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"I am two with nature"
Woody Allen

Back in my residence – and I feel so foreign …

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Did I really forget to put up a pic from the Panda Breeding Center‽

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Astridone: Say whaaaaat?

Due to increasing popular demand I'll prepone my food dump. As with all the other pics I posted so far, these are raw preview files directly from the camera. They're not digitally "developed", yet, so the colors and especially the brightness values are a bit off.
So let's do this!

Fried corn pancake. Tasted good but way too large a serving to not get saturated by the oil after eating half of it.

As all things Sichuan the very good kind of very spicy. And curiously I couldn't tell if it's been just the right amount of coriander or it was a large amount but it tastes less annoying here.

Can recommend. Also free refills for the white tea.

This just had to be good. Wasn't. It was some kind of fried dough but tasted like drinking the frying oil while you had to really chew the shit like years old hard toffee. I gave it my best but only got through three of these.

TIL Kung Pao actually means chicken. The owner of the place told (Many use voice-to-text translation) me that my prime minister also just ate chicken 'here'. That's how I found out Angela's been to China again.

Fuck yeah Sichuan pepper, I'm all for it!

Morchella with what might've been rumen, wasn't sure, but it had significant grooves. Also chili that was way more flavory than hot.

Friggin enormous pot of noodle soup. Lots of cabbage, leek, kelp, and so hot and hot (Get your shit together, language!) that I walked out with a fucking blister inside my mouth! Still premium dish, though.

Decided to walk into a cafe to have some non-street-food desert.Turns out it was a very posh restaurant and waiter and waitress got super confused as to how to serve two pieces of cake at once – so extraordinary! Tiramisu didn't even look remotely like we know, tasted like eternal nothingness. Coffee was alright for Chinese standards, I guess. Costing around 10€ this was the most expensive dish I've had so far, by a factor of three.

I have no idea what this was. Got it in the tropical mountain forest where several women offered them for stair-weary folks on their way up to the monastery. It had a white-purplish peel that they nimbly chopped off with a small machete. Tasted really good, remotely like watery peach and had the consistency of, I can't tell, really. Somewhere in between unripe pear and a harder melon.

Just had to get one of these :D

I'm usually not very fond of duck, but alas I'm not nearly being as picky as at home, I gave it a go. LPT: When in Sichuan do as Sichuanese do. If someone offers you a fork or spoon to your dish, take it ;) At first I was like 'Nah thx, I can handle the chopsticks just well enough', but the waitress proceeded to show me how this is done. You use a fork to open up the dumpling-like pockets then fill in the ducky duck – mind the bone splinters – close it and enjoy. No shame in using a spoon for rice either.

First meal in Yunnan first time encountering ground beef. Still a bit hot, though not as spicy. Good stuff. The bowl to the right for once didn't contain tea, but very clear broth instead.

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Nothing like pwning your friends before work to kick off the day.

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I visited Wenshu Monastery this morning, the most important of the four most important (yeah, you read that right) Zen Buddhist monasteries. It's just a quick morning walk away from my HQ and really a magnificent place. Even with many visitors it's very tranquil as most of them go there to pray and for once it's not all about taking photos. Might as well be the reason that this day was the first without anyone asking to take a shot with me :O

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Gang gang!

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Have to give it to these two, hands down best chefs in Qingyang – my part of town. The kitchen is just a niche on an open terrace right above a small street behind my hotel. After my legs are done exploring I show up there in the evenings checking the other guest's bowls and be like:"I'll have what he's having."

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Willi: enjoying the blog, but definitely needs more food photos! hälsningar från Astrid också

长胡子的老虎,茉莉花龙的继承人: Oi sann, hjertelig takk og hilsen tilbake! And I got you covered :D

Spent the morning in lovely Huanhua Xi Park, it's so nice there that I might just go again! The serene bamboo groves, lots of waterways, pagodas and other places to just sit back and relax are so soothing by themselves, I don't really get why they have to run cheesy background music through speakers masqueraded as small rocks everywhere. And sprinkled in between all of that there's a couple of tea houses filled with mostly elderly folks audibly enjoying their games of Mahjong. I used to play it a lot when I was younger, but unfortunately can't quite remember the rules anymore.

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MFW checking the results of Saxony's recent state election. Close call …

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Part of the park is dedicated to Du Fu, one of China's most well respected poets on par with Li Bai. The thatched cottage he dwelled in and several pagodas have been reconstructed after originals dating from the Tang to Qing dynasties.

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Took the panoramic elevator up the West Pearl Tower, at 339m the tallest in Western China. Surprisingly the top floor sports VR- and AR-arcade setups, because what else would you do up there, right?

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你好! Finally arrived in Pandaria Chengdu after a solid 24 hours of travel. Everything went super smooth, treated myself to a last awesome breakfast with real bread in Prague, where I also stumbled by a movie set and enjoyed a decent pint of Pilsner Urquell at the airport later on. Spent roughly 9 hours on the plane watching The Sopranos, getting a first glimpse of proper Sichuan spiciness with intermittent contortioned sleep breaks. Totally lucked out, though, had two seats to myself.

Got disinfected with some weird spray before leaving the plane and walked through thermometric sensors to make sure I don't bring in any foreign germs. Further 'alien' processing went through without any hiccups whatsoever and whilst getting on the Metro it totally paid off choosing Chengdu as my point of entry. Everything's in English and super high-end – choose your destination on a touchscreen map, get your 70c ticket and off you go. It's a breeze.  
Got to my hotel four hours before earliest check-in time, but the guys where so nice as to prepare my room in 20 minutes after I arrived. This is the view from my top floor suite. Don't fret – it's way less urban-hellish than it may seem :P

Later on my good fortune balanced out when I set off the nasty alarm of the safe in my room, the bowel bubbling I received from the glibbery rice goo on the plane churned itself down the drain and I discovered that it's quite impossible to access any English navigation service or app. Managed to finesse my way to a setup file, though, and it's all good now.

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First stop Renmin/People's Park. Felt like I've been here for a whole week when I arrived after a 30 minute walk. Lots of folks spending their Sunday morning there, gathering in groups chanting, dancing and Tai Chiing away.

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Street scene near my hotel. Typical Sichuan weather so far, 80% overcast, 15% rain. Was asleep during the remaining 72 minutes, caught up on what I missed during the flight.

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Bronze sculpture from the Western Han dynasty at the Chengdu Museum. This boy is about 2000 years old. There's an awful lot to see there, couldn't even cover all floors in one session.

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The old chairman overwatching central Tianfu Square.

When I walked by earlier in the afternoon a guy and his wife stopped me and asked for taking a photo. Not of them with Mao, but with me as a lucky charm.

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First time I could actually flex my vocab beyond "hello" and "thank you". So "not hot" , but incredibly spicy nonetheless, fucking delicious.

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