So we left the bright lights and madness of Hong Kong and headed off to Chengdu - decided to go for the easy option and took the plane rather than an eternity on the train. So all went fairly hassle free and headed off to Hong Kong port where we left in luxury on the Hover Jet boat towards Shenzhen (China), where we would fly to Chengdu.

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Arrived at airport, starving due to 7 am start and headed straight for the food… Found KFC and thought why not. Afterwards headed to gate and were gutted as the pub next to the gate, where we sat and played cards, had a fab full on pancakes, home fries, bacon, sausage etc menu - KFC did not compare… Nevermind so sat and played card till flight eventually ready to leave.

Flew into Chengdu over very rural landscape, which was lovely and very different to all the bright lights and cities we had seen previously. Had done our usual and taken a photo of the PC screen for directions to the hostel which inolved 2 buses, so we thought no worries. Headed off for bus which the stop was right outside the airport. As we approached a bus was just leaving, so bought a ticket and were told the next one would be along soon. So we were at the front of the queue and all looked well. In the next 10 minutes about 100 people truned up around the bus stop and with the Chinese being Chinese were all barging trying to get to the front. There was a conductor guy at the front of the rabble and I thought that he wouild control the masses when the bus arrived. Well no such luck I have never sen anything like it. When the bus pulled up it was like every man/woman for themselves. Alasdair had both back packs as I had just taken mine off and headed to the front of the queue. Al managed to barge his way through knocking out women and children left right and centre and this was perfectly acceptable as everyone was doing the same thing. I followed hanging on to him for dear lif but had to engage the elbows on several occasions to get. Absolute F***ing madness. Have never seen anything like it, you would have thought it was the last bus ever to leave and that if you weren’t getting on would have met a fate worse than death. This is the Chinese queuing system though and nobody seems to mind. No angry shouts or anything. Had this situation been in Glasgow half the people in the queue would have end up killing each other, but not here not even a foul look (apart from us)!!!  

So anyway were finally on the bus and had to sit squashed up with back packs on laps had a good laugh about it and sat there in utter disbelief. Had to change buses in the centre of town and had to do a mad dash off the bus as only just realised it was our stop as bus was pulling off again. After all this palavour, decided to just get a cab to hostel and thought we knew were it was.  What a joke, after two hours of trying to get to hostel with only the road name and the info that it was next to a rocket model we were no closer. Had been taken to an amusement park and a rocket shaped building and no one had a clue where we were going!!! Finally stopped at an internet cafe, and printed off correct instructions and manged to get there a peice of piss! Were within 5 mins of where we had been driving around for the last hour. next time will make sure we take a photo of the entire screen (including phone number of place) or print off directions…

Destructions to Chengdu hostel 

Arrived at hostel to be told they had no recollection of our booking, but could squeeze us in a hotel opposite. Which turned out great had our own suite with ensuite that did not require flip flops and decided as it only cost about 7 quid a night to stay for a few days. Hostel was great, really chilled with a little court yard and roof terrace and beer for about 20p a go… fab. Went over for a couple the night we arrived to chill after hectic journey and met an Irish guy called Larry who we drank with till about four in the morning. Also met a Chinese guy alled arran who spoke fab English and kept producing food from his bag so we ate munches of spicy fish, duck, sunflower seeds and tofu (interesting).

Needless to say was a late rise the next day and spent the day chilling on the roof terrace. After a couple of hours there Larry appeared from his room and drinking commenced again. Met two Dutch nurses, Mel and Yet who joined us for a Sichuan Hot pot (the local delicacy). Hot pot is similar to Fondue in the act that you get a bubbling pot of oil and fling food into it. However as the name suggests is the spiciest thing ever and Al and Larry were soaking with sweat after the first few bites!! Has ordred 2 pots one less spicy and I was all up for trying it. Then Mel fished around in it with a spoon to discover a fish head floating in it and needless to say i stuck to the egg fried rice from there. Al and Larry ate all sorts of random meats (none recognisable) and whole meal plus beers was less than a tenna a head. Went back to the hostel and chilled in the garden palying rummy and Shit head till the wee small hours.

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Awoke wishing we hadn’t been up so late as we had a date with the Pandas at 7 am (you have to go early as the pandas are only awake for 2 hours of the day).. (our kind of animal!!!)

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Was trully amazing, got to see about 30 pandas up close and I paid for a hug with a Panda (about one days budget) which was totally fab. My Panda just sat ther munching on bamboo while I stroked his ears and had photos taken with him..

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Then got to go tot the panda nursery where there werea bout 5 babies (ranging from a week to 2 months old) all lying around in a play pen. V cute. Pandas are quite possibly the laziest animals ever and no wonder they are becoming extinct they can’t even be bothered mating!!! At the Panda reserve met 2 American guys (Bobby & Dado), who were over here for “fall break” studying Chinese. They both had perfect Chinese so managed to have some chat with them and our bus driver. Got back to the hostel about 11 am, had breakfast and retired to bed for a wee doze…

That evening wamdered down to the Wenshu temple area of town and found some lovely back streets and food places. Had some dinner in a wee Chinese place (agian ordered through charades) and enjoyed a tasty treat. Then found a bar with Live Sax music and had a drinks there before heading back for an early night.

