Friday, February 27, 2015

The Travelling Nutmeg: By Day, By Night

My second week in Chengdu has been a bit reminiscent of a war zone. There are still the random sounds of explosives during the day and fireworks during the night. My heart has somewhat settled as I take comfort in the fact that these sounds are in no way related to ammunition.

With that in mind, I took to the streets to lose myself at bit. And that I did. One of these actually saved me.

Tricycle taxi
They are much slower than motorbikes but they get you to your destination without completely drying out your already crackling lips and that's good enough for me. They have their own lane and everything and yet they seem to totally ignore traffic regulations, (which regular drivers do anyway) when they randomly drive through a red light, cross on the zebra crossing and use the side walks.

The next time around, I found some meandering assistance. First, I was taken to a local park. History buffs are greeted with precise wall carvings of ancient warriors. At the center of the park, dreamers will find the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals as huge 20ft. statues. Then around the bend, are activities for the young and young at heart:  table tennis, children's park, scary amusement park rides, fishing and the like. But for some reason I was drawn to the dove hut where you pay to fatten hundreds of these guys. The only place I have ever seen so many doves at one time is the Home Alone movie. And it didn't end well for Marv.

Then again, there wasn't going to be an old lady drowning me in bird feed. Actually, minus the pain from the pecking, it was cool experience. I swear the first guy to peck was a brown one, as if to say, 'It's all good! She's with me.' and soon the grain competition had begun.

Finally on the edges of the park were Tea Bars where everyone just sat drinking these really tall mugs of tea. As I chatted and sipped, I kept wondering why they would refill my mug after reaching about 3/4 full (we are not about that glass 1/2 full life). The answer came soon after, when I was told that I needed to slow down. According the unofficially published 'Art of Tea Consumption' book (or maybe there is an official version), one must sip slowly, with many breaks in between to enjoy the full flavour tones of leaves. The constant refill keeps the drink at a low concentration and prevents diarrhoea and gas. (Sorry:/)

Dou hua er from this week's Bite me and a too tall glass of Jasmine tea

The one time I did go out at night was to attend the community's annual light festival. My words could never be adequate to describe the beauty of  each design. Neither is my 'not too smart' smart phone. I intended to share with you some snaps from (China's google) but they were all from previously held events.

So what could I say? They spared nothing in the arrangements. The lake was lit with lillies, dragons, fishes and fairies and each bridge and archway carried the same mystical theme. Most definitely worth risking my life at night to see.

Check me next week for the last instalment to this Chengdu series where I get busy in the kitchen with Granny!