Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lost in China Day 2

China has the same timezone as Malaysia, despite her large geographical area. This is in my opinion better than United States who separate their areas by timezone, and day light saving, my god.

Good morning, city of Panda. Morning in Chengdu during July is quite similar in Malaysia, except more pedestrians, more bicycles, more honks.

Guest house uncle drew the nearby convenient destinations in his wall, bravo. Breakfast is quite accessible everywhere, after a short stroll, we decided on a restaurant, and start our first interaction with local people.

Surprise, no one understand local dialect. It sounds like Mandarin, but we only can get a few keywords in between. We read the menu item in proper mandarin, they understood, but they just replied in their dialect, so we just replied 好。

Almost every meals in Chengdu, Sichuan are spicy. Not the curry, rendang, merah, type of spicy. It starts with numbing your tongue, warm up your stomach, sweat gland fully open, and end up in toilet few hours later, every time.

Plan of the day: visit Chengu Panda Breeding and Research Center, pack up, redeem our prebooked train ticket at 6pm, and board the train to Lhasa, Tibet.

Transportation in Chengdu is not as advance like Tokyo or Seoul, but straightforward road design makes it easy to understand where am I standing in this city. But the famous Panda Research facility located at outskirt of Chengdu and not reachable by subway, so bus is the better option.

It is not hard to travel in China, you just follow the crowd. When crowd get on the bus, you follow; when crowd get off the bus, you followed, and you will get to your destination. Joking. But seriously people mountain people sea. After 1 hour of ride and interchange, we are there.

This is the giant panda breeding and research center, housing more than 100 pandas from wild and new birth. Never seen a real panda in my life, curiously want to know how the real one made the world burns.

The park is big, mostly covered in greens, especially by many species of bamboos, the main food source of panda. There are options of taking tram in the park, to several major stations.

Summer is not a good timing to visit here, because panda hates hot, so all pandas were relocated to indoor.

We are lucky, a baby panda was just born few days ago (photo is a little blur). They look just like mochi. Very soon, they will start having kilograms of bamboo everyday.
Just like mochi

A slightly older one. All newborns are placed in incubators.

They were suppose to hanging out here....

But instead... Let's hope hot summer ends soon.

This is not raccoon.

Weather at 2pm is just as hot in Malaysia, maybe hotter. Suppose to visit another attraction call 宽窄巷子 (literally Wide and Narrow Street), but we out of time. Save it till next time.


The trip back to the guest house is another 1 hour, we were discussing what to do on the 40 hours train ride later, what food to bring, what games to pass time. We even bought a lot of grapes, apples, some weird local fruits, cup noodles, drinks.

According to the tour guide in Tibet, we are required to collect the prebooked train ticket at North Interstate Train Station, sounds like easy job. Carrying our luggage and just bought food,  we reached there by 7 pm, passed up our passports, waiting patiently for the officer to process our tickets.

And here comes the nightmare:

3 out of 5 persons are unable to retrieve ticket, due to error on the name. Fuck. Immediately, I called my tour guide who bought the ticket for us about this issue, but China now is not China then. The "I help you you help me" policy don't seems to work that well now.

你给我点时间,我们这里办事都是靠关系。 My ass.

For 1 whole hour, we talked to at least 10 officers, face to face and via phone, no one can fix this shit, the officer can only advice us to get partial refund. Until 8:15pm, right before the train depart, we gave up on this, and requested partial refund... Fuck my life, my wasted roaming phone calls, my sweat, my time, my money.

Tour guide was very sorry about this, sending me proof that he didn't make mistake when purchasing train ticket. So whose fault? System? But that don't matter anymore. He is very responsible in this issue, and purchased flight ticket for us to enter Lhasa on 2 days later.

If life is a movie, this is a fucked up beginning of an adventure.

Still grateful that the tour agency willing to take full responsibility.


Checking in the same guest house, saying hi to the same people, and the big dog 莎莎!

Dinner suppose to be fruits, biscuit, and cup noodles on train, put it aside, let's go for local steamboat.

Yup! This the what local call the best Sichuan steamboat. Even the air in this restaurant is sell like chili and pepper makes you can't stop coughing. The way we have it is, most meat and vegetables are cooked in the middle herbal soup, while the hot spicy soup which covered in chilies and peppers are for quick dipping only. Look at beside's table, those local people actually finished the spicy soup!


Now, we just unexpectedly got extra 2 days of travel time in Chengdu.

Let's call it a day, ok?

Next day, back to the past.

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Che-Cheh said...

What kind of name mistake that they refused to issue the train tickets? Name arrangement wrong? Spelling wrong? The names are in English or Chinese?

VHanded Cheepeng said...

The last few alphabet characters on our name were missing, like my name is Oh Chee Peng, but their system recorded only Oh Chee Pe. Their system suppose to issue ticket if name is matched with passport, so English name is fine.

Our tour agency suppose already booked train ticket for many clients, but this time is just unexplained.

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