How Do Chengdu

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 27, 2008

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Update since we last blogged.

After Mariska and Rene left we had a little time on our hands to explore Chengdu a little further while we waited for them to return.

Donning the walking shoes and armed with blister plasters, we set off on a mammoth walk around the city  to get our bearings. We took in the statue of Mao, stopped for lunch at the local Pizza Hut (not as nice as home), a spot of shopping. Some tops for Pat and a top and skirt for Nic. To help deal with the trauma of clothes shopping we took the perfect antidote (for Pat) and walked to the football stadium.....unfortunately this was the home of the CHENGDU BLADES! a team linked to Sheffield United. Pat wanted to urinate on the building but Nic managed to drag him away before he disgraced himself.
Next off to the Pub. A traditional dwelling in the form of an Irish bar! Two and a half pints later at a cost of 80yuan (5.50) steep even for English prices! Bob wouldn't approve. It wasn't long before we were out of there.
Enough for one day, and so back to the hostel upon where we stumbled across Phil.
Phil is a 14 year old Chinese boy learning English as well as many other things, who when he is not at boarding school studying (7am - 9pm with 1hour break), chooses to go to local youth hostels to find English speaking people to practice!!!! The boy never switched off! That's dedication. We whiled away the hours answering questions about prepositions, auxillary verbs, verbs, nouns, when to use them, oh and transitive and intransitive verbs!??! We have never looked so hard at our own language. As a thank you for several nights free tuition he invited us out to experience traditional Sichuan cuisine.
So to the backstreet restaurants where we would never have dared to tread on our own due to language constraints, we now felt completely at home with our new friend and guide.
We eventually rested at a restaurant where we were the topic of much amusement. A Chinese worker came to Pat, leaned in sideways and said 'hello' with the broadest of smiles. On Pat's response of "nehow" (hello in Chinese) the boy rushed back to his eager waiting friends behind the counter and retold the event to a rapture of laughter. We then proceeded to choose our food from the multitude of shelves in front of us. Some of it was less appetising than others! We then enjoyed a feast of vegetables which included baby bamboo shoots, round things that resembled potatoes, green beans and large mushrooms. There were also several skewers containing mystery meat.  We cooked them in two large boiling pots of oil, one with  spices and the other a little plainer.

We all had a great time. The bill came at the end of the night.  For 6 people it cost 45 Yuan = 3.00 and that included 3 beers which cost 50p. (In total, not each) The way they worked out the cost was to count the sticks the food had been skewered on...each stick cost 1Jiao which is one tenth of a Yuan.  1 Yuan = 0.06 WOW that beats Wetherspoons!!!

The return of our Dutch friends, the next night, saw us out for another meal as we were only to spend one more night with them before we went our final separate ways. Our transport for the evening (which had also been our transport for the last couple of days) was in the form of the local bus. Just 1Yuan (no matter how far you traveled). The bus driver was either late for his tea or thought he was driving a formula one car. Choosing to break at the last minute, flinging most of his frightened passengers down the bus and finally skidding 1-2 meters before stopping in a skew whiff position! He was not taking any prisoners and jostled for position in the busy traffic without a care for his fellow road users, simply pressing the horn to give a loud and long blast telling other drivers he was not stopping.

Reaching the restaurant in one piece, we ordered an array of food, but one dish in particular had chillies in it that could have fuelled a rocket to the moon! No kidding. So......bring on the chilly eating contest!!!

First (and most stupidly) up was Nic with a spoon of chillies lovingly chosen for her by her doting husband. Deep breath.....and......chew as fast as possible.......down a glass of beer....phew not that bad........erm........ Mouth explosion!!!!! Much to the amusement of the others. hhhhhmmmmmmm. However, when the so called men stepped up they were unable to match Nics stealth display for fear of what they had just witnessed. Pat had chosen to pretend to chew and swallow.  As a result the burning took place half way down his throat and chronic indigestion ensued. Ha ha ha (wuss). Finally Rene stepped up and although he insisted he chewed and enjoyed hot food, the sweat beads, bulging veins in the side of his head, the watering of his eyes and smoke from his ears, kind of gave him away ....bless him. (sorry Rene feel free to defend yourself in the comments section)

The next day to get over the chilly-off, Pat and Nic decided to have a foot and full body massage....this was 100 minutes. However, 50 of them were concentrated on the feet, which Pat did not like. The last 50 were more like being in a panel beating factory but it seemed to do the trick. While having our feet.. erm..adjusted, instead of calming, soothing tinkle music softly caressing our eardrums as we slipped in to a state of complete relaxation, we were presented with a flat screen TV with the Chinese equivalent of Leslie Crowther and the game show The Price is Right! Although we couldn't understand what they were saying we got the gist and Pat guessed the price on the nose for a lovely Chinese fan! How did he know that? After the program had finished we flicked round and found snooker. While the girls were busy working away on our feet one began to was Chinese words but to the tune Jumble Eye by none other than Hank Williams! Wow he gets everywhere. Pat began to fall about in a fit of laughter much to the bemusement of the girls.

Next day we said goodbye to our Dutch friends, the Mix hostel and Chengdu and off we sped on the local bus to Emei Shan and the Teddy-bear Hostel. Nic was very excited at meeting the teddy's oh and going up the mountain.
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