Around Chengdu 1

OK, these are NOT my own photos. At least I’m giving credit to the website where I found them, so it doesn’t constitute theft:
http://www.asia-trip.net/webgallery/sichuanuni/tazishangongyuan/Album1.htm

Tazishan Park is on the eastern outskirts of Chengdu. Its major landmark is a 14-story high tower, pictured below. You can ride to the top in an elevator, or take the stairs if you’re adventurous. My tower-climbing obsession, though, isn’t what it used to be. I didn’t attempt this one.

We saw preparations for a huge Festival of Lights, to take place on February 12, just before Spring Festival, which marks the start of the Chinese new year (this year it’s on February 18). Elaborate metal frames in many designs, covered with colored cloth, with strings of lights inside, promise a fairyland of illuminations. Maybe I’ll take my camera and get some nighttime photos.

Tower, Tazishan Park

Stone face on sculpture wall

My favorite aspect of this park is its extraordinarily creative stone sculptures. There is a whole collection of animal sculptures depicting the signs of the Chinese zodiac. When I return with my camera I’ll get some shots of them. they were the best examples of public sculpture I’ve seen yet in Chengdu.

Monster mouth at one end of the sculpture wall

There’s an entire wall decorated with stone carvings, which I assume represents historical subjects. I’m glad I found these photos online, because during our visit much of the wall was covered up by work stations in preparation for the light festival.

Figures and symbols

Some well-muscled dudes in stone

News:

My friend Puba arrived safely in Dharamsala, India. I know this because he had a friend compose an email to me in English. The vocabulary wasn’t quite perfect, and made it seem as if he had either “walked” or “worked” his way across India from Kathmandu, Nepal. I don’t quite believe this; it’s more likely that he caught a train, bus, or paid for rides. Anyway, he’s enrolled in an English study program at one of the schools sponsored by the Dalai Lama. I hope he gets to meet the Dalai himself, which seems pretty likely, as the spiritual leader attempts to meet all Tibetans who find their way there.

I’m gradually formulating plans for a future trip, maybe during 2008. I’ll take the train from Chengdu to Lhasa, then find transportation across the Tibet-Nepal Highway through the Himalaya to Kathmandu. I have an email penpal in Kathmandu who I want to meet. Then I’ll find my way to India and spend some precious time gorging myself on one of my favorite cuisines. A trip to Delhi will lead me to Dharamsala, where I’ll visit Puba. I also fantasize about making a trip into Ladakh, in northwestern India bordering on Tibet. Andrew Harvey’s book A Journey in Ladakh is one of my favorite books – I’ve now read it 3 times.

For the time being, I’m staying put. I will make some short day trips, maybe a brief visit of several days somewhere scenic before school begins in March. I’m not doing anything thrilling, but my self-discipline is pretty good. Today I power-walked 2 miles around the track, and this afternoon I worked on my biceps and triceps at the gym. Not bad.

As we say in L.A.: Later, dude.

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