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We were at the airport in the morning only to find the fog was so thick, our flight was delayed about 4 hours and we were stuck at the airport.  Once we finally boarded our plane, we were on our way to Chengdu…home of the giant panda bears which is within the Sichuan Province (known for great spicy food).  By the time we arrived, it was in the afternoon and our new guide explained we should really go see the pandas tomorrow instead of today because the morning is when they are most active.  She said since today is running so late, we should get an early start tomorrow and would just take us to our hotel to relax today.

The hotel for tonight was one we had booked on our own (www.regalhotel.com) and was a 5 star so we agreed to take advantage of it.  Before getting settled at the hotel, we asked if the guide would help us find a place with an ankle brace to help keep my foot in one position since I am now limping on it.  She did not know where to go…we tried a pharmacy, which by the way is very different from ours.  We stood on the sidewalk where the pharmacy counter was and asked for a brace (this was not a store where you walked in to shop for what you need).  No luck…so we tried a hospital, they only had really hard cast-type braces that would go up the whole calf.  We wanted a sports brace that I could lace up and still wear my shoe.  While we were at the hospital, we asked for Advil or something similar to help decrease the swelling.  We were reminded at that moment…we were in China…eastern medicines.  They did not have any western meds, they only had herbal meds.  The doctor grabbed an herbal spray and said to spray it directly on the skin a couple of times of day…interesting.  If it works, it would be ideal…then you aren’t sending drugs through the rest of your body to reduce the swelling in one area.

By the way…when traveling to a place like China where the language is completely different, I would suggest either bringing enough tampons with you for the trip or learning the translation.  It was quite embarrassing to have to explain to the guide what I needed and then have her translate it to the store clerk so we could all have a group effort in selecting the product together!  On another note,  the toilets in general were almost all eastern, meaning squatters-holes in the ground.  Giff wasn’t so impacted by this and neither were the male guides but for girls…having a western toilet to go to was huge.  Oh and 95% of the time…you must bring your own toilet paper or drip dry-Ick!

After our little side trips to find a brace, tampons and anti-inflammatory…we finally arrived at our hotel.  Check in went smoothly and our room was much nicer than the tour package rooms we had been staying in.  I put my foot up and Giff went walking around the area for about an hour, but had no luck finding food.  He said the area seemed really cool and it would have been nice to have more time here to explore the city.  For dinner, We decided to order food from the super nice restaurant in the hotel.  We watched a movie and ate spicy Sichuan food which was delicious.

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