i got up around 8:00, with a departure time of 10:00. i was surprised to get a phone call around 9:00, figured maybe someone from the office was calling to tell me my package had arrived. turns out it was a agent from ctrip, telling me chengdu hotel reservation were cancelled because 1) they're all booked up, and 2) they don't accept foreign visitors. the agent did let me know he could look for a similarly priced hotel around the same area. he ended up recommending a RMB$140 place (the one i'd booked was just RMB$120/night). i figured i'd just stay there for the night to try it out, if i don't like it i could look for another hotel.

the last time i was in china i spent a few days in chengdu. i really don't remember all that much about the place. i remember arriving by train with a ticket purchased with the help of that dongbei medical equipment salesman i met on the yangtze river cruise ship. i then remember wandering around town trying to find a place to stay, curtly refused by the first hostel i visited (i think they thought i was a local trying to sell them on some service), then nearly refused by the second hostel i went to before they took pity on me and put me up in a banking hotel across the street. i went to panda breeding center as well as sanxingdui. i also went to wuhou temple before buying a bus ticket for kangding. i tried visiting one of the plazas but it was under construction at the time, and i didn't even see the giant statue of mao.

hopscotching from one city to another is how i traveled through china last time. once again i had this weird inception feeling of taking a vacation within a vacation. i didn't feel it in chongqing because i go there so often, but arriving in chengdu i felt it. as for this city itself, i had no great desire to come back. it was just the next nearest large city next to chongqing, so it was the most logical destination.

chengdu is flat, so no hills. having spent so much time in the chongqing area, it was kind of disconcerting not seeing any mountains in the distance. a flat terrain also means a lot of bicycle and scooter traffic, in every variety imaginable, from manual to electric to gasoline. and just like in taiwan, people ride on the sidewalks occasionally, even though there are dedicated bike/scooter lanes. chengdu is also 2-3 celsius colder than chongqing, which translates to a 10 degrees fahrenheit difference. it was definitely a bit chillier, but the weather made up for it with a dash of blue sky. finally, maybe it was just me, after a few days traveling without the company of ladies, but the girls of chengdu seem prettier. chongqing girls are renowned for their beauty, but i'm finding evidence against that here. maybe it's an infusion of tibetan genes as i see pure tibetans mixed in with general population (chengdu after all is the capital of sichuan, and the mountains of western sichuan is tibetan territory).

the flat terrain makes it deceptively simple to consider walking around everywhere. without any hills (even boston has hills and i consider that to be a kind of flat city as well), how hard can it be? but after 3 days of walking in chongqing, and even more walking in chengdu, i found blisters on my heels when i returned to the hotel.

tianfu square:

chunxi road: