Hunting World Heritage Sites on our first trip to East Asia
  • Day0

    The Long Journey Out

    August 27, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    Not the best start to our travel adventure! The night before departure, we'd gotten a message from Cathay Pacific saying our flight was delayed 30 minutes. Normally that would be a shrug and a whatever, but our connection in Hong Kong was fairly tight, at about 65 minutes so we were now cutting it pretty fine! But there's not much we could do.

    Got a lift to the station from Rae, then a train to the airport where the desk lady confirmed that yes, the flight was scheduled 30 minutes later and that we were unlikely to make the connection. She upgraded us to exit row seats to help getting off the plane faster, and since we didn't have checked bags she said we could still attempt the connection in Hong Kong.

    Got through the airport in the usual good time, but boarding started late, and then during taxi we stopped on the ground in several places for about half an hour. So ultimately we were more than an hour late leaving Sydney from the original time. Meals were decent, and we took advantage of the unusual (for us) situation of having TV screens, so we watched some movies.

    As we got closer to Hong Kong it was clear there was no chance of us making the flight - ultimately we touched down and got to the gate around 7:15pm local time, about 20 minutes after the flight had departed. At least they had staff waiting with our new boarding passes and a meal voucher each worth about $25 AUD.

    Had some food and then settled in at the boarding gate for a 3 hour unexpected wait - I played games on my laptop while Shandos dozed. Eventually the flight left at around 11pm bound for Beijing, the flight only half full. Had a third dinner and then dozed for the next couple of hours before we arrived in Beijing at 2am.

    No issues with Chinese immigration or visas, but when we went to pick up our SIM cards from the "24 hour desk", the girl there told us we'd have to come back at 6am! Only available between 6am and midnight, apparently. Shandos spoke to someone at the company we'd bought from and they said they'd give a refund, but still a pain in the arse.

    And of course, arriving at 3am meant that the shuttle buses and the subway had stopped running for the night, so our only option was an expensive taxi. 40 minutes later we finally arrived at our hotel where we checked in and went straight to bed, nearly 24 hours after we left Sydney. Hopefully things get better tomorrow!
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  • Day1

    Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven

    August 28, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    First day to explore Beijing! Despite only a few hours sleep we had a pretty busy day ahead, and decided to get out early. We're staying in a hutong, an old-school neighbourhood in an older quarter of Beijing, so it's actually mostly only locals around which is nice. Wandered around the first corner and found a place with good steamed dumplings for breakfast which did the trick quite nicely!

    Our first destination was the Forbidden City which was apparently only 10-15 minutes walk away, so we headed that direction. That was a bit of an underestimate since Beijing is just huge, so we were walking for quite a while. At least it's surprisingly green with a lot of trees, and fairly orderly too. Wide footpaths and well organised roads, far more than basically any other Asian city we've been to.

    Eventually we made it to Tiananmen Square, where we waited for nearly an hour to get through a security checkpoint! They were scanning everyone's ID (either Chinese ID card or passport), then putting bags through a metal detector as well. There's cameras and police here, which I think is fairly normal.

    We had a quick glance at the square but headed north past it, through the Tiananmen Gate with its famous picture of Chairman Mao, and towards the Forbidden City. We'd already paid for our tickets so eventually we found the pickup point and headed in.

    It's very nice, but it was just so crowded and very hot too. The large white marble squares are a massive heat trap, and we were both soon panting. Lots of locals in their flag-following tours, but lots of others just sitting around in the shade too. We explored some various areas, but then a bunch of shouting policemen cordoned off the area around the three main buildings - I overheard an English-speaking tour guide say something about an important minister coming to visit. Can't let him be disturbed by the riff-raff of course!

    So we amused ourselves in other parts of the complex before coming back to the main buildings a bit later. Unfortunately, since the main area had been closed, the huge crowds were packed into a smaller area so it was probably worse than usual. Eventually we'd had enough and departed out the northern gate, the opposite end from where we'd entered.

    From here we climbed a hill in Jingshan Park, where a nice pagoda and viewing platform gives a fantastic view back across the Forbidden City and most of Old Beijing as well. Quite a cool sight! Back down the hill, we figured our next mission was to get SIM cards, so I found a China Unicom shop about 20 minutes walk away. Again the walk was hard going but we eventually made it. Took about an hour to sort things out, including wait time and a painfully slow detour to an ATM where I got stuck behind a woman who'd apparently never used a machine before.

