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Published: September 19th 2011
Sichuan Province for me was a little whistle-stop. I wish I'd had the time to stay longer, to stay the night in Jiuzhaigou and hike through the nature reserve, or for a couple of days pony trek through Song-pan. I also wish I had the resources to take a trip to Tibet from here. However, despite the travellers I spoke to whilst in Chengdu I had my plan and I was sticking to it.
As I had already seen pandas in Wenling I decided I would do something extremely controversial. I would not visit the Giant Panda Breeding Center. Despite every single guidebook saying I must be mad and its a place not to miss I was dead set against going. Instead I embracing insanity I squeezed Sichuan into a two night stay, highlighting my short but sweet stay with hot pot, Sichuan Opera and the Leshan Giant Buddha.
I had been at the hostel no longer than 30 minutes before an invite to dinner and delicious Sichuan Hotpot. I ate with two French girls and an English couple. Company was excellent and the food as always too damn tasty!
For those of you who don't know, hot
pot is a large bowl of hot oil and spices, usually in two styles, spicy or not spicy. As with most Chinese food it is a dish for sharing and you choose an array of foods to cook oneself by throwing them into the pot of bubbling oil. This is definitely my favourite Chinese food. Nom nom nom!
The following day I joined a great group of girls on a trip to the Leshan Giant Buddha.
A Few Conniepedia facts:
1.The Leshan Giant Buddha is a huge statue of Maitreya.
2.It sits on the spot of the joining of three rivers Min, Qingyi and Dadu.
3.The Buddha is about 233ft in height, has 11ft fingers and a 92ft shoulder, which is big enough to host a basketball ground.
4. The Buddha began in 713 and was completed about 90 years later.
5. The project was begun by a monk called Hai Tong who wanted to subdue the tempestuous waters at the confluence of the three rivers.
6.Hai Tong spent 20 years begging alms to begin the project.
7. He scared off corrupt government officials who wanted his project money by telling them they could have is eyeball
but not the money. He carved out his own eyeball.
8. The ears are made of wood not stone.
My second day in Chengdu I had planned to go to a small village about 2 hours from the city, unfortunately rain stopped play and I was forced to take shelter in the hostel. This led to many games of cards and lots of food being eaten. I can think of worse ways to spend the day! That evening, however, I booked a ticket for the Sichuan Opera.
Sichuan Opera is famous for it's Changing Faces Performance.
Conniepedia Facts Round 2:
1. Sichuan Opera is one of the most popular forms of Opera in China.
2. It combines a variety of acts such as Lamp Rolling, Shadow play, Puppet show, traditional dancing and music, and the most famous Changing Faces.
3.The Face Changing is the highlight of each performance.
4.There are three types of Face Changing; the wiping, the blowing and the pulling.
5. It is ASTONISHING! Some actors can change their mask up to 10 times in 20 seconds.
Unfortunately no Opera Photos...google or youtube though!
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