Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Walk in the Park

 After spending 4 weeks traveling, we were happy to spend some time closer to "home".  We still want to get out and see what there is to see, so every weekend we try to discover something new.
We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in Chengdu walking to the Flowing Water Park.  The trees are blooming which adds such beautiful color to our otherwise drab city life.

We walked through a former Amusement Park, and were definitely "amused" at the roller coaster (or part of it) still there.

A nicer sign translation than "Keep Off The Grass".
"Please try to cherish the green grass as what you do to your skin."
 As usual, the most interesting part of the walk are the people you see, and the things they are doing.

These children have a grandparent who is teaching them to write calligraphy. They dip their sponge-tipped brush into the water and write on the sidewalk.

There are kites in the sky every day over every park.  They really are a Chinese staple.  And it's older men flying them--only occasionally will you see a child fly one.
Spectators watching a Mahjong game.  Longest hair I've ever seen on a man here.

This vested, hatted gentleman has a board balanced on a round cylinder and was sliding back and forth, back and forth, swinging his arms out and in.  He was really good at it and kept his balance with no problem.  The Chinese get their exercise in very creative ways.

The Jinjiang River with the TV tower in the background.

There is a Flowing Water Park along this river, but my camera batteries ran out when we got there so I don't have photos yet.  It is an ecological wonder where a series of pools (anaerobic precipitating pits) filter the water from the river and clean out the impurities, making it good enough for bathing by the time the water comes out at the bottom.  It's a highly touted example of how to naturally clean up the pollution in the rivers.

This beautiful waterwheel building is a Tea House.

This television tower is one of the first landmarks we learned to recognize so we knew we were in our neighborhood.  I have finally gotten to where I can usually  find my way around town within the first 3 ring roads.  There is so much construction going on that Chengdu will have a completely different look and feel in the next 5 years.  They are building new and tearing down old.  There are construction cranes everywhere you look.  And they work every day of the week, so things change quickly.  It's amazing the difference in just the 7 months we've been here.

Construction of the elevated Second Ring Road.
We had seen signs advertising the Oceanarium, so we were eager to check that out.
Apparently, the fish haven't been here for a long time. 

One of my favorite city sights is the children.  Their grandparents are so proud of them and want them to say "hello" to us.  Sure wish I could take my grandchildren on my walk in the park!
 Closer to home, the bushes and trees along the Shahe River have put out fresh, clean leaves that look so bright and spring-like!  It makes everything more beautiful.
This was a month ago--now the trees are all leafed out.

There are also some beautiful magnolia trees on campus with the most beautiful flowers.

This tree is in front of our apartment building.  It looks so beautiful with flowers.  The Chinese have other uses for the trees, as well.

The laundry tree.

This man is hanging cabbage out to dry.  It shrunk smaller and smaller each day as it dehydrated.  See some is also on the sidewalk (to the lower right)?  Where people walk, and dogs (and children) pee?  He left it out there for 3 days, each day gathering it into a smaller group until the last day it was on 4 large hangers.  Not sure what he's going to do with it now, but I'm sure it involves eating it somehow.  No thanks (although I've probably eaten things just as scary!) 

Another common sight and sound are these spinning tops.  They whine so we can hear them from our apartment!  The people, usually men, use whips to whip them up, making them spin and making a cracking sound.  The tops are different sizes, and they do this every day in the park just across the river from our apartment.

Spinning Tops 

After a refreshing day in the park, I'm ready to go back to work.  I have three children, Penny, Mike and Cindy, who I tutor.  Their mothers want them to practice English, so I finally get to use my Early Childhood Education major!  They are cute little kids and we have a fun hour together.


Sometimes the exotic travels are the adventure, and sometimes, it's just taking a walk in the park.

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