It’s been a while… last time I checked in was in Chengdu.
Let’s finish that off…
Um… Chengdu, chengdu, so long ago.
The next day I think we headed to a far remote Taoist temple outside of Chengdu. This was one of the places our good friend Lao Tsu frequented or something like that. It was pretty cool, but I spent an arm and a leg, one getting there, getting in, cable car, ferry across the river… ugh. Actually it wasn’t so bad, well wouldn’t have been if it weren’t for the lovely lonely planet that dated 2oo1. I shouldn’t be complaining because I would have never known about it in the first place. But well, we followed my book for some reason to a bus station that no longer exists. Luckily, Brandon had his and well, the bus station wasn’t that much further (by cab) away so everything turned out okay. It was raining, I forgot to add. But it was good times! We took a bus ride out into the wilderness-esque lieu and well zenned out. oh wait before we made it the outskirts of this small town, we took a local bus out to the skirts. it was random but pretty simple… Actually it was quite touristy to tell the truth. I didnt’ have any umbrella to protect me from the rain, so what I did was buy a tarp to wrap around me. So we sprung 95 or something ridiculous to get into the park. And because we were limited in time, we sprung for a one way cable car. Hiked up a bit, and ran into a lake. In true China fashion, we had to pay yet one more time to cross the lake on some ferry, so very gimmicky that it made me almost angry. Only 5 kuai but really, is it necessary? Next we took a cable car (read ski-lift) to the top at the mountain. I try not to be too jaded during these trials and tribulations- it’s difficult. We arrive at the top and I cheer up after eating several sticks of potato balls. Yummy with the Sichuan spices. We have to hike up a bit more and finally we start the decent. I think because i was in a bad mood, the physical exercise did me well. There were some actually spectacular sights down and along the way. the trails (it became a trail-llike) we fun and it was actually quite longer than expected. Two middle school chinese girls kept following me and Brandon and every time we stopped they would stop. Finally at one sight, Brandon went to take pictures and i was texting on my phone and they looked over my shoulder and were excited to see that i spoke english. yeah, so then they proceeded to take my pepsi bottle, or asking for it that is. what they really wanted the label? with some soccer player on it which i thought was weird but i gave it to them. ughh… so finally we make it to the bottom and met some chick that was kinda annoying from marin county or something and was hopscotching around the globe and i could have really cared less so i kinda just read my book but whatever. i was just ready to go home and die… at this point i was still feeling kinda crappy. this bus went directly to chengdu, or would have. yeah so i pretty much told this chick from marin that the bus went to chengdu station or whatever but brandon had to take a leak bad and we bailed once we got near enough in the city. she was like, does this go all the way? can you ask the driver? and i kinda just followed bradon off the bus. kinda an ass but whatever. so he took a leak and we made it back to the hostel. i think we chilled that night. don’t remember. actually i might be getting my days mixed up. there was arturo the cat… poor thing. it was grimy white cat that was on the edge of death and we made up really funny stories about him… probably won’t repeat them… actually most of the stories came up the next day… the next day we went to the panda research center outside of chengdu. our hostels arranged it and it was cool but a little weird. it was brandon and i and then three random japanese guys we picked up at another hotel. oh i guess the night we chilled was panda night. after the tao mountain we got hot pot. yeah so hotpot in sichuan is pretty darn hot. but sooooo good. delicious and a great time hanging out and eating. oh that morning around 2am i woke and felt like i was being socked in the stomach. i tried to go back to sleep but i couldn’t. i went to the throne and was expecting the worst. it wasn’t hot at all… which is strange. so basically sichuan hotpot feels like a punch in the stomach for a day afterwards. right…. so back to panda exhibit. our tour guide was some chinese dude in his late twenties… he kinda ran us through the place, didn’t speak at all but showed us all the pandas. i had another hot pot fit and went to a squater in the panda park… i think i was already sweating but when i came out, i was drenched. talk about an experience. the park was cool though. we got to watch a dvd video about the panda life cycle etc. it was interesting. apparently if the mother hasn’t given birth before, she is kinda scared or curious about what happens and batters the baby around after it literally pops out. the second time is completely different… she is ready and actually catches the baby and spends the first several days licking it clean… that was a cool park.
the rest of the day we kinda just drank tea again possibly, i have a lot of props to give bamboo green tea… best stuff on earth to kick it and chat. ummm oh we tried to find anther place but just walked around… ended up stopping in starbucks and drinking a cafe and taking in the sights and talking about arturo and all the demented events that had happened in his life.
oh need i explain about our train tickets?! Wow, the first day, I asked for one ticket to Nanjing and brandon was still figuring it out. the girl said maybe, we have to wait and see. ok, i thought, this is going to suck but i have a running chance. next day, i check, they’ll know the following evening. We all reserve a ticket for brandon to Xi’an. day 3… we ask again, couldn’t get our two tickets to nanjing…. what??? so we tell them, one ticket to nanjing, one to xi’an… please get it right, i’m freaked the whole time, i want to leave. the next day, you can pick it up tomorrow… at this poing i’m like if they don’t come through and it’s the day before i’ll literally cry in front of them. after this whole big mess everything came out perfectly fine and we had our tickets.
our departure day, saturday, we both go to the train station. i help brandon to his gate and then i head to mine. mine is like spring festival and i pick a nice place on the ground, sit on my bag and semi block traffic like any good local would. after one train clears out things are more manageable. i see my train number pop up on the screen in one line so i hurriedly go over there and beat the crowd. i even found a seat to sit… so stoked. oh while i was sitting a family was across from me… dad, mom, baby, uncle, whatever. at some point everyone jumps up from the seat and i’m wondering what the heck is going on… so i finally discover that the baby peed on everyone and everything… lovely… so they clean the seat off and take the baby to the bathroom… oops uncle got a little poo on him… so a random stranger man takes a wipe and starts rubbing the uncles but to clean off the poop… only in china… it was comical… i would have taken a picture if i though t about it at the time. but i didn’t… some other trains left and some closer seats opened up and i moved closer down the ranks… typical procession comes up…. i get up 40 minutes before train departs… (boarding starts at 30minutes) but my movements to ‘form’ and ‘get’ in line start everyone up and getting into line… so now everyone is standing and pushing… and it wouldn’t be china without that… we make it to the train…
It’s been a while… last time I checked in was in Chengdu.