If I ever thought crossing the road in the Melbourne CBD could be difficult, I was very, very wrong. Crossing the road in Chengdu was an art in itself. A terrifying, terrifying art. The roads were insanely busy, cars didn’t indicate, and everyone rode scooters and simply did not give a shit about traffic lights. I soon decided acting like a local was the safest and easiest approach to crossing the road, and would frantically follow people across. As you can see below, helmets were also not a thing!
On my second night in Chengdu I met up with Hamza again, and we – along with his lovely flat mate – ventured out for some local Sichuan food for dinner. We ended up going to a restaurant where there was no English on the menu, and spent a hilarious 15 minutes ordering our meal with Google translate. Thankfully the waitress took it all in good humour, and we soon had our fabulous food. Sichuan food is notorious for being spicy, and I can certainly vouch for that now! There is even a local peppercorn that turns your mouth slightly numb.
After dinner we ventured to the top of the nearby shopping centre to visit the face of the giant panda.
We caught a cab (again, terrifying) to Jinli Street, a popular tourist attraction. The bustling street is a refurbished shopping and food district around a temple modeled around what it would have historically looked like. It was beautiful to see. In the above photo, I am also the subject of the photo of a number of domestic tourists! Apparently international tourists aren’t overly common.
The next day, I went on a tour run by my hostel to the Giant Panda Breeding Centre! This place is the main tourist attraction in Chengdu, and is usually over run with tourists. However, my tour guide got me (the only person on the tour!) to the centre by 8am, and I was waiting by the enclosures before the pandas had even come out. It was great to have a tour guide, as he led me to all the best spots, despite not speaking English.