Hello, this is Mosche. I am the new intern in the InternChina Chengdu office. I am 24 years old and I am studying Political Science in Hanover, Germany. Since I started taking Chinese classes at my university and I have always been interested in China (I watched too many Jackie Chan movies as a teenager!) , I thought it was a nice idea to get some real China experience, so I chose Chengdu because it’s not as Western as Beijing or Shanghai. I arrived on Saturday morning in this beautiful city of Western China. Well, what to start off with in China I personally couldn’t wait to see China’s greatest national treasure. It´s not the Great Wall or the Terracotta Army (though I guess those must be fantastic, too) It is the GIANT PANDA!!!
Luckily, yesterday, the InternChina Chengdu team plus a local host family visited the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding near to Chengdu, which is the biggest Panda research centre in China (and probably the world). Most of us saw these precious Chinese animals for the first time. I consider the panda to be a very cute animal; seeing the Giant Panda for the first time was a humbling experience.
Furthermore, we met the Red Panda (Shifu from Kung Fu Panda). Since they aren’t caged, we were literally able to have some body contact. Fortunately, it only tried to bite the Chinese visitor after me.
Last but not least, we finished the day with a local culinary speciality: Fish head Hotpot. There is a not so spicy and a spicy version (a non-spicy version was nought to be found!). Since I did a previous internship in Singapore I am used to hot food, I dared to take the spicy version of the hotpot and it was delicious. The restaurant also offered an all-you-can-drink bar for free, making the combination of a delicious local dish and free beer a nice cap to my first day in China.
To sum it up, thanks to the InternChina team in Chengdu, I had a great start in my new home for the next five months. I am looking forward to further great trips, challenges and chilly evenings in Chengdu and China.
Hot pot, one of China’s signature dishes, has been a mainstay of Sichuan province for centuries, the dish style having over a thousand years of history behind it. In China, one of the most famous styles is Chongqing’s má là (麻辣), a mix of numbing flavours and hot spices. The sensations bring about an eating experience unfamiliar to most traditional western dishes, the cooling numbing flavour of the Hua jaio (花椒) balanced by the fiery hotness of the chili peppers. Inherently social, hot pot is rarely eaten alone, generally involving family and friends waiting in eager anticipation for the spice soaked pieces to be cooked in the communal pot.
With Chengdu having its own native style, we decided to try chuanchuan hot pot. Different from the more common Chongqing variety, chuanchuan can be identified through the use of skewers to cook the meat, the skewers resting along the edge of the pot as the meats and vegetables soak in the broth. For a couple of students, this was their first time eating hot pot. A few tepid skewers in to the meal, the pace picked up leaving a mound of wood in our wake, filling out hungry stomachs with an assortment of pork ribs, shrimps, tofu wraps, and a wide variety of vegetables. Eaten with a couple of cool beers, it was the perfect way to cap off a warm Chengdu evening!
Last week InternChina Chengdu organised a little cultural trip to the archeological site of Sanxingdui (三星堆) about 1,5 hrs outside of Chengdu. We met for lunch at a dumpling restaurant after everybody finished their morning language classes and afterwards set off to take the bus to Guanghan (广汉) a city northwest of Chengdu where the site is located.
In 1986, several Bronze Age artifacts, made out of gold, bronze, jade and pottery, were unearthed at Sanxingdui and eventually it became clear that this is the site of an ancient city of the kingdom of the Shu (蜀) dating back to the 12th century BCE. The re-discovery of this ancient civilization was a big surprise at the time, since it caused Chinese historians to question the traditional narrative of the origin of the Chinese civilization being in the central plain of the Yangtze (长江) river. Nowadays it’s said that there have been multiple centres of ancient cultures in China which build the foundation what is commonly known as the Chinese civilization.
They built a really nice museum with multiple exhibition halls in a beautiful park setting next to the site to display the artifacts and educate people about the history of the Shu culture. We arrived there in the late afternoon and started our journey back in time marveling at the various masks, figures, tools and relics on show. Looking at these 3000 year old skillfully handcrafted artifacts made a deep impression on us.
