Welcome to my Chengdu, China Blog! If you haven't read Part 1 already, click here!
Life in China is entirely different than what I would have expected. When I was studying abroad, I was initially supposed to live in a dorm room on campus. After arrival, there wasn't enough space for my roommate and me, so we lived in a hotel that wasn't far away. This room had a western toilet, which was terrific for us. The room was powered with one of our key cards. So, if a person left, one key card had to be in the room. Another thing with our rooms was that we had an allowance for electricity. Luckily we did not run out, but some other classmates did experience that. The room also did not have any dressers, so we lived out of our suitcases for six weeks. It wasn't a huge deal, but it made it hard to organize our clothes.
Washing our clothes. This was the more intricate part of the trip. The hotel did have a washer on the roof, and as like many places in the world, no dryer. It was an interesting experience, and we washed our clothes in our room's sink/ shower.
Something nice about our hotel was that we had maid service. So unlike the dorms where you were buying your toilet paper and towels, that was included for us. Communication was a little tricky, and we often were woken up out of our sleep to clean the room.
Additionally, the hotel had a terrific breakfast. This was a perk that, not knowing you would have it, just made your day.
Experiencing nightclubs in China was insane. The place we went to the most was called the jellyfish club or jellyfish cocktail bar and club. It was fun because they had tables to rent and private sections. It was all extremely affordable compared to what it is in the United States. All vodka-based drinks with one other thing like a vodka cranberry or orange juice with vodka were free for women. This has not happened here in America, so that was super fun and cost-effective. The only thing that cost money as a girl was shots. So if you are planning a night out on the town in Chengdu, definitely check out this club.
What is a blind massage? My roommate and I had to figure it out because it sounded very intriguing. The massage is conducted by these men who are blind. They have some helpers around them to guide them. Still, essentially they understand where the human body is and massage accordingly. You are fully dressed for this massage. It only costs about 45¥, so extremely affordable when you convert that back into US dollars. I wouldn't say that it was the best massage I have ever experienced. Yet, it was one that I will remember for the rest of my life because that opportunity doesn't arise often.
Worlds Largest Mall
One of the world's largest malls is actually in Chengdu, China. The new Century global Center is a multipurpose building and is one of the largest buildings in terms of floor space. This building has 18,300,000 ft.² of floor space. It is beyond what is explainable as enormous. There is over 4,300,000 ft.² of shopping in this place. It has an Olympic-sized skating rink, IMAX cinema, and hotels. There is also a waterpark with an artificial beach 492' x 131' and screens built around it to mimic the sunrise and sunset. This mall is so large that it has everything you could ever want or think you could want in one place. If you get a chance to visit the mall, I highly suggest it because there isn't anything in the world that can be compared to the size of this place. You may even need to spend a few days just trying to explore the entire thing.
Pandas are a huge deal in Chengdu. I have never seen a panda before going to one of the sanctuaries, and they are adorable. The way they climb bamboo and trees is so funny and endearing. If you ever get the chance to visit a panda sanctuary, you definitely should because these animals are worshiped in this country. They are incredibly charming, but you should be aware that they can be violent.
Mount Qingcheng is in the Sichuan province in China. It has an elevation of 4134 feet. You can either hike to the top of these intricate stairs and Woodlands or take a gondola up and then hike up to the very peak. Hiking up this mountain is extremely doable, and many of the women I saw hiking were doing it in small heels. It's unlike hiking many mountains you will find in the United States. There were vendors selling items and food periodically throughout the trail. One of the main things sold was a cucumber to munch on while hiking. I will say that that is one of the best snacks because it is so hydrating, and you don't realize how much you want that cucumber until you buy it and take your first bite. Everything about this mountain is beautiful and beyond what words can explain.
I highly suggest visiting China if you get the chance. It is a beautiful country that will change your perspective when living there. It's a place you have to visit to understand the culture and the dynamics. It is nothing like what you learn about in the United States. My perspective changed for the better when I got the option to go to school in this amazing country. I hope that you get the opportunity to visit.