    Finally online, we hopped in a cab and sped towards the Temple of Heaven, our final stop for the day. This is a Ming-era temple to the south-east of the old city where the emperor would pray each year for good harvests. The main building, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a three-tiered wooden pagoda, and was beautifully decorated with blue tiles.

    Although the sun was setting and whole complex closed at 6pm, we hurried through and managed to see everything that we'd wanted to. Aside from the Hall, there's also another Pagoda and the Altar of Heaven which were all interesting. Far less crowded here, and we enjoyed it all the more for that.

    With the light fading we headed for home, having our first experience on the Beijing subway. It's actually pretty easy, most of the annoucements and signs are in Mandarin and English, so it's hard to get lost once you know where you're going. Had dinner at a small restaurant around the corner from our hotel: two noodle dishes, a plate of dumplings and two beers was way too much food!

    Collapsed into bed at around 8pm after a super long day! My step counter was at 32,000 before my phone ran out of battery, who knows how high it got!
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  • Day2

    Hiking The Great Wall

    August 29, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Big highlight day today: the Great Wall! Up fairly early and on to the subway, as we needed to get to a certain spot on the other side of Beijing by 7:30am. We made it as the subway is pretty efficient, but we were still among the last to arrive! The drive out to the wall was about 90 minutes, which passed fairly quickly in anticipation. We were part of a 50-seat bus tour, but we'd organised a special hiking tour separately so it was just us, a pair of Brazilians, a pair of Mexicans and a Brazilian tour guide.

    When doing the Wall from Beijing, you've got a handful of options. Most locals head for the section at Badaling as it's the easiest walking and also the closest to the city. We were heading to Mutianyu section, where it's less crowded but harder walking and further from the city.

    To clear up a few misconceptions: the total amount of "wall" built was around 30,000km. It's not one single wall either, it's a network of defence walls really and they snake all over the place in northern China. There's even walls that were between provinces before China was united under a single ruler. The wall itself dates back to around the 5th century BC but nothing from that era remains; most of the wall you see today was built by the Ming in the 15th century. Though of course, the restored sections around Mutianyu and Badaling etc are fairly modern restorations - they aren't ancient by any means.

    That aside, we set off on our hike. It was fairly easy going at first, but gradually went more and more uphill, until it was just ridiculous gradient after ridiculous gradient. As usual I was the least fit member of the group and lagged behind quite a bit in various places. After about 1:15 of climbing, we finally reached the wall at tower 23, a point most Mutianyu visitors never reach. This was essentially the end of the restored Mutianyu section, and beyond here it quickly turned to rubble and overgrown stones. You can still see it snaking over the mountains in the distance, but it would be seriously hard going to get there.

    We stopped for a bit, happy with our effort, then started walking back along the wall. Most people coming up arrive via the cable car at tower 14, the chair lift at tower 4, or the stairs at tower 10. Thankfully most of what we were doing was downhill now, so I wasn't struggling particularly! The people climbing up the other way were struggling though!

    We snaked our way back down, enjoying the views of and from the wall - since it sits up on a ridge you could actually see the skyline of Beijing 70km away. Apparently the weather was super clear at the moment, supposedly it had rained quite a lot the previous week and was now just blue skies. You really got the feeling as well how not only was the wall for defence, but for trade control, transport, and for signalling as well since you can see it at great distances each way.

    We spent probably 2 hours walking along the top of the wall before eventually reaching tower 10. The others proceeded to tower 6 and the toboggan ride (we skipped, as it was 100 yuan each!) while we took the stairs down. Lots and lots of stairs, which was painful after the climb up, but going down was easier than going up! Met up with the others at the bottom where we had lunch at a nearby restaurant, then back on the bus to Beijing.

    I nodded off and woke up an hour later, noticing that the bus was completely silent - almost everyone was asleep! It had been a long and exhausting day. Another couple of crowded subway rides back to our hotel area, where we visited a different nearby restaurant for dinner. It's funny the looks you get from the waitstaff (particularly old ladies) when you walk in - in a way they're terrified of dealing with you which is kind of funny. Kept it simple this time and just had a shredded pork in sweet bean sauce dish, along with a fried rice.

