First Impressions of Chengdu

Authors: Andrea Lockett

2019-02-20

For just about a month now I have lived in Chengdu and I have had the opportunity to see a lot of beautiful things the city here offers. I feel as if I have seen a lot but Chengdu is such a big beautiful city that I’m positive there is much more for me to see.
Upon arrival, the adjustment was difficult just because I now found myself in a new place that I knew little about. Overtime I became very appreciative of the many things Chengdu offers. It gave me the opportunity to explore places that were unknown for me, which did not occur often in my home town.
In America I live in a smaller city and the size of my home city in comparison to the size of Chengdu is outrageous. At home I always find myself searching for new experiences and new places to see. In Chengdu, however, the new experiences find me, whenever I walk the streets of Chengdu there is always something to see or something to try. Chengdu is a beautiful city that I am so grateful and excited to have the opportunity to explore.
When I arrived a month ago, I had a lot of first impressions. One thing about Chengdu that surprised me was the variety within the city. Everywhere I look there is always something to do, people to see and places to eat at.
Before arrival I knew that Chengdu was a big city but I had no idea what the definition of a big city was in China. In America, New York is one our biggest cities and even that city is dwarfed by Chengdu. The size of Chengdu alone took some time for me to adjust to, because I have never had the option to see so many different things in one city.
The convenience in Chengdu was also a surprise for me to experience for the first time. The transportation system here is amazing in comparison to my home town. At first, the public transportation here intimidated me, and I found myself hesitant to do or go anywhere alone. I was afraid that if I traveled alone, I would get lost in Chengdu and have no idea how to get home or even communicate to others what I needed if I were to ask for help.
After a week or so of traveling in groups I become more and more comfortable with using the convenient public transportation here and traveling to new places alone. The subway and bus systems are extremely convenient here and easy to navigate even as a foreigner.
The subway is my favorite way to travel here and provides easy access to some of the best places to visit in Chengdu like IFS and the Global Center. I would recommend that every foreigner who visits Chengdu utilize the public transportation because it makes travel around the city much easier.
The food in Chengdu also left me thoroughly amazed and is an aspect of Chengdu for which I wish I had prepared for prior to arrival. Chengdu is famous for its spicy food, which I knew before arrival. I realized after being here for over a month now that prior to coming to Chengdu I had no idea what spicy food really was and specifically the intensity of Sichuan Cuisine.
I personally am not a fan of spicy food. For me, the spicy food here is overwhelming. No matter how hard I try to get better at eating spicy food I am still unable to adjust to spicy Sichuan Cuisine. The spicy food in Chengdu would be a challenge for any foreigner who enjoys eating spicy food.
Even though spicy food is a challenge for me, I hope before the end of my time here in Chengdu I will have developed a higher tolerance for Sichuan Cuisine so that I can enjoy more of the food Chengdu offers.
Chengdu overall is a wonderful city that has made me feel welcome in more ways than one. To any foreigner interested in visiting China, Chengdu is a city I highly recommend.
Author: Andrea Lockett, an American student at the Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu

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