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Second stop on the trip was Chongqing, a massive city on the Yangtze River basin.

It took about 2 hours via high speed train to go from Chengdu to Chongqing.  I was passed out most of the way, but the scenery was gorgeous.

Chongqing was full of stairs.  Full of stairs…

A Chongqing night cruise.  One of the rivers was too low to go down, so it ended up being fairly short.

1,000 year old rock carvings in Dazu.  They were massive.

Somewhere over China.  I don’t remember most of the flight from Chengdu to Hong Kong; I wasn’t even awake for take off.  After sitting down, the next thing I remember was the captain announcing that we’d be landing in 30minutes.  China and Japan are like night and day.  I prefer Japan for a number of reasons, but I definitely want to go back to China and do the big cities in the east–Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong.

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There were really only 2 things on my list to do in china: spicy food and pandas.  At the Chengdu Research Center for Panda Breeding.

Overall, I was very impressed with the facility.  It seems more like a national park where you can just happen to view pandas than a research center or even a zoo.  The tourist kitsch is kept to a minimum; although I succumbed to the ultimate tourist kitsch.  Holding a panda for 1000yuan.  I still maintain that it was awesome.

The first half of the trip of China was spent in Chengdu, a city in the Sichuan province.

I highly recommend Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel.  I would stay here again in a heartbeat.  Very clean, nice staff, good tours.

Chen Mapo’s.  This is the supposed restaurant of origin for mapo doufu.  It was delicious and very spicy.  So much better than the Japanese version.

That is some guy’s hands.

Sichuan Opera in a teahouse.  The show was very good, but the part that most people come to see is the quick-changing masks.  I had a front row seat and it looked almost instant.

The Chinese tea market.

Right about now, I should be in transit to the hostel in Chengdu.  When I got into the JET Program, my two big travel goals were China and Korea.  Korea I was able to hit very early on (see these old post on LJ), but China took some time.  I had really wanted to go to HK, Shanghai or Beijing; but the girl I’m traveling with has already been there, so we compromised and will be going to Chengdu and Chongqing in the Sichuan area.  Spicy food and pandas…that’s all I need.  Also, we have a 6hr layover in HK, so I’ll get a small HK bonus.  Back on May 7!

Ashley

Grew up in philly, used to live in nyc, spent a year in japan. I like shopping. Gotta figure out what to do with this blog now...

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