May 20, 2006

More traveling...

Hello everyone,

So here I am sitting in an internet cafe with about 200 chinese people in this large room in Xian. For the past 2 days, we have been in the city of Chengdu though. Chengdu is a very large city (probably bigger than NYC) with about 10 million + people. And you can definitely feel their presence. The first day we were there, the noticed all of the smog and pollution filling the skies. Even though the sun was out, we couldn't really see it. However, I still feel it was cleaner than Beijing though.

The first day we were there we kept it easy and visited Do Fu's thatched cottage (a famous Chinese poet back in the day). We took a lot of pictures of the scenery, and then went back to the hotel. We found a bar close to the hotel, so we chillaxed for a bit. The next day we drove over two hours south of Chengdu to visit the largest Buddha statue. It was about 71m high, carved into the earth. It wasn't bad, but there were so many people there, combined with the 90 degree weather and humidity, it could have been better. Afterwards, we have a special "hot pot" dinner, where we basically cook our food in a hot pot right in front of us on our table. It sounds like a cool idea, but all of the food came out wrong and didn't taste very good. Plus, being as Chengdu is part of the Sichuan providence, everything was extremely spicy, even though they called it "mild". I couldn't imagine anything hotter than that.

So basically, everyone was pretty bummed out over the crappy dinner we have, but that's when we saw the Golden Arches on our horizon. Our savior. McDonalds. We buckled down and ate there for the first time on the trip, even though our professors didn't want us to eat there (they made a rule with us at the beginning of the trip - no one eats McDonalds... you should experience the local food). Well, yeah, we didn't take that rule seriously. But it was funny though... as soon as we walked in, everyone was staring at us. Everyone. I couldn't tell if they never saw a white westerner before, or it was because us typical Americans are eating in McDonalds. We experienced a couple of people taking pictures of us while we were standing in line. Sure, it was very awkward, but the food made it worth while. It tasted exactly like in the States. Yumm. So a Big Mac Meal costs about 15.5 yuan, which equates to under $2. Nice...

Today, we woke up early as usual and hit up the Panda Adventure. This is the largest place in China where you can see pandas. So we saw all of the cute little pandas eating bamboo and lounging around... they don't do much besides eat and sleep. That pretty much makes up their day, and I'm not joking. They are even too lazy to have sex, so we've been told.

After that, we flew over to Xian, where I am now. And our hotel that we are staying at has a McDonalds and a KFC within walking distance. Whew. Although, we have a enjoyable local dinner here though... I haven't hit up that place yet. But give it time.

Oh... so one more thing about the whole "crash" that we had at Everest. The company that we drove with apologized to our group, presented us with a nice dinner and a show, and gave us some gifts to take home. They really felt horrible and ashamed. So, I would say that everything is back to normal now.

Talk to yinz later...


At 3:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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