Spring Festival Travels Day 2

Trip Start Aug 23, 2008
Trip End May 11, 2009

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Friday, February 6, 2009

Before I start recollecting the next part of my journey I have to comment a little on my life currently in Chengdu. Yesterday on my way to tutoring, I saw this man carrying a box big enough for a refrigerator on his back, like a pack mule. It caused me to do a triple take on how this small man could carry such a large electrical appliance on his back, presumably up the same, if not similar, flights of stairs that I had to climb up.

I see things like that all the time, that make me do a double take, but I rarely remember them when I am typing here. I should carry a notebook around for a memory aid.

Also it is now the last day of the Spring Festival (I started writing this quite a while ago) which is know as the Lantern Festival. Tonight we are going to Wentao's house to learn how to make jaozi (which are pretty much the Chinese version of perogi). But yesterday, as well as everyday for the past... well forever, there have been families shooting off loads of fireworks. How is that different from normal? Well as I was watching a movie with Scott (Fight Club in case you were wondering) they were being shot from the garden underneath us. It was ridiculous. The closest I've been. And these fireworks were really good ones, not just noise. They were pretty but I kept thinking that these are just normal people who could have set them up wrong and one could come flying into my house. But yes, fireworks are all around.

Anyway, on to the next day. After we woke up (to fireworks of course!) we had a traditional Chinese New Year breakfast (in Sichuan province so I was told per train ride) of Tang Yuan. These are pretty much little round balls of dough that look similar to eggs and filled with something akin to peanut butter or black sugar. The peanut butter flavor is probably bean paste, but I prefer to think of it as peanut butter.

After we had finished, we took a bus and a cab to the long distance bus station with Harry (the boy's english name) and his mother, who helped get us tickets to Lugu Lake and checked us into a nearby hotel. After all of this, we thanked them for all they had done, got his number to repay his kindness when we were all back in Chengdu, and told them to enjoy the rest of their holiday together as a family.

Since the bus did not leave until the following morning, we decided to look around Xichang. We knew which bus got us to the famous Qianghai lake (where Marco Polo is said to have visited) and watched 4 or 5 of that number bus go by full to the brim with Chinese families. When we finally got to the lake, it was crowded with families celebrating the new year. Many people came over to talk to us in English,asking us things like how we liked it in Xichang, or even just to say welcome to Xichang! We were definitely an attraction along with a carnival, fishing, food and children running inside balls on water. You heard me right. Look at the pictures.

So we walked around for a while. Talked to a man with a cigarette and a baby without a diaper, who I ended up holding in a picture with him. Then after the chinese saw that, there was a line for us haha. And neither of us had showered for a day or so. How fun.

After we looked at some of the festivities we decided to climb to the temple. This turned into a pilgrimage with the mob. It was ridiculous how many people were there or trying to get there. To me it was just another temple, but to Caitlin it was her first one. I just chilled on a bench while she looked around. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of the temples look the same, so I took that well needed break. I ended up talking to a women who wanted her daughter to be our american pen-pals.

We walked down the mountain (oh yeah, the temple was on a mountain) stopping at a pagoda to eat the fruit we had been given by our previous night's host. We used the knife we brought to peal the apples since there was nothing to wash it with, and thats really how they eat apples here anyway. It was a nice break.

We hopped back on the bus where there was an obnoxious boy who had his music blaring and was singing. Normally, ok whatever, but on a crowded bus where I can't even move my arm without hitting a child? Get the music out of my ear, thanks.

We got off in the city center were we tried some street food. It was like a fried pancake with bean paste inside. Good, but greasy. We then found an open noodle place and ordered our dinner. While we were eating our not cut noodles, a man came over and said to us in english "I speak a little English, so I will pay for your meal" I was like "wow, thanks" thinking you know he would want to sit and chat with us for a bit, but no. It was I speak, I pay, I go.

Now, I say uncut noodles for a reason. Normally you can't use your chopsticks to pick up all of the noodles in a dish. On Chinese New Year it is bad luck to cut noodles because the noodles represent a long life. I was glad to participate in that tradition.

After we ate we walked back to our hotel. It was early but everything was closed and we were tired. I also really wanted a shower. So we get back and I take a horridly cold shower. It was like showering in an iceberg. Caitlin, wanting a more pleasant experience went down to ask how to turn the hot water on, to which the reply was "There was no sun today, so no hot water." Makes sense but I wished there was a backup plan. But what can you do for 2.00 a night. We didn't have heat either (no surprise there) so I slept in a lot of layers.

It was a good evening, one of catching up on my journal and watching the Chinese New Year magic show on its repeat.

Today, I start my internship hopefully. The guy told me he would call today. I am sitting here a bundle of anxious nerves because of this. Why? The phone call is in Chinese. I have no met my boss yet, but I heard I was working for a technology company which makes me happy. Maybe I'll remember something about computers that is more advanced than making the internet work in our apartment everyday (which don't get me wrong, it is an arduous task).

More on that later. But now I'll get to uploading some pictures.
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