August 23, 2014

Wide and Narrow Street in Chengdu has the name because it consists of two streets. It doesn’t take a Nobel Laurette to figure out that one street is wide and the other street is narrow. The wide street was home to more affluent people and the narrow street was home to people of a less well off socioeconomic status.

The streets today are largely present because they tell a story about the past. Additionally, the people living and working there have done a good job or turning that history into profit. The streets are littered with delicious street food, bars, expensive tea, street performers, street art, and cute coffee houses. It’s not a cheap place if you want to enjoy the food and sit down for coffee but it’s a nice place to walk around and explore alone or with friends.

August 22, 2014

Relaxing at the park with my host mom, Li Dan.

August 19, 2014

My host dad and I went online to check out a few sites to see while I stayed with them in Chengdu. We came up with a fairly extensive list and slowly we’re visiting a few of the sites.

These are pictures of the Jinsha Site Museum, a museum filled with Chinese artifacts dating back to the Qing Dynasty. The museum consisted of 3 large buildings and the site carefully explained the exgavation process that took place for the ruins.

The ruins were really interesting. They had a variety of different relics gathered from the area and they were all used for different purposes ranging from sacrificial offerings to valued items you should hold onto at all times. Some of the most unique items that I saw at the site were jade weapons. They were mostly made for ceremonial purposes and usually only royal people used them. They were quite aesthetically pleasing. They were replaced by bronze weapons once bronze was available but they were less brittle than other weapons during that time period, and thus became useful.

August 16, 2014

There’s nothing quite like chicken feet and rabbit head. If I could only pick one I’d say that rabbit head is the way to go. Perhaps Americans don’t like the idea of eating rabbit but you shouldn’t knock it until you try it. You’d be surprised by how much meat you can enjoy from rabbit head as long as you watch out for the bones.

There isn’t as much meat on the chicken legs and they’re not quite as delicious but I’d still recommend trying them.

August 15, 2014

When my host dad came back from France we went to his parents house. We brought some gifts and talked over a spicy meal. Before we left for the evening in a nearby park we walked around while my host dad explained numerous stories to me about Chinese history that were related to the wall carvings. After he related a multitude of Chinese history to me I was lucky enough to take various pictures and a Chinese couple even wanted me to hold their baby, who clearly wasn’t sure what was happening (check picture, note eyebrows). I was a little nervous about that but I took a picture for them and they were very grateful.

We concluded the evening with some delicious food and bai jiu. Bai jiu is a strong Chinese drink that many people enjoy with dinner. It’s a traditional drink and something I’ve also noticed that my dad’s friends like to consume in social settings. They also enjoy getting higher quality bai-jiu. There are quite a few varieties but the more expensive the bai jiu the better the ingredients and the more pure the alcohol. It’s probably not the first drink I would reach for but it’s decent when you get a decent quality bai jiu. I’ll explain more about drinking culture in a further update but for now I think I’ll let the pictures speak for them self.

August 13, 2014

Some cool figurines from a local ancient town in Chengdu

August 11, 2014

While at the ancient town in Chengdu I also managed to dress up as Chinese royalty for a short period of time.

Bucket list item - check!

August 5, 2014

My internet is having all sorts of fun issues when it comes to Tumblr but since it’s finally working again I hope to have a few good posts in the upcoming days.

Let me start with saying that I’ve been busy but it’s been because I’ve been busy with language, exploration, and meeting new people. I’ve had some amazing time already with my host mom, grandma, and host little brother but at this point you won’t see any pictures of my host dad because he was still in France finishing up his doctorate in environmental science.

I should backtrack a little bit and say that my I am blessed with a fantastic host family. They really are amazing and take great care of me. Whether it comes to quelling the swarms of mosquitos I dealt with when I first arrived at their residence or retrieving a simm card and phone they’ve always been exceptionally helpful and generous. My host family consists of my host dad(baba), host mom(mama), host little brother(didi), host grandma who I refer to as, a yi which means aunt and my host grandpa, who I refer to as uncle or shu shu. I can tell they’re all really happy to have their husband, son-in-law and dad back because we’ve been able to experience a plethora of wonderful things in the small amount of time he’s been back. Despite the fact that he’s still working on finishing up his dissertation we’ve been traveling a lot since he returned and meeting up with a bunch of his old friends.

The pictures you see above are from an ancient street in China near Chengdu. It’s changed a lot and now acts as a tourist destination and the street is filled with delicious snacks, beautiful clothes, expensive wines, and a handful of other gems to discover including some animals squished into spaces that are a little small for their large bodies, and 5D movies. I didn’t know you could go beyond 3D but 2 more dimensions have been added to some of the movies here. As a science undergraduate I struggle with the concept of adding even a single dimension to the world in which I live but perhaps I shouldn’t let marketing and advertisements bug me. =)

While walking around the ancient town street we ate snacks, took pictures, enjoyed open squares where festivals were recently celebrated and relaxed.

This was my first real trip in China with my homestay family and something that I’ll always remember. After the trip we went to pick my host dad up from the airport!

July 31, 2014

Walking around Chengdu with my host mom and admiring the scenery.

Chengdu is the home of more than 12 million people including the suburbs. It’s massive and will act as the central hub of western China. Last year they built a massive high speed train center and they cut down the time if took China to ship goods to Europe from Chengdu by 4 weeks. Western China is expanding quickly and their government is also working to sell other countries high speed rail contracts from China. It’s interesting to see China moving away from tangible products and move into the fray of fast transportation. The next 2 years are going to be quick, like China’s expansion, but the experience I’ll gain and teaching I’ll do will be an exceptional experience!

July 3, 2014

Before coming to China I was bestowed a collection of birthday cards from family and friends. It was a nice parting gift and something I really appreciate.

Also featured in this update: Orange and mango Oreos. They’re only a dollar from TrustMart - the sister of Walmart. They even use Walmart baskets as well. Anyhow, I’m back to studying for now and I’ll post some info on my host parents soon!

Take care!