Today was our final full day in China and we did what we’ve been doing for the past three days – relax. Our time in Chengdu has been distinctly different from our time in any other city in China and though originally a little discombobulating, it’s turned out to be the most refreshing time we’ve had since we first got in the country.
We slept in, as we do, and visited the Wenshu Temple where we saw turtles, monks, and nuns chanting. It was really beautiful and very nice to wander around in. It looked like pretty much every other well-maintained temple in China except this one had more green space that made it look kind of like a park and temple combined. One of the coolest things about this temple are these wooden fish that are over 2000 years old – older than the temple themselves.
We grabbed some bread and lamb kebabs from a Hui (Chinese Muslim) street vendor, wandered around in the area some more, and headed back to the hostel.
We went back to the University neighborhood to visit Duncan’s favorite chuan chuan (kebab) hot pot restaurant. Whereas in normal hot pot you order the stuff you want off a menu and the staff brings it to you, with chuan chuan you go select kebabs of stuff you want on your own from a buffet type shelving and put it in the hot pot. It was delicious.
We spent the afternoon exploring and then headed to get some proper American food – at Peter’s Tex-Mex Grill. I’m not a fan of tex-mex, even though I grew up in Texas, but after five months of Chinese food and Chinese American food (not the same as American food) it sounded absolutely amazing. And it was (even though I didn’t get tex-mex – I got my favourite – chicken strips with honey mustard)!
We woke up late again today, grabbed breakfast/lunch/brunch (does fried rice count?), and started planning for our leave. We have our airline tickets for our flight from Chengdu to Beijing but, as of this morning, we still did not have a way to get back to Baoding from Beijing. We talked to the front desk and, after arranging for a ride to the airport for tomorrow morning, we asked for their assistance in purchasing train tickets (because we, as foreigners, can not buy our own tickets online). And lo and behold, there were no tickets for tomorrow or for the next day and only hard sleepers on a slow train for the day after that. Impromptu addition to our vacationing – we’re spending two nights in Beijing beginning tomorrow! Though a little frustrating, we’re actually excited to go exploring (or relaxing) around Beijing again if for no other reason than it’s two more days not spend in Baoding.
After the car was arranged, the train tickets bought, and the hostel reservation placed, we headed out for one more venture to People’s Park. It was not as crowded as the other time we were there and we enjoyed watching the groups of old folk dancing and hanging out.
While we were in People’s Park we sat over by one of the ponds and watched a group of monks ramming each other in paddle-boats.
While we were sitting, a Chinese man with perfect English sat next to us and talked to us telling us about his job – a tour guide for places to see in China “not listed in Lonely Planet”. He was super friendly and gave us several ideas on where to go next.
While Duncan was talking with this guy I made a friend –
After a little time at the hostel we went back out for dinner for one last poke around Jinli Street where I got some delicious kaoya (duck) and egg rolls (yes, I found real egg rolls in China)!
We have loved our time here in Chengdu even though (or perhaps because) it has been the most laid back of our travels (truly representative of the city). We didn’t see the mountains (because they are too frozen) and we didn’t go to the Leshan Buddha (too far away for this trip) but we have now started considering coming back for our end of the year trip before our return to the States.
We wake up early tomorrow for our flight to Beijing and then our spontaneous adventure begins!
Thanks for reading,