For a country filled with so much history, culture and amazing sights, China sure looks awfully dull and gloomy. Pollution hangs over everything, threatening any photo opportunity with bland, hazy, depressing grey.
Chengdu is a fairly modern city, easily navigated by foot or public transport. However it’s scale can be misleading. Every city in China is massive, sprawling and spacious. Roads and footpaths are insanely wide, buildings immensely tall and open spaces are really, REALLY open. Our first day in China was spent on food exploring Chengdu. Wow, it was a long day’s walking.
Tianfu Square dominates the centre of Chendgu, complete with a massive 30m statue of Chairman Mao with an outstretched arm.
Renmin Park, literally the “People’s Park”, is a sprawling haven of green trees, open paved spaces, statues and a nice lake. Having seen Renmin Park in the Chengdu episode of one of our favourite TV shows, “An Idiot Abroad”, we couldn’t resist visiting this park, rowing a boat and relaxing at one of the many teahouses.
Wafting over the rustling autumn trees, we could hear the electric thumping of dance music, Chinese style! The trees parted to reveal a thousand random locals dancing in the middle of the weekday in curious synchronised motion. It seemed out of place to not join in the fun!
All that dancing was making us hungry. We headed off and using our guide book, navigated our way through some smaller back roads to the “Wide Lane”, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare with street food vendors and touristy restaurants.
And by touristy (as with everywhere else in China), I mean local Chinese touristy. With fake old building facades, people dressed up and cheap knick-knacks, probably made in China 😉
We walked off our interesting lunch with a stroll through the grounds of Green Ram Temple. At least the green and yellow leaves gave a splash of colour to an otherwise dull, hazy day.
The next morning we ventured by bus to the Tomb of Wang Jian. It’s a shame that these statues are just replicas of original stone ones, albeit pretty decent looking nonetheless.
The Zen Garden turned out to be a quite extensive afternoon of discovery, with shady grounds, bonsai-like trees and towering bamboo shooting up to the sky above.
Our hostel, Mix Hostel, advised us to depart early the next morning to catch the bus to the famous Panda Reserve to make sure we arrived at opening time and avoid the notorious local tourist crowds.
Visited 10th & 11th December 2014.