Exploring Chengdu

Well I have made it to Week #2 here in Chengdu. This time next week, I should be on a plane heading to Beijing for a weekend of fun! Next Friday will be the last official day of business here in China.

Last weekend I booked a tour guide to take me to all the cool places in and around Chengdu, and that he did! It was 14 hours on the Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. I was beat! Our first destination was the Leshan Buddha, but since it was a 2-hour drive to get there, we stopped for a ‘Pee and Tea’ break at a tea factory where Max and I were treated to a tea service of green and jasmine teas.

Then it was off to see Big Buddha. You travel up the river by boat and there he is carved out of the mountain, all 233ft of him. He is a sitting buddha, a fairly content looking chap I would say. It took the carvers 90 years to finish him. And look at that – there’s me and my new buddy Buddha

That evening I attended a cultural show at a tea house with traditional dancing, skits, shadow puppetry, music and the crazy face-changing, where in a split second their mask changes. It is magic or something, quite amazing to see.

Next morning it was off to see the pandas at the Chengdu Panda Research Base, about a 40 minute drive from my hotel. Pandas are revered here, so it is a very busy spot for locals and tourists, with tons of pandas on the move. They are cute but don’t do much but eat and sleep – what a life.

We did some shopping and stopped in at the Wenshu Buddhist Temple, a nice quiet spot that is in the centre of downtown. Here they are burning incense and offering up some prayers.

Next we stopped in at People’s Park. Think Point Pleasant Park, only smaller and 100,000 people there. It was insane – I had to get out of there. But I did have a chuckle of the day with the display of notices on the fence. I will call the picture ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’! 
Desperate parents will do up a notice about their single son or daughter and post it on the fence in People’s Park on Sundays. I guess they figure the kids are too lazy or they are getting old or something and they want to get them married off. I’m not joking – seriously!!! What a riot!!!

Of course the weekdays are consumed with school work. I am teaching most afternoons (except Fridays where I switch to mornings). My class room is on the top floor of the building below on the left. The big grey building is the Library. There is not much time to do anything else during the week as you have the lesson plan, quizzes, projects and homework assignments to check.

 Here is a panoramic from my school building – since the sun came out for only the second day since Oct 12th, I figured a picture to celebrate was in order. As you can see , the skyline is dotted with a high-rise or two.

My hotel is the tall building here on a busy corner right next to a a shopping mall and supermarket.    Pedestrians have no rights here so its a constant chicken or go with the cars, bicycles and scooters. Pedestrians are at the very bottom of the list. Crime is not an issue – getting mowed down is HAHA.

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