Photo Drop

5 Oct

As vacations go, mine has been pretty boring so far. Granted, I had fest illness going on the past two days, so not doing much has been good for my health. (Sleep! Drink tea! Watch tv! Sleep some more!) Today is going to be a photodump of my various walks around Chengdu. I may not run and I hate to bike, but I am a champ at walking long distances. So I’ve been exploring the streets of Chengdu, getting lost and finding cool new things.

 

This was on campus, somewhere. Look, a flower that isn’t pink!

The picture above was taken on the roof of my graduate school. Yes. If you look closely to the left side, you can see an electric wok and other supplies. The requisite drying laundry hangs in the right foreground and in the back, there is a small vegetable garden growing. Off to the side, out of the frame, was a series of make-shift doors. I did not go over and peek, but I have the sinking suspicion that they held beds and people’s belongings. All of this is open to the air – a good driving rain would soak the table and possibly all the way down to the hallway. Anyone could walk on up here like I did, just climbing up six flights of stairs to see how far up they went and emerging on someone’s makeshift home.

Welcome to China. Every time someone makes dire predictions about the immediate rise of the Chinese and their inevitable dominance over the rest of the world, I think about this and other places like it. I don’t know who wants to live on the sixth floor of the graduate school, but I certainly know that you don’t find people actually camped out in unused corners of Anderson Hall.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Lan Kwai Fong, the ritzy area not far from me. It’s centered around the Shangri-La Chengdu and the upscale businesses and amenities that go with having a nice Western hotel, i.e. Starbucks, Bentley dealership, extremely expensive shopping, etc. There’s a few large office buildings and a bunch of other stuff along the river, but the eye-catching monstrosity on the river is the Bridge Restaurant. (No relation to the beloved and missed Bridge Cafe of Beijing.) This is an expensive restaurant, even along American-New York standards, that caters to the wealthy and the business travelers with expense accounts. I don’t think I qualify. But it is architecturally interesting.

Also in the same architectural style: a Buddhist temple! Man, you find these in the weirdest places. This one is hidden away in a back alley near downtown.

Last but not least, Mao! This statue of Mao sits in front of the Chemistry Department, over by the East Gate of campus. A lot of schools have the same “saluting Mao, coat rippling in the stone wind” statue. I have no idea why.

So there you have it – a minor walking tour of the area around my campus. I’m sure I’ll hit the major tourist attractions in the area soon enough and when I do, there will be pictures.

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