Friday, September 28, 2012

WuHou Temple and Chenxi Road

After our "snack" lunch on Jinli Street, we entered the WuHou Temple.  There are stands for burning incense and candles and cushions to kneel on to say your prayers.

But the big draw of the 'temple' is the display of clay statues of the old emperors and ministers of state.

Zhuge Liang--the Martial Marquis of the Shu Three Kingdoms Period.  (220-280AD)  The temple is in his honor.

This one had a black face, some had white, others cream

 A round passage/doorway is a significant emblem in Chinese architecture.

The grounds around the temple were lovely, and had some interesting sculpture and buildings.  There was a stele from 809AD on display with ancient Chinese characters carved in 

We left the temple and returned to Jinli Street to check out the shops.  There were plenty of tourist traps, but it was fun to see the handicrafts and traditional arts.  At one spot was a "shooting booth", like an American carnival, where you could shoot darts from a crossbow into a hay bale!

These gifts are made in China, just like all other tourist stuff!

These are cool--shadow puppets, cut from plastic in intricate designs.

Looks like any Chinatown, huh?

I wonder what you win if you hit the target?
A Chinese marketing technique is to have models dress up and stand in front of the shop.  This is so much more fun that a day-laborer with headphones twirling an arrow sign at the intersection!
For a performance (show) I'll have to come back later to see!

I went up to take a picture from a balcony, and as I came back down, I had a young man stop and ask me, "May I take photo with you?"  He handed his friend the camera while I posed with him and his girlfriend.  He was so happy!  He said, "Thank you.  You make me very happy remember this day!"  People are constantly staring at us and many of them will "try out" their English.  "Hello!"  We always smile and say hello and "How are you?" back to them.  They love it!  We really are an unusual sight for the masses.

Our next stop was Chenxi Road, a huge pedestrian mall area with all kinds of stores and shops, including many American, British, Japanese, Italian, and other shops and stores.  It was like Disneyland on the weekend--jammed with people.  Literally!  You could hardly walk for the crowds.  Here again we saw some beautiful models trying to interest you in their shop. 

The crowds were overwhelming, and there was a street going through the middle where cars were trying to drive--everyone just shoved through in a constant flow and the cars couldn't move!
We lost Kirk--stay together or the cars butt in!
We just walked around in the crowd, looking into a store or two.  A typical day at the mall!  Even Mickey Mouse was here--what a comfort!
Even if I wanted something here, I couldn't get in!  See the "barker" standing up high calling out for you to come in?

Hey Mickey, you're so fine; you're so fine you blow my mind--hey Mickey!!
There were also some larger-than-life billboards that would definitely catch your eye!

Enough of that!  Now it was time for one of the most famous things about Sichuanese dining--the hot pot!  We were taken to a restaurant with a table that had plastic buckets beside each chair.  Vivian took us to the room where we chose our foods from a huge refrigerator.  Thank goodness it was in the fridge!  We chose all kinds of foods and everything was bite-sized on a skewer.  There were mystery meats and unknown vegetables, quail eggs, and hot dogs, sea weed and bamboo.  I admit it--we were terrified!  Just the day before we had walked down an alley with raw meat hanging everywhere that had flies all over it.  I said a silent prayer that I wouldn't have to go on the Chengdu Diet again!
Kirk displays his choices for our hot pot dinner.

So far, we're still smiling--now we have to eat it!
A large pot is placed on the burner in the center of the table.  Our pot had two choices; wei la and bu la.  (A little spicy and not spicy.)  The 'not spicy' was probably a broth of some sort--it had sliced cucumbers floating in it.  The wei la had a spiced oil that was soon simmering and bubbling.  We placed our meats and vegetables in and waited for them to cook.  A little like "The Melting Pot" restaurant in the US, but not with USDA Grade Beef!  Our hostesses taught us that you never place your chopsticks directly on the table because they might get 'dirty'.  Always lay them across your bowl until you are finished with them.  Also, put the chopsticks in the boiling oil for a few minutes before eating your food to "disinfect" them.  Now that sounds like a good idea! 

After your item is finished cooking, you remove it (with your chopsticks) from the skewer into a small bowl in front of you which has an oily, spiced mixture in it.  There is also a bottle of balsamic vinegar and another of oyster sauce on the table if you'd like.  Would I like?  Who knows?  Actually, the meal wasn't so bad.  The meats were boiled in oil--so they must be sterilized, right?  We ate and I hesitatingly tried everything that Vivian insisted I should have.  (Kirk was not so brave.) It actually wasn't bad.  Even the Sichuan hot dog wasn't too bad.  But after a while, the oil became a bit overwhelming and it was time for me to stop.  Our hostesses ate and ate and ate some more!  They have such big appetites for such little girls!  They loved everything and were so excited for us to try it all.  We couldn't help but appreciate their enthusiasm.  The plastic buckets beside our table were where we put our empty skewers after taking off the food.  Later, the waiter came and counted the skewers (the larger ones, with meat, were more expensive) to determine the cost of our meal.  Anything we hadn't cooked (but had placed on our tray from the food room) was returned to the food room for another customer to eat.  Hmmm.  Anyway, I actually preferred the wei la, because the bu la was not very flavorful at all.  Maybe I should have added some oyster sauce?  We were happy to have been "shown how" to have a hot pot meal.  That is the disconcerting part about anyplace new.  You don't want to "lose face" by making any cultural faux pas when dining out for the first time.  What a wonderful day we enjoyed with these darling girls.  And as per the Chinese way, we were not allowed to pay for ANY of the entire day's adventures--taxis, entrance fees, meals, and they even insisted on buying me a cute souvenir on Jinli Street.  We were flabbergasted.  Kirk is going to have to teach them a lot of tennis lessons in order for us to feel like we've repaid them!


  1. What a fun day! I loved reading about your eating adventure!

  2. You guys are getting around. Sounds like y'all are having fun out there. :D