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THE TIBETAN SERIES, DAY 1 – 3

LONDON – CHENGDU

Food & massages in Chengdu. It’s always hard to plan a trip in May as all the countries I want to visit are incredibly hot and humid.

I WASN’T SURE IF IT WAS RABBIT OR RAT

However when I was scanning google maps I came across Tibet, a place I was yet to visit and one that was perfect to explore during May.

WHERE IS CHENGDU??

Chengdu

The original plan was to visit Tibet and only Tibet but as I going this far it made sense to explore another city in China and I was lucky to find decent flights via Chengdu, the home of pandas and hotpots – sold separately of course.

DAILY INFO….

  • HOTEL – Niccolo 8/10
  • RESTOS –
    Gong Yuan Li Beef Noodle Restaurant
    Shuangliu Old Mother Rabbit Head
    Mulberry Tea
  • FOOD –
    Noodles
    Rabbit Head
  • ATTRACTIONS –
    Chairman Mao
    People’s Park
    Gua Sha
    Sichuan Opera Show

NICCOLO

After arriving into an amazing new and modern airport I navigated my way to the city via Chengdu’s amazing metro. Our hotel here was Niccolo, certainly one of the better hotels compared to what I usually go for but it was money well spent.

The location was incredible and everything was on point. The rooms were spacious and there were plenty of the “little things” that make all the difference. I was surprised to see a heated face mask put on my night stand during turn down service and now I’ll find it hard not to sleep without one. What a little princess.

Food & Massages in Chengdu

FIRST NIGHT

I arrived in the evening and knew the best thing was to chill and get a bite, my first experience of Chinese noodles, even if it was just room service.

FLAG….

  • RED – A traditional color of significance in Chinese culture, symbolizing revolution, prosperity, and good fortune. It represents the communist revolution and the socialist system adopted by China.
  • YELLOW – Symbolizes the golden rays of the sun shining over the land and people of China.
  • THE FIVE STARS – The large star represents the Communist Party of China (CPC). The four smaller stars that surround it symbolize the four social classes: the working class, the peasantry, the urban petite bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie, which unite under the leadership of the CPC.

CHAIRMAN MAO

First up we headed to Tianfu square to see the statue of chairman Mao, the founder of China just over 100 years ago. He is loved by many of the locals as he was the man who lead China away from semi autonomy and began their progression to a global powerhouse. However, many still see him as the man responsible for the Great Chinese Famine where 45 million people died over just 3 years, more than any war in history.

Ironically however, around the corner is one of China’s best restaurants where we commenced the habit of devouring noodles.

Food & Massages in Chengdu

PEOPLE’S PARK

From here we headed across the road to People’s Park, a place where locals come to dance, socialise, get their ears cleaned and hopefully find a partner.

Food & Massages in Chengdu

  ABOUT THE COUNTRY:
  • LANGUAGE – The official language of China is Standard Mandarin, also known as Putonghua or Modern Standard Chinese.
  • HELLO – “Nǐ hǎo”
  • HOW TO CHEERS – “Gān bēi”
  • BEVERAGE OF CHOICE – Tea
  • POPULAR SPORT – Basketball
  • STAPLE DIET – Rice

MATCHMAKING CORNER

After enjoying some Kung Fu tea, where a waiter pours your tea while performing a little Kung Fu, we took a walk through the matchmaking corner. This is where parents and family’s post the adverts of any of their children they want out of the house, basically China’s answer to Tinder.

Each application will have the details of the singleton; age, height, education, work etc and below will have the criteria for any possible applicant. The area was full of aunties and mums keen to find a suitor for their child and there was no shortage of adverts.

Food & Massages in Chengdu

DANCING AND SINGING

The park was incredible, there were groups of people dancing with something similar to badminton rackets and soft balls, I believe a way to make working out more enjoyable for older people. Then not far away were a group singing, again open for everyone to take part. So many people had joined in that there were more singers than people watching. There were even some with instruments.

GUA SHA

Now it was time for my first Gua Sha experience, something I have wanted to try for years. Gua Sha is an ancient practice that involves the scraping of the skin to improve blood flow to the surface. From the photos it looks bad but it always looks worse than what it is. He actually did a massage beforehand which had me in agony and he couldn’t understand how much I enjoyed the Gua Sha.

RABBIT HEAD

China are known for their great food, much better than the Chinese food we have come to expect back home. But a delicacy in Chengdu is rabbit head, or what looked more like a large rat head. With dishes like this it is always hard to separate yourself from what it actually is to try and eat it with a clear mind!

I won’t lie, I struggled with this as I am sure you will agree it’s hardly the most appetising of dishes and also there is virtually no meat!

SICHUAN OPERA SHOW

Opera shows are famous in Chengdu and have been going on for centuries and if I’m honest wasn’t something I was dying about but turned out to be incredible.

Sichuan Opera Shows are a mix of music, singing and Kung fu upon many other things. Performers wear layers and layers of make up and the most extravagant and colourful costumes.

LOCAL SHOW

We arrived early so fortunately had time to watch the last 10minutes of the more traditional show for the locals. It didn’t excite me as there were lots of screeching and sound effects but was completely different to what we would be experiencing.

Between the shows we got to go into the dressing room and watch the performers put on their make up and costumes, a worthwhile experience in itself.

THE SHOW

There were many elements of our show and they were all fascinating. One was a funny old bald man before we were given a shadow hand puppet show. We all know how to do a sh*ty bird flying but this guy was on another level. Deers, cats and owls were just a few of his examples.

After this we were given another Kung Fu tea show and then finally what the opera is famous for, the face change. This performance had me between enjoyment and figuring out how the hell they do it. Although they don’t show their face when the change happens it all occurs in a split second. Check out the video to see exactly what I’m on about.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Its great to be back in China, a country I enjoyed the first time round but I needed that local knowledge like I got this time!

NEXT UP

I almost find a wife in Chengdu!! Click to read.

SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
169/229

This post is part of The Tibetan Series, for the entire series click here.

To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.

Question Time

  • Would you like to visit China?
  • Which cities do you recommend?
  • Would you like to try rabbit head?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

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REFLECTION POST WEST AFRICA
FINDING MY CHINESE WIFE IN CHENGDU

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