Sunday, December 16, 2007

Si Chuan (四川) Holiday - Interesting Sights (Part 5 of 7)

Interesting Sighting 1: On our first night in China, we stayed at a hotel in Maoxian (茂县). In the morning, we had to walk a short distance to the hotel's restaurant for breakfast and along the way, there is a stretch of booths selling souvenirs. As there were only 30 minutes left before they close the breakfast buffet, we decided to browse at the booths after having our breakfast. Most of the tourists already departed for Jiu Zhai Gou by the time we had our fill. As we strolled out from the restaurant, most of the booths were already closed! This must be a record breaking shortest opening hour ever!

Interesting Sighting 2: The family of this little girl operates a nut store along Die Xi Hai Zi (叠溪海子). As it's close to 0°C in the morning, she's heavily dressed in thick clothings. However, what I did not manage to capture on camera is her little exposed bum! It is not uncommon to see little children dressed in open-crotch pants (开荡裤). The purpose is for easy relieving when nature calls. Ingenious...but don't they freeze their butts off in winter?

Interesting Sighting 3: Along the way to Jiu Zhai Gou, our coach had to stop for a farmer who's unloading his goats off his lorry for grazing along the side of the road. The farmer simply lifted the goat up from the lorry and drops them on the ground - which is easily 2 metres high! It's a wonder these goats are not limping after that throw.

Interesting Sighting 4: When we were at Jiu Zhai Gou, we saw strings of colourful cloths hanging on trees or tied around small huts. Our tour guide explained that in the former days, the religious tribes people would chant these sutra daily. However, in the modern industrialized world, they can no longer afford to spend as much time chanting sutra so they came up with the idea of printing them on colourful cloths and hanging them up. Whenever the wind blows and the cloth flutters, it is as if the wind is carrying the sutra in the air and blessing them all.

Interesting Sighting 5: We visited a gem factory which produces pearl, jade, Tibetan Tian Zhu (天珠) and cats eye (猫眼) accessories. What intrigued me the most is this rare stone that resembles mouth-watering brown and white chocolate! It is in fact another type of jade unlike it's green counterpart. I think it looks real cool and could complement nicely in any modern homes.

Interesting Sighting 6: I learnt that there are three types of cows in the Si Chuan region:
- Black cows are known as working cows since they work in the fields

- Black and White cows are the milk cows

- White cows have the best life compared to the other two species since they get their fur combed every morning, dressed up with nice ornaments and simply wait to have their photos taken with the tourists.

Interesting Sighting 7: This 20 year-old lady is known as Tian Xian Mei Mei (天仙妹妹) and she started gaining popularity in China's cyberworld after her first photo was posted on the internet in August 2005.

Interesting Sighting 8: Guess where this noodle store is located? Along the road and next to the public toilet. What's the big deal? Wait till you scroll to the next sighting.

Interesting Sighting 9: This is a typical public toilet in the countryside. The fact that I managed to take a photo of this one is because it is considered relatively clean and airy. So to go about answering nature's call, girls have to squat with our hind hidden behind the low stone wall. So whatever that dribbles out flows to a drain below and at regular intervals, water would gash through the drain, hopefully carrying whatever is in the way with it. God bless...

Interesting Sighting 10: At Chunxi Commercial Street (春熙路) which is akin to Orchard Road in Singapore, the shop rental must be sky rocket high. I found this tiny souvenir shop at the beginning of the shopping street which could have been easily missed due to the sheer small size of the shop - it has almost the same width as the staircase next to it!

Interesting Sighting 11: This is how they sell chickens at the market place. They'll weigh the chicken on the weighing scale (the really manual one you see on chinese period dramas) before negotiating on the selling price. Amazing! I feel like I was transported back to the 60s!!

Interesting Sighting 12: This man has two giant plastic bags filled with something (I honestly don't know what) and blown up with air. He'll stop at a place, stand for a few minutes before pushing his cart to another location. I thought one bag contains nut of some sort but have absolutely no idea what the other tube-like thing in the other bag is??

Interesting Sighting 13: This is a rubbish collection cart at Wen Shu Fang (文殊坊). Given their habit of randomly throwing rubbish on the floor, I wonder if this small cart can transport all the rubbish?

Interesting Sighting 14: Cleaning ladies hard at work scrubbing the stone figurines at Wen Shu Fang (文殊坊). Come to think of it, I have never seen anyone scrub any stone figurines in all the other countries I have visited before!

Interesting Sighting 15: Live modelling at the display window of a fashion retail shop

Interesting Sighting 16: Our very own BreadTalk at Chunxi Commercial Street (春熙路)!

Interesting Sighting 17: I ordered KFC at the airport on our flight home. When I requested for chilli sauce to go with my chicken popcorns, I was given chilli powder instead! No wonder the Si Chuan people are well known for their high tolerance for hot and spicy food.

Interesting Sighting 18: The photo on the left was taken recently while that on the right was taken 3 years ago. Do they look like the same person to you?

The person on the left is our tour guide in China while the other lady on the right is my ex-colleague. :)

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