Chongqing (渝), the city on the rivers

Chongqing, the city on the rivers

Chongqing, the city on the rivers

August 10, 2012

Residing at the junction of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers, the sprawling metropolis of Chongqing covers the land with skyscrapers and the hum of busy traffic. It is also a multicultural center home to various ethnic groups. Its history spans 3,000 years and is known for the Yangtze River civilizations and Bayu culture. Of interest is the fact that the city shares the border of five provinces—Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Shaanxi.

Unfortunately, we only stayed for overnight and had dinner at a restaurant serving spicy Sichuan-style food (I was not present).

Spicy Sichuan-style dinner

Spicy Sichuan-style dinner

The next morning we said goodbye to our Sichuan tour guide, Cathy, who had been very accommodating with our needs. Undoubtedly, it would be nice to revisit the city, especially to see the Three Gorges and take a tour of the Yangtze River.

We later met up with our new guide, Lulu, who would guide us to Kunming.

References

 Travel China Guide. (2014, August 5). Chongqing. Retrieved from http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/chongqing.htm

Dazu, Sichuan: The City of Builders and Solar Energy

 

Dazu, Sichuan at sunrise [© BMCL]

Dazu, Sichuan at sunrise [© BMCL]

Dazu is regarded in Sichuan as the “county of rock carving.”

August 9, 2012

Upon entering Dazu, we are greeted by two rows of street lights with lotus-shaped solar panels and modern buildings flanking both sides of the road. My first impression of the city was simply amazement that this city was highly advanced and eco-friendly. According to our tour guide, this city is known for hardware manufacturing, craftsmanship (especially carving), and Buddhism. The other provinces primarily export building materials and tools from Dazu to build houses and buildings.

Construction of skyscrapers at Dazu, Sichuan [© BMCL]

Construction of skyscrapers at Dazu, Sichuan [© BMCL]

After refreshing ourselves at the hotel, our guide explained that our Sichuan experience would not be complete without trying traditional hotpot. We were thus treated to the local cuisine. The set menu was a Chinese herbal soup with old duck meat, gai choy, ham, and golden thin mushrooms.

Herbal hotpot [© BMCL]

Herbal hotpot [© BMCL]

Note:When trying unfamiliar soup bases, it may be advisable to avoid drinking too much of the soup since your body is not used to it. Point. I had traveler’s diarrhea during my transit from Dazu to Chongqing, which made sightseeing unpleasant for me.

Continue reading

Zigong, Sichuan: Going Back in Time

Scientific and Technological History of Chinese Well Salt museum, Zigong, Sichuan

Scientific and Technological History of Chinese Well Salt museum, Zigong, Sichuan

August 8, 2012

Attraction List:

  • Zigong Dinosaur Museum
  • Salt Museum

Our journey to Zigong– the third largest city in Sichuan– took us through many dusty roads that were still under construction and a city that was beginning to boom. Upon our arrival, our tour guide took us to the Zigong Dinosaur Museum—a dinosaur-like building surrounded by an pre-historical forest complete with robotic dinosaurs roaring their greetings as we entered the building.

Dinosaurs greet us as we enter the Zigong Dinosaur Museum

Dinosaurs greet us as we enter the Zigong Dinosaur Museum

As one of the three largest exhibits in the world, it is comprised of several complete dinosaur fossils and skulls from the Jurassic era, flora and fauna fossils; and fish fossils. Continue reading

Emeishan, Sichuan: A Sanctuary for the Enlightened

Wannian Temple Courtyard, Emeishan, Sichuan

Wannian Temple Courtyard, Emeishan, Sichuan

Mount Emei (Emeishan; 峨嵋山) is one of the four holy mountains in China. It is named for the two peaks that face each other like a “delicate eyebrow,” an embodiment of traditional Chinese beauty. Initially a Taoist retreat, Mount Emei and the surrounding Sichuan province would become the center of the Chinese sect of Buddhism (Chen School) during 3rd century and mid-6th century A.D. Under Song Emperoror Zhao Kuangyin’s authorization, several Buddhist temples were built by Master Jiye and his followers. There are more than 100 temples nestled within the verdant forests of the mountain. The most famous of these temples is the Golden Summit located at the peak and dedicated to Puxian (Samantabhadra) Bodhisattva. During our two days here, we only visited two of the temples: Wannian Temple and Baoguo Temple.

