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Newer Page 629 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
China Chengdu Tianfu Square Market Chilli

24 March 2013

Numbing and spicy

I awoke to the brilliant pollution filtered sunlight of Chengdu. According to my ipad application todays reading is 157, which is about 'normal', recently when farmers were preparing to plant their crops in nearby rural areas by burning off the weeds the reading went well over 600.
As it is now, its probably much like Beijing or even Hong Kong were on my previous visits, there is no horizon but once you are at street level you dont notice.

Since I had only really been asleep for a few hours and arrived in the very early morning, I still had no idea where I really was in relation to things, so it was time to set out and place myself in the city, which sounds idiotic but I walk everywhere and am always excited to find out what I will be passing each morning and night at the beginning and end of my walk.
Before that, the concierge insisted I have the buffet breakfast, which is included in my room rate. They had no coffee of any kind. They had many kinds of congee and even dan dan noodles. I opted for the only healthy things they had, fruit and make your own salad.

Enough boring crap, now for the challenges of speaking some Chinese instead of all or none. I confidently strode up to the counter at the coffee shop and ordered a large cafe latte after exchanging greetings. This establishes to the person serving me that I at least think I can speak Chinese. Except I cant really.
Now I want to order skim or non fat milk. But dont know how. Determined to speak Chinese where possible, I ask Can I please have that with..... and now I have to speak English. Which leads to confusion. Next thing I am being offered tea and cheesecake. A small conference occurs between the 3 staff, I point to my stomach, make a hand motion that I dont want a big stomach, and out comes the cheesecake agan.
At least I could confidently tell them I dont want the cheesecake, just the coffee please. So I doubt I got non fat milk, it was however delicious.

China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - The view out of my hotel room window. The location is a couple of streets over from the Chengdu version of Tiananmen Square which is called Tianfu Squ

The view out of my hotel room window. The location is a couple of streets over from the Chengdu version of Tiananmen Square which is called Tianfu Square. Its also 2 streets North of the main pedestrial shopping area, Chunxing Road.
The room is excellent except for one strange thing, no fridge. The wardrobe has one of the doors sealed shut with a mirror over it where a fridge once would have been but now, no. Looks like its hot bottled water for me for a few days. Internet and shower is excellent, and the bed comes with a pillow menu and is very comfortable.
Its a Holiday Inn Express, which is their cheaper brand, but as is usually the case in Asian cities, the cheap brand is nicer than the expensive brand in Australia. Just if you ever come to China, dont expect taxi drivers to know that its called the Holiday Inn express, they will know it only as whatever it was called before an international chain bought it, or by the name of the street it is on.
Also, Chinese taxi drivers cannot and do not read maps. There is an expectation that you will know where you are going. I guess most Chinese cities are massive, and pretty much all taxi drivers are apparently rural people in a transitional job until they can go work for Foxconn.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - There seems to be a bridal expo on as well as people getting married everywhere. I suspect its something to do with the season and the moon being full

There seems to be a bridal expo on as well as people getting married everywhere. I suspect its something to do with the season and the moon being full.
I especially like the plastic car decoration of bride and groom.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Then the batmobile appeared. Except closer inspection revealed most of the body work to be made out of chipboard.

Then the batmobile appeared. Except closer inspection revealed most of the body work to be made out of chipboard.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Time for some bird flu. This is a very small market that combines fish, pigs, fruit and vegetables and panda toys. Panda toys are everywhere.

Time for some bird flu. This is a very small market that combines fish, pigs, fruit and vegetables and panda toys. Panda toys are everywhere.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - The meat does however look delicious. And I am serious. The quality of all the pork seems to be excellent and very fresh...I looked around to see if t

The meat does however look delicious. And I am serious. The quality of all the pork seems to be excellent and very fresh...I looked around to see if there were any pigs about to provide even fresher meat, but they seem to have been butchered into halves off site.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Street vendors are plentiful, I forget what these red things are called, they are not strawberries, they are slightly sour but then get glazed in syru

Street vendors are plentiful, I forget what these red things are called, they are not strawberries, they are slightly sour but then get glazed in syrup. This particular guy is very persuasive, yelling at small children until they start screaming that they want one.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Tianfu Square, with piped, LOUD elevator music. I have heard that people fly kites here. I also recall that there may be a kite festival on at the mom