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Got back to hostel and met Larry, Mel & Yet and had to partake in a few more drinks. Were just about to head to bed and met a very upset Arran who had had his ID card stolen that day (basically need for everything) and had to console him for another couple of hours.

Woke up that morning and were worried about all the tales of people having things stolen so made one of the bum bags into a leg pouch to avoid any risk of stuff being knicked (hopefully will work). So far every one we have met has had something lost or stolen so we don’t feel too bad as ok so far…(touch wood). Wandered over to the hostel after a day of chilling reading a book and Al had downloaded some photos etc at a nearby internet cafe. Met Paul (Austalian) and Hannah (Swedish) and all decided to go for dinner. All fancied something Western so went to local Irish bar where we feast on chicken, cheese and bacon and the boys watched the Liverpool Man U game.


Typical Irish joint after about an hour witnessed a fight and some guy landed under our table will a bloody nose (nice). Back to the hostel after a found Dado and Bobby talking to a Chinese Army guard who was on holidays with his girlfriend and talked to the small hours about Chinese etiquette, marriage etc through our two translators!!!

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Very interesting to get an insight into Chinese life. Snuck out during night and made a few phone calls to the mums and my mum was telling all about baby number 2  - A black Bouvier puppy called Bob (Marley) who they have just bought. Can’t wait to meet him (in a year!!!).

After another lazy day decided to go get a Chinese Massage and were recommended a place over the road. Well, had a hour long massage (through clothing) where every part of me was cracked and pummelled to death (not sure if pleasure or pain,  Al enjoyed though). After they had finished on us they asked did we want to try “cuppng” and we thought why not. Proceeded then to have between 14 - 20 hot glasses vacummed onto our backs which felt like umm I don’t know, strange. Cups were removed after about 15 minutes and had left us with circular love bites all over our backs!!! Als were the worst and he still looks like a leopard a week later.

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All only cost 20 yuan (one pound) so couldn’t really bitch.. Retuned to hostel to get several laughs when we showed off our backs and had a few beverages with Larry and an amrican guy Jason.

Awoke late again (something about this place which is so chilled) and headed into towen to Grandmas deli where we feasted on pancakes, bacon and eggs etc then phoned my mum as it was her birthday. All was well in Woodcock world and she was heading off for dinner and shopping in London (very nice). Hopped on board a rickshaw and went down to the River Viewing Park. Poor guy driving the rickshaw was about 60 and 6 stone so didn’t pick up much speed with us fatties on board. Arrived at park which was beautiful and saw women having a Tai Chi dance off and then sat about drinking Chinese tea and playing cards.

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Lovely. Returned to hostel and met Larry and his Irish friend Garry and Jason and had drinks then to bed.

Woke up ealry on Thurday and went off on the bus to Mount Qingcheng (about 65Km outside Chengdu). Is a 1600 foot mountain covered in temples and monestaries. Beautiful. Spent the day hiking to the top (mainly stairs so exhausting) and saw some amzing views along the way.

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Also saw a lot of hilarious signs in Chinglish, see if you can work out what they are on about!!! 

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Sat and had a wonderful Chinese meal at the top Temple of the local specialties, Pork and bamboo.

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On the way up saw several Lazy Chinese people being carried to the top on hammocks by these poor guys who made a living running up and down the mountain!


Descended a wee bit and found a Temple with accomodation so set up for the night. Was absolutely freezing at this point but fortunately the beds had electric blankets and there was a hot shower.  

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Then adjourned to the courtyard where we were taken into the kitchen and chose from a variety of veg to have with an omelette. Fantastic were the only Westerners there and were like celebreties,  they all watched us eating,  much to our embarrassment with the chopsticks. Were served beer form a Taoist Monk and sat playing cards. What an amazing place at 7 pm it was pitch black and there was not a sound form our balconly overlooking the forrest.

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Kind of eeirie and kept expecting to see monks flying through the air crouching Tiger style,  fortunately didn’t!!! Awoke early the next day had breakfast with the monks (same as dinner) then descended passing by lots of beautiful scenery.

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Unfortunately was pishing it down so got soaked. Headed down a different way to coming up which had less sights but was all rain forrest so stunning. Got to the bottom and glided across a small lake on a boat back to civilisation.

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Got the bus back to Chengdu,  checked back into hostel, showered,met Garry & Larry and headed out for a Tex Mex feast. Not too late a night, but still awoke late today. So have spent most of the day writing this journal entry and have booke a four day Yantze river cruise for tomorrow so heading off at 06:30 so an early night!!! Arrive in Yichang on Wednesday and hope to head off for Kathmandu from there - if we can work out how to get there!!! Will check in soon. Hope everyone is well and can’t wait to hear from you all.

To summarise, Chengdu we love you!!!!