August 6, 2012

Night Market Noodle Stand in Emeishan, Sichuan

Night Market Noodle Stand in Emeishan, Sichuan

Upon our arrival to Mount Emei, we refreshed ourselves at the hotel before heading to dinner at the open market. An open market is where one can order from any food stalls, pay for each, and the waiter will bring the food and drinks to your table.

We ordered mushroom noodles, beef and bamboo shoots; green vegetables, smoked duck, and sweet rice rolls.

Dinner at the Night Market in Emeishan, Sichuan

Dinner at the Night Market in Emeishan, Sichuan

After dinner, we had a hot Chinese-style milk tea and were casually strolling around the park that contained carved murals depicting Buddhist stories and a Chinese-style monument at the center. Just as we were walking back to the hotel, it began to rain, forcing us to run. We were soaked when we entered the hotel. Continue reading

Leshan, Sichuan: A Grand Sight in the Rain

Scriptures dedicated to Grand Leshan Buddha, Leshan, Sichuan

Scriptures dedicated to Grand Leshan Buddha, Leshan, Sichuan

“As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, do not burden your heart with judgements but rain your kindness equally on all. ” ― Gautama Buddha

Attraction List:

  • Leshan Grand Buddha

August 6, 2012

Lunch in Leshan, Sichuan

Lunch in Leshan, Sichuan

View of Leshan Grand Buddha from the river cruise, Leshan, Sichuan

View of Leshan Grand Buddha from the river cruise, Leshan, Sichuan

A 2-hour drive through heavy traffic and rain brought us to the city of Leshan (乐山, meaning “Happy Mountain”)—modernized town with skyscrapers and buildings that is less than 71 meters out of respect for the Buddha. We had a warm local lunch of chili beef with peppers, potato slices, fried pancakes, deep-fried fish in sweet sauce, algae soup, and ham and chicken in gravy sauce. The meal was quite refreshing, especially during the humid rain. Continue reading

Chengdu, Sichuan: Capital of the Heavenly State

Bronze animal sculpture from the ancient Shu culture at the Sanxingdui Relic Museum, Chengdu, Sichuan

Bronze animal sculpture from the ancient Shu culture at the Sanxingdui Relic Museum, Chengdu, Sichuan

Chengdu (成都) is the capital of Sichuan province (四川省). It is the 11th largest city in China. Known as the “Heavenly State” (Tian Fu Zhi Guo), Sichuan is richly endowed with natural resources and Chengdu is an example of high production. In ancient times, the Shu culture proliferated here and the city was well-known for its Shu embroideries and brocades. The city was also the beginning of the Southern Silk Road and origin of Chinese bronze culture.

Attraction List:

  • Sanxingdui Relic Museum (August 5)
  • Chengdu Panda Research Base (August 6)

August 5, 2012

In the wee hours of an early morning, we were sent on our way to the airport in Beijing with a pre-packaged hotel breakfast of croissants, salami, cold cuts, and a yogurt drink. Despite the well-planned arrangement by our tour group, the flight was delayed by 1 hour but the airline service still served the promised breakfast.

Lunch at the Golden Hawaii in Chengdu

Lunch at the Golden Hawaii in Chengdu

We finally arrived in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, at 11:40 AM and met our lovely tour guide, Cathy, who will guide us during our stay in Sichuan province. We had lunch at the Golden Hawaii, a formerly prestigious restaurant by the décor but now only caters to tour groups. The service was slow but we tried to be accommodating. For our first taste of spicy Sichuan cuisine, we tried fried pork with beansprouts, kungpao chicken, corn nibblets, Chinese long beans with peppers and eggplant. Although spicy (even though we asked for very mild spicy), the sauce used was very flavorful and had a distinct taste of Allspice. Continue reading