Even with Kangding to warm us up, arriving in the big city of Chengdu after over a week in the small, isolated, high altitude towns of western Sichuan was a bit of a shock. Hazy, polluted skies, hot and steamy weather and traffic everywhere!
Somehow we managed to get our bearings and find our way to the hotel that we planned to stay at. It was only a twenty minute walk, but after a long day on the bus it was great to dump my pack and have a shower, especially as we hadn’t had hot water for three days.
A bit of a rest, then it was time to take care of some business. First was buying some train tickets for our departure from Chengdu. We’d originally assumed that we wouldn’t be allowed to head north from Zhongdian to western Sichuan, and so would be passing through several towns with train ticket booking offices before reaching Chengdu. The fact that we’d been up in the mountains, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest railhead meant that we’d left it a little late. Thankfully there were still sleepers available.
The second, and much more important bit of business was finding some food. Sichuan province is the epicentre of chili use and the province’s chefs regard themselves as the best in the country with a grudging acceptance that, okay, maybe some of the food in Guangdong (Cantonese) is okay as well.
I suppose that having a photo of my mom here before she appears in the narrative kind of ruins the surprise. For those who know her at least. For those who don’t I suppose my commenting on it is what ruins the surprise. Anyway to make it perfectly clear and completely eliminate any suspense, my mom joins us in the entry