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Friday, October 24, 2014

Bits and Pieces

A tea shop hostess.  Tea is king here.  Chengdu has thousands of tea houses where you can sip and sample and philosophize.  It is truly an art form here.  The history of tea in China is long and illustrious.

Ear cleaning.  I am vague on the finer points of it, but I did see this gentleman with some sort of a tuning vibration device that he flicked on the bamboo stick.  This is not a clinic--just a couple of chairs set up in the middle of a street market.  No wailing or flinching.  Complete calm.

Sometimes I have to pretend that I'm taking a picture of something behind or beyond what I really want to capture--as evidenced by this candid shot of a passing relic.  For every picture I take in China, I miss about 300 fabulous ones.  Perhaps one day someone will invent an html connector to go from our brain to a computer screen at which point we can recapture all of life's true magic that we missed with a camera.

Fifth graders!  Some of them want to try out their English--at least Hello and Bye-Bye.

During National Day Holiday we were at the bus station taking a junket out into the country.  This woman and child were waiting in the throng to board.  Note what she is going to have to heft onto the bus.  She brought back images of a couple of cross country Greyhound trips I've taken...shudder.

Hand painting inside of glass on Jinli Street.

These glass orbs are heavy like a small bowling ball.  Look at the panda in the center.  You can see the ring-like entry where the artist reaches in with his paintbrush.  Chinese make the unbelievable look commonplace.

Thursday Walkabout

 Join me for an outing to the street market!  Let's start at the north train station and just see where we end up.  Don't forget to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, Gretel, or we'll never find our way back!!

 I wanted to follow these acres of clothing back and back and back to the sewing machines...Oh. the pictures I would THEN have...

 Stay close.  We're getting into the heart of things here!

How are we fixed for Chinese New Year decorations???

 Mountains of bundles!  Each one will need to be loaded onto the back of someone and carried into the market stalls.

Giant pods of merchandise--clothing, blankets...

Is it freight day??????  No, this is business as usual EVERY day of the week.

Now unpack them!

No lack of manpower.  Ever.  24-7  Banty-legged old men, young strapping boys--career packhorses.

An apprentice cardshark hanging out at granny's game stall.  One can imagine he learned to walk here, talk here, and will most assuredly claim a piece of the real action when he comes of age.

Rookie reporter, Madhadder, got caught in this avalanche of moving cargo.  THIS IS THE STREET!!!!!  She waited patiently and shifted her body repeatedly to allow everybody to pass.  It was all surprisingly pleasant.  As I observe Chinese life, I think to myself, "So this is how 1 billion people have learned to live..."

Baby shots are my favorite.  Everybody loves a good market trip!

 THIS is a beautiful child.  She was right outside out apartment and was most eager to practice her English..  I hope I run into her again.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Warlords--3,000 Years Later

Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, Zhuge Lian, the martial marquis of Shu in the Three Kingdoms, lived.  He was intelligent and of noble character.  Please join us for a little romp through his world.

Lest you think otherwise, here's proof that we are like the energizer bunny--still going!  I said to Paco the other morning, "You are aging well, growing more and more handsome."  And he said back to me...wait for it...wait for it..."You are getting more interesting."  Say WHAT?????????????????????

I was particularly impressed by the ominous family jewels guard on this guy!  Fierce, no?

This is one solid piece of carved rock.  The grandaddy of ALL such forms of art is in Beijing.

Old.  Very very.  We pondered the base construction material of these.  Plaster of paris?  Concrete? Granite? Obviously our ignorance is unequaled in all this vast land.

Taking a picture anywhere without 4,000 Chinese passing through or leaping into the picture has become my golden quest.

"And then I saw these four uncouth Americans walk casually by Chengdu's oldest and most revered relic without so much as even a sideways glance.  There is no hope for them.  They are an affront to our honored culture."

This friendly little girl was drawing a portrait of her mother.  She may not only be a budding artist, but it looks like she may also be trying her hand at self haircuts.

Kneeling pads.  We see these everywhere when we visit shrines or temples.  I'm sure they are made reverently and carefully by women honored to be chosen to perform this task.

I had to refrain from rushing up and removing the trash can in this picture.  I'm collecting shots of Chinese holy men and women.  This monk was taking a respite from whatever monks do all day from which they need to escape and find MORE inner peace.

I don't know if these pictures convey how truly truly magnificently gorgeous this place is.  We promise all visitors will be treated to a visit here.

Just happened to catch this guy.

Ahhh... a Chinese broom.  I'm planning a whole blogpost on Chinese custodial practices.  This is just a sneak peak.

A close up of the eave adornments.  Now you can scan back through the pictures and try and pick these guys out.

And THAT my friends is why this is Chengdu's #1 rated must see attraction.  Please arrive early in the day before the massive convoys of tourist buses or you will find yourself engulfed in a slowly moving sea of oriental humanity--actually not altogether a bad thing if you have lots and lots of time. Fortunately for us, they arrived just as we...left.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley