Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chengdu Trip #7 - Chengdu Day 6 & 7

Originally I was going to go with my friend to her classes on Friday to check out what college is like in China. However, since I still felt a bit sick, I didn't want to get stuck with squattie toilets so I skipped class... maybe next time. Instead, I went to the market again and bought more groceries. I wanted to cook some spaghetti sauce but I couldn't find Italian pasta in any of the markets; using Chinese noodles is probably not a good choice. I ended up making an egg sandwich for lunch (couldn't find luncheon meat either) and even that gave me stomach problems. I was seriously thinking of changing my flight back to USA to an earlier date but that will probably cost too much. In hindsight, I probably should have gone home on Friday and catch the Korean concert with Baek Ji Young, Clazziquai, and Jewelry on Saturday.

After spending most of Friday resting, I felt a bit better this morning (Saturday). Several of my friend's old classmates from Zigong were visiting Chengdu and Happy Valley today. They asked us to join them but we decided to pass since neither of us wanted to go on any rides; no point paying ¥110 to get in and not go on any rides. Instead, we took a taxi to the Wuhou District in the southwest area of Chengdu. The main attraction is the historic site Wuhou Temple/Jinli Street built during the Three Kingdom period of Chinese history (220-280 AD). I think Chengdu was the main city of the Shu Han empire, which was destroyed by the Cao Wei empire in 263. The entrance fee to the temple was ¥60 so we didn't go in, but walked down Jinli Street next to the temple. It was the main place of commerce during the Three Kingdoms period so it's also known as the first street of the Shu Han empire. Today, it's mainly a tourist shopping area that sells souvenirs and has lots of street food. There's even a Starbucks at the entrance that charges US prices.

Main entrance to Wuhou Temple

Map of the grounds. Jinli street runs to the east of the main temple complex.

Rock with some Chinese characters. I think it has to do with the Three Kingdoms.

Jinli Street entrance

Looking down Jinli street from the entrance. On our way out, we saw 3-4 models, each followed by several photographers. I think it's probably for a magazine shoot.

Street vendor making animals and other stuff using molten sugar for ¥3.

Another view of Jinli Street. There are several tea houses as well... probably pretty expensive.

Some guy offering rides for ¥20. I don't think they had rickshaws during the Three Kingdoms period.

Due to my stomach problems, I haven't really eaten dinner for the past five days so this is probably not the best place to start eating. I had a bowl (a large paper cup really) of rice noodles with mustard sour vegetables (non-spicy) and it was pretty good for ¥6. I also got some fish balls soup and stinky tofu on a stick. The stinky tofu was different than the Taiwan version. It was fried but it wasn't stinky at all and didn't taste very good.

Hole-in-the-wall (literally) where I got my rice noodles.

Spicy vegetables and stuff on a stick. My friend got potatos, lotus root, seaweed, and tofu skin. I didn't try any of it. She also got some spicy cold noodles; it was so spicy it made her cry.

It's really difficult to find an empty taxi on weekends. It took us ~15 minutes to find one outside my friend's apartment to get to Wuhou. On the way home, we decided to take the bus. The fare is ¥2 per person and bus route 001 goes directly in front of my friend's apartment. However, since it's a cross-town bus, it was really crowded. The buses run every 5-10 minutes and two or three buses would show up at the same time (all full). Not sure why they don't spread out the buses so people only have to wait 2-3 minutes for the bus. The trip only took 7 minutes by taxi but ended up ~40 minutes by bus, and it was standing room only. For dinner, we ended up inviting some more of my friend's classmates. To save on walking, we went to the local market instead of one of the two supermarkets nearby. The market was pretty large with many meat and vegetable stalls; I didn't know it even existed. We bought enough for soup and two dishes plus some rice and the total was pretty cheap, probably under ¥30.

Some guy riding a steamroller down the street. It was slow and loud but at least everyone avoided him.

Restaurant/bar next to the river in south Chengdu. It only looks like a boat.

Crowded buses. This bus was on the same route as our bus at the same time. It was like a slow motion race between the two buses.

All this time, I've been checking Facebook MouseHunt on my BlackBerry. I got enough gold to purchase a shadow trap (Ambrosia) so I'm hunting in the Mausoleum. The game is a lot harder now; I'm only catching mice <50% of the time and they're stealing a lot of gold and points. Since Elim is out of town, I'm almost caught up to him in points.

No comments: