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Train to Changu No Tibettin

Yesterday, I checked out of the hostel in Xi'an. I liked Xi'an-it was a nice city, with the wall around Xi'an. I liked the hostel as well-the folks there we're friendly, there was a nice common area, and I had a good time. But I only have a 30 day visa-so it was time to move on, plus i think I have seen the city.

So I left the hostel early for my 11:05 train-a 4 hour trip on the fast train to Changdu. (Previously the trip was 16 hours-this line just opened December 2017), and was about $41.00 which isn't too bad. I was looking forward to Changdu, and going to the panda sanctuary. Once again, I arrived at a giant rail station that looks like it can accommodate a few Grand Central Terminals. I arrived early so had breakfast. Most of the restaurants just served Chinese breakfasts, which are noodles and similar food as lunch, dinner. There was a Mcexception of course, and that is where I went for the big breakfast(the server has devil horns for some reason).

The scenery was similar to the other train ride-some country, quite a few cities with high rises under construction, nuclear power plants, etc. The train was fast, and the smell was kind of...foul. People like to bring their own types of food on board, and all of the Chinese dishes just makes a funky smell on the train.

I went to the hostel, which was one of the least expensive in town, roughly about $6.00- per night. I also liked this one because Tibet tours we're offered. So I found the hostel without much issue, using their directions from the high speed train station to the metro. The promise on Hostelworld is because they are combined with two other hostels, there is always demand for their tours and they always go on.

So when I checked in, I asked about the Tibet tours, and was told there are 4, 5 and 6 day tours, and the Visa takes 5 days, and the soonest I can go out would be on the 25, which would be pushing it. (since Visa is only 30 days-and I haven't yet been to Beijing and other parts of China). The total cost was roughly $500 plus airfare for the 4 day package-which would be almost $900-expensive but I don't know if I will ever be this way again. So being that I haven't eaten since this morning, and it was around 4:00 pm. I told the hostel desk clerk that i would like to sign up for the tour on the 25th. He made several phone calls, which of course I had no idea what he was saying. He then asked if I wanted a private tour for around the same price-i was hesitant. I was more interested in a group tour, as I liked meeting people-but he said no group tour was available. I asked if anyone from the other hostels was interested in going-he said no-because it is off season. So I reluctantly agreed for the 25th.

It was then the hostel guy said the 26th would be a better date-since the Tibet paperwork may take longer. At that point, I decided to put this whole thing off-China is a big country-and 30 days isn't a long time-I already have used 1/3 of that time, and didn't want to work around a date 8 days in the future.

So I gave up-it was dumpling time at the hostel. About 15 of us gathered around a table, and showed us how to make dumplings-basically raviolis with some filling inside, (we used vegetables). This involved kneeding the dough, smoothing it out, adding flour to make it more pliable, and then putting the filling in, and putting the whole thing in my left hand and gently pinching it. Mine turned into more of a mess. The good news is the non-Chinese at the table (roughly 1/2 of us), seemed to make similar messes.

After that, I had a beer-went out for desert (some strawberries and mandarins from fruit vendors), and went back to bed.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:32 Archived in China

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