9 December 2014
As much as people these days complain about the public mannerisms of the Chinese from mainland China, you cannot deny their rich history of brilliant ingenuity that has made practically everyone else in the world gawk in awe.
And till now, my badass ancestors are still doing this whole ‘make others scratch their heads over our ingenuity’ jazz. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m proud to be Chinese. *proudly beams* I got brainy genes! …albeit I don’t think much came to me.
I was pleasantly surprised when there won’t be any hiking involved for the day! 😀 In fact, there was going to be shopping! WOOHOO!! So anywhere, here was the entrance of the Chinese ingenuity- which we will get into later. 😉
I quite liked the hotel we stayed in, but it was only a one-night affair. 😦 And for some reason Kath and I were really late for breakfast. Reasons being neither of us could drag our tired bodies out of the comfy beds & we had packing to do.
The bus drove us into the city area and as much as I enjoyed the rural areas- it felt great to be looking at a more urbanised place. I forgot how much I missed it all! Buildings, vehicles, street lights, people on mobile phones… Ah~ Felt closer to home.
But the place was still no short in showing off scintillating sights!
And true to the Chinese tradition, the popular streets were filled with these statues. But what really got my blood pumping was the entrance of a shopping district!
It was SO LONG since I last stepped into a legit store, I was suffering withdrawal symptoms! 😦 Even entering a mere convenience store, I felt the need to simply shop! People like me stimulate the economy. Right at the entrance, it had a great map which I studied a little before launching my wallet & myself onto the shops!
It was an entire ancient street converted into a shopping district- much like Bugis Junction in Singapore!
The streets were filled with sweet-smelling treats, shops which sold cleverly crafted souvenirs, the people were cordial, the air was cooling & fresh and when you look up- you’ll see the calming colours of autumn leaves against a clear sky. It was an experience no amount of money could buy.
There were little quaint restaurants as well that were gorgeously decorated! And I always found all these oriental designs exceptionally appealing to me. Grandparents thoroughly enjoyed themselves as well. Every time I see them happily walking around, I’m endlessly thankful that they’re healthy enough to be on the trip with us!
One of the oldest & most popular Chinese art is the rice grain painting. Basically, this man’s craft is to paint any words you’d like onto a single rain of rice! And then it’ll be placed into one of the decorative pieces you see hanging around. It was simply too incredible to pass up! I got some as gifts! 😀 Other than the myriad of shops, one other thing made me very pleased. This crossbow game!!! I was friggin’ trigger-happy! So much so, the man in the booth saw me shoot… Then told me to hold fire, till he moved completely out of range. Quite a crowd gathered behind me without me even realising it- I honestly didn’t care. I found it extremely therapeutic! Almost too soon, we were asked to return because we had an itinerary to stick to! And also because grandpapa was getting a little impatient from just sitting in Starbucks.
I was more or less happy with my bit of retail therapy, so good to go!
Now the only other thing that could be more important than retail therapy- FOOD! The bus whisked us away to this rather secluded place which was still undergoing quite a bit of development, looks very promising if you ask me! As usual, the food served was great! Standards are all entirely different from what you get in Singapore. And even though some Singaporeans feel that it doesn’t suit their tastebuds, I had absolutely zero qualms!
My main favourite was actually the noodles! Just look at that texture!! And it was so smooth in the mouth. Ooh~ Okay, so everyone must be getting a tad impatient… I’m sure everyone wants to see this Chinese ingenuity thing. It was in such a special location, the bus couldn’t drive us in. Instead, it had to stop us around some houses- and we walked there. Somehow found the houses rather beautiful in their own ways, actually. 🙂 And after about 10 minutes of walking…
Once you walk through the massive entrance, you will be greeted by this immaculately decorated long walkway. Apparently it was actually an enormous park! And it even had its own marketplace! Unlike Singapore, raw meat was hung out casually like that- pork, beef, chicken and even rabbit.
I absolutely marvelled at how in the attraction itself, was like another village on its own. Needless to say, it was clear that it was impossible to finish viewing the entire park within the time we had. So we quickly made our way to the main event. The Du Jiang Yan（都江堰）Irrigation System!!! It’s really massive- so it was impossible to get everything into 1 picture. This wondrous irrigation system was created to give the people a better life during the warring season of 256 B.C. by the great Li Bing. The villages often suffered terrible floods because of overwhelming amounts of water that resulted in chaos- losing countless of lives and crops. To solve this problem, Li Bing created this marvellous irrigation system whereby the people will have enough water to survive; but not enough to take away lives.
At the age of 256 B.C., you can imagine how basic technology was back then as compared to our modern day. However Li Bing was able to engineer a system whereby during Summer when water was overflowing- 40% would go to the villages for their usage, while 60% will flow right back into the ocean. Then when it comes to Winter when water flow goes down, the reverse situation occurs; 60% goes to the people, 40% to the ocean.
AMAZING OR WHAT!!!
All of this without any machines- the system is created in such a way that it automatically adjusts itself when necessary. I stood there contemplating & coming up with countless theories on how Li Bing created this engineering phenomenon. In fact, Singapore’s dear Lee Kuan Yew himself said that if China opened itself earlier and this was discovered sooner- its marvel could’ve surpassed that of the Great Wall. I was truly amazed and once again impressed at how the Chinese are simply geniuses.
See the sign next to my grandparents? “鱼嘴” That translates into: Fish Mouth. It was the dividing point of the water in the entire system. After standing there for a while, I was seriously tired. Walking to the point itself was already a distance, so I was elated when I saw these trams!!! 😀 We stopped at this area that had a few shops! And this calligraphy shop let you compose poems using your name! And he wrote a rather beautiful one with my name. 🙂 And another shop for those spices & herbs! My adorable grandpapa.
Started to rain a tad! But I barely felt much of a difference… It was already cold. I was just extra careful about not slipping… I have a knack for doing that. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and enjoy the simplicity of nature. The way they did up the park was gorgeous! Everyone really should pay it a visit at least once in a lifetime. Plus the flawless restoration of the ancient streets. You don’t really need to look out for anything- just taking a stroll down already makes it enjoyable. Saying goodbye to Du Jiang Yan! Even though there was no real mountain-climbing like the previous days, I was still quite exhausted by all the walking & excitement. So when we were brought to dinner, it was great news! Instead of the usual soldiers, we were watched over by statues of chefs!
And our tour guide Xiao Zhang went the extra mile of arranging a last minute show for us to catch!
As expected, it was a show filled with flawless coordination among a huge number of performers. It was definitely a feast for the eyes! Then came my favourite part! The face-changer! It was a super eventful day & we practically spent the night on the bus that drove us to our hotel far, far away… Next up I’ll be showing you guys the beautiful glacier that we got to climb! Yes, more climbing- I almost died a million times again. But hey, great workout. Thanks for reading!