Sichuan (02/08-Feb)

From Hong Kong, my main trip was finally Sichuan... finally cause 24h before I was still thinking to go to Yunnan but flight tickets to Kunming raised while the ones to Chengdu fell down.

Sichuan is a big province in southern/central China, close to the Tibet plateau. As a matter of fact part of the old Tibet Kingdom is now part of Sichuan. My main problem there was the cold... I already suffered from the cold in autumn on the coast so I supposed the cold in winter in the mountains would be worse... During my Sichuan trip, I started to spend a few days in the famous Chengdu... famous for its pandas reserve and for its earthquake :S. Regarding the earthquake itself, there are for sure some buildings down but it's hard to tell if it's due to the eathquake or just chinese construction skills (or more "lack of"). Otherwise the town itself is just one of those big chinese megalopolis hosting millions of people. Still I found it and its inhabitants much more welcoming than in many other chinese towns. As for the pandas, I went to visit the place where they breed the pandas... and honnestly I initially did not think I would be anything like impressed by these fat bears... But I finally happened to be moved when seeing them. My first thought was the chinese everlasting comment "they are so cute!"... but well, honnestly they really are. After Chengdu I took a plane to the mountains and the famous park of JiuZhaiGou. Reaching this place was a little bit complicated as after landing on this high-altitude airport you need to take a taxi for 2 hours within the mountains... then find a place to sleep in a dead touristic town (low season...). And there was really cold at night... windy and probably -5 or -10°C (the town is more or less at 2000m) and it appears that Tibetan never invented heating. They build big houses with poor isolation (well they don't care, their windows are always open!)... the only good thing for me was the self-heated bed which allowed me to find sleep. As for the park itself, in other seasons it must really be amazing with many different colors... in winter, all the perfect range of blues of the lakes is striking. In the park I could also see some nice tibetan villages. Well whatever... now I'm back to Hong Kong, thinking where I'll go next.

Photos here