In my life I never thought I would say that walking in Hong Kong is SAFE compared to other cities in the world…but oh my…after one day in Chengdu…Hong Kong is a walkers’ paradise!
Four of us ventured to Chengdu China on a ladies trip. Chengdu and the area surrounding it has a population of about 28 million people…yep..it’s one of the biggest cities in the world you have NEVER heard of! Believe me…I had never heard of it either.
14 million of those people live in the city…and as we walked around on a Sunday…I felt like they were all in or on motorized vehicles heading straight for US.
We arrived late Saturday night First…immigration was a B R E E Z E. The easiest I have ever encountered…no lines. It WAS late, but that is normally when immigration is slammed. Susan arranged for us to be met by a student. Her name is Wings. (she kindly gave us an easier version of her name to remember). Wings hired a car for us to transport us to the hotel. (Godsend!)
Exiting the airport was crazy. (this should have been my first clue that things would be nuts as a pedestrian but I did not make the connection). Now, I was in the WAY back of the van, but as far as I could tell, there were NO lanes. It was a sort of a “trample the weak” situation just getting out to the street!
We awoke Sunday morning to breakfast and then headed straight out for our “Shopper-tunities” (What else would we do?)
Here is where the craziness started. We decided to walk to our first destination. Diane is a primo navigator and got us to our destination…however crossing the streets did give me moments of my life flashing before my eyes.
These pictures really don’t tell the CHAOS of an intersection! However…take a look…see the bikes in the crosswalks? See the the bikes dodging the cars? See the people kind of hanging at the edge of the crosswalk? yea…they will venture out there…and also dodge the cars…You see…the cars only dodge each other. This is a Sunday…day of rest…uh no.
It DID help that that the cars are like OUR cars…well…it helped a little.
Green lights mean walk…it means walk with the scooters and cars and bikes that turn in front of you…ride in the crosswalk…generally Green SHOULD mean….”If you are lucky…you will live through this day”
NOW…in fairness…even though the drivers seem crazy…and even though they invent their own lanes (if there ARE lane marks on the street)…even though they drive in the emergency lanes….I did not see one car with a dent. They USE turn signals and cut each other off and honk…but there does not seem to be any other aggression besides the honking…AND the cars have no dents! OK..so we did see two scooters on the ground…oops…As in most cases…the cars win those encounters.
Safely crossed this huge intersection…it took 3 steps to do so…we headed to Wuhou Temple …we were intending to look at SOMETHING cultural…but first… a little shopping!
That is Susan, Cindy and Diane…yes, we did leave some things for others to buy…but we did some pretty good damage! The area had great shops (jackets, tea, tea sets, scarves)…it was very fun and very picturesque.
The gentleman is drying tea. The next two are sugar sculptures…and those giraffes light up in the middle! Lots of different things!! (I did NOT buy the candy …it was too pretty)
There is entertainment, ice cream (look close!), saloons, and the last pic is of a silk rug that is being weaved…the pattern is behind the material…the weaver peaks through and then puts in the right color…and I thought cross stitch was hard!
We DID get to the Wuhou temple.
The incensed is burned and prayers are said. I am NOT sure what the interlocked hearts and ribbons are for…I am romantically hoping it’s to declare a bond. Some of the signs are in English at the temple…but I wish there were more…and that’s Diane by one of the Incense receptacles.
Our first day ROCKED…and we walked SAFELY back to the hotel…where we had dinner and drinks…
Exhausted…we turned in early because the next day would bring more shoppertunities…more temples…more exploring…more “life in the hands” situations!