ChengDu (IV) Eventually…we start to become friends!

With a lot of investment on both ChengDu’s and my side the two of us came to agree that there are indeed nice places in ChengDu! Lonely Planet will require an update as will some tourist maps. But lucky as I was (or: as ChengDu was ;)) I passed by some park-like grounds in the taxi, which had brought me from the airport to the hotel. And the map I got in my hotel, an all-Chinese map, not actually really well suitable for touristic purposes, had in about the area where I saw these greens out of the taxi window indeed chartered two parks and some pagodas. These areas were my goal today. And I just took a deep breath after I noticed that I selected no less than 27 picture to be published today, record for a single day report!

So ChengDu’s investment were in a restaurated Chinese tourist street, two parks, and a temple. Not bad for 8 days time!

I invested in dozens kilometers of walking and likely a sunburn on both my calfs: I gave up on thinking how bad shorts with hiking boots look like…it’s simply too hot for such prides. While the sky was all cloudy, or at least hazy, the sun’s UV light seems to have found its way through. Didn’t expect it to burn me, though. I am running outdoors for several weeks now, my arms and face can by now deal with any kind of sun without sun lotion, even in Lhasa. But my legs had rarely been uncovered so far. In QingDao and Taipei once or twice…no problems. But today in ChengDu the sun stroke back. The calfs are light red. Doesn’t hurt yet…and I sacrificed quite some sun lotion afterwards, better than never, but I am afraid I will know tomorrow what I’d done today. And probably stay indoors. We’ll see.

QínTái Lù (琴台路)

I came just by chance across this street, happened to be next to the first park I was targeting. It is by no means original, but one of these built-to-look-like tourist streets popping up in some cities nowadays, compare TianJin, or also BeiJing. That’s fine for me as long as nobody claims it’s original. And here nobody does.

CD_20070709_114951.jpg: It is just a appealing collection of stores, restaurants, and hotels in an architectural style, which picks up some ancient elements. Here the beginning of the street at its corner to ShiErQiaoLu/JinHeLu (十二桥路/金河路). [ChengDu has this extremely nasty habit of renaming streets several times along their way, and here at this crossing the street is one name on one side and the other name on the other side of QinTai Lu. Even LP warns in a separated text box of this phenomenon.]

CD_20070709_153206.jpg: On the way back I passed by the end of the street at its corner with JĭnLĭ Lù (锦里路).

CD_20070709_153405.jpg: Looking back after entering Hundred Flower Lake Park; this pagoda sits across the ball-like sculpture of the previous picture.

WénHuà GōngYuān (文化公园)

This was my first target. It’s a fairly small park with lots of tea houses, partly nicely set. But the park as such has not many outstanding features.

CD_20070709_120338.jpg: Some memorial for a number of dead. I didn’t fully get what it is about, no English text, so I tried to decipher something of the Chinese inscription. From all I can say it is about a bridge, or more exactly the 12th bridge (十二桥, same as one of the neighbouring street names) and it happened between late November 1949 and December 1949. All grave stones carry 1949 as year of death. By that time the Second World War was long over. I can’t say what these people died for. Didn’t find any English text on a “Twelfth Bridge” or the like.

CD_20070709_120951.jpg: One of the tea house places in the park.

QīngYáng Gōng (青羊宫)

Translates to something like “Green Sheep Palace”. Interesting that it is named palace (宫) and not temple (sì, 寺). It is a Taoist Temple, though, not a Buddhist one. That might affect the naming.

I figured only on the way out that there is actually a ticket office…I had just walked in, nodded to the security staff around as I often do as I always got stared at as a foreigner, and moved on. Nobody stopped me… 😉

CD_20070709_121930.jpg: I cannot say much about the details of the temple. This is at the very beginning a view towards a central tempel pagoda.

CD_20070709_122231.jpg: There have been comprehensive texts on panels but I missed photographing them. Just enjoy the pics then…

CD_20070709_122610.jpg: These male sheeps were very popular again with kids to ride on. In the background the main temple hall with three large enshrined…well…can’t be Buddhas then in a Taoist temple. Let’s call them religious insipiring leaders 😉

CD_20070709_122906.jpg: A forbidden picture…inside the halls taking pictures wasn’t allowed. But there was nobody around…

HuànHuāXī GōngYuān (浣花溪公园)

That was the largest green patch on my city map. And indeed it is a big park. I spent 2 or 3 hours in there, with some rests inbetween. It is not exactly a typical Chinese park, though it picks up some elements here and there, but I would rather name it a “landscape park”. Trying to translate its name it comes to something similar: Admire Flowers and Creeks Park.

On the map I see that there is supposed to be yet another temple. And I have an idea were it was…but by the time I walked past I thought it an entrance to some kind of residential or hotel building and did not enter.

