Xi'an and Chengdu
22.06.2010 - 25.06.2010 31 °C
another post from China, we've arrived in Chengdu yesterday.
Last Tuesday we've been to the Terracotta Warriors close to Xi'an. Booked a trip with an organised tour, something we probably shouldn't have done. We stopped off at a Terracotta Warrior Replica Factory. Very nice, but just not the real thing. Actually, it was just a waste of time and the tourguides could get some commission for any purchases we would do. So that's exactly what we didn't do.... After that unneccesary stop, we arrived at the museum and watched an introduction movie. Then we could have a book signed by the farmer that discovered the warriors while drilling for a well. He looked like a farmer and I think that's where all similarities ended with the 'real' farmer. Anyway, we moved on to see the real warriors and that was actually quite interesting and impressive. Not as good as expected, but still worth seeing. A quick lunch and on the way back again. The tour guide proposed another stop at a 'supermarket', but after a quick crisis meeting with the other tourists on the tour, we decided to overrule the tourguide and ask him politely to drive us back to the hostel. One more landmark that we can tick on the list.
In the evening we would like to party and that's what we did. I was a bit hesitant, but Tomas and Alex convinced me to come with them. So I did. And going out on flip flops is not a good idea. We were kindly refused at the suggested clubs. The waitresses in the only club that did not refuse us access were all wearing a Holland jersey, good start. Wrong! The Chinese kid that drank too much was not impressed by the beautiful orange t-shirts and thought it would be a good idea to throw up in the middle of the club. Nice, especially when wearing flip flops.
Back to the hostel and put some propers shoes on. On to the 1 + 1 club. It was already quite late, but drinks were reasonably priced. Only condition was to order them in ridiculous quantities. But hey, when in Rome..... So we ended up with too many beers that were not chilled. Needless to say, it ended up being a great night, where dancing with a beer on the dancefloor would result in speech from a policeman (including helmet and stick), where the toilets were so disgusting that breathing through your mouth was the only way to survive, where sweaty Chinese guys thought it was a good idea to start hugging the foreigners, where other (nicer) Chinese offered us shots of whisky and where some (young) girls got ridiculously drunk.
Unavoidable hangover and a Drum and Bell Tower later, we took the train to Chengdu. On the train were many Chinese who spoke to us, but without making themselves even slightly understood. Until a recently graduated Chinese girl who studied English came to the rescue. She got us clean bed linen, translated what all the (mostly older male) Chinese were trying to say. We got invited to one of the guys hometowns up north (?) of Beijing, but we kindly refused. We got to Chengdu in time and checked into the hostel. Lunch!
Turned out to be an interesting lunch. Chicken paws... Or duck paws? Or something in between. It had the nails still on there and the thing in between the paws for swimming (how do you call that in English?). We tried one and that was it. Very nice, but just not my cup of (Chinese local jasmine) tea. Ah well, live and learn. That's become one of hour catch phrases this trip. I'l come back a very intelligent guy, I guess.....
Today, we visisted the Panda reserve just 10 km north of Chengdu. Nice, nice, nice. Very cute, very playful, very lazy and very much bamboo. Great to see so many panda's in one day and walk around in a nice park where they have there different homes. But they are lazy, very lazy. Learned today that they can only get little energy out of all the kilos of bamboo the eat. Just enough to can be bothered to try to mate only once a year..... No wonder they're an endangered species. Jokes aside, they should not die out, they're too nice and the younger ones are too cute.
Tomorrow, we're trying to catch an early bus to Songpan (for anyone who's interested, so they can look up where it is) to visit one (or maybe two) national park(s). Will keep you up to date on all the magnificent views we've experienced. Just check out http://www.jiuzhai.com/language/english/index.html and you know what I mean..... I'm looking forward to go there, hope you're looking forward to reading up about me going there.