I wake up in the morning hot and sweaty. It’s over 90 degrees (32C) in Chengdu and my AC is broken. It broke about the second week in and I’ve been melting in the heat since, even with a fan on at full speed.
But despite this little mishap, I still LOVE my Airbnb rental. I never really show what my rentals look like, because they’re usually nothing to brag about, but my room is super cute here!
But what really makes this Airbnb awesome are my hosts. It really feels like having 3 instant friends around me all the time.
I share the apartment with 3 girls and a cat. Except for the hours when they’re all at work, the apartment is always lively with girly chatter, sharing of food, and laughs. Two of the girls work in the hotel industry so they often have rest days during the week. On these days, we’ll sit together at the dining table, each on our laptops (me working and them studying), while the cat keep us company.
When we’re getting hungry, Kiara and I go out for a little grocery run. I love my little neighborhood too. Our street is lined with pretty green trees. In the autumn, the leaves turn yellow and also cover the ground with a blanket of yellow. I’d love to come back and experience fall in Chengdu!
Since the days are so hot now, many girls carry an umbrella to shade them from the sun. I totally do that sometimes too. Otherwise, there is no way you can bear walking around outside.
We make a loop around the block and pick up a few items for lunch. We get cold noodles, some meats, and watermelon. When we’re back, Yulla and I mix up the noodles with spicy sauce, chopped garlic and spring onions. Kiara also pan fries some steaks.
The Sichuan area of China is famous for the spicy food. I’m not joking when I say that every single dish has chilies and spicy oil. The locals don’t feel like the food is flavorful enough if there’s no spice. Spice is eaten with every single meal. I think my tastebuds were born for Chengdu. There is no such thing as “too spicy” here.
We mix the noodles until it’s bright red with the chili sauce. Then we arrange on our plates and let the camera eat first. :P
The afternoon passes lazily with more work for me, and studying for the others. Even the cat is lazy and cuddles with the large teddy bear on the couch.
Since it has been deathly hot here, the craving for something cool hits. The girls had made watermelon pops a couple of days before, so we take them out to eat.
At 5 pm, I get ready to go meet Amanda (Little Tranquility) for dinner. I take the metro to her area. It’s rush hour and the metro is absolutely crazy. I jump into the train just as the doors slide close, pressed up against the door with others pushed up on me from behind. It’s madness. Thankfully, it’s just a couple of stop.
Amanda is doing a study abroad program here to learn Chinese, and I happily agreed to meet her in Chengdu. At least once a week, we meet up for dinner. Our usual is going for Tibetan food by her school. Her school is in a cute (albeit gritty) little Tibetan neighborhood. This is my first time having Tibetan food since you don’t really get it anywhere else, so I make sure to have it as much as possible!
And of course, we take a selfie!
We always try a new Tibetan restaurant each time. Even though I admit that I keep on getting the same thing at each place. I get the yak dumplings (SO flavorful) and Amanda gets the potato dumplings.
This time, we also get a plate of buttered bread to share. The butter is made out of yak milk, and it has a super rich and pungent flavor. It’s so good!
Afterwards, we wander through the small Tibetan street market in search of beads. I’ve become slightly obsessed with the colorful strands of beads, made of beautiful stones and wood. I want them all! We both stop to admire and try on the beads at practically every stall, but unfortunately, most of these are out of our budgets.
By this time, it has gotten dark. While Amanda’s neighborhood is really vibrant and cool, it has one serious problem: there are TONS of cockroaches after dark. We’re both really scared of them and we scream and run whenever we see one crawling by. We quickly make our way back to her campus and I call a cab from there (fare: 13 rm, or $1.93 US). There is no way I’m walking back to the metro station on these roach-infested streets.
I enter my apartment to sounds of chatter. I spend the rest of the evening hanging out with the girls and the cat. Sometimes, I watch Gilmore Girls with Iris, and sometimes, we all do our own thing while sitting together. I look around and I really feel at home. I know I’m really going to miss days like this and company like this. But for now, I enjoy it. :)
Total for the day: 47rmb or $6.98 US. Chengdu is VERY budget-friendly. Most days, I had a hard time spending more than $5 a day on food.