Friday, October 07, 2005

Chengdu Revisited

Mark and I have finally parted ways as he needs to return to his evil capitalist paymasters (only kidding). I'm glad he came and we could travel together for a while and not just because I got to sponge off him and stay at the Sheraton (not something that is ever likely to happen to me again), but I'm also glad to be alone again. It's not that I dislike my brother, indeed we had a lot of fun together, it's just that I get easily distracted, don't get to do everything I had planned and then feel guilty about it. Plus I'm probably quite an obnoxiously opinionated and stubborn travelling partner.

So Mark went back to Beijing to do some souvenir shopping before flying to Hong Kong and then back home, and I headed in the opposite direction to Chengdu. I know I've been here before, and I don't like retracing my steps, but I have my heart set on visiting a national park called Jiuzhaigou, and even though coming to Chengdu is a bit of a detour it is still the best way of getting there. I wasn't planning on spending long here: just enough time to get my visa extended (it runs out tomorrow), get my trousers mended and get a ticket out of here. Unfortunately my plans were thwarted by the PSB (Public Security Bureau i.e. the police, who issue visa extensions) who had decided to take the whole week off. So here I am, waiting and twiddling my thumbs until 9am on Monday morning when I can finally go and get my extension (they had better not even think about slapping on a fine either or I'll get rather annoyed, to say the least). Ah well, at least accommodation is considerably cheaper in this part of the country.

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