But they weren't even the best part! Guys looooook:
There were also so many closets that I unpacked literally everything and stored my empty bag in its own closet by the front door, along with our shoes lined up on a hidden rack below it. I mean. It's like fancy Ikea with all the compartments.
On the way to the big clean bathroom was a big closet area with full closets on both sides of the walkway (where I unpacked all my shit), a safe, and two big robes hanging. Erma. And slippers! The bathroom had a big tub and a separate shower, a good sink area with a hairdryer and a light-up makeup mirror, soooo many drawers and cabinets (I also unpacked all my toiletries), good little hotel toiletries including, finally, body lotion (I'm out!), and............a television in the tub. I didn't take a picture of it because I didn't want to spook it and have it disappear. Guys. I was never leaving. I mean I did leave and we did stuff but come one. It was heaven.
There was also one of the best hotel gyms ever. It wasn't quite up to the Kempinski gym in Ulaan Baatar, because there they had water bottles fully stocked in a fridge and here they just had a big cooler of not cold water with plastic cups, but otherwise, it was wonderful. Oh man. Oh and guess what, there are gym bros in China too just like everywhere else that I have to yell at for being all gym bro-ey (like bringing bose speakers to play their music for the entire gym WHO DOES THAT.)
Down the hall on this floor were separate men's and women's locker rooms. Inside the locker rooms were the usual lockers, toilets, sinks, showers (with shampoo and hairdryers omg), but then around the bend was, I shit you not, a hot dip pool, a cool dip pool, a dry sauna AND a steam room. I mean I guess the only drawback was that Z and I couldn't do the sauna-steam-hot tub-cold tub-repeat-repeat-repeat together but we barely cared. This was ridiculous. You operated the sauna and steam yourselves and each time I used it I was the only one in there. So I made it really hot and they quickly regretted it. Do it on the normal temperature.
After the sauna area of both locker rooms, there are doors to the big swimming pool. It was a very nice pool, but the lifeguard makes everyone wear swim caps which is gross because ew sharing hair things and ALSO I have more hair and a giant head compared to Chinese people and it was so uncomfortable. Did I care that much? No, have you heard about this hotel?! It's AMAZING. The ceiling of it was set up like a starry night - not Starry Night, but a night sky full of stars that ACTUALLY TWINKLED.
I know I am talking so g-d much about this hotel and I know it is ridiculous. But compare this to most of where we've been sleeping all summer! I've never stayed quite in a place like this (and it was under $100 a night! That's amazing for what it is). To make everything even more amazing, one afternoon my favorite movie ever, "You've Got Mail", was on HBO. I did not go outside that day. Oh no I did - there was a mall across the street with a Carrefour grocery store and several bubble tea shops. So I of course had bubble tea every day. And I found some good Carrefour treats, including the first sighting of pretzels since Russia. I almost cried. Oh what am I trying to hide, obviously I cried.
You're here for pandas.
Accepting that I went, though, it was the best ever. I loved seeing the pandas acting like total adorable goofballs as they played with their friends. Like I said, they seem well taken care of and not in enclosed spaces, but I think it would be beneficial (to all) if they had timed entry to thin out the crowds. It can't feel normal to have that many people staring at you. But yes, I was one of them. I smiled at them though! I didn't shout like others! Okay that's no excuse. But look how cute.
One day we ventured down south for a long walk through the city and saw Sichuan University, the very generic name of which made us make constant jokes about Bovine University. We ate at a vegetarian place nearby.
Like my favorite restaurant in the entire city, Jujubeetree Vegetarian Lifestyle. We were shocked at how good this place was. It was sit-down and fancy looking yet not expensive like all the non-buffet vegetarian restaurants are.
We also needed a dumpling style dish because they were on the menu and I was there, and we eagerly decided on a variation on our theme - because this menu had WONTONS. I don't really know what the difference is between wontons and dumplings except that wontons seem to have a little more skin folded around it (gentiles?) but who cares, these were incredible. They were filled with mushroom and cabbage and came in a bowl of chili oil (as usual!) and we were fighting over the last one. So good!!
So, yes, we mainly used our time in Chengdu to eat and laze around our amazing digs. And we saw pandas. It was the best week.