Arrived by overnight train in Chengdu and are staying in a hostel here tonight before catching the bus to Wolong where they have the panda research station. Chengdu is supposed to be a much more laid back city than those we have visited further north. Haven’t spotted the difference yet! We had a pleasant last day in Xi’an, visiting Banpo Museum which is on the site of a Neolithic village. Yes, it was my (Ann’s) idea – “Poor Katie” I can hear you all saying. She put a brave face on it and we had quite an adventure getting there and back on various combinations of buses. We are resigned to approaching places in ever decreasing circles but we get there in the end. Anyway, it was a very good museum. They have built a big hangar over the excavated village and you can see all the outlines of the huts and postholes and fireplaces and everything. Also there are a few burials on display. And lots of stone axes, fish hooks, pottery etc. Some of the pottery is quite decorative with pictures of fish and deer. Well, I thought it was great anyway! And although we said we were not going to buy anything else we both bought a painting at the museum. They had a display of “farmers’ paintings” which are very colourful and in a naive style. Apparently, during the Cultural Revolution artists were sent out to the countryside to do something more useful (like growing food) and they taught the local farmers to paint in exchange for lessons in how to grow stuff.
The train journey was fine – in fact things are going very smoothly all round. Katie is actually doing some work. She had a paper (scientific) sent to her to correct the English prior to publication. It is a nice little earner and you can do them on the train. Don’t know when we’ll be online again as we are heading on to the mountains (Siguniang Shan) after visiting the pandas.