When I yesterday asked Laura what's going to happen to the old Chengdu, she said there was going to be a center of some kind - no reconstruction. Sigh... But thinking of the chinese ways it seems not so strange. The authorities have enough to spend the tax money for so most construction is done by private initiative, and here only profit counts. And there's no profit in saving that old rubbish. What it is - really. But pitoresque...
This morning it rains quite a lot. It wasn't what I was looking for on this extra day in Chengdu. But the morning brings a surprise. When I'm sitting waiting for my omlette my eye catch a notice on the wall. The code for the wi-fi is 3333377777. My small PDA has a wireless connection, which didn't work with my network at home, but I need to do an attempt?
And seconds later I'm reading letters from my last trip to China - on the INTERNET!
Astonishing. Even it looks more like html-code it's possible to read to text.
I try Google.dk. It works! DSB (Danish State Railway) goes VERY slow but something appears. Messenger? No - I don't know if there's a Messenger for Windows Mobile or whatever operating system this one uses?
It's only websites that are optimized for mobile phones that will show in a proper way, I can see. But a small miracle anyway.
The wheather is definitely bad, but I'm determined to go out. When Laura turns up, I ask her where to go today? After some consideration she suggests "The fish market" where they have all sorts of strange things for eating. I ask if there are restaurants there and she thinks so. She doesn't sound happy about it when I say I'd like to try snake. No, "snack" as she pronounces it, is not her favourite.
When I'm ready to leave it has stopped raining. (3 happy smileys!)
When I get there I place the bike by a bike parking guard. I've learned it's only 3 mao, which are the chinese "10-ører". One mao is the smallest coin today I think.
After having been round the block once I realize the map is wrong and ask someone (show him the chinese characters) where it is? He points to the other side of the big street. I cross over there not convinced, it doesn't look like a fish market. But when I get to an alley that disappears into the area I suddenly smell fish. So I go on. End up in some kind of backyard with a backdoor. And this way I enter the market. It's an extraordinary experience. I really had no expectations. Now I meet a weird world. It's exactly like I've seen in TV - but this is the real stuff.
Fishes of all kinds. Live in aquariums, dead on the counters. One man is killing live crabs (big size) by splitting them into two. It has to be done very precise, so first he search for the right spot and then he puts all his weight behind and bangs the axe knife with a club and soon after the legs stops moving.
Some other place they unpack something from paper. It shows up to be lobsters