    Back home for another early night after another exhausting day!
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  • Day3

    Summer Palace & Grand Canal

    August 30, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Another early start today, though not quite as early as yesterday. Our destination for the day was the Summer Palace, a Ming Dynasty palace complex in Beijing's north-west. As you'd expect, it was essentially their holiday home for the summer, their Windsor to Buckingham or Versailles to Tuileries.

    Grabbed a quick breakfast of jianbing, a Chinese crepe that gets made on all the street corners, then headed over on the subway. Thankfully it wasn't too crowded here, plenty of people around but nowhere near as bad as the Forbidden City a couple of days earlier. Entered via the rear gate and started climbing the main hill.

    There's lots of temples, halls, shrines and other interesting buildings that wind their way up and back down the hill, and with a tall pagoda sitting on top. We quite enjoyed looking at everything, though most of them are closed off and you can't go inside. Although much of the palace was burned down by English and French troops in the Second Opium War of 1860, it was rebuilt afterwards at great expense and essentially bankrupted the entire economy. And left unsaid is where all the great treasures ended up - they were mostly smashed and destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, though that fact generally isn't mentioned.

    Once we'd climbed and then descended the hill, we walked along one shore of the lake that makes up the majority of the palace complex. Lots of people out in small electric boats and pedal boats, but we didn't feel particularly inclined to join them! We settled for an icecream and a rest instead!

    Started heading back to central Beijing and stopped by another World Heritage site, but one that we'll see more of on this trip. This site is the Grand Canal, the world's longest and oldest shipping canal. It actually stretches all the way from Beijing in the north right down to Hangzhou near Shanghai, almost a thousand miles away. The canal originally dates back to the earliest Chinese emperors in the early centuries BC, but much of the canal is - naturally - from the early Ming dynasty, with our old friend Emperor Yongle the driving force.

    It's still an important trade artery within China, though mostly in the south. Up here near Beijing it's basically just a drainage channel around a nice lake with a couple of ornate bridges, so we stopped and had a look around. The lakefront area was quite nice although a bit built up and touristy. We had a couple of horrifically expensive beers in a bar overlooking the lake (we found out later that although supermarket beers at about 5 yuan, the same beer at a bar is usually 50) and then headed home.

    Stopped at a nearby restaurant on the food street before heading home, extremely footsore and tired. My legs in particular were extremely stiff after all the walking and climbing the previous day!
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  • Day4

    Tombs of the Ming Emperors

    August 31, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Next up on our list of World Heritage Sites around Beijing is the tombs of the Ming Emperors. This site is a serial entry with a bunch of different locations, but we'd chosen to focus on the most accessible one. It's a large-ish valley to the north of Beijing where the Ming Emperors chose to build their elaborate tombs. After another local breakfast and a couple of subway trains, we hopped on a bus for our first Chinese bus experience.

    It was actually pretty easy, I've been using Baidu Maps which is essentially a note-for-note copy of Google Maps, just in Chinese. But I can decipher the important information, so we arrived with no issues. First stop was the Sacred Way, a two kilometre avenue that lead along into the valley itself. A couple of interesting gatehouses, and then a long line of statues guarding the way - animals both real and mythical, plus ministers, generals and even a few civilians.

    Next stop was Dingling tomb, which is the only one of the 13 Ming tombs to be excavated. It was an elaborate series of gates, temples and other buildings, leading towards a tall forested mound of earth underneath which the emperor was actually buried. We paid our money and went inside, but as we expected there was basically nothing to see - no more exciting than a large bank vault.

    Again, in the 1950s it was decided to excavate the tombs to celebrate the glory of China's ancestors and show how mighty China was. So all the beautiful treasures were extracted and partially documented. But then in the 1960s when things weren't going so well, it was out with the old and in with the new - the old ways didn't work so we might as well destroy them. Ritual burnings were held, and now there's basically nothing left of the stuff found in the tomb (except that which got smuggled to Taiwan).

    And so we headed to the third location, Changling Tomb, which is the tomb of our old friend Yongle, greatest of the Ming Emperors. He's the one who built the Forbidden City, much of what we know as the Great Wall, the Grand Canal, and the Summer Palace. His tomb is the largest and most elaborate here, though after what happened at Dingling it's never been opened - Chinese are quite superstitious and also afraid of ghosts.

