Arriving In Chengdu

on Tuesday, 11 May 2010

We had thought the train would arrive in Chengdu at 7 or 8am. But apparently it is delayed and we don’t arrive until 11am. I have slept pretty well and don’t wake up at all, but Tom is woken up by another guy in our carriage falling on him twice during the night. We leave the train station which is strangely very clean. We walk out of the train station and it is like coming out of an airport, there are hundreds of people waiting with pieces of paper with names on. We have pre booked a different hostel to the others, so we both get different cabs. We have booked to stay at Sim Cosy’s Guesthouse but it has two address’s listed. I get my laptop out and use it to show the cab driver the address in Chinese on my lonely planet, and we are off. We arrive at what is a run down building with rubbish everywhere, I think Tom has made a bad choice with the hostel, but he insists it looked better in the pictures. We have a look around and eventually a women comes out and gives us a piece of paper with “Take us here” and some Chinese underneath. It’s then we release why there was two address’s and that they have changed location and my lonely planet is an old version. We manage to speak to the hostel on the phone and then have to get another cab to the correct location. We arrive and it looks much better, in fact it’s probably the nicest place we have stayed. We get to the room and although quite small, it’s not too bad. We decide to book our trip to the panda breeding centre tomorrow and also a trip to the Sichuan opera for tonight. We decide to have a look round town and I buy a laptop case, although not particularly strong it should add a bit of protection. For some reason I can’t actually buy it and the store assistant gets a local women to buy it on my behalf. On the way we see a lorry spraying water on the road to apparently clean it and more dustbin trucks singing happy birthday. We have some noodles and dumplings at a local restaurant after just pointing and it only costs 60 pence each for huge portions. We chill out in the room and try and take advantage of the free wifi while we wait to leave for the opera. We have a short drive and then take out vip seats on the second row, although there is nobody sitting in front of us. There are several different acts and musical pieces. The highlights being the hand shadow show and the changing faces.

Near the end of the show it starts to absolutely tip it down and we have to run back to the car. Back at the hotel we have a couple of beers and play some table tennis and foosball. There is a strange old guy teaching a young Chinese girl to play pool and walking around holding hands. We don’t get to bed till 1am even though our panda trip leaves at 8am.


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