Tuesday 17 May Shangri-La to Chengdu

We woke this morning to another overcast and very cool day, with the temperature at 7.30am being 6°. It was still dark when we got up at 5.45am and from our room we could see the fresh food markets on the street below us again. After an early breakfast, we were taken to the small Shangri-La Airport for our 9.05am flight to Chengdu. The flight was delayed for half an hour and Richard was surprised that it went at all because of the very low cloud over Shangri-La this morning. We boarded our China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-700 and the flight took approximately one hour and twenty minutes.

Chengdu is a very large airport and has 40 million passengers per year passing through there. Chengdu is the Capital of the Sichuan Province, which is known as the “Heavenly State” or “The Land of Abundance”. Chengdu is the natural habitat of the cute giant pandas and there are 6 million people living in Urban Chengdu.

We were met at the Chengdu Airport by our local guide, Jim and our driver, Mr Chu, who took us to “The Old House Folkway Restaurant” for lunch. The restaurant was the most up-market place we have eaten at and the traditional Chinese food was delicious.

After lunch, we visited Chengdu’s Jinli Old Street, one of the oldest commercial streets in China. We walked through the Park at the Jiaghong Gate and saw the Tablet Pavilion/Square Pavilion and the Memorial Hall with the Tomb built in memory of Liu Xiang from the Second World War. The tomb itself was under repair.

We were given some free time to wander through Jinli, with hundreds of people wandering around looking at the shops, looking at Sichuan’s folk arts and handicrafts, many food stalls, calligraphies and paintings to name a few.

We met up with our tour director, Vivian and local guide Jim at 3.00pm and were driven through the city to our hotel, the Grant Hyatt. Along the way we saw a large ship beside the Brocade River, on land, that was cut in half and was a memorial to the River People at the 10,000 Miles Point.

We arrived at our hotel and were taken up to the 15th floor to register – we all sat in a lovely lounge listening to a pianist while Vivian organised everything for us. We are on the 32nd floor with a magnificent view and the most amazing room….. we could get used to this!!

We decided to go out exploring and ran into Anna & Chris, who were doing the same thing, so we all got the lift to the ground floor and walked to the end of the building, turned right and found ourselves in the main shopping mall. We spent the next two hours wandering through the mall, looking at shops and buildings, as well as marveling at some human statues we found along the way. We came back to the hotel at about 7.00pm and went to the outdoor bar on 15th floor to have a cocktail before dinner and we ran into another 7 members of our group, so we all chatted and laughed together about our adventures in China so far. We all decided to have dinner together and the waitress organised a special long table for us in a separate part of the dining area. The four of us all had a club sandwich, which was the best club sandwich we have ever had (and that is not just because we have been eating Chinese food for lunch and dinner for the past week!).

We also met, and had a very interesting chat to the Food and Beverage Manager for the Hotel, who told us that this Hotel has only been open since the end of January this year. We had a very relaxed and enjoyable dinner, with lots of fun, story-telling and laughter, before returning to our rooms.

Leave a Reply