    But the tomb complex was great - a large series of buildings and pavilions with gatehouses, shrines and memorials. This was definitely the best part of the site and we really enjoyed it, with the classical Chinese style of upturned roof corners, bold colours and intricate gabling.

    Done with the site, we headed back to the city via the bus - again surprisingly easy. Walked up and down the nearby eat street looking for some Peking Duck, but the only restaurants that do it sell you the whole duck, and then cook you the whole duck. So it's not just pancakes, you also get fried webbed feet, duck heart stew, BBQ wings, duck liver, duck gizzards and so on. Eventually we found a place doing the pancakes for 15 yuan which we thought was a bit steep and bought two. Turned out the 15 was for a box of 5! So we had plenty. Also filled up on a few other Beijing street snacks like meat sticks and some ultra dense rice cake thing.
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  • Day5

    Peking Man Site

    September 1, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Last of our seven World Heritage sites in Beijing - a real hotspot! This site is in the distant south-west of the city in an area known as Zhoukoudian. It's a series of limestone cliffs and caves where in the 1920s, archaeologists discovered ancient human fossils, dating back around 1.2 million years. These were from a precursor species, homo erectus, and were critical in our understanding of human development.

    This was our first slightly complicated journey of the trip: a couple of subway trips to a bus station, then two separate buses out to the site. The first bus was fine, uncrowded and easy though we were on board for an hour. The second bus, we had to wait in what felt like a very random out of the way place, and when the bus finally arrived it was jam packed. Thankfully we were only on it for less than 10 minutes.

    We were fairly lucky, as the site is separated into a museum and the archaeological pits, and the latter had been under renovation for the last few years. But had since reopened! The bus dropped us at the pits, so we headed there first. It was interesting, and certainly the most engaging of all the prehistoric man sites we've been to. The main excavation area had a large projection on the dirt wall showing the different levels where different things were found - ice age humans, stone age, homo erectus, and even older fossils too.

    After about 90 minutes of exploring we walked the 800 metres or so back to the museum and had a look around here as well. It was a bit older and actually wasn't quite as good. Sadly most of the original fossils disappeared during the Japanese occupation of China in WW2; apparently the Japanese sent the fossils back but they never arrived and it's now a big mystery where they are. At least they had some bronze casts for us to look at!

    Back outside where we grabbed the two separate buses back to central Beijing. No crowded buses this time, just a long journey where most people nodded off. Back home earlier than usual, we had a beer in the courtyard of our hotel before heading out later for another Beijing speciality - donkey burgers.
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  • Day6

    798 Art District

    September 2, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Today was our free day in Beijing. Had a nice sleep in, then headed to the main train station to pick up our train tickets for the next month. It took quite a while, as the lady had to print off each one individually! There was quite a queue behind us by the time we'd finished, whoops. But we figured it was better to print them all now at the counter where (in theory, at least) some English was spoken, as opposed to printing them out as we go and having difficulties.

    Mission accomplished, we headed back to the hotel and then grabbed a quick lunch nearby.

    In the afternoon we headed over to 798 Art District, an area of Beijing in an old electronics factory noted for art galleries, shops and hipster cafes. There was a very different vibe here to the rest of the city - graffiti, hipsters and ironic slogans! Even a statue of Chairman Mao without a head - very subversive.

    We wandered around for a few hours, but most of the galleries were paid entry and a lot were closed on Monday anyway - not the best idea. Oh well.

    In the evening we met up with a friend from the World Heritage group that we're in. He's a Filipino guy who's lived in Beijing for the last 6 years, so he had some good tips and was quite chatty, we had an enjoyable evening hanging out and drinking. And then he unexpectedly put the drinks on his work expenses! He said he gets a very high amount of living expenses included with his salary - more than he can realistically spend, so it didn't cost him anything either. Lucky us.

    Back home around 9pm where we grabbed a quick noodle dinner around the corner from our hotel and settled in for the night - last night in Beijing!
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  • Day7

    Southwest to Xi'an

    September 3, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Our first trip on a Chinese train today, as we head out from the capital and into the countryside, 1100km to the southwest and the city of Xi'an. It was an early start as we had to get out to the train station well in advance, and that of course required another trip on the subway. Counter-intuitively, most of the high-speed train stations in China are actually on the outskirts of the cities rather than in the centre - mainly because they're newer.

    So we headed out to Beijing West station, expecting to have difficulty finding our way through the station, but as usual it was actually pretty easy. Most of the signs are in Chinese and English, so it's not that hard to get lost. Made our train with plenty of time to spare and were happy to discover that the train was very new, modern and sparkling clean.

    Since these trains are on an entirely separate network, they don't need to trundle through the whole city before hitting their stride, so pretty much as soon as we left the station we were blasting along at 350km/h. Not bad!

    I passed the time catching up my journal, starting on some video editing, and playing some games. I also had a halting conversation with the lady sitting next to me who suddenly realised she had left her ID card at Beijing station. Losing it is a pretty serious issue, since the government seems to track people's movements fairly closely - your train tickets are tied with your ID card etc, and you need to show ID to board the train. Not sure how she was going to catch her connecting train! We managed to chat for a while using Google Translate - it has a facility where she could draw Chinese characters and have them translated into English, while I could type and have the reverse translation.

    Arrived in Xi'an right on schedule at 1pm, Caught the subway down to our hostel which again was fairly easy to find, and were pleased to discover the room was actually a proper size. A welcome change after our room in Beijing, which had basically been the size of a double bed plus a combined toilet/shower cubicle.

    Freshened up and then headed out, first stopping at the city walls. These date back to the 14th century, though I think what we can actually see is pretty modern - 1980s or so. They're impressive though: 12 metres high, 15-18 metres across, and a full 14 kilometres in length, stretching in a rectangle around the old core of Xi'an. We decided to pay the $9 for access and climbed up for a look, then noticed the bike rental place. So we rented bikes for another $5 and spent about 2.5 hours riding the entire length of the wall. Super quiet in some places and busy in others, it was a nice ride and good to just stop occasionally and peer off to see what was happening in the city. There's four impressive gate houses at each of the cardinal compass points too which made for good stopping points.

    Finished with the walls, we hopped on a bus down into the centre of the city where it was time for dinner. Xi'an is home to a large Muslim population and their area of the city has some excellent street foods. We wandered for a while and sampled various bits and pieces: fried quail eggs on sticks, fried dumplings, and a special local dish called biang biang noodles, with delicious beef and pickled vegetables on top. Also grabbed a tasty mango ice cream roll for dessert!
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  • Day8

    Terracotta Warriors

    September 4, 2019 in China ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Exciting day today, and one that I'd been looking forward to for a long time! We'd heard it was best to get there as early as possible, so it was again an early start, catching the subway underneath our hotel to the main station and then picking up a bus from there. Although the Warriors are synonymous with Xi'an, they're actually about 60km outside the city, which made for an hour-long bus ride.

    Picked our way through the carparks and stalls, bought our tickets, and headed on in.

    The official name for the site is the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, and he's the guy who was buried nearby (not actually here with the army). His name was Qin Shi Huang, and he was essentially the first emperor of China, having unified the earlier kingdoms in 221 BC. When he died in 203 BC, his burial was enormous, and his nearby tomb is essentially a scale model of his capital city, Chang'an (these days Xi'an).

    This scale model is complete with buildings, palaces, canals and waterways, lakes, and of course a garrison, and this is where the Terracotta Army was found. It's actually a few kilometres away from the tomb itself, and isn't so much to guard the emperor in the afterlife as it's a representation of one part of his world when he died. It must have been standard practice, as the records of the burial don't even mention the army, and it was completely unknown until the random discovery by farmers digging a well in 1974.

    The first room you enter is an enormous aircraft hanger type building, with the army stretching out in columns in front of you. It's very striking. The front rows are all arranged in neat lines, glaring forward while behind them the columns stretch into the distance. As you spend an hour doing a lap of the huge pit, you realise how little has actually been excavated - even now there are teams of people digging and cataloguing. About 6000 figures have been found, though only about 2000 have been assembled, which is also something that dawns on you. What you're looking at are rebuilds - other sections are just piles of fragments where the figures haven't been put back together yet. What a painstaking task.

