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Chengdu

My little Chinese friend on the train chatted away to me for most of the evening via Google Translate. It was a howl. I told him via miming, pictures and my app, that I was going to Chengdu to see the pandas.
He asked me: ''Do you know many pandas in Chengdu?''
bwahahahahhahahahahaah - I fell around the place for ages.

Later he asked me ''Are you the man?'', which was obviously not AS funny. ;)

Then later again ''Do you know how to ride?''... hmmmmm... :D
Gas craic altogether. The poor fella was crippled in one leg, but was still clambering up and down from the top bunk and insisted on escorting me to the metro station in the morning. What a nice chap! He emailed me later in the day and I mailed him back. Friends Forever! I've also inspired him to travel as he thinks I'm very brave. :D awwwwwww

So I found my way to the hostel in Chengdu - Traffic Inn - it was hella cool. So big and had lovely couches, amazing staff, funky decor, wifi, Swiss breakfasts, hot showers, super clean dorms and movies. It was fabulous.
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I only just sat down to eat my Swiss breakfast when I got talking to a lovely Swedish filmmaker chap called Michel. Himself and his friend Victor were both from Stockholm and were out for 3 months travelling mostly overland. Sweden - Russia - China - Mongolia - Japan. We yapped away for ages and I mentioned that I'd like to go and see the Big Buddha in LeShan and would the like to come? He went to wake Victor and Victor joined us. Unfortunately upon investigating the option, the receptionist said we wouldn't have enough time to do it today as it was a 2.5 hour journey to get there and you'd need a few hours there at least. So we decided we'd do both the pandas and the big Buddha tomorrow.

We sat there yapping away and laughing - the two guys have excellent English - as do all the Swedish people I've met. The lads were great craic and had funny tales of their couchsurfing adventures. Later this very tall UK dude sat beside us and stared at us. I think he was waiting for an invitation to chat so I started talking to him. He'd been working as an English teacher in Shanghai for 2 months, but had had his contract terminated because the kids found his lessons too boring. Ouch! HARSH. Also I thought it was a bit weird to confess this information to people the minute you met them. Although I did ask why I suppose. ..
As we yapped he just got funnier. He told us he had also fallen down the gap between the train and the platform while he had been rushing to get the train, and only for his big backpack on his back had wedged him stuck, he would have gone underneath the train. I dunno why, but I thought this was the funniest thing every. I could just picture him stuck there, legs dangling away.. :D

Anyway since our trip to the Big Buddha was postponed, I decided to go and have a look at the People's Park and I suggested the lads visit Wenshu Temple and we'd meet up later for dinner. So off I went on the bus to the park. It was lovely, lots of plants, trees, people doing awesome aerobics, old people sitting around, monks feeding giant goldfish and pretty teahouses.

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But it was very very humid. It was pretty uncomforatble after a while so I went trundling off into the city and wen to Tiansu Square to see the Big Mao statue and eat McDonalds. I know - the shame!!

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I was so hungry though and just wanted something to bite into. Back at the hostel, weird UK dude sat down beside me and eyed me weirdly, so I made my excuses and escaped. Not before he told me he was off to do the Tiger Leaping Gorge in a few days if I was interested in travelling together. But then he said most people hate his style of travel.. which was (I did ask) to leave everything until the last minute.. hmmmmm. Yeah. LET'S DEFO TRAVEL TOGETHER. I LOVE THAT STYLE OF SHIT! ;) hahhahaaahahahaha
I legged it.

Later I met Michel and Victor for a stroll about town to find a hotpot place. A hotpot is basically when they bring out a big bowl of spicy peppers in hot liquid, inside another larger bowl of bubbling stock liquid. It goes on a flame in the middle of the table. Then they bring out vegetables, meat, fish, whatever and you dip the food into whichever liquid you like to cook it. I thought it sounded like a recipe for food poisoning at first, but was interested to try it out. We found a place with menus in Chinese and ordered what we thought was chicken, beef and vegetables. But out came a whole fish, a plate of worms and carpaccio of beef. We kept the beef but sent the others back. What we got was delicious though and we had great fun with it.

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On the way home we found the cool alleyways with lots of traditional Chinese housing with gorgeous lanterns and lights everywhere. It pissed rain soonafter and we got soaked. The girls in my dorm were asleep when I got home so I had to rustle around in the dark. A mosquito buzzed around my head all night and I dreamt I could talk to mosquitos through a drinking glass....

