Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wednesday Vacation Blogging: Chengdu

Ni hao, y'all! I made mention in a recent post of my brother, the Hoodoo of Chengdu, and it occurred to me that I have a few pretty good pictures of that city that I've yet to post here. So to rectify that situation, here are some shots of the capital city of Sichuan Province, way on the western end of China, not too terribly far from Tibet. Unfortunately, we missed some of the great attractions there, like the panda preserve and a few other sites of historical interest, but for the most part we enjoyed the city quite a bit. Like most cities in China, it's enormous and densely-populated, and our few days there barely scratched the surface. I guess that means that we'll just have to go back some day.

Chengdu has lots of color and surprises, everywhere you look.
Speaking of surprises, the public art there can be amazingly unexpected and different.
Public art, right. It's huge in Chengdu! Like this gigantic statue of Mao that dominates the exact center of the city.
The view from my brother's balcony.
Getting your ears cleaned at one of the relaxing tea houses in the parks is one way to spend an afternoon. It's an ancient ritual that is being practiced much the same way today as it has been for thousands of years. It wasn't really as bad as my expression might make it seem. I think the guy was surprised to find evidence of brain matter in his explorations. Not much, but still.
This juggler did his best to keep us entertained as we sat and sipped our tea. This was probably his best stunt, though. Kind of weak, if you ask me, but what do you want for free?
Of all the pictures I took in China, this remains one of my favorite. It's just a group of people sitting and looking at a koi pond, but I like it.
This couple in traditional dress were apparently part of a commercial or TV show being shot in the park. They made a nice portrait as they took a break and gazed off into the sky.
Kite-flying is very popular in the parks. So is kite-selling, obviously.
Fresh vegetables at the open air market just down the street from my brother's apartment.
Street fare, or "stuff on a stick." I couldn't identify a lot of it, but I did eat some.
Carnivore's delight. As the cliche goes, they use every part of the pig but the oink. Hell, they probably use that, too.
If you've ever had Sichuan food, you know how spicy it can be. Here's why.
Much like in Japan, you find a lot of consumer goods with English words and phrases on them. They don't always make a lot of sense, though. These shirts say "A representation of an eagle used as an emblem or insign (sic). King of birds - a bird of Jove." Okay, whatever.
Loved the ubiquitous inflatable advertising. They must go through a hell of a lot of helium in China every day.
I shot this picture because the mannequin on the left looks just like one of the sisters of my good friend Dan. Most women used in advertising in China, whether mannequins or models, have distinctly western features.
These bicycle rickshaws (bikeshaws?) are everywhere. At rush hour there are literally thousands of them crowding the streets, going in every direction at once.
I think this is actually a retail sales store, and not a blood bank, but you never know...
Now I'm assuming -- which is a foolish thing to do, because very often you end up making an ass of u and ming -- that these packs of dried meat are treats for pets, and not actual pieces of dogs for human consumption. But again, you never know. Zai jian!
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