Friday, 22 August 2014

Transit to Chengdu

We had only planned one day (thankfully) in Chongqing so the next morning we checked out and headed to the train station. It took a while and by the time we arrived it was already noon and we’d again missed on breakfast – this was really becoming frequent! We assumed that there would be more food then there was at the station, but there really was nothing so we forced down some tinned food from the nearby supermarket to tide us over till we arrived at the other end. 

The train was quite comfy for 2nd class and we reached 198km/hr on the new high speed train (they proudly display the speed of the train at the front of every carriage). Even at such high speeds we noticed as we watched out the window how the entire countryside was under construction – China is a real growing concrete jungle! Someone commented to us that if we were to return in a month and take the same train ride all the construction we saw would already be completed, amazing. 

It was a pleasant trip, if somewhat disconcerting seeing nature being so quickly overtaken. It then took a bus and metro ride to reach the Lazybones Hostel which was well located in central Chengdu and it was thankfully a really nice hostel with a large, comfy room, even if it was quite a bit more expensive than what we’d previously been paying for ‘business hotels’.

By now we were super hungry so we went in search of an early dinner and managed to find some ‘squidy balls’ followed by a great milk tea which tided us over. It was lucky that we ate something because immediately after we had to hide under some eaves for over half an hour waiting while the afternoon’s torrential rain teemed down. As soon as it began to ease we decided to brave the rain as we decided we’d prefer to get wet and eat rather than stay dry and hungry. We ran into the first place that looked reasonable - the ‘Greedy Bear’ - and even though the young staff barely spoke any English it was a really great meal. It was quite fun and entertaining as the staff tried to communicate with us and inform us of what we were ordering to put in our broth to cook, after not getting to far they soon came out with a dictionary to show us what we could order! Once we’d successfully ordered what we thought we’d like they kept coming over with their dictionary and trying out new English phrases with us. By the time we left our waiter could flawlessly say ‘Welcome to the Greedy Bear, have a nice evening!’ and he was deservedly proud of himself.

We had almost dried out by the time we left but we headed back to the hostel anyway as our laundry bag essentially contained the remainder of our clothes and the benefit of staying in a hostel are the amenities provided. We went down to the common room for happy hour while our washing was on, thinking we’d socialise with some fellow travellers as for most of China we’d been traveling solo and staying at business hotels which meant there was no common room, but it turns out that with technology now no one actually talks to each other in the common area, they just sit on their laptop or phone FB’ing about what a great time they are having…

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