Later on we spent some time hanging out in the park and made the obligatory group photo in front of a replica of one the most famous figures unearthed at this site. After we came back to Chengdu in the evening we decided to wind down with a beer and dinner at one of Chengdu’s favorite Western restaurants Peter’s Tex Mex.
The Fortune Global Forum has come and gone in Chengdu, but the city has never looked more beautiful. Sunny blue skies above, a cool breeze in the air… the city’s hoping fortune will continue to smile upon its residents long after their esteemed guests leave. For the past weekend, Chengdu has played host to some of the most influential people in international business, in hopes of attracting further investment interests in the burgeoning western city. The centre of China’s “Go West” initiative, Chengdu has been an economic hub for western China for the past few years; the Forum was seen by many as the city’s coming out party for the world, allowing businesses to become familiar with the country beyond the usual Beijing/Shanghai mix.
The effects of the Forum’s arrival were visible, with many beautification projects coming to fruition in the days leading up to the big event. Flowers were replanted, fountains were constructed, and rules were enforced to put the city’s best face forward.
With already 200 of the Fortune 500 companies located in Chengdu and a growing automobile industry (Volvo has recently opened up a plant, adding to Toyota, Volkswagen, and numerous other car manufacturers in the region), the city is clearly vying to add to its already extensive list of multinationals. Attempting to attract companies by enforcing stricter IP regulations than other areas, Chengdu is clearly a city on the rise filled with opportunities waiting to blossom!
With Chengdu’s economy skyrocketing year after year and thus its overall importance for the western China region growing rapidly, it now also becomes a more globalized metropolis. A clear indicator for its international standing is the Fortune 500 meeting held here from 6th to 8th of June.
This also might be one of the reasons for the opening of Air China’s new direct flight link from Frankfurt to Chengdu this weekend (19.05.2013). Because as we all know, time is money! And since the economic downturn in Europe forced all these important managers and CEOs to sell their private jets, they don’t like to waste time changing flights when they have to attend a meeting overseas. 😉
Anyhow, this additional direct flight will make travelling from Europe to Chengdu for everybody much easier at a very affordable price. The service is scheduled 3 times a week and will take about 10 hrs. The flight departs from Frankfurt at 2pm (local time), and reaches Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 5.40am the next day. The return flight leaves Chengdu at 1.30am (Beijing time) and arrives in Frankfurt at 6.10am (local time) on the same day. The flights have been scheduled to meet connection flights in Frankfurt, making it easy to come from or go to your final destination in Europe.
Until now the only other airline offering a non-stop connection from Europe to Chengdu was KLM. They are flying 4 times a week taking 9,5 hrs from Amsterdam. The other option would be first to fly to another major airport in Asia, like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. and then get another flight to get to Chengdu. Pretty mafan! 😉
Here again the links for..
– STA Travel: http://www.statravel.com/
– Kayak: http://www.kayak.com/
Sichuan food is famous all over the world and also takes an important position in China.
If you’ve been to Chengdu, or any other part of Sichuan province, you probably will have heard a lot about Sichuan food, especially that it’s really spicy. This is not entirely true! We have a variety of food styles so there are options for all pallets, but if you are brave enough you can come with me and I will challenge you to try the real spicy dishes.
In ancient China, people called Sichuan “Kingdom of Paradise”, not only because of the food but also the culture. You may have heard of Beijing Opera… well, we also have Sichuan Opera.
Life in Chengdu is easy; we like to say that we really know how to enjoy life. You can just go to your local tea house, drink some tea, talk with your friends, and afterwards have a delicious Sichuan dinner. Let me recommend some dishes for you here which are definitely worth a try:
1. Kung Pao chicken（宫保鸡丁）
Very famous not only in China but throughout the world. Chicken in Shaoxing wine marinade, Sichuan peppercorns, and of course peanuts! A classic.
2. Pork lung in chilli sauce (夫妻肺片)
This is one of my favorites but it’s a little bit spicy, so tread carefully!
