Day 38

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Where I stayed
Sam's Guesthouse

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Our train cabin filled with music at 6am and by the time the attendant came by to give us our tickets back (you need those to exit the railway station) we were up and dressed. We got a taxi to Sam's Guesthouse and made enquiries about availability. I'd read that Chengdu and particularly Sam's would be a return to the backpacker scene. In our last few destinations we've seen very few westerners and we're looking forward to making new friends in Chengdu.

The man on reception was a bit off with us to begin with, but we got a twin room for 60 yuan per night and booked in for three nights. I went straight to bed and stayed there 2pm.

I was looking forward to some Saturday football and I'd read about just the place in my Rough Guide - the Roo bar. It's an "Aussie ran place showing sports including English Premiership". We set off around 6pm to find it and were walking for a good hour and a half before we were even in the right area! After several sweeps of the road I was sure it was on I asked a passing chubby American if he knew where it was. "Oh that closed down a while ago, the owner had some problems and took off". Bummer, no football for me then. We're beginning to refer to my guide book as the "Rough Guide book of lies" since it's not the first time we've been led on a jolly march for nothing. We went back to another bar we'd seen along the way - "Shamrocks". This place has a distinctively "ex-pat" feel about it and was also very cliquey. I tried to get the football on the tv but a main group of ex-pats were already watching the cricket so let them carry on thinking that I would assert myself the following day when Liverpool were due to play Man Utd. We got talking to a guy called Jack who is a Polish/Australian working in Chengdu as an Architect. Jack is 30 and was waiting for friends who turned up about an hour later. We were all downing our drinks and before long, Jack, Jenny (a Chinese local speaking very good English), Kris (a U.S. girl living semi-permanently in China), Steve and I were heading out to a nightclub. It's Steve's birthday on Monday so we agreed that tonight would be his big celebratory night. Steve and I had only popped out to find a bar to watch the footie in and we were both in sandals - Steve was in shorts as well! The bouncers at the club took exception at Steve's gear and Jack suggested they get a cab back to his and kit Steve out properly. As they were leaving the same bouncer spotted my sandals and told me I wasn't coming in either! This was a disaster as we'd agreed to meet Jack and Steve inside on the assumption that we'd get in. Jenny's local knowledge came to the rescue and we were soon trying to get in round the back through a fire exit - a trick that worked a treat. The club was heaving, and there were plenty of westerners too. I found a German guy who was leading some kind of whiskey and coke fest with about 10 other people. "Everyone puts in 100 yuan and we buy bottles of whiskey and share it very equally" he boomed at me in that authoritarian German style. I took out a 100 note and handed it over, what followed I can only describe as carnage. Eager to get value for money I was never far from the whiskey bottle and at 5.30am I found myself walking around Chengdu trying to figure out what had happened! Miraculously I bumped into Steve who was in the same predicament and we got in a cab home. I was in no state to talk to cab drivers and Steve didn't have our map (I did) so we needed each other to get home. I must try to keep it more together in future, but hey, all's well that ends well.
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