Posted by squeakylee 02:39 Archived in China Tagged park hot chengdu pot people's weirdo Comments (0)

PANDALAND

aka Chengdu

sunny 34 °C

I was up and atom at 6am so was rustling around again in the dorm probably annoying the ladies. Dunno which dorm room sound is worse - snoring, bags rustling or zips being opened and closed. :D These ladies were Norwegian and had been volunteering at Pandaland for the past week. They were due to do two weeks but they left after a week cos they said it was so boring. Apparently there was nothing to do in the evenings and they weren't even allowed to hug a panda for free!! Yikes.

Anywho myself, Victor and Michel meant to be on the road to Pandaland by 8 but we had a long breakfast, then had to wait an hour for a bus, so we were pretty late getting to the Panda Breeding Research Centre. The bus to the centre was great fun. We were chatting to a young Chinese girl and everything was getting lost or confused in translation between the four of us. We got to the centre about 10 ish and luckily the pandas weren't asleep yet. We skipped all the videos and museums and Swan Lake and all the other krap and just went straight to see the big Pandas. There were loads of them and they were all very lively. (Bar one guy who'd fallen asleep on his swing). The lads were great fun to watch. We didn't get to hug a panda as it cost something like 100 pounds sterling for a quick hug. Who has that kind of dough to blow on hugs??? Drugs - maybe.. Rugs - maybe not.. Hugs - they should be free.. ;)

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After our panda fix, we got a taxi back to our hostel for lunch and then hopped a bus to LeShan to see the Big Buddha. The Big Buddha is carved into the side of a hill and is 71 metres high. His ears alone are 7 metres high. Tis the WORLD'S LARGEST SEATED BUDDHA. A monk built it in 713 as he thought it would help calm the rivers that met below it, and guarantee the safety of those who lived and sailed along the rivers.
This mad monk apparently gouged out one of his eyes to convince people to donate money to the building of the Buddha - just to show he was serious like. :D

So after asking about 10 people where to get off the bus, we got there eventually. A young Chinese girl who wanted to practise her English on us, befriended us and led us around. The Buddha itself was super cool - very impressive altogether. I think it may have even been better than the PANDAS!

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So after a few hours chit chatting, step climbing and picture taking, alas we had to go get our bus back. Was a long trip for a short visit, but it was well worth it imo. Had great fun chatting to the two Swedes - they're both lovely funny guys. Felt like I'd known them for years!

Back in Chengdu, we went on the hunt for the Shamrock Irish bar and pints of Guinness. The lads were a little dissapointed to hear I didn't really like Guinness. (as many people have been - ''no Guinness, no Irish accent - sheesh are you really Irish??'') Victor told me of the time he'd been to Ireland and his hosts had brought him to TEDFEST! LOLOLOL - well now there's an intro to the real Ireland for ya! - a half empty remote island off the coast of Western Ireland, populated with madzers dressed as priests and nuns and little old ladies. hahahahaha.
We had the most delicious Westerny food in the Shamrock and lots of drinks. The lads told me their story of how they'd ordered some ''Bar Snacks'' in Russia to accompany their beers, and were given a whole fish each. bwahahah. Even the locals were asking them ''Where are you from? - Do you eat whole fish with beer in Sweden?'' Guffaw. We had a hape of drink and a great laugh. Woke up my roomies again to move dorms - serve them right, going to bed at 10pm - GET A LIFE YOU YOUNG WANS! ; )

I swear there was a tiger sleeping in the bunk above me - he was growling away all night. In the morning he offered me his spare breakfast. ??? :D

And yet again, I bid farewell to 2 more awesome travelling companions. The lads were off to ZhangJiaJie. I armed them with maps, too much confusing information and hugs and I went off to the train station to catch my train to Kunming. Unfortunately, I went to the wrong train station. What an Idiot! I just rocked up to Chengdu East and wandered around aimlessly looking for my train, til a young girl told me I had to go to Chengdu North station, which was a half hour away. Arrtggh.. Grabbed a cab and just made it. Fifth sleeper train - feel like I'm living on sleeper trains!

Posted by squeakylee 01:14 Archived in China Tagged buddha big bar land panda chengdu leshan shamrock swedes nom Comments (0)

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