3. Steamed chicken with chilli sauce (口水鸡)
Local people call it “saliva chicken”, I have no idea why… I guess it must be so delicious that people can’t help but salivate at the mere thought of it.
If you want to try real Sichuan food, I can be your culinary guide! Come to Chengdu and I promise your pallet will never be the same… In the meantime, check out our Instagram feed where we regularly post photos of all the scrumptious dishes that only China can offer.
Last Sunday, the Sustainability Working Group of the British Chamber of Commerce organized their 2013 Earth Day Bike Ride. My colleague Leo and I joined in to escape the city for a day and explore Chengdu’s green surroundings.
The weather was perfect! We met with the other participants in the morning and got on the bus to the Lohas Green Way, a bicycle track in a green and more rural area in the Southwest of the city. The group was a good mix of Chinese and expat bike enthusiasts along with their families. It was a good opportunity to meet new people, exchange tips on where to go and what to do in Chengdu as well as do a bit of networking.
At the entrance of the park we rented bikes for the day and set off. It was really a relaxed ride through beautiful scenery with lakes and swamplands. After about three hours we arrived in a village and stopped in a local restaurant for a delicious lunch made from fresh vegetables and meat from the local farmers.
In the afternoon the group split up to explore the flower markets of the area. Leo and I had a look through the alternative neighborhoods with little restaurants, cafes and bars. Eventually we ended up on a music festival featuring Chinese bands and later in the night a DJ played his sets. All in all a wonderful day and a good getaway from the city!
At the end of last month, I went to Chengdu for our Intern China team get-together. After three days of meetings, enjoying lots of nice local food and checking out some of Chengdu’s most famous places, I paid a visit to Jiuzhai Gou National Park.
Jiuzhai Gou is one of the most famous scenic spots in China; I have many friends who have been there before and they’ve all told me how beautiful it is. So I decided to go by myself even though I know right now is not the best season for it. Jiuzhai Gou National Park is also called Nine-Village Valley, and the name Jiuzhai Gou refers to the 9 Tibetan villages that are situated in the valley. The fantastic beauty of Jiuzhai Gou lies in its 108 natural green lakes. The entire reserve covers an area of natural beauty which is 35 kilometers long. Historically, Jiuzhai Gou has been home to a small population of Tibetan and Qing people, and provides a good opportunity to get to know more about the locals’ unique life and culture.
It was really cold that morning, I could still see the snow on my way there and the temperature was below 5°C, but I really wanted to take a photo wearing our sexy Intern China T-shirt.
These days most visitors transfer at Chengdu onto long-distance busses or flights going to Jiuzhai Gou. I chose to go by bus, got up at 6 am on April 1st, and took the subway to Chadianzi (茶店子) bus station. I paid 138 Yuan for my ticket (around 17€), took off at 8 am and arrived at Jiuzhai Gou at 4pm. It’s an 8-hour trip, but I can say it’s really worth doing! On the way, I saw the 2008 Sichuan earthquake relics and lots of Qiang-style towns and buildings. The last 4 hours of the way, I saw lots of great snowy mountains and beautiful Tibetan-style houses.
I didn’t book a hotel in advance, but luckily I found a very nice one on arrival and it only cost me 60 Yuan per night (7€). I shared a room with an Indonesian girl I met on the bus, so I ended up paying only 60 Yuan for 2 nights. On top of it, it was only a 10-minute walk from the hotel to the gate of Jiuzhai Gou.
After walking around the villages, we found some local food to eat and then went to sleep very early that night to be ready for the next day.
The second day we also got up at 6 am and after an early breakfast, we went down to the tickets center and bought our tickets, which cost 310 Yuan (38€) but included an all-day bus inside the national park. We spent the whole day in the park, it is unbelievably beautiful! It was also not very busy that day, so we got to enjoy it even more.
On the third day, I took the bus back to Chengdu, and then set off directly to Chongqing in time for my next adventures!
My trip to Jiuzhai Gou National Park in total cost me about 700 Yuan (87€), so if you come to Chengdu for an internship, you will have the chance to enjoy this awesome place for a weekend!