Date registered: December 11, 2010
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I always found Chengdu to be comparatively civilised. What are you recommending for check-in times before departure for international flights and are there now additional checks on arrival that can slow you up and if so - how long does it take to get past the barrier?
I wonder if the organisers, or indeed the Panda Sanctuary, are aware of just how easy it is to promote a mediochre or even bad picture into a winning spot just by using software to display false IP addresses and make multiple votes through proxy servers.
I will not be entering the competition for that reason and recommend that the organisers review the current voting patterns. Meanwhile I hope that if a similar competition is to be held in the future that the results are determined by a panel of independant judges representing the sponsors and the Sanctuary.
You don't need a yoghurt machine to make yoghurt. All you need is a vacuum flask which you probably already have and it will do EXACTLY the same job as a machine. And when it isn't making yoghurt you can use it for carrying other drinks. Either way, you can buy a vacuum flask for a lot less than a heat controlled yoghurt maker.
Heat the milk until it is just short of boiling and then allow to cool until it is comfortably warm to touch (between 43 to 46 C). Pour it into a clean vacuum flask, add a tablespoon of live yoghurt as a starter, Replace the cap on the flask, give the flask a small shake to mix the yoghurt and the milk together and leave overnight (about 8 hours). I have made it on numerous occasions without the aid of a thermometer and never had a failure.... yet, touch wood.
I don't know what you expect from your meat but Auchan sell meat that looks presentable. If you want lean meat then go to a market and buy fresh chicken supremes in bulk for the freezer. They haven't caused me problems either.
Yes, wash all fruit and veg and consider peeling it but I have no evidence to support that policy except that it was laid down by my wife.
Beware of restaurants.
The tap water in Chengdu meets national standards - this means that it is drinkable and I have done so without any stomach upsets. Those stomach upsets experienced by tourists are almost certainly hygiene related or a response to the over-spicing of food with prickly ash and chillies.
The residue that you see in the bottom of a pot when you boil water dry is almost certainly calcium since Sichuan's water is alkaline. If the residue is "heavy metals", as claimed, then the water would never meet the national drinking standards and people would be dropping like flies.
There are, however, high concentrations of fluoride and aluminium in both the water and tea products in some areas of Sichuan which can and has caused fluorosis so it is probably inadvisable to consume large amounts of local brick tea or use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Anyone who is concerned about the effects of fluoride should have a dental check-up.
Decent quality water filters are available in Chengdu. Bottled water is typically an unknown level of purity.