CD_20070709_131821.jpg: Let’s admire creeks here. The park is essentially divided into two parts by a road. This here is in the northern part, which is definitely only landscape with a high amount of water.

CD_20070709_132940.jpg: Let’s admire a lake here. This lake is at the northern end of the southern part, which has some landscape elements but later on also typical designed gardens. We’ll come to that…

CD_20070709_133558.jpg: Let’s admire a bird here in the lake, walking past my resting position on a rock. I can’t identify him, though.

CD_20070709_150445.jpg: Let’s admire the same lake once more, from a different angle while walking back.

CD_20070709_145211.jpg: Some statue at the south exit. But also pay attention to the residential houses in the background. In the morning I had talked to another German traveller who I saw by chance on TianFu Square (wearing a “S-Bahn Berlin” T-Shirt…could only be a German ;)) who told me during the course of our conversation that ChengDu should have some German residential architecture. These houes came as close to that as I could get. In fact, the entire south of the park was surrounded by modern residential buildings in a moderate western style.

CD_20070709_145355.jpg: The actual park’s south exit looks better here.

CD_20070709_143935.jpg: What I really loved about this park were its sculptures! You’ll see a lot of Chinese scholars in typical dress (like we westerners think Confucius must have looked like), but built in a very modern style. This first pic is also about the park’s surrounding…but it’s best element is the black scholar sculpture on the left, seems like drifting on water towards the creek.

CD_20070709_145412.jpg: Another sculpture of a vivid reading/reaching lesson. Look at their faces, especially the sitting man’s!

CD_20070709_145508.jpg: And Confucius (or whoever this is supposed to be) starting to do caligraphy. Aren’t they great? 😉

BăiHuāTán GōngYuān (百花潭公园)

Wow…looking up the third character tán (潭) costed a bit of an effort…my pocket dictionary, small but so far never failed, does not have it. I found it finally on via their radical charts. It actually just means: Lake. As simple as this. The full park’s name is then something like “Hundred Flower Lake Park”.

This one I found also more or less by chance on the way back. It is situated at the southern end of QinTai Lu. There is a bridge crossing a river and then entering into the park. By the way: All parks have free admission!

CD_20070709_153319.jpg: The park’s northern entry is a long Chinese-style bridge.

CD_20070709_153819.jpg: If I remember the inscriptions right then this is a lake within a garden shaped according to a certain poem.

CD_20070709_153938.jpg: Next to it you can hire fishing rods. But what for? Just grap into the water…

CD_20070709_154742.jpg: Of these tree blossoms I already made some pictures in the “Admire Flowers and Creeks Park”…so much about admiring flowers. But this picture taken in the “Hundred Flower Lake Park” is the best. I have no clue whatsoever what this tree is.

Curios picked up on the way

CD_20070709_132410.jpg: “Complimentary Tissue”. The only purpose a complimentary tissue, far away from the next toilet, could have here is to dry your face from sweat. During weather like today reasonable. Unfortunately empty. (HuànHuāXī GōngYuān)

CD_20070709_144357.jpg: A shitting seat! 😉 Sorry…couldn’t find a better term. To be put on top of the squatting toilets installed here. “Be careful!” (HuànHuāXī GōngYuān)

CD_20070709_153607.jpg: “Show mercy to the green grass!” (BăiHuāTán GōngYuān)

CD_20070709_164431.jpg: You will need to help me here…what’s so special about it??? Even a non-Chinese will be able to figure out that this is a McD advertisement for something like an egg burger for 6 RMB. Cheap…I give you that. But otherwise? I have taken this picture out of the Starbucks at TianFu Square while sitting there and trying hard not to doze off (I later failed) and enjoy my Frappucchino when suddenly a westerner man obstructed my view out of the window. I only saw his back, but his position and the way he kept his arms suggested that he was taking a picture. For a second attempt he moved a bit, which allowed me to look past him where I saw a woman, presumably his wife, posing next to this McD ad. Once finished they moved the little panel with the buffet offer back to the position where you see it in my picture, formerly occupied by the woman. A minute later I took this picture with the intention to ask you for help in undestanding what this is all about…

CD_20070709_183302.jpg: In return I show you what peak traffic in ChengDu looks like. Actually, this picture looks a lot less bad than it actually was: You get overrun everywhere by this battery-powered cycles. They come in hordes so strong that even public busses give trying to cross through them when turning right (usually all right-turning traffic will force its way through cycles and pedestrians, slow but steadily). I have witnessed two minor accidents with this bikes today…nothing bad happened, but they kicked pedestrians. One bike actually just after avoiding me by a few millimeters only.

Today’s Lesson: ChengDu has great parks!!!

Categories: AsiaChengDu

Originally Created: 07/09/2007 04:01:46 PM

Last Edited: 07/09/2007