Being at the front of a lengthy queue of Chinese, in a packed out train station with absolutely no Mandarin, is not an experience for the easily unnerved. Throaty curses and irritated jesticulation were flying in our direction, Mandarin ignorance slapping us in the face consistently.
Fortunately with a calm enough exterior and the ability to jut say yes and nod, us two stereotypically traveller-clad white girls boarded a train to ChengDu.
Journeys with 289km/h scenery (a fuzz of green swooshing by) inevitably end up with rained-off camping games, or a lesson in Origami Cranes much to our neighbours amusement.
Against the odds and quick 318 km later, there is no record of the hostel booking. In broken English with an almost-sorry look on her face we were shuffled on down to a Chinese only dorm, in which we were met with “how did you find us?”…
On the second day in the fastest growing city in China: an accomodation change to the Loft Hostel, copious amounts of tea in the People’s Park, dancing with old Chinese ladies to pop-fusion traditional tunes, meeting up with the 3rd musketeer, a nervous shuffle around the army manned Tianfu Square, and a hot pot that steamed the ears: ChengDone.
Next stop: Kangding 康定市 · དར་མདོ་གྲོང་ཁྱེར།