Thursday, July 09, 2015

Xian day 2 and travel to Chengdu:
As had become our routine, we started our day very early! This time to the Ancient City Wall for a bike ride. Bobby and G rode tandem. She loved it! Xian was the capital of China for a whole bunch of dynasties a really long time ago and it is, apparently, the most original and complete of all China's military fortresses. Mostly, its a big old wall (40 feet high, 8.5 miles long, and surrounded by a moat!) that surrounds where the majority of the Xian's people used to live. China's government is working to develop a plan to move their citizens into better housing and, we were told, the area inside the wall is undergoing this process. The homes have been in the families for years and, according to our guide, China has given the owners a few choices: they can be relocated while the government builds a new home the same size as their old one, they have also been given the opportunity to pay to obtain more square footage, or they can cash out. I asked what the citizens generally think about this plan. I was told that they were all quite satisfied. I can't imagine this is completely true but the guide was really good at presenting the party line :-)

After that it was off to the airport where we were served lunch at the Airport Buffet. Normally, the words "airport" and "buffet" would not conjure up images of a tasty meal. But, I'm pleased to say that it was quite good.

We landed in Chengdu and were whisked away to yet another hotel. I don't remember exactly but I think it was nice. Chengdu is a city of 16 million people!!! The downtown area is filled with high end shops like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. Dinner was on our own. I really wanted to try some of the little food places on the main street; they looked so yummy! But, Georgie wasn't feeling it so we lazed out and went to McD's. Its so funny... whenever we walked into a western food place the staff would take one look at us and then reach under the counter for the English menu. The further we got from BJ, the more out of place we looked.

Chengdu's weather feels like a rainforest. The humidity was unbelievable. At the time, I thought it was about as bad as humidity could get.. I would soon learn I was terribly mistaken.

Feeling happy on the Ancient Wall:

I told Bobby there were two things I was hoping to avoid for at least a month after we came home; stairs and rice.

All the handiwork is so labor intensive. All those little tiny pieces of clay, flattened and rolled and shaped and applied...

layer upon layer of glaze

to create these pricey little items!!

I'd never seen this before but the design is traced onto the pieces and then, very carefully, the lacquer is scraped away to reveal the pattern. Wowza! The worker's comp attorney in me kept thinking "why don't any of these people have on face masks?" can you imagine all the lacquer dust they're inhaling??

this little girl was braiding her mommy's hair, so cute!

and these two, presumably brothers, giggled and laughed while the motorcycle they were on zoomed through the traffic.

so um, yeah, one of these could be found next to the bagged chips and bottled water for sale in most the hotel rooms we stayed in... such an interesting combination of items... what I want to know is exactly what is "green baby"?


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