If magnum's looking for a potential wife, then yes, I certainly think he should be aware of the minefield he's walking through by trying to marry a Chinese girl in her early 20s. I could care less if he wants to do that or not, but he was genuinely asking for my advice, so I told him what to watch out for. If he can make it work, more power to him, but I'm skeptical. His current girlfriend's parents are already seemingly looking down at him, just as his previous girlfriend's parents did. And in all honesty, I'm not surprised (nothing against magnum as an individual).
I'm pretty sure magnum's not teaching English at the moment.
I'm sad to report that by the time I arrived in Chengdu, my camera started acting fussy, and a few days later it completely died. What this means is no more photos for my Chengdu and Kunming trip reports. I managed to fire off a few in Chengdu, but that's it. Luckily I'll be buying a new camera when I'm in America in May, but I just wish my camera would've died after I had left China, not before. Oh well, not shit I can do about it, but please forgive the semi-crappy photos this time around.Chengdu 成都
It's a city I've heard so much about, and the city I most wanted to visit in China. Well I finally made it to Chengdu, and I stayed a full seven days. I had plenty of time to soak up the local vibes and a form a reasonable first impression. A sizable amount of foreigners call Chengdu home, so there must be something good about it, right? Did Chengdu live up to the hype? To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with Chengdu, but I think that's mostly because I over-hyped it a bit in my own mind. It didn't suck or anything, but it wasn't all that notable either. Man, I'm really striking out on this year's China trip, huh?
Prior to coming to Chengdu, here's what I knew about the city: first, it's supposedly home to tons of gorgeous women (anyone who's lived in China has surely heard this before). Second, it's the epicenter of spicy Sichuanese cuisine. Third, it's a "hip" city that somewhat maintains Chinese culture. Fourth, the locals are supposedly very relaxed and laid-back in comparison to other Chinese cities. And finally, it's home to the famous panda zoo, haha.
Starting with the women, I can say Chengdu does indeed live up to the hype. This was extremely apparent coming from pitiful places like Changsha and Chongqing. The girls have a pretty good sense of fashion and make-up, and the girls themselves actually look lovely and beautiful. This is the look that made me fall in love with Chinese women all those years ago, haha. The girls also have smaller body frames than their northeastern sisters, but I still wouldn't call them petite like some Thai chicks and lots of Filipina chicks. Just "smaller" is correct. And as for the amount of good-looking and stunning ladies around Chengdu, I can pretty much say they're everywhere. I often found myself near Sichuan University, and I saw hot young girls all over the place. I got enough approving looks (especially when I was alone) from the ladies to know that Chengdu would probably be a pretty awesome place to date. In regards to Chinese women, I think Chengdu is a worthy competitor to Dalian. It's hard to say which one is better because they're both pretty awesome in that regard, but I suppose it'll simply come down to one's own personal tastes. All in all, I don't think you can go wrong in Chengdu if finding a lovely Chinese lady is your priority.
I said again and again how much I love Sichuanese food, so how does Chengdu's local cuisine fare? After all, it is the capital and biggest city in Sichuan province, so surely the food is great, right? Kind of... It was definitely better than both Changsha and Chongqing, but it still didn't impress me all that much. Prior to my arrival in Chengdu, all the Sichuanese food I had eaten was not in Sichuan. For the most part, I enjoyed those meals. Well as it turns out, I apparently don't like authentic Sichuanese food all that much. Weird, huh? Apparently I like the way northern Chinese cook Sichuanese dishes, as almost all the Sichuanese meals I had (and I had many) in Chengdu were pretty unremarkable. I think I had two good meals in my entire week stay. The rest were all very unremarkable. On the plus side, Chengdu does have an okay selection of foreign restaurants to chose from (for mainland Chinese standards). I even found a map in the famous Mike's Pizza Kitchen that shows where many of the city's foreign restaurants are located. That was extremely useful, as I've never seen a map like that in any other Asian city. The foreign food was a bit costly, but it was like an oasis in a desert after eating almost three weeks of unremarkable/semi-bad Chinese meals.
As for being laid-back, I don't see where Chengdu got that reputation. Nothing about Chengdu made me think it was a relaxed city. Lazy? Maybe. But relaxed? No. I guess if you're comparing Chengdu to its uber-stressful sister city of Chongqing, then it would seem as laid back as can be, but in comparison to China as a whole it's certainly nothing special. The average Zhou on the street was rude and uptight just like in practically every other Chinese city I've ever been to. Service people were also mostly impolite, inefficient, and aggressive - typical mainland China. Pedestrians played chicken on the sidewalks, e-bikes kept obnoxiously blowing their horns, and everything was loud. I don't get it, what's so laid-back about Chengdu? Am I missing something? Also, people in Chengdu often speak crappy Mandarin, which makes communication just that much harder. And when they do speak Mandarin to you, it's spoken with a strong and almost unintelligible Sichuanese accent. This also happens in neighboring Chongqing, but I forgot to mention it earlier. Even my Heilongjiang girlfriend had a difficult time understanding what anyone was saying to her. That made me feel much better about the fact that I could barely understand anyone, haha! And even though there were tons of good-looking girls all around Chengdu, I still heard plenty of "gutter" voices. The mainland girls could really learn a thing or two from their Taiwanese sisters in regards to speaking softly and femininely.
As for things to do, it seems Chengdu is one of China's better cities to shop in. There were tons and tons of shopping malls, especially around Tianfu Square (the city center). That's not all that important to me, but it's worth noting. There's also some parks you can visit, you can go to the top of the Chengdu Radio and TV Tower for 100 yuan, you can visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, or even go to one of Chengdu's amusement parks. Other than the parks, I did none of these things, as my camera broke, and I was in a grumpy mood, haha. I did feel quite bored in Chengdu around the third day or so, but I do admit this was partially due to the fact that my camera broke, and I had no opportunities to occupy myself trying to capture nice shots. That's the number one thing I like to do when I travel, so I felt like a fish out of water without my camera.
The weather was slightly chilly most of the time I was in Chengdu. It rained a couple times, and it was usually a bit sunny every day, but it was still somewhat cold outside. At this point during the trip, it was already mid-April, so I was stating to get tired of the chilly weather. Is it ever going to be consistently warm on my trip? Sure, Chengdu's weather wasn't awful, but by no means would I call its weather good either. I wouldn't recommend visiting Chengdu any earlier than May.
All in all, Chengdu is an okay city. It's definitely one of the better cities in this region of China, but I still didn't feel much of a connection with it. It did somewhat disappoint. The locals didn't seem laid back like I had always heard (bear in mind I've been living in much more laid back Thailand for three years now). The food was good for the region, but very un-notable on an international scale. And yes, the snacks sucked in Chengdu too. The weather was also somewhat depressing in mid-April. On the plus side, the women are some of the best I've ever seen in mainland China - almost as good as Dalian. There are things to do in Chengdu if you're willing to do them. And there's a sizable amount of foreign restaurants (and foreigners!) scattered around Chengdu. I probably saw over 100 foreigners during my week in Chengdu. I admit that some personal factors marred my time in Chengdu, but even if things were all fine and dandy in my life, I still don't think I would've enjoyed Chengdu all that much. After it's all said and done, I would rate Chengdu as "average" on an international scale. Neither very good, nor very bad. Just so so. The beautiful women are its saving grace.
I'm now wrapping up my time here in Kunming, the last city I'm visiting on this trip, so look for an update on this thread in the next week or so.