Had several hours to fill in at Changi airport, as the Customs and Check-in gate for my flight didn't open until 4:45pm. Changi certainly puts Sydney airport to shame.
The Silkair flight was an A320 airbus which left Singapore at 6:00pm. The seats were uncomfortable, with no leg room. fortunately, as the flight was not full, the stewardess moved me to an emergency exit row. The emegency exit door was so narrow that I would have had to turn sideways to get through it, and as a consequence the "aisle" in front of my seat was non existent. But I did have room to stretch my legs. The flight was 4.5 hours, with no in flight entertainment system. Arrived Chendu 10:20pm local time. By the time I cleared customs, collcted my bag, met the guide, drove to the hotel and checked in, it was after midnight (local time) by the time I got to bed. A 22 hour day for me.
Met 5 others at the airport who are on this trip, all are my age or older. It was also raining in Chengdu when we arrived.
Chendu is a city of 12 million, and at 11:30pm, the roads were still chaotic with horns blowing, and cars taxis and bikes cutting in front of each other. Can only wonder what the roads are like during the day.
I'm sure the mattress on my bed is made of wood, as the bed was so hard (this is how Chinese like their beds). However, I slept well and awoke at 8:00am,
Breakfasted with 3 of my fellow travellers (Amadio and his wife Marie, and Lyn). Sampled scrambled eggs, noodles, firied spinach and fungus amonst other unkown items, although I gave up on the chopsticks and found a knife and fork.
Met up with Amadio, Marie & Lyn at 10:30 for a walk to some of the local city attractions, including the giant statue of Chairman Mao, and the Peoples garden. Lunch at McDonalds, where they have an English language menu card for use by tourists, so we can point to what we want. Returned to hotel at 2:30pm.
Originally thought the morning was overcast, but it turns out it is smog and pollution. Blue sky is rare, as Chengsu is in a depression, and the pollution has nowhere to go. There is plenty of building activity, with modern buildings, shopping complexes, and multi lane highways. If activity is this high in Chengdu, no wonder China is such an economic powerhouse.
This afternoon, a further 13 tour members arrive (19 in all), and we are meeting for dinner and a briefing this evening after 7:30pm. The tour proper starts tomorrow with a visit to the Panda Research centre, and a vist to a 70 metre Buddha carved into the cliff at nearby Lehsha.