When we got to Chengdu it was around 12 midnight so we checked into our hostel first. It was the beginning of a series of unfortunate events. Felicia left her camera in the taxi. She was going to hold a baby panda at the research center the next day and needed a camera to capture this once in a life time experience. We spent an hour trying to figure out a way to get it back but resolved it by combining the forces of Janice, Floria, and I to take lots and lots of pictures for Felicia. 4 hungry girls decided to roam the streets of Chengdu in search of food and found delicious street snacks. There were so many options! From lamb meat, beef, to lotus, mushrooms, and dumplings - they were all only .5 to 1 RMB each!
We woke up bright and early to head over to the Chengdu Panda Research center to look at all the cute pandas. I even got to hold a red panda! He looked more like a raccoon than a panda so we called him a raccoonda instead. He took his job rather diligently, eating his apple with his left hand and holding my finger in his right hand all whilst looking at the camera.
I also discovered why pandas are my favorite animals: they are cute, all they do is sleep, eat, and play all day.... my kinda teddy!
Afterwards we headed to the nearby monestary to have a Sichuan meal. Popular foods in Sichuan are: Siu La Fen, Pumpkin Bing, Ma Pa Tofu, Mushroom Wonton, and Dan Dan Mien. Below are my two favorites: Mushroom Wonton and Dan Dan Mien!
After lunch we headed to a teahouse to enjoy hot Chinese tea. A lot of families and people go there to enjoy tea. They often bring cards to play with along with fruits and nuts to enjoy with their tea.
There was a woman making sugar art as well. It was so cool to watch her make it! She poured hot sugar onto a marble slab and started drawing with what looked like a spatula.
We went to JinLi street to do some shopping and have dinner before heading to the airport for Xi'an where I had more delicious sichuan (spicy!!) snacks. When we got to the airport we found out our flight was delayed due to bad weather in Xi'an - there was "big" snow! We started freaking out and layed out our options at KFC. Thank god for KFC ice cream and egg tarts for pick-me-ups! We waited at our gate and there we met some interesting people. We look Chinese but once we started speaking in English people would all stare at us. Particularly an eccentric old lady around 70 years old had no shame in blantantly staring at Felicia and even inching closer to examine her. She began to strike up conversation with us and it was quite hilarious as it was exhausted to communicate since we were fluent in Mandarin and she knew zero English. She asked us if we consider ourselves Chinese or American and if Americans consider us foreigners. We laughed and said we consider ourselves both Chinese AND American and that America is really diverse so it's normal to see many different ethnicities. She didn't grasp the idea that someone could be both. She proceeded to ask if we are ashamed to say we are full Chinese because we can't speak it fluently and implying that American is the inferior ethnicity. Another guy commented that we were "bananas". I've experienced a lot of confusion in my dual identities which I plan on further discussing in a later blog post. She asked us if we think China is better than America and we told her that America is home to us but we like China as well. Luckily we began to talk to her because other people were getting interested in us as well and began talking to us and asking us questions. Then our flight got cancelled completely. We were calm and decided to handle one crisis at a time. The guy sitting next to us befriended us and decided to help us figure our situation out. The airline was giving everyone a free night at a nearby hotel until the next day and it was so chaotic. One thing I learned about China is that it is incredibly disorganized. In the meantime of waiting for information and traveling to the hotel, we gave our new friend an English name. His name was something along the lines of "Hai Wei" so we named him Howie. While waiting in line, Felicia was trying to play a dirty joke on Floria and the 70 year old woman interupts and asks what we are doing. We quickly thought fast and said we were playing patty cake which she proceeded to ask us to show her. She got really estatic and jumped in to play patty cake with Felicia. At the hotel, Howie took us out for street food and we learned some things about him. Howie was traveling for his business - he was in the industry of producing clothing. Howie treated me and Felicia to more late night goodies and introducing us to foods we didn't dare to try. He asked us more questions about America and was intrigued by us. He bought us lots of fruit one of which looks like a mixture between a lime and a clemantime and called a king orange in Chinese despite its tiny size. Tiny little king if you ask me. The girls and I decided to name it l'orange, quite sophisticated I have to say. We felt really bad as Howie persisted to pay for everything, calling us China's guests and it was the welcoming China way.
November 14 (Day 3):
We were shuttled to the airport by 11AM and more chaos happened. They got confused with the gates and mixed up our flights. After more stress, but thank god for Howie, we got on our plane around 5PM and arrived in Xi'an at 7PM. Xi'an was EXTREMELY cold and me being the Texas girl I am never imagined how cold cold could really be. Needless to say I was underprepared for the excruciating weather. We spent the rest of the night staying inside our hostel. Youth Hostel is like a freaking hotel. It's huge and it has its own restaurant and bar. Definitely worth to check out. At Youth Hostel we were explaining all the obstacles we went through to finally get to Xi'an and the girl working in the front desk volunteered to be our tour guide the next day and find an economical way to get everything we wanted to done. Thank god we found her.
November 15 (Day 4):
We started our day at 8AM and was determined to condense what was suppose to be done in 2 days into 1.
Terra Cotta Workshop
At the Terra Cotta Museum
My First Snowball!
Lunch at a local restaurant eating Rou Jia Mo
Wild Goose Pagoda
South Gate of Xi'an City Wall
4) I am grateful for traffic lanes, cleanliness, heaters, Texas, lines and toilets.
5) People in China have no concept of a line, as I was pulling out money people start shoving and cutting me. They want to be the first ones on the bus and the first ones off. Jeez.