Taking it easy in Chengdu

Trip Start Jan 16, 2009
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22
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Trip End Nov 20, 2009


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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Friday, July 24, 2009

Having arrived in Chengdu, we definitely needed some rest (and a feast in KFC) after the train journey. We’ve now spent three days in Chengdu and we haven’t really done anything (and thanks to that, this blog is alive again). Probably because we’ve had a bit of flu, the hostel is so nice that you spend only days there and there is actually no mandatory sights in Chengdu. Oh, except the giant pandas of course, as they naturally dwell around this area. The pandas are pretty much the only thing we’ve seen here and some of them were surprisingly active (compared to those I saw in the Beijing zoo), playing with each other, climbing around and so on. Of course it is a little crazy business with artificial inseminations and the sponsor money from the global companies (one of the pandas was delightfully called “Microsoft”) but without a doubt, this was at least more positive experience than the Beijing zoo.

In China, there are sometimes some random people that come to talk to you. In Beijing or Shanghai this would most of the time mean some youngsters inviting you for a cup of tea or buying their “art”, aiming to rip you off, but it’s not like that always. We had the most hilarious encounter so far in Chengdu as we were walking by the street and I was taking some photos. A young guy came us and excited, started to ask some questions like where we’re from and what our names are. Then he introduced himself, explaining that his English name is Converse because he likes Converse All Star shoes. I don’t know how we did it, but we were able to hold our laughter until our short conversation was over and we continued walking our own ways. You can just imagine how people would react if Mr. Converse went to study in an English-speaking country and introduced himself in the same way as he did with us! Actually I still haven’t officially got a Chinese name so maybe it could be “Qingdao” because I like the beer? Also while in China, I like to go to McDonald’s once a week, so Maidanglao could be another alternative for my Chinese name.

Tomorrow we’re get back on the road by heading to Leshan, where we can admire the biggest Buddha statue in the world. We’ll spend a night in Leshan before taking a bus to the west and exploring the mountanious and undeveloped western part of Sichuan province, which is partly populated by Tibetan people (Tibet is the neighbouring province in the west). Not sure if there’s going to be some problems with travelling there, as our hostel staff said that foreigners can’t buy bus tickets to all these places, because the government is very careful with the issues about Tibet and don‘t want tourists sneaking there without the permits. Anyway, we try to make our way to Western Sichuan and then down south to the province of Yunnan, which should also have a lot of interesting things to see. After Yunnan, Aapo will continue to Laos, while my next destination is most likely to be Hong Kong, where I have to go just to exit the country as my first entry of my Chinese 30-days tourist visa comes to an end. Hong Kong will be followed by the second entry of my visa, which I hope to spend mostly in Tibet.
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