London to Chengdu
We start out like most travellers at Heathrow Terminal 5 which never fails to astound me, it's such a beautiful building and even in its busiest periods has an air of calmness about it. From there we take off on the 10hr flight to Chengdu, a new route for British Airways (and currently only international to fly there) and it showed with a half empty plane and virtually the whole of Club Class to ourselves. With a TV full of movies, an abundance of free drinks and a lovely chair bed to sit in the flight was nothing but very pleasant especially with the stunning sunset to look at while leaving. Although in true James Tarry fashion a tooth explodes while eating a complimentary bag of peanuts, thankfully it's not painful and will be ok till I get back (hopefully).
Chengdu is China's fastest growing city with 14m Inhabitants, the city has all the hustle of London but on steroids, there appears to be no road laws, cars honk all the time, motorbikes ride into oncoming traffic and on pavements and crossing the road is like playing Russian Roulette. Buildings are being built in any space possible, high end shops sit near as next to the traditional markets where you will find tanks full of live crabs, fish (including one chap squeezing the face/brains/eyes of a fish out using his hands into a gutter!) and terrapins for dinner and the locals stare, long gasping slack jawed stares of disbelief at you, this is a part of China not used to Western tourism as yet. It is, fascinating, fun and exhausting.
For one night only we stayed at the Minyoun Suniya Hotel which had wonderful views over the city and at night the buildings light up with animations and coloured lights, To be honest I slept through a lot of it after being completely wiped out by the travel but I did wake at 3am to take a snap of the heavy smog though! While on Day 2 the rain dispersed the smog and the sun shone brightly and we took in the "sights" of the city and walked to the WuHou Shrine.
Wuhou Shine fun facts: it was built in 223AD and covers an area of 150,000 square metres. The shine was chosen as one of the leading national relics and hosts several significant tablets (of stone, not of Apple products! ha)
However Chengdu is not our final destination, next up the train station, destination Tibet.