We arrive in Chengdu shortly after lunch. All is good except for Uri, whose bag didn’t show up in baggage claim. He had brought bamboo charcoal with him even though it was on the list of things you couldn’t bring into China. Jordan had warned him at SFO…he didn’t think it was that big of a deal though.
This was a bit of a panic for the whole team since Uri brought all the water quality tests, drill, and rope necessary for the filters. How would we know if our filter worked?
After disappointment at baggage claim, we were greeted by the TVP coordinators at the airport exit and welcomed with white, silk scarves. (It is a Tibetan custom to welcome guests with white, silk scarves.) This was the first clue to how nice Tibetans are. Throughout our trip we were surrounded by happy, welcoming, and thankful Tibetans.
Tsering was our guide for the trip. After hearing about Uri’s bag, she was set on getting it before we left and coordinated with baggage claim for us. She would have Uri’s bag by the next day! Just in time before we leave for Kangding.
Meanwhile, we set off to go buy our parts in Chengdu. Tsering was only able to find one PVC pipe and cap…we had a lot of parts left to buy…little did we know that this was going to be one of the most difficult and tiring aspects of the project. Why?
First, it was hot and humid so walking anywhere was just difficult.
Second, our main place to shop at was an open market that was basically like a very disorganized Home Depot with owners that barely knew what they sold. Below is a picture of the market we shopped at, each shop sold certain merchandise that was needed for home improvement or construction.
It took us a while to find the proper pipe size and it was almost impossible to explain to them what gaskets were. After hours of searching for pipes and gaskets we had to leave and continue shopping the next day. None of the gaskets we found were big enough and even buckets were hard to find! All we could find were plastic tubs. The only buckets they sold were ones that already contained some oil or other dense substance in it! So from the 4 hours of shopping this day, we came back with only PVC pipes and caps. This was going to be tiring…