After a short 35-minute flight from Chengdu, arrived in Jiuzhaiguo...from 30 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius, with Jiuzhaigou being 3,500 metres above sea-level and the third highest airport in China. I forgot my jacket. But thankfully, the airport is well-equipped for such emergencies and one can easily purchase a nice thermal jacket for around 70 RMB (USD $14). The same jacket in the West could cost anything over ten times the price.
Interesting airport...as soon as the baggage arrived everyone opened their bags at the carousel and changed into winter attire...I bought myself a nice thermal jacket from a local Tibetan shopkeeper (my first encounter with a Tibetan person!)...amazing jacket cost only about US 12 (I'm sure the same jacket would be much expensive in the West)...night-time temperatures drop to -2 degrees Celsius in the mountains.
Chengdu Airport is so big, that they have guides on skates and Segways to help passengers!
At Chengdu Airport, bumped into an IL-76 belonging to PAF. No doubt a sign of the excellent relations between China and Pakistan! Amazing to see that this aircraft still flies. This one has missiles attached to it, too! Wonder what the Pakistanis are delivering or taking from Chengdu.
At the world's biggest shopping mall... in Chengdu...what you're seeing is just the half of it...it contains an artificial beach with lifelike waves - able to host 5,000 people, a chapel, an amusement park, and the Intercontinental hotel...plus around 765 high-end restaurants...
While Boeing's plant in Everett, Wash., is the world's biggest building by volume, the Chinese mall seems to be tops in floor space. Almost the area of Monaco, its 420 acres of floor space could fit nearly three Pentagons, four Vatican Cities, or 20 Sydney Opera Houses. Check out the video below:
Retail outlets are out in force to beat the competition - two very different companies selling the same/similar products. As they say, the best way to beat a competitor is to set up shop next to them!
In Chengdu...home of the Panda, Sichuan opera and the exceedingly HOT Sichuan food...Not sure why Chinese people always complain about Indian food being hot...in my opinion Sichuan cuisine is hotter than a chicken vindaloo! Except for the Panda and the local cuisine, the city doesn't really have much to offer for the tourist. In terms of quality of life, the city provides very attractive lifestyle options for expatriates (lots of companies dealing with the oil and gas industry are based here), however in my opinion, Chongqing, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are more attractive and full of life for both tourists and expats (except the haze in four of those cities!).
I stayed at the amazing Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
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I'm inside the real Apple Store in Chengdu and right outside are hawkers selling great quality fake equivalents for up to 70% off the RRP! No one can stop them...amazing...they're cheeky enough to sit right on the doorstop of the Apple Store and hawk customers as they come out of the Apple Store...some even go back inside to get a refund and buy the fake!!
Video below taken at the Chengdu Panda Reserve.
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