Tianfu Square, with piped, LOUD elevator music. I have heard that people fly kites here. I also recall that there may be a kite festival on at the moment somewhere nearby.
You may have recently seen on (not)news.com.au the story about China spraying their grass green, this is where that photo was taken.
The grass is indeed green, and whilst Australia websites might make fun of dying it green, I seem to recall that the same thing happens at the Docklands stadium in Melbourne.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - The chairman keeps watch over everyone enjoying themselves. It is very much like Tiananmen Square, only less soldiers with machine guns. Instead there

The chairman keeps watch over everyone enjoying themselves. It is very much like Tiananmen Square, only less soldiers with machine guns. Instead there are police who look like school kids dressed in skateboarding gear riding around on segways.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Renmin Lu, the main street that divides the city, resplendent in the pollution haze.

Renmin Lu, the main street that divides the city, resplendent in the pollution haze.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Theres an amazing amount of construction going on, the square itself was recently ripped up and re made and is now on top of the new subway system int

Theres an amazing amount of construction going on, the square itself was recently ripped up and re made and is now on top of the new subway system interchange.
All this makes the city dusty. But thats every Chinese city I have been to. Every city is a large construction site. Thats both exciting and frustrating. Exciting if you are a nerdy tourist that likes looking at stuff being built, but surely frustrating if you live here and everything is dusty and roads are missing whilst being re built.
Can that situation last forever or will it eventually become stagnant like Japan?


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - This is one of 4 similar entries to the subway in the square. Underneath is a flea market style shopping mall which appears to be an eleborate trap to

This is one of 4 similar entries to the subway in the square. Underneath is a flea market style shopping mall which appears to be an eleborate trap to one day kill a million people in a fire. Its a rabbit warren of vendors selling stuff made of polyester, interspersed with places deep frying things on sticks, with very few exits.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - It took me some time to determine this was a real girl and not a doll or wax casting. She stood absolutely still for ages as various children ran up t

It took me some time to determine this was a real girl and not a doll or wax casting. She stood absolutely still for ages as various children ran up to her and pulled on her dress (which I have failed to capture on my camera)


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - NEWEST MODERN CASUAL, just check my reflection in the photo for proof. Its about 25C and I havent seen one other guy wearing shorts. Whilst wandering

NEWEST MODERN CASUAL, just check my reflection in the photo for proof. Its about 25C and I havent seen one other guy wearing shorts.
Whilst wandering around a tibetan looking guy was staring at me, so I said hello how are you today in Chinese. He laughed hard. So I reached out and shook his hand. He looked at his hand intently like I had pulled off some kind of trick. Maybe I have! If you are reading this tibetan man, send $1000 yuan to my paypal to break the evil curse I have placed on you!


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - Just part of the system of pedestrian streets, this isnt the main one, but its photographable (is that a word?) from a street overpass. I will be back

Just part of the system of pedestrian streets, this isnt the main one, but its photographable (is that a word?) from a street overpass. I will be back at night to wander aimlessly.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - This cat does not look thrilled to be tied up. Hes so fed up with this bullshit he has knocked his food over. Dogs wandering by dont phase him, thats

This cat does not look thrilled to be tied up. Hes so fed up with this bullshit he has knocked his food over. Dogs wandering by dont phase him, thats possibly because in China the average dog is smaller than a cat and wearing something pink and ridiculous. Cats mock dogs.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - I hope I dont have to visit the Rectum Faculty. No doubt they do good business from westerners who cant handle hot pot.

I hope I dont have to visit the Rectum Faculty. No doubt they do good business from westerners who cant handle hot pot.


China-Chengdu-Tianfu Square-Market-Chilli - And so I had hot pot, HUO GUO! I did much better at speaking and understanding the language this time. I could ask for beef, confirm I wanted it numbi

And so I had hot pot, HUO GUO! I did much better at speaking and understanding the language this time. I could ask for beef, confirm I wanted it numbing and spicy, and when asked if I also wanted rice I understood exactly what was being asked. I did however cause confusion by stating I was from Australia and dont like beer when a bottle was put on my table that I didnt ask for.
The flavour was good but the meat had too many tiny bones. It tasted like beef but who knows! I cant eat hotpot every meal, its really a massive meal to share and its basically a litre of oil.


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