when i arrived in chengdu i realized how difficult it would be here concerning the language barrier. as some widely used words like “railway station”, “water” or “left” and “right” were understood in most countries so far, it was different once i walked out of the railway station and faced a city of 12 million with only a city map in chinese in my hands.
someone who just returned from the united states finally showed me some places on the map so that i could meet with my host dhane. we went straight to the apartment of a friend of his where he is teaching english to young children. it was pizza day and while he went on preparing the children screamed the ingredients for the whole house to hear. “cheeeezzze”, tomato sauce”, “mushrooooom”…
i think i was still a bit tired from the train ride, so also no photos of rumbling kids in the “classroom”.
dhane left early next morning for his work in the kindergarten and i picked out some spots from the mapn and took the cycle for a ride without the heavy luggage. chinese cities have mostly a seperate lane for cycles that is wide enough to stay away from the cars and busses. it would be wonderful if not for the new thing called “electric bicycle”. merely a scooter powered by a battery, these vehicles make those seperate lanes overcrowded and the positive noise reducing effect turns dangerous as soon as people don’t keep a safety gap between themselves and their human powered predecessors. but still, those lanes and the mostly spacious architecture makes it easier to navigate on a cycle and the parking for two wheelers is excellent. for a small fee people organize these spots and i think it also increases the chances of the bike still being there after you are done at the dentist.
jinli street is a main shopping attraction because of its ancient buildings.
now modernized and with posh stores and tourist shops moving in, it is difficult to have an eye for the old buildings with their detailed woodwork…
it must have been lovely around here once.
the change from bluest skies in tibet to an iron grey in chengdu was a bit heavy and didn’t change during my stay. even mao even melted with the grey skies…
chengdu is a city of 12 million people and the distances within the city are quite considerable as are some of the places and buildings.
on the last day of my stay a fellow cyclist, selcen from istanbul, stayed as another couchsurfer at dhane’s place. it was a pleasure meeting her there even if it was just for an evening.
one of the reasons i wrote to dhane was our common interest in cycling. he is organizing a bicycle charity ride through nepal and india in 2011 to support homeless children. more information on his website. thank you for the “couch” and all the best for your future plans.