Subways are one of the best places to observe all kinds of differently people in a city. Within 10 minutes time, you probably can see several dozen faces as people rush in and out of the train at different metro stations to go to their destinations. On the subway ride to meet up with my friend who was visiting Shanghai, a man in his late 20s/early 30s approached me. We had the strangest conversation which all started with him turning 180 degrees to say hi to me, and then purposefully sitting next to me in a completely empty subway cart. First, he complimented me on my skin that was “like sunshine”. Then, I found out that he was taking the train to go to a wedding in Nanjing and when I then told him I had never been to one before, he jokingly (or half seriously) said that I should join him. Within 5 minutes of our conversation, he whipped out his phone and asked for my WeChat. Slightly paranoid, I lied and said I didn’t have data/wechat yet because I had just barely arrived in Shanghai. All of a sudden, he was like, “I want to travel with you. I wan to go with you to TIbet.” I eventually asked him if he always made friends on the subway like this and his response was that he didn’t apparently, he decided to approach me, and he said that I left a lasting impression on him, especially my sunshine skin. LOL. Creeped out or flattered? Hmmm.
After meeting up with my friend, I took the metro back home. During my trip, I saw a violinist playing inside the subway train to make some extra cash, a very hip French-speaking black couple that attracted many long stares from locals, Cantonese speaking American adults that made me miss home, and a dude/dudette who threw up next to me.
I need to go subway people watching more often, LOL
What’s interesting about visiting all of these cities in China is that they are all so similar, yet uniquely different. Each new place I have visited gives off a different atmosphere. Dialects also differ a little in each city, and the Chengdu dialect essentially sounds like normal Mandarin with “wrong” tones. In comparison to Shanghai, Chengdu is a little less developed, for example, they only have two metro lines running through their gigantic city. It is also more suburban and less hectic. Streets were wider and there was more open space.
I had a great 4 days here. Chengdu has street food and yogurt to die for. Also, everything you may have heard about the spicy level of their hotpot is true. It got me sweating as if I ran a marathon, but it was so delicious. The weird thing with me is that I can handle my spice internally, but it all just projects outward in the form of sweat. Yeah, pretty gross. I actually sweat more eating hotpot than I did hiking in Chengdu, LOL.
Hiking and seeing the pandas were the two highlights of the trip. Although I wasn’t a fan of how China commercializes hiking by having vendors at literally every mountain bend, I can’t deny that there is beauty to be found in the mountains of China. We visited Mount Qingcheng which is where Daoism was founded. It was so peaceful (minus the Chinese tourists) and I found myself at ease and relaxed, even while sweating up the endless flights of stairs. The pandas, oh man. There was SO CUTE. We made the smart decision of going on the last day of our trip (when most people have already returned to work because it technically isn’t part of the break) and there was barely anyone at the panda reserve. We had front row views of these cute creatures, and we went early enough so that they weren’t sleeping. It was so worth waking up at 6:30AM for.
Chengdu, thanks for a great vacation. I’ll miss yah!