Down with a flu in Chengdu

I came down with a flu and have been mostly sleeping for the past 4 days.

Before this i had some time to see Chengdu. People told me that it’s a great place, but i’m a bit disappointed. Just like everywhere else so far, most of the buildings are new and ugly. Most of the old neighborhoods have been demolished. Traffic is bad, buses are crowded. A metro is under construction as in many other cities in China.

As anyone (Chinese people in Beijing, western newspaper or a guidebook) will tell you, the sichuan people are more relaxed than in the east, like to spend time idling in their teahouses. These are good places to spend a day and read a book or something. Good tea here.

The peoples park is really nice. There’s a nice chan buddhist temple too, and a tibetan neighborhood with monks sitting and chanting on the pavement. So it’s not too bad. Chinese cities tend to be like this.

I went to see the biggest (or maybe it’s just the second biggest) buddha in the world, in Leshan (see the pics on previous posting). Quite an impressive statue, but not much more to the place. Theres a giant panda breeding center near Chengdu too, but, i didn’t go.

As i’ve been ill, i watched some tv. CCTV9, in english, has a lot of propaganda. That and the other few hundred (or thousand) stations are all run by the same state company. Lots of commercials too, so i suppose it’s good income.

My plan was to go west from here to the mountains and the south to Yunnan. But with mucus in my lungs i don’t feel like going up to 5000m altitude. Instead, i’ll take it easy and cruise down the Yangzi on a boat. So tomorrow morning it’s Chongqing, supposedly the biggest city in the world – i really get confusing numbers about this. Some say it’s 35 million, some say it’s about 20, but will be double that in 10 years as money is raining on the city for some political reason. Check Wikipedia if you’re interested, i can’t as you probably know:) The boat is off in the evening, taking us to the three gorges dam in 4 days. Then it’s bus and train to Wuhan and on to Shanghai. So the next posting will come from there i think.

I’ll probably come back to to western Sichuan from Yunnan, after i’ve been to the east.

photos from Friday, September 7th 2007
traffic a nutmonger shopping district a man in orange eyes closed construction streetfood waiting for kids from school a road in chengdu a monk alley people at a temple temple buildings temple buildings temple roof insence pot

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