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.