Chengdu is one of the biggest cities in China. 15 million citizens do their best to retain the title of chinas third most polluted city. In the same time it is one of the most livable in the Country. Exciting discrepancy that has to be examined….!
First the Paperwork. After i got the News that extending the Visa in Chengdu takes 7 working days (that means almost 2 weeks) i decided to take a bus to the City of Leshan that is famous for it´s efficiency. So i got my extension overnight and used the time to take a look at the city and it´s biggest attraction the Giant Buddha. After Taliban did „a good job“ in Bamiyan it is the biggest in the World.
You have to pay a high price for the visit, but once in the city i decided to pay… The buddha is situated at the confluence of four rivers and is surrounded by a nice wild park. Also in Leshan there was smog so the view towards the city on the other riverside was as excited as the buddha….
Back to Chengdu i used the Time to relax, Sightseeing and a little bit of Shopping. The Main attraction as definitely the Panda Conversation parc and i really wanted to visit it. In a zoo-esque Parc they breed them and you can take a look at pandas in every age. The Visitors come in legions and so watching the (mostly asian) visitors was more exciting than the (super-cute) pandas themselves.
The City is livable, interesting and incredible big. A few times i just cycled around fr hours, going with the flow of the traffic and enjoyed the daily life of chinese people. There are a lot of parks where you can watch the people doing their dancing exercise. Like Karaoke it´s taking part that counts. Dancing in step is boring, everybody is going his own way… Fascinating!
Chengdu offers it´s charge in the night. When the „historical“ Building are lighted and contrast from the modern skyscrapers it starts being magical…
After i poured coffee into my macbook i also met the electronic Branch of the city. gigantic Shopping Malls full of Electronic are topped by numberless little workshops that repair computers and mobile phones… A little view into the terms of manufacturing Electronics in China… I got a new (german) keyboard within 2 Days.. Great!
From Chengdu the road lead me south. Now i got another 4 weeks to leave China at it´s southern border to Laos. After a day of cycling through the suburbs i reached the Mountains again…
from here it went more and more exotic… single Bananas and Palms but not warm. The passes i had to climb the next days were all cold (4°C!) and foggy.
on the way i crossed areas of different minorities. You could recognize it from the headdress of the women. First it looks like the Hat of a baker man in blue, then it changed to tyre-formed Constructions in black and ended up as a formless Hat that looks a little bit like the one the College Students in US throw into the air when they finish… The traditional clothing is ever-present on the streets.
Even if the population in the Mountains was less the agricultural use kept intense, almost every little piece of land is used and so the search for a place to camp was tricky and i started to pitch my tent in the villages.
It showed me a worthwhile feature of the locals: Ignorance. Although a lot of people walked by my tent in the evening and morning nobody talked to me to ask what i am doing there… So it went more and more easy every day to find a place to sleep….
The Region kept hilly and so i covered a lot of Altitude, even more than on the tibetan Plateau.
The Mass of concrete and steel that was used to build highways was impressing. almost all the way a 6-laned Highway build on stilts ran parallel to my road… Up to the Passes the Construction was really breathtaking and remembered me of the Rhaetian Railway in Switzerland.
As i crossed the border to the southern region of Yunnan the police stopped me at a checkpoint. It took a long time while they did some phone calls but at the end everything was fine. The young female officer that translated with her smartphone showed me a last sentence before i went on: „If you need help to fight: 110“ Great!
As i arrived in Kunming after 10 Days i was happy that temperatures went up a little bit. I really starved for Southeast-Asia and it´s warm Air…