I had over three hours today on the bus, so I caught up on my blogs and put together more random notes. Unfortunately it doesn't appear that I have access to Facebook from here, so you have been spared nearly 140 shots of baby pandas! This and the next two blogs are new as of early on 9/14.
More random notes...
David said this morning that the day rarely dawns sunny here in Chengdu but when it does people usually call up their friends and go to a tea house to enjoy the nice morning. I’m wondering how that sort of spontaneity meshes with a work schedule…
On the flight over, the guy I sat with told me a story about capital punishment in China. He said that if prisoners are on death row and they don’t need to be made an example of, they would be fed extremely well and made to be fit so that they are in the best shape for organ donation. How creepy is that?
David told us the most popular US singers in China are Karen Carpenter, John Denver and Michael Jackson. Now there’s a trifecta!
After we saw the wealth of archeological treasures at Jinsha, Paula told me that she had asked Stanley about all the development in Beijing for the Olympics and if they had encountered anything like those digs that would have held up development. His reply was “we had a schedule”. So I am guessing that if anything like that was found, it was just built over. Paula had a good point that most of this sort of exploration started well after the Cultural Revolution so the Chinese are probably still figuring out all of things like the Jinsha site they could be doing but weren’t allowed to previously.
David is extremely proud of his hometown of Chendgu and home province of Sichuan. Whenever he introduces a sight or opportunity to us, he points out how unique it is and how much we are going to like it. When Dan said that he’d already seen face-changing at a theater in Beijing, David made him confess which show was better. Dan of course said the one in Chengdu was, and David acted as if this were a personal victory for him. At one point during the day, David told me that there are many similarities between Paris and Chengdu: the teahouse lined river, the wealth of museums and culture, the slowness of it all. I really have to take exception to the comparison because while on paper that may be true, Chengdu is about as far from Paris as I’ve ever been, both literally and figuratively.
One other thing that is acceptable here is when desperate mothers try to play matchmaker for their unmarried sons. Stanley told us that in the park near Temple of Heaven, we may see mother sitting with photos of their son, a description about him (think “Looking for Love” ads) and a phone number or QQ (like Facebook or Twitter) address for him. We didn’t see that at Temple of Heaven but we did see it in the big park in Chengdu. All over a row of bushes were pinned these handwritten missives which were basically “take my son, please” requests!