The more I travel, the more I get to know myself.
23.12.2011 - 02.01.2012
Chengdu, December 28th 2011
After a whole day and afternoon being with pandas at Panda Base, I moved on with haste. As I didn't expect the pandas to be out that long, I had expected that I would have plenty of time to pack up my things and have dinner -- last dinner in Chengdu -- before heading to the train station. I got upstairs to my room on the second floor in Lazy Bones Hostel, took off my astronaut-looking jacket, changed into my other coat which I think, looks more elegant. I left my heavy camera backpack in my room and only brought G-12 with me. That, I easily can put into my coat pocket or hang around my neck and hide it under my shawl. That, is the good thing of winter. You have several places to hide something around your body.
You are free to dislike this pic. I like it very much. Of course I made other shots of the Chengdu-night-street which looks normal.
Then I rushed to Seven Eleven to buy take-away meal. I passed by a doughnut shop which looked enticing. In English was written that there's a discount for every 4 pieces, 6 pieces, and so on. Thinking that doughnut will make a good breakfast in the train, I stepped in.
Sometimes I don't get it with China when they write announcements in English, but no one present seemed to be able to explain about it in oral English. When something is written in English, should I not expect to talk about that subject in English, too? So was it in this doughnut shop. Anyway, the waitress was warm and kind. I got exactly what I expected for. And the doughnuts were presented to me 2 by 2 in a cute lovely box. It all cost 22 yuan.
Back in my room, I opened my rice-and-tofu-with-Sichuan-seasoning meal box from Seven Eleven. I so love this cuisine. The other dish I had been looking forward to savor on before I departed for Chengdu was seaweed satay. 成都，我回来！
Knowing that I wouldn't be able to shower until probably the next 24 hours, I took a shower and then started to pack up my things which were scattered all over in the room. After wrapping myself with layers of clothes, I had to fold my other clothes one by one, thrust them into a zip plastic bag, roll them, and then press them with my knees while zipping it close. Eventually I checked out Lazy Bones at 9:00 PM. Lisa, the manager, was so kind to charge me only half-a-day extra instead of one-day.
The staff who scanned my bags at Luomashi Subway Station was a young good-looking kind guy. Well, when you are kind, you tend to look better looking, don"t you? He could speak a little English. He helped me carry my suitcase up on the conveyer belt. "Thank you," I said. "You're welcome," he replied with a sweet gentle smile.
Chengdu Train Station was only 3 stops away from Luomashi Subway Station which was just across Lazy Bones Hostel. Aha, I've definitely chosen the right accommodation! I was told that the subway to the train station only took 10 minutes. That approved correct.
At that third stop, North Railway Station, I saw a booth for purchasing train tickets. I went there and once again met a young guy. "Excuse me, I've already purchased a ticket." I showed him my ticket. "Where should I go now?"
"You go down," he answered.
"Down?" I was confused. The only escalator I saw there was heading upwards.
"Yes, you go down," he said again.
"You mean I have to take a subway again?" I asked.
"Yes, you go down."
"But isn't this the station for the train station?"
"You go down."
"Okay, so I go down, and then? Which subway should I take? Where should I stop?"
"Wait a minute," he answered me. He picked up a walkie-talkie and spoke to someone. Within less than a minute, a young lady in the same dark blue uniform came half-running to my side. "Come with me!" she said to me.
She laughed while pointing at the guy behind the booth. To my understanding, she was saying, "Ah, you cannot speak English!" That young guy looked rather embarrassed and I felt sorry for him.
This young lady ushered me to the escalator that went upwards. Ah, apparently that young guy got mixed up between "up" and "down".
"Just go inside there," said the young lady.
I took a look. It seemed very crowded inside and rather gloomy. Those are absolutey the two things I dislike.
I still had more than have an hour before boarding the train. So I took a seat on one of the few empty benches, make sure there wasn't spit on the ground, and then laid down my suitcase. Hah... that one on the right, is the exit gate where me and my 7 friends exited 15 months ago. That one on the left is the shop where my friend went with Angel to buy batteries for her camera. Ah... what a sweet-bitter trip memory.
As I said there waiting for time to pass, pictures of the photos I had taken during that sweet-bitter trip flashed one by one in my mind like a slide show. I saw her standing next to restaurant sign in Hanoi. While the others made a big grin, her lips were curled. Still at the restaurant, when I took a picture of the whole group at the table with my wide lens, she was standing alone leaning on the wall with an unhappy face. Maybe she had intended not to be in the picture, but didn't realize how wide my lens was. Later on when I uploaded the picture on Facebook, I cropped her off to make a better image, because her standing alone while the others were cheering around the table was really... outstanding, er standing out. Something must have happened.
On our first evening in Chengdu, my friends preferred to watch Sichuan Opera whilst I wanted to take pictures of the singing fountain at Tianfu Square. Her boyfriend said he wanted to go with me, because he wouldn't understand the opera anyway. He turned out to be a great company. We, or maybe it was just me, had a great time. We laughed together all along the way in search for Tianfu Square.
Almost a year later did I realize that because of that moment of laughter, I had to miss the pandas the next day. When I waited for my friends at the nursery and texted her, she did not reply. I waited and waited until it was too late. When I met her later and told her that I had texted her, she didn't look surprise at all. If only I had insisted to go to Tianfu Square alone, would she have replied to my message?
But... what hurts the most actually? I asked myself. Actually, it wasn't missing the pandas. It was the other friend whose friendship I had treasured but eventually lied to me, and not only once. How could I be so naif? I obviously don't have anything to offer her. Why should I expect her to be true to me?
Ah... The night wind started to become chilly. A hotpot meal would be nice, I imagine. Oh, speaking about hotpot, they had had hotpot that night. No, she said they didn't. But didn't she later said, "When we had hotpot in Chengdu..." ?? Ah... do I have any right to expect her to be true to me?
Ooops! What's this? My hand felt something sticky on my bag made of cloth which I hung around my shoulder. I completely had forgotten that I was carrying doughnuts inside it. All three of my cute doughnuts had stuck together and one, the one with slices of almond above, had made its way out of the box and lied under my bag. I stood up at once, pulled the doughnut box out, and placed it on the bench. Then I turned my bag inside out, swung it up and down, and let all the yummy slices of almond fall on the ground. My water bottle became sticky, too. Ah, never mind. I returned the bottle and box of doughnuts into the bag. It's probably only a few hours before they go into my stomach.
Hi, train, here I come!