The day started with a quick taxi ride to the railway station, followed by just under two hours standing on the train back to Chengdu. It was the only ticket I could buy to get back to the city so I had to go with it. I stood where the train cars connect and was surrounded by probably about 10 men at any given time smoking cigarettes. Smoking in China is much more popular than in the US, and almost all smokers here smoke cigarettes and not vapes. Sharing cigarettes and smoking together is seen as a very important social aspect in China, and it is considered very rude to refuse a cigarette.
When I arrived in Chengdu I went straight to Kuanzhai Alley to grab some street food and got these awesome treats 🙂
The alley made me think of an upscale, more European version of Beijing’s hutongs. It was built with grey bricks and there were people everywhere buying snacks or getting their ears cleaned (I forgot to mention in a previous post that in Chengdu you can have a traditional ear picking done in which the ears are cleaned of ear wax in public!) Others window shopped or had their portraits done by street artists.
After Kuanzhai Alley, I made my way to Tianfu Square. Some say that if you go to Chengdu and don’t go to Tianfu Square, then you didn’t really go to Chengdu. Tianfu Square is a central point that leads to various museums and lots of shopping. I found it’s a great spot for people watching. Though impossible to see from the ground, Tianfu Square is arranged into the shape of a large Yin and Yang symbol.
From Tianfu Square I went to Anshun Bridge, another noteworthy spot in the city. At the bridge itself there is not much to do unless you want to eat at the fancy restaurant that now sits on the bridge, however in the areas further down the river I watched a women’s dance troupe perform dances with traditional Chinese fans. I also stumbled into a nightclub area with lots of contemporary artwork.
I was super paranoid from my last time trying to make a train in Chengdu, so I decided to take a taxi to the railway station with PLENTY of time in advance to make sure I wouldn’t miss my train. I got there with plenty of time to spare! My original plan was to take a 36 hour train ride back to Shanghai, but I changed my plan last minute and opted to take a 24 hour train to Beijing, spend the weekend, and then take a 4.5 hour train back to Shanghai on Sunday, making up days 8, 9 and 10.