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Published: March 27th 2009
Aview of Sichuan opera show
It's the well known "mask change" show. The performers can remove their masks and put on another one instead in no time. It's considered a state tresure.
Chengdu—a city of leisure
Also located in southwestern China, as the provincial capital city of Sichuan Province--the largest populated one with 100 million ppl, unlike Chongqing, another large manufacturing center with heavy industry, hilly landform, crazy hot summer and emotional ppl also in Sichuan Province, Chengdu is a comfortable city pretty much represents the “teahouse lifestyle”.
Due to the rich soil, proper climate condition, lower altitude( around 700M ) and an ancient irrigation project nearby the city, Chengdu became a regional central city since 2000 years ago and even once to be the capital of Shu Kingdom—one of the three warlords used to share the entire territory during a mass lasting 100 years after Ham Dynasty was overthrew by series uprisings and resistance activities.
A very smart scholar, also a Fengshui master, national affaires predictor and evaluator or even a state’s fortune teller, Master Zhu-geliang, also called Kung-mihn picked up Sichuan area for his emperor almost 2000 years ago for the special flat landform surrounded by mountains considered easily defensible and rich products from this province. All these advantages made the Kingdom strong enough to maintain a stand off position with the other 2 separately in northern and eastern
Chengdu this name literally means “being capital”. An old saying says “being a bazaar within one year and being a capital within 3” describes the fantastic fast growing civilization in Sichuan Province. All these heavenly gifted conditions give Sichuan a nickname—Heavenly Land. In history natives barely experienced disasters and already been used to a sort of leisure lifestyle, the well known “Tea Horse Trade Route” got through this province all the way from Yunnan Province to Tibet for Sichuan is where Chinese Tea originally produced, even in WWII, the hardest time in our history, Sichuan became a large base for both ally forces and refuges for it’s rich products and easily defensible landform. Chongqing, that large city also in this province even was our war time capital, large numbers of ally troopers, facilities including flying tiger volunteer team all stationed in Sichuan.
Chengdu is currently a large vibrant modern city with developed commercial and education system and a total population over 10 million. However the leisure lifestyle still remains. The symbol is teahouse.
Teahouses are now everywhere in the city. There are also different types of’em, modern ones and traditional ones basically. Modern ones are more
In the giant panda breeding center
like a pub or a café, mostly actually a mixture. The cost stays around 15 yuen to 100 yuen per person depends on the tea being ordered, if it’s a centrally located 5-star rated teahouse with pretty waitress the charge will be even higher.
Modern ones are usually quiet and clean, with comfortable facilities like A.C. and nice bathroom with toilet paper. Ppl would rent a private room for Mahjung game so the lobby would be nice for reading or lab top. Smoking will be permitted cos most domestic customers are smokers. Customers are mostly younger generation who like to hang out with couple of friends or just need a quiet place to study stock market.
Traditional ones are still quite popular especially among older generations. It’s actually a mixture of old culture, lifestyle and traditions.
Mostly those old style ones are in the open, ppl can find them in parks, river side or even just in a shade of a hundreds years old giant banyan tree. The cost usually around 5 yuen per person meanwhile some teahouses even offer three meals so that customers can spend a whole day in there.
These are favorite hang
On the top of Eh-mei mountain
outs for retired persons, the old fashion side of the city represents the past, ppl playing Mahjung, enjoying traditional Sichuan opera singing, chatting, ignoring the modern outside world by sharing memories with old puls or just killing times. The service still follows old way, customers need find the reception counter, order teas, pay the bill all by themselves, then find a place as long as still in the teahouse and just enjoy yourself. Yelling out is proper way to alert the keeper or tea boys while hot water is needed. Pouring water into teacups or pots is a highlight, those tea boys would use a big bronze tea pot with a long thin pipe to add hot water from meters away, while pouring water customers won’t be bothered though it looks so concerned--a bright long and thin water line flying over the tea table and all go straightly into the customer’s cup without even a single drop out of the cup.
Those old style ones are absolutely the best choice for westerners to personally join and even “be” a local in Chengdu. It’s a way to understand our ppl and culture much better than just reading or googling. Spending
a leisure lovely day in an old teahouse in Chengdu would be a sort of incredible experience.
Besides teahouses, the renowned Sichuan cuisines are definitely a must try in Chengdu for this is the best place to learn the real representative Chinese cuisine. A walking street in downtown called Chun-xi road (frequent spring) is the best to go for there is a “Delicacies House” which contains almost all typical Sichuan special flavor. However the basic flavor is spicy, don’t take it for granted and order a big bunch of food or you might not feel your tones for next tow days.
Chengdu is also a transfer site for almost all travelers going to Tibet. The air ride from Chengdu to Lahsa takes only 2 hours. Ppl like to hang around in this city for couple of days prior to their exciting Tibetan tour. A giant panda tour in a breeding center nearby the city would be a lovely warm up. After Wolong natural reserve was taken down by that horrible earthquake last year this breeding center is actually now becoming the best place to view those cutest animal in this world. There are currently over 60 of them
in this center. The best of the best will always be those toy-like baby pandas.
The accommodations cost in town are acceptable, youth hostels and commercial hotels will be pretty easily found almost everywhere, the charge stays around 50 yuen to 200 yuen per room, A.C. and hot shower always available. There are also Sheratons and Crown Plazas or ever better super 5-star rated hotels in town for group travelers.
Nearby the city, several destinations might be worth to do if your schedule and wallet are both fine. A giant Buddha Statue in Leshan—a small town located by the meeting point of three rivers, Eh-mei Mountain—one of the four Buddhism holly mountains in China, Chin-Chen Mountain—the site where Taoism originally came from would be recommended.
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