Wenshu Yuan Monastery

Saturday, October 8th, Day 23

Wanted to get out for a walk today, so decided to go to the Wenshu Yuan Monastery. I took the subway there, then walked back.

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That red dot up there is my closest subway stop. It’s down just past the American Embassy, so about 1/2 mile away. I pay my 2 yuan and take Line 1 from Nijiaqiao to Wenshu Monastery, 6 stops, about 3.5 miles.

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Entrance to the Monastery Area

 

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Marco Polo?

 

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One of Many Bonsai Trees

 

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Market Street by the Monastery

 

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Ginkgo Tree – Official Tree of Chengdu City

The ginkgo trees are dropping their seeds, a stinky mess in America. Here, I’ve seen many people collecting the fruit for its nut as soon as it drops from the tree. I like the ginkgo because it is the oldest tree species still around, about 200 million years old!

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Lots of Bougainvillea

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Market streets around the monastery

The streets around the monastery remind me of Disneyland. The shops, the building, everything is for the tourists. As I walked around I kept asking myself, “Who would buy all this stuff?” Obviously, tourists. I didn’t see anything that interested me, except for a shop selling old newspapers. I forgot that I wanted to find an old Mao-era “people’s art” poster, prototypical of propaganda after the revolution. I love the stylized figures, composition, and the simple phrasing of political slogans.

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“Turn philosophy into a sharp weapon in the hands of the masses!”

 

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From the National Day  Celebration

 

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Bridge Greeter

 

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Playful Buddhists

 

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Selling Blue Water Lilies in the Flower Shop

The whole area was so commercial. I was disappointed. I didn’t think it represented a China that I would recognize based on my stay. I realized that most visiting tourists never leave these strange and exotic surroundings.

Instead of taking more pictures of the temple, I found the manhole covers more interesting. I tried to take a picture of every different pattern.

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Horseback Rider

 

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Bats?

 

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Dragons

 

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Clouds? Waves?

 

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Frogs?

 

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Dragon?

 

This last manhole cover is in the middle of a busy street, hence the bright polished metal.

I wanted to have dinner at one of the monastery restaurants. I had heard from multiple sources that my long-sought dish, “potato fish” was indeed made at one of the vegetarian restaurants in the area. Unfortunately, I will have to come back with someone who reads Chinese. The signage and menus were not in English.

I decided to walk home. I followed a road that went to the river, then followed the river to the Anshun Bridge. From there, I went through Sichuan University on my usual route.

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Pasta Machines

 

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Fast Food Restaurant Chain

 

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Rising above older apartments, the Chengdu TV tower, 1112 feet high

 

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An older building

 

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Anshun Bridge at night

Walked six miles home. Arrived after dark (about 7:30pm?).

Stopped by The Beer Nest to pick up old issues of “More Chengdu”, a magazine about Chengdu in English. I had e-mailed the author of several restaurant reviews that I liked, asking for vegetarian restaurant suggestions. She suggested I read her column in More Chengdu, said I could find copies at Beer Nest, which I did. I didn’t stay for a beer, though. Stepping through that door to Beer Nest was like walking through a portal back to America. Everybody spoke English, everything looked normal, like bars in the U.S. and Europe. It was eerie. I asked the waiter (Chinese, but fluent English) where the copies of More Chengdu were. He showed me, then got pulled off by another question by another speaking fellow. I grabbed August and September issues and stepped back into China.

Went shopping for, and found(!)  “cotton” tofu instead of “silk” tofu. The Wal-Mart meat market has a rotating collection of meats for sale. This is the first time I’ve seen live frogs.

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Frogs Legs Anyone?

 

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Little Abalone?

I made a tofu noodle dish, but it wasn’t as good as I’d have liked. No pictures, please!

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About jamescmarch

A child of the '50's in rural Pennsylvania, an adolescent of the '60's in southern California, and a political activist of the 1970's in northern California, I have been a husband, a college graduate, an expert witness, a banker, a father, a software entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Today, I follow my heart by writing.
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