When you live in China and especially in a bigger city like Shanghai, you realise the rate of change that occurs here in this country. China moves at a pace I have never experienced in my western world and it’s when you go home for a three week holiday and then return that you realise that three shops have gone, this building has been bulldozed and that shop has become a bar.
When I first came to Shanghai in Jan 2015, there was still much local life in the Puxi area where we lived and Chengdu is more like Shanghai was before it was ‘cleaned up’ - somewhat sadly. I loved all the quirky/odd small enterprises to be found street side then and old Chengdu has all that and more. Live ducks and chickens street side are a common sight here but as the city is modernised the further south you go, this appears to be less evident. But early days!
I have walked the streets in a mostly southern area of Tongzilin and even further south in the area near Nan Zhan - South Station and I have so much more to discover. Winter does not show the city at it’s best somedays so I am in no hurry to explore until the weather and air improves somewhat as Spring approaches, and till then I just wander where the moment takes me. Those cute Pandas can wait for a warmer sunny day I think.
Nine floors of high quality furnishing super-mart opposite where I live. Some of the fabrics available are stunning and the shops are absolute eye candy of innovation, colour and lighting also - and maybe the slightly bizarre too. Plus its a good way to get up my steps if the day is a little chilly.
Pic 1 - Unusual architecture - more to come
Pic 2 - You have no way of realising just how big that indoor wave beach with deck chairs really is and that's only half of it. It's supposed to be the largest indoor artificial beach in the world - waves and all in the larest building inthe worls too. My Chengdu tutor tells me that in warmer weather it's packed solid with locals enjoying the beach. Some reading may chuckle a little I know, but remember most Chinese people will never have seen the sea in their life. Many have only travelled to a neighbouring city, millions upon millions have never been to Shanghai or Beijing let alone beyond. You moderate your conversation often because you are mindful of the very privilege you have enjoyed travelling to places they will never be able to go - ever.
Pic 3 - Chengdu East Station - China Highspeed Rail station - 26 platforms, 4 trains per hour per platform x 800/1000/1200 ppl per train... 14 security stations at front door scanning bags on entry. Would put most western airports to shame the volume of passengers they process - and they scan everyone with a wand as well.
Just to show I'm enjoying the occasional meal... very yummy Shangri-La Hotel crystal dumplings, and then ahh yes Din Tai Fung - again, and plus lastly a selection of spicy food at Auchan supermarket. Yes there's lots of spicy dishes up here but it becomes quite additive after awhile and you eventually stop worrying about all the oil they use. Gotta get with the program sometimes!
I was wandering through the lovely Sichuan University one day looking to take a photo of the striking old clock tower there when I stumbled upon a large group of photographers intently looking at something. It took a while to work out that there was this tiny colourful bird about the size of a finch sitting on a dead lotus stalk in the middle of the pond. The group made an interesting picture by themselves (which I'm sure they did not realise) especially standing next to the wintery lotus pond - a very familiar sight in China. When warmer weather is here I will go back and take photos of the glorious sight that this pond will become with the stunning Lotus flowers in bloom. It is such a common but revered sight here and the Lotus flower can be quiet spectacular indeed.
Another day exploring I discovered a food style - shown below - that I had never seen before in my travels in Asia. It was at one of food stall areas at a Chengdu subway station. Its like a Pintxos buffet - every food item comes on a stick and you sit there and munch away and pay at the end when your sticks are counted. Now I'm not sure I want customers an hour before I get there breathing all over my lunch though... food for thought...
And that is our apartment block - the tower on the left. Happy Chinese New Year!