China: Chengdu, Xi'an & Guilin...

Oh, I could give a million reasons why any of the following Chinese cities are my top three since arriving in June 2015. Ranging from Giant Pandas, Terracotta Warriors and a Guilin wonder, I am going to need a few moments to get my facts straight. It begs the question, if one good reason could see me make a return? Let me pay attention to my best ones! B, Chengdu was nasty good! 

Chengdu stood ready for a National Day marathon of crazy, even though it served a sense of chill compared to its Chongqing cousin I was immediately intoxicated by the inviting local dialect. Keeping things simple I followed what signs were given to me, I knew CDU would show me a legendary time regardless of my spontaneous path. Wenshu Monastery's tea garden presented itself as the first highlight of my Sichuan visit, I sipped my green tea brew without a care in the world. Finding some tea house culture in Chengdu definitely ticked one box for certain, I wanted to see the Pandas! I'll be honest by saying I wasn't as fresh as a daisy when I climbed into my Panda bound taxi after a scandalous night out, I wasn't going to miss my chance! Catching the sights of those beautiful Pandas was amazing, it was like nothing I had ever seen before! But compared to the others I wasn't acting the fool CN!

Going underground I was feeling reckless, people had said to me that Chengdu's liberal nature harboured a thriving Gay scene. Following some dodgy directions I found the rainbows, making my way over the threshold of MC Club I felt safe and euphoric because I thought I wouldn't see such a sight exist in China! Getting my groove on I had an amazing time, feeling like a celebrity I luxuriated being the only foreigner in the club! Did I leave by myself? Hell to the no! I always know how to play some tricks! Being invited to tables for free drinks I was treated like a celebrity for real, one lady thought I was a 'beautiful man!' Fulfilling my fantasy I got into the Chengdu groove with ease! Returning the following night I added to my previous unspeakable antics to ensure my National Day stint in China would end with a bang! I took a different exit from MC Club on my final scandalous Chengdu night out, I went underground in another sense but that will stay as my dark secret! I knew what to do!

2016 started with an almighty bang, getting my life I embraced the ancient city of Xi'an! Trusting those Terracotta Warriors I wasn't disappointed with the offerings of that provincial Shaanxi city! My highlight of that 2016 kick-starter had to be the bustling Beiyuanmen Muslim Street, it had my senses in a mess, it was a crazy, mental scene with what seemed like a million lights and smells fronting me! Getting it together I took some amazing photos of this foodie paradise, specialising in Hui Muslim Chinese food, I was sincerely in food heaven. Going in for the kill I bagged myself three or so lamb kebabs, they tasted amazing, not too much spice because that's not what I'm about! Re-hydrating I found some fresh Beijing yoghurt drink, I'm not going to lie I probably bought three bottles of the stuff! Roujiamo who? Yes, I found a Chinese hamburger, a Hui favourite snack that was delicious! Hui Chinese style Xi!

Waking up before the birds, the January weather bite like a bad one but I was on my way to see the legendary Terracotta Warriors! Being New Year's Day I used my brain unlike the other visitors to Xi'an by boarding my tourist bus before eight in the morning! Leaving the security of the walled city centre it was exciting to be heading towards Lintong District. Paying the tourist outlets no mind I was all about those 'warriors', getting to a birds eye view of their tight formation it felt amazing to have accomplished another China travel milestone! The lengthy bus queue for the 'warriors' made me laugh, get your 'ish together people! Heading back to the city I headed for the southern part of the city wall, not appreciating the hazy polluted skies I made the best of that historical sight. Why did Xi'an make my top three best cities in China? That Shaanxi wonder served nothing but Realness, adoring every second I took off for Wuhan feeling satisfied! New Year's 2017, no pressure boo!

Breaking my rule I took a scenic expedition to China's Guangxi Zhuang Autnomous Region, experiencing the mystical nature of Guilin and its mesmirising heaven like wonders! I had set my sights set on visiting Guilin from the moment I decided to explore my options of moving to China. Upon my descent into Guilin I was horrified to see so much mist, I didn't want my tour to the rice terraces to be a wash out! A pint-sized city centre Guilin was but it was perfectly formed, no need for a metro I made the best of my time getting around on foot. With the sun setting on my first day I marvelled at the dazzling Sun and Moon Pagodas, they shone effortlessly over the waters of Guilin's Fir Lake. I was sure ready for my trip to Huangluo Yao Village and the Longji Rice Terraces the next day. My main motivation of visiting Guilin would amaze me soon enough! I got so very lucky with my WADA Hostel flow! Yes, Yangshuo's next! Go!

Driving away from Guilin's city centre for a much more scenic view, Longsheng County had a thing or two to show me! Flipping their hair back and forth I had the chance to see the Long Haired Ladies of Huangluo Yao Village, set deep in the mountains these on-fleek ladies brought their jet-black sleek locks and served sass! Stopping for lunch within the wooden Huangluo Yao Village I enjoyed a top lunch, that bamboo steamed rice never tasted so good! Sweeping into the distance the beauty and mystery of the Longji Rice Terraces impressed me to levels that were created in my mind first when I gazed down at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour a few months earlier to that Guilin time. Nervously making my way around the unguarded terrace path to where my driver was going to pick me up I had pull my senses together, the views may have been spectacular but my fear of heights was not welcomed that day! No way! Need I say no more why Guilin made the top three?! My wildcards are next!

Chengdu, You Were Nasty Good!

Joseph Harrison 


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