28 Responses to “Chengdu…”

Al said:

Andy - glad to see yer patter is improving, however i hate to say it but yer probably right about the spare tyre. Im sure it has something to do with the high fat lager they serve here.
As for the ole rusty starfish, its like leather now though…
Email soon

Seamus and the lovely Ania - Prep h, a godsed if ever there was one. We were talking about you guys the other night, what with the North Korea situation - might not have been the worst idea to leave the country!!! Shanghai was superb - reeks a bit but well worth it. Keep us informed of where yer headin - we may cross paths soon, till then take care!

Posted on October 28th, 2006.

Andy W said:

My idea of a hot pot with 2 Dutch nurses is somewhat different from what you endured……was disappointing to page down and see a pot of grub and no bathtub in sight! Mind you, the massage definately sounds more like some kind of Chinese nookie factory - I think you’re not telling the full story there! If you thought Shanghai was reekin, I can’t wait for your next post after the Yangtzee river…..I believe it is somewhat orange coloured due to the recent rain, and it reeks like pi**!

Posted on October 29th, 2006.

hairy said:

Hey you two, sorry not had a chance to get on the site recently but just caught up with all your chat, still sounds amazing especially the pandas did they stroke your ears back Mrs Reid looks like it with the smile on your face! My sis is currently typing this for me as the destructor has self destructed with a fractured distal radius following a beer enduced fall (am sure this comes as no shock to a lot of people!) so in a cast for the next four weeks, but right biceps is looking good from lifting all the pints! Anyway take care and will catch up soon x x x

Posted on October 29th, 2006.

Alex Daly said:

Hi Al (and Sara of course),

I bet this beats sorting out the noise. Oh, and can you answer that PCM !

Hope all is going well, it seems to be from the blog. Life is just as exciting in desk-land !

Good luck in the continuing journey.


Posted on October 29th, 2006.

Fraser said:

Glad to see you’re looking in better health than when you were in HK! Was about to suggest you visited a dodgy back street clinic and picked up a couple of spare livers to take with you for the rest of the trip. Can’t wait for the next installments of your photos….drunken monks after joining you for a wee drink…years of religious vows ruined after 1 beer. Take care

Posted on October 30th, 2006.

Max & Ally said:

Vacuum cups my arse!
They look like love bites of a sex-doll…oh..eh..well that’s what Kev told me.

Have a cracking time ;)

Posted on October 31st, 2006.

Hi guys. How much did it cost Sarah to ship one of the Pandas back to Chobham? Only kidding. Getting served Dinner and breakfast by the monks must have been a surreal experience. Good to see you experienced some rain at last!!! The smell of raw sewage shouldn’t be too bad for you two: should just be like one of Al’s farts after a good curry. Good to see several hundred lagers getting downed and keeping up the British end. Look after yourselves and look forward to the next instalment.

Camy & Val

Posted on October 31st, 2006.

Ally & Lorna said:

Hi Al Sarah,
Looks like your having a great time guys, Lorna and I are so jealous. I was also wondering if you are getting sponsored by “Good Food Live” with the amount of new and wonderful food you are enjoying it all sounds magic. great website its like reading a book. We look forward to reading about all your adventures, and seeing the great pics, this along with watcthing Al getting bigger, way to go guys yous look fab.

Posted on November 3rd, 2006.

Ace & Bob said:

We would like one of them there Pandas to play with, but would it share its grub with us?
Bob thinks he may be a diistant cousin.

Posted on November 3rd, 2006.

Al said:

Andy - its possible that the cupping story could have been told differently, involving a freak accident with a jucuzzi bath set on reverse - thereby allowing it to meet your criteria - i’ll need to work on it though…

Hairy - Not surprised in the least, just wondering how many drinks you managed to knock over in the process!

Alex - great to here from ye! Funny thing about the noise problem that i occured to me after leaving (10 mins later!): I’m sure we programmed that into the system early on to get more cash from you guys! Consider this an official PCM! Take care and let us know whats happening in the land of honey.

Fraser - Already bought those spare livers and had them fitted already - cant you tell? As for the monks - i’m sure they are related to the Buckfast Abbey mob…

Max and sexy Ally - Vacuum cups on yer arse you say? - just confirming the opinions i have on your deviancy. You’ll notice that mine never went that far down. Hows mother doing?

Cam ‘n Val - Strangely it was relatively cheap - the problem was the cost of transporting the 15 tons of bamboo shoots that it would scoff on the way back to blighty. Probably be easier to freeze it and send it directly to the butchers, eh?!

Ally ‘n Lorna - Was wondering when you were gonna stick yer head over the precipice. Knew instictively that it would involve a cheap shot at my weight. I’m a human being you know - i have feelings too. Besides it’s difficult to run in China - something to do with a strange phenomenon local to the area. Let us know whats happening back in the Burger.

Kev - There was too much on the page to take in at once, but i persevered: The hair, the tie, the enlarged cranium and as for that smile… Moving onto the resume, superb - Barker Brettell must have one hell of a bullshit department cause its too good for Rankin. Didnt Dougie used to be fat though?

Ace and Bob - Lads its no use, them there Pandas are less active than cool cat. Mind you i dont suppose that matters when your hanging by your teeth off its tail. As for its food though there is no way you guys would eat its bamboo - but it might get a taste for your sausages - beware…

Posted on November 4th, 2006.

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