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ChengDu [CHENG_Capital More Detail] (15th Sept)
   
  ChengDu? Wait, I got some more PICs of Xi'an. Take a look before I catch my 1:00pm flight.  

Cigarette for breakfast? Mainland Chinese are very casual about smoking. If they smoke in front of you without asking, it might not be that they are not considerate. They just don't think it's such a big deal at all.   

These smoke-free fellows are making deep fried sticks (made of flour). We southern people eat them with congee. Northern people eat them with soya bean milk.  

More food! We have eggs, deep fried sticks, eggs, rice buns, and little hot pots. Too bad I have eaten at the last restaurant.

Morning street of Xi'an.

Another morning street of Xi'an.

No grocery store. Here is where they get their veggies.

If you have problem with smokers handling your food, you will probably starve in the mainland.

"Come on, that one is not fresh enough. I want a discount."

Catching up on news.

Vehicles competing for business.

Turbo broom.

Say cheeeese... Never mind.

An older house.

A newer house.

An alley.

Good bye North Gate, and Xi'an.  
  
  Kam's impression is that mainland China's aerial transportation is transportation from hell. I still remember once I was at an airport, an international airport, with 10 clocks each telling a different time (fastest and slowest was 15 min. apart ). Then I remember air stewardess yelling at passengers (both sides are responsible). Also I remember swinging overhead cabinet doors while a plane was taking off.

Things have changed since then but it's still far from the level which I call comfortable. Maybe certain degree of monopoly is keeping it from further improvement.

I jump onto a Northern Airline plane to ChengDu this time and I find that I am impressed by the air stewardess' smile, their uniform and their attention to small details. They even offer a lunch that I can eat (reading so far, you know Kam is not picky about food at all but honestly, I can't eat most air meals on China's local flights).

I think someone in Northern Airline understands that it's a service, not just a transportation. I see hope.  

   
  ChengDu is the capital of the SiChuan [Four-River More Detail] province and is the hub of south-western China. I had a client in ChengDu from 1992 to 1996. For that few years, I saw ChengDu changing from a slow, oversized town to a full of action. With China's strategy to develop the west, ChengDu is modernizing at a faster-than-ever pace.

To sum up ChengDu in 3 points, I will say:
1) VERY good food, 
2) door to Sichuan's magnificent scenery, and 
3) where you can find the old and the new within walking distance.

 
  Unlike Xi'an, ChengDu's triple-jump development came so quickly that lots of old houses can still be found in downtown areas adjacent to skyscrapers. I heard that these old houses will be part of history when they get torn down next May, sad, and I will miss them. Here, I got them digitized before they vanish from the face of the Earth.

"ONLY 90+ years old" as a local tells me.

Sooooooo beautiful!

See, mahjongg is another national language of China. And it bridges generation gaps too.

Peeking into life style of the 60's, or even older.

A big house accommodates a few families. This is the common area.

Common area #2.

Common area #3.

Hey pal, do you know you got nice sexy belly button?

Love this!

A resident says that this post is over 100 years old. Look at how exquisite it is and I am sure he is right.

These are supposed to be museum items!

This one too!

This is the beam of an ancestral shrine. The Tai Chi and Eight Diagram symbol are FengShui stuff that keeps coming generations lucky. 100 years later, it's greeted with their healthy descendant's underwear. 

Elderly preparing boiling water. This kind of kettle and hot water pot are classic home items. They are still in use in not-so-modernized families.

A market in the older area.

Have you considered selling this on eBay?

Ok, what's for dinner?

This young fella is a BBQ duck master. No wonder their skin color look alike.

These 3-wheeled rickshaw is one of the cool transportation of ChengDu. See my lovely knee in the bottom of the PIC?
 

He is the cute driver that takes me on a trip to the older areas. A million thanks!
   
  Sichuan food is one of the major food tradition in China. Any dish you order may have a history of over hundreds of years (I mean the recipe, not the food ). BUT, if you can't eat spicy food, stay away or your can get yourself killed. Sichuan food is extremely spicy.
If you are eating alone, this restaurant offers a set meal with 30 small dishes. All the famous dishes are almost included here. I want to tell the name of a few dishes but forgive me, I can't find any formal translation at all so I give up. Eating 30 dishes beside this pool. What else can you ask for?
  JiuZhaiGou tomorrow. Very excited ...
   

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