Thursday, November 28, 2019

12 Chengdu Business Centre or is it....

When they tell you they are going to take you to the Chengdu Business Centre, you can't help but wonder, hmm.  My thoughts were rows of tall grey office buildings, surrounding by traffic and workers racing to get to one place to another...

What they should of said for us dummies, we are going shopping!!  So the business centre is a bit like a like version of Times Square.

I think the real reason was that William our SNA tour leader wanted to show us the huge panda scaling the walls of one of the many shopping centres.

We walked along the pedestrian walkway and loved what looked like repurposed VW's. I would call them cute Food Trucks.

Now you may remember I spoke of the Contiki group that sat up the back of the bus.... these were the youngangs, who always supplied good entertainment.  There were two in particular, to protect their identities we will call one Zach and the other Alex.

These two fine gentleman, you might say held "Movie Star" status amongst the Chinese.  They were tall, blonde strapping young men.  But what fascinated the locals so much where the bare legs!..  Yes in the middle of winter, where we couldn't layer enough clothing, these boys walked around in shorts everyday.   It was nothing to see young giggling girls running up behind them, phones out snapping those sexy legs.

Now Alex, for some reason, thought he was going to some tropical island, and hence didn't take him long to realise that he would be little deficient in the clothing department.  So the hunt was on...  He needed a jacket.. look at the pictures … look at the size of him... we are in China.  By the third shop we worked out that we needed a XXXXL Jacket. ….  But of course they only carry up to XXXL

Once again making the most of his celebrity status the girls in the store fuss all over him and eventually we settled for a very snug fitting jacket, but alas those legs will always be out there.

So now we have been in China for what … 2 days … and my youngangs… Yes I became the honorary Mum, nearly wet themselves when we happen to pass a MacDonald's.  Did I mention before our shopping expedition we stopped for a banquet lunch!  But alas that call for a "2 all beef patty, special sauce" was too much to ignore.

11 Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding or Chengdu Panda Base for Short.

It was an early start as we headed out to see what would be China's most famous inhabitant, and that would be the Panda.... I would put Pandas up there with our Koala's, they are soft, fluffy and all you want to do it give them a big cuddle...  But one look at those claws and you might have second thoughts...
Chengdu Panda Base started in 1987 with 6 giant pandas that  were rescued  from the wild and within 10 years they could boast 124 births.
The grounds are beautifully kept with gardens and the occasional statue paying homage to the famous Kung Fu Panda.
We walked around each of the enclosures oohing and arrhing at their cuteness, with everyone vying to snap the best selfie shot.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

10 Jingli Ancient St, Chengdu

If anything screams tourist, no where does it better than Jingli St. Also known as the "First Street of the Shu Kingdom", Jingli has been lovingly restored to its former glory. well kind of. You can walk through the streets and alley ways and admire the traditional style buildings that have been brought back to life in a commercial kind of way. Now their purpose is
to house shops, tea houses and theatres that take you back in time. Many of the crafts are demonstrated and displayed to tempt you to buy.

Whilst here we were taken to a Chinese Theatre. Hosted by a Chinese Harry Potter look alike, we were entertained by singers, dancers, acrobats and jugglers. The highlight of the opera was the performance of Face Changing. Dating back 100's of years, skilled dancers perform magically changing the colour and appearance of their face / mask so quickly, that is just too hard to determine how they do it.

The one thing I found when Chinese speak, it is monotone. No highs or lows to convey feeling, no facial expression to signify happy or sad. Just
sentence after sentence with no pausing for breath. Of course, this made things difficult to understand what was going on. So, while Harry spoke nonstop, 2 men in suits brought a long table and rolled out a long sheet of paper. Harry continued with out skipping a beat, then a third

man came out and started painting. Ahhh Calligrapher.. Thoughts of Rolf Harris came to
mind as I waited for the finale, expecting to see him pick a can and exclaim "Trust British Paints" .. "Sure can" .. But no ... Harry kept talking. Then suddenly there was a break! OMG it's an auction. yes, they auction the painting. Now we are too scared to move in case we accidently make a purchase for god knows what price, as there is nothing familiar sounding in the Chinese language. Just when you thought it was over another painting came out and this continued longer than the opera did!!

Finally, we were released from the dungeons of Gryffindor, oh sorry I meant the theatre and we had time to explore the streets on our own...

It is just as beautiful to visit Jingli street in the evening, when all the lanterns light up. Even more crowds gathered, many making their way through the maze of lanes where at the end you were tempted by the aroma of the delicious local snacks on sale from stall after stall after stall. Sichuan food is big and bold on flavour and like any addiction,  people crave the chilli's that are so popular in this region.