Chengdu is super nice! We are staying at a lovely Airbnb near People's Park. People's Park, as its name suggests, is a park where people do things. They dance, do aerobics, paint calligraphy on the ground with water (this is neat), practice nunchuks (in an organized group, luckily), drink tea, whatever.
There are also guys who will clean your ears. While you're drinking tea, they wander around with a terrifying array of implements, which they will definitely stick into your ears for a small fee. So of course I tried it, and it was... fine. Sometimes it felt kinda good. It made a gross part of myself excited when he held up a used cotton ball like "here's all the icky earwax that was in there." The one word he said to me the whole time, about 15 or 20 times, was something between "washy" and "washing", to upsell me from an "ear cleaning" to a more expensive "ear washing". On his insistence, and Tati's agreement that my ears were super gross, I bought it. Who am I to argue with a guy who's got a metal poker on my eardrum?
We also got a blind massage. Apparently this is a thing: blind people are more skilled at massage because senses or something? I think they were good at it. I still don't really like massages.
Oh and pandas! All the photos are on Facebook. I think, if you try to leave Chengdu without seeing pandas, the police will first escort you to the panda reserve and force you to look at a panda. And for good reason; they're frickin' adorable. I'm solidly in the "red pandas are the best pandas" camp, even though they're totally different species, different families, and only seem to be there because they're named "panda". Still, all super cute. Tati: "how the hell do those survive in the wild?"
Plus we are eating lots of great things, but in Chengdu, that goes without saying. I'm inspired to cook more Sichuan back at home. I hear Chengdu is known as the Chinese city that's good at food and leisure. I dig it. Tati: "is this like the San Francisco of China?" Me: maybe. In that it's relaxed and West and has great food. Not the whole tech scene thing. If Chengdu is SF, then is Hong Kong like LA, and Beijing and Shanghai are each half DC and half NY?
Anyway, our trip's drawing to a close, which makes me sad. Tati has to go back in two days, so we're trying to enjoy the last of them. I'm looking at heading up to Xining, Qinghai via Lhamo/Langmusi, Xiahe/Labrang, and Tongren/Rebkong. As well as I can make plans here, y'know.