Our second day in Chengdu dawned much like the first one…cloudy (“close” as we call it in Seattle)…just a little “eh” but warm enough and no rain. Off we went!
Today we were going further from the hotel, so we cabbed it. In true “share” mode…whoever ended up sitting in the front seat not only got to pay..but they got the birds eye view of driving and dodging the city streets.
Today we were headed off to Wenshu Temple. It was built in the Tang Dynasty and is the most used temple in the city. According to the guide books it has 450 Buddhas and relics.
The cab rides in Chengdu are much like Hong Kong in that they are CHEAP and efficient. The hotel helped (?) us by writing in Chinese the places we wanted to go. There were very few staff members at the hotel who spoke English so THIS little exercise proved to be frustrating. I was not involved…but the faces of my traveling partners showed that it was. However, the staff was truly trying to help, that can not be argued. When all was said and done, we were handed a card in Chinese and English with the ten most visited places in the city. Sigh.
First in the front seat was Susan. I can say that she did a great job handling the drive. She did let out one gasp…that made the driver laugh. Wait What? A cab driver w/a personality and a smile. THIS is where being in a cab completely stopped being like Hong Kong.
This is not the temple itself…this is the gathering hall and it was huge! (I tried to “panoramic” this pic…not so good…but you can see both ends of the hall)
ALL through the grounds we saw people gathered to pray, talk, play cards, read, draw. I have to believe that when it was built, THIS is what it was meant to be used for!
In the Pagoda were groups of people chatting. The little girl had “tea” with the kitty. The other kitty was an “under kitty” so I took his pic (he was picked on by the bully cat…poor thing – there IS a world order…even at the Temple)
The temple has ponds full of koi and turtles (yes, those are real). I am a little shy about taking pictures of people…so you will have to settle for descriptions
Diane and I walked pretty leisurely through the grounds. We watched the card games (NO idea what they were playing), the artists and those doing Tai Chi.
After we left the temple, it was time for….you guessed it SHOPPING! You see, these beautiful sites are in the middle of the city…so we took advantage.
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s update that shopping is interesting JUST because of the language issues.
The best thing I watched yesterday was Diane and Susan buying coats. The sales lady spoke in Chinese the entire time…Diane and Susan spoke in English the entire time…and voila…two transactions were completed. It was pretty amazing to watch. There was no frustration, just chatting back and forth!
When you are out on these adventures you never really know what you see that will strike you. Diane was on the hunt for small vases, but other than that…you just look.
Chengdu is known for it’s silk and embroideries, so we were scoping that out. After a couple hours we were looking for lunch. Boy, did we LUCK into a great place:
Shrimp, chicken, pork..on decorated plates! 5 dishes to share all for the bargain price of 50RBM each (8 bucks US?) YUM. The province is known for it’s spicy food, but with mixed palates on the trip, we were careful how we ordered.
OH…What we did NOT order from this restaurant?
NOW…here is a list of OTHER things on the menu we did NOT try…ready…put down your coffee … consider yourself warned:
FRESH Chili Donkey (b/c who would want NOT Fresh?) Jelly Fish Head w/Vinegar (Vinegar makes the meal I have found): Agricultural home cooking rabbit (could this mean Organic??), Hand Rub Chili Mix Tongue (I got nothing), Green Pepper Little Rabbit (everyone knows littler is better!) Boutique Blood with Something (I am NOT making this up…what’s the something? again…NOT asking) Fish lips with Delicious Pepper, Lively frog with Tender Ginger (If my frog is NOT lively, I am not eating it…I have standards!) lastly, Novel Braised Deer Tendon
People! Trust me…we could have gone on and on, but Cindy made Diane STOP reading from the menu! LOL
The streets had lots of vendors selling different things and had kinda funky statues (or was that art…not sure)
The lady on the bottom was roasting chestnuts…one exploded and scared a tourist who ran away…since it was not one of us it was pretty funny!
Our next stop was an artist area that at one time was known for students putting out their art and selling it. This has pretty much gone by the wayside…but there were tons of ceramic vendors and art stores along with stalls with other goods. More good looking opportunities!
Those guys on the bottom were for sale…I figured I could not get them in my carry on so I resisted. This bottom picture is of a pretty typical looking apartment building overlooking the river.
Once again watching the transactions was COOL. The vendors were smiling, cordial, helpful and it was all done in two entirely different languages. When I was looking at a couple items (can’t say b/c they are gifts) the older gentleman showed me the sign (in Chinese…I had no clue but there was a 5 on it) then pulled out his calculator and slowly showed me how everything was 50% off. SOLD. I bought 4!
As we walked we were greeted with lots of smiles and lots of moms and grandmas showing off babies…I enjoyed making baby noises and I think they like me doing it. Diane found her vases and other gifts, Cindy a canvas (I never did see that), Susan a 300 year old vase…we did pretty well!
Diane and Cindy both did their stints in the front of the cab…and both handled it well! (only small gasps as bikes and scooters and cars came straight for us). The last picture I will leave you with cracked me up.
It was an advertisement for Tiffany …I think it was an apartment complex…read the bottom:
The ENGLISH words you sillies!