My photos could not do the bullet train justice: The stations and the trains are futuristic - for lack of a better description. I feel like I'm in a science fiction story on another planet. Everything is so huge - the train stations were bigger than many international airports in the U.S.
Our train was full. Sky estimated it held 1300-1500 people in sixteen cars.
It's 315 kilometers to Chengdu. It takes two hours. Here we're traveling at 195 km/h.
Ever the thrifty woman, Yue Li saw no reason to get Xing Xing a seat - after all, she spends most of her time standing up or sitting on laps.
The advantage of traveling with "locals". The kids pick a hotel that caters to the Chinese - nice, clean and $25.00 a night. Of course, I can't tell you the name of it, and if I go somewhere I either take their business card or take a photo of the front - in case I get lost and need to show someone what it's called.
Our mission on this trip was to get Xiao Yang's U.S. passport. Here Mama and Baba discuss their appointment with the Consulate the next day.
I could not take photos of the U.S. Consulate, but let me just say things have changed a lot in the last thirty years. When I was a girl, our foreign embassies and consulates, like most country's, were prominent, flag bedecked structures with lots of pomp and presence. Now they are hidden - often in high-rises, like the Canadian and British Embassies in Chongqing, where you can't stop on their floor in the elevator without clearance from below or using a key code. Our consulate in Chengdu is still a compound with structures, but the security is amazing, and there is one small single U.S. flag hidden partially behind some trees. We could not take anything into the building like bags, only the papers needed for the appointment and a diaper bag for the baby. Which was x-rayed and inspected, of course.
The appointment went smoothly and Xiao Yang's passport will be ready in a few weeks.
Chengdu is more "westernized" than Chongqing, and offers several western food restaurants and other establishments. Here at the Bookworm, a bookstore/restaurant/bar British chain in China, Xing Xing and I wile away the day while Sky is visiting friends and Yui Li and baby shop for clothes for her shops.
Chongqing does not have a place that offers more than a shelf or two of English books - here they have a whole section of children's books.
The Bookworm is a strong supporter of Chinese and ex-pat writers, and published one of my short stories in their bi-annual publication, The Mala Literary Journal Volume 2 Issue 1. http://www.mala-literary-journal.com.
At "Grandma's Kitchen" another restaurant favorite.
In the hotel lobby, waiting for baby to nurse before we get a taxi to the train station.
We're all exhausted on the way home. I got the single seat on the way back, and Sky suggested they cough up the extra $10 (half-price) for Xing Xing's ticket next time.
Lots of countryside and farmland between the cities. To this non-farmer, it appeared most of the crops were rice and canola.