    Outside, we headed for pit two where there was much less to see in the actual pits, but you could see (behind glass) some of the figures up close. There was an archer, a regular soldier, and a high-ranking general, and it was fascinating to see the detail in their armour and facial features. It's said that no two figures are exactly alike, and I'm sure that's true though slightly less impressive when you remember they aren't working from moulds - everything is done by hand. And they were originally brightly painted too!

    Pit three had a small chariot house, complete with horses, and is the only completely excavated pit. It was interesting enough, but we then headed for the exhibition hall where you can see a prize find - a pair of bronze scale models of what's believed to be the emperor's funeral cortege. Exquisite detailing on the horses, which were ornately decorated as well which was very impressive.

    Happy with our morning, we emerged from the darkness of the exhibition hall into a heavy downpour! First one we've seen in China. Waited a few minutes for it to blow over, before we scurried back to the carpark via an immense shopping and dining precinct. Thankfully I've learned the Chinese for "do not want", which comes in handy. Annoyingly, they don't actually have a simple word for "no" - saying no is entirely about context. For example, "is it raining" "is this yours" and "do you want breakfast" can all be answered in English with "no", but in Chinese all of those would have a different way of answering in the negative.

    Anyway. Got the bus back to Xi'an, though we couldn't find the return of the bus we'd caught. My maps app said we could also catch a similar bus, but it turned out to be a local bus that ended up taking 20 minutes longer while it waited to pick up passengers in all the various towns along the way.

    Back in Xi'an we grabbed a quick lunch and then headed south of the city walls to our second World Heritage site of the day. The enormous Silk Road that stretched across China and central Asia to the Middle East and Europe had its terminus in Xi'an, and there are a couple of relevant buildings in the city to check out. First up for us was the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, an ancient Buddhist temple from the 700s AD. As silks and spices flowed west along the road, ideas like Buddhism came east, and it was around here that Buddhism really took hold in China.

    It was a lovely peaceful spot, with gardens and a nice tall slender pagoda, though difficult to film thanks to overcast skies. From here we headed to the other component of the WHS in Xi'an, the Large Wild Goose Pagoda. Slightly newer than the Smaller pagoda, this was also an important Buddhist shrine. A famous Chinese monk named Xuanzang spent 10 years travelling to India, meditating and learning along the way. By the time he returned he was famous, and the Pagoda was built to house the important texts and relics he brought back - some of which are still there.

    This one was a lot larger and felt a lot more commercialised since it's basically in the middle of the city. But it was still nice enough and we enjoyed the visit. Tired, we headed back to the hostel and grabbed some meat skewers for dinner.
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  • Day9

    South to Chengdu

    September 5, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Time for the next train trip. Not quite so early today, which gave us time for a cheap-ish hotel breakfast which was nice but quite greasy. Subway to the station and then onto the train with plenty of time to spare. Not quite as nice as the previous train, and not quite as fast either, only maxing out at 240km/h.

    We didn't have the best seats here either, in the first row of a carriage which meant we couldn't quite see out the window, and we were in the window/centre of three seats which was a bit annoying, especially when the guy in the aisle seat claimed the armrest immediately.

    At least the journey was only a couple of hours, and mostly in tunnels underneath mountains as we headed to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. Arrived around midday and figured out another subway system, arriving at our hostel by 1pm.

    Pleased to discover this hostel was great, with a huge room and large bed, even big windows with a view of the city. Not that you could see much - Chengdu is quite hazy at the best of times, and today was no exception. It was also quite overcast as well. Popped downstairs to a small noodle place with no English menu and no pictures, but the hostel staff had written down a suggestion for us to eat: dan dan noodles.

    Sichuan province is famous for its cooking style, usually involving lots of chilli, oil, and of course Sichuan peppercorns which have a spicy and numbing flavour. Noodles were very tasty, basically spaghetti type noodles in a peanut and chilli oil sauce with ground pork on top. Very tasty but very fiery too, even when we asked for 小辣!

    Back upstairs to relax for a bit and get some washing done, the hotel's rooftop serving as a makeshift laundry. They also have a large restaurant and bar area on the top floor, so we chilled in there for much of the afternoon and evening, relaxing and doing work. In the end we didn't feel like going out for dinner so just stayed in and had some Sichuan style food in the restaurant. Nice enough, though a little overpriced.
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