Tuesday, August 7, 2007


This morning I woke up refreshed, ready to explore Chengdu. Upon stepping outside, I was pleasantly surprised by the hostel, which I'd been too tired and grimy to notice last night. It's called Sim's Cozy Guest House, and it certainly lives up to the name. The place was founded by a Korean man and his Japanese wife, both of whom have backpacked extensively throughout Asia and noticed there was a lot to be desired in many of the hostels they stayed in. Sim's Cozy Guest House is a place that pays a lot of attention to all those small details that make a huge difference in a comfortable stay. On the grounds are a small library, a very helpful travel agency, clean bathrooms and showers, laundry facilites, a bar, internet access, and a restaurant serving Western- style food. The layout reminds me a little bit of the Swiss Family Robinson house at Disney World: it's got a lot of winding staircases, rugged-looking dark wood, and random fountains with comfortable yet woodsy recliners and benches to sit on. Even better, it's incredibly cheap. Last night we stayed in a dorm-style room with four beds for about $4 per person. Tonight, we're in an air-conditioned double room for $8 per person. Scott and I both love it here, and decided it would be our home base for the next couple of weeks.

After a McDonald's lunch and a consultation with the Sim's travel agent, we explored Chengdu's Culture Street (lots of panda souveneirs) and a beautiful temple surrounded by extensive gardens. For dinner we decided to ride the bus to Pete's Tex-Mex restaurant to assuage the six-week old craving we both had for some chips and salsa (Tianjin didn't have a single Mexican place)! On the bus, we met two Canadian backpackers who were also headed to Petes's. The four of us shared a table and told stories about our travels around the crazy country of China. And wow- quesadillas, nine-layer dip, chips, salsa, and an Oreo Flurry NEVER, NEVER have tasted so good! These are my staple foods at home (somehow I'm not fat) and I hadn't had any of them since June! It was amazing. Pete's even had bathrooms labeled "Cowboy" and "Cowgirl" and a giant mural of Mexican people painted on the wall.

So far, I'm enjoying Chengdu. Tomorrow we are going to the panda breeeding center... can't wait!

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