 29.01.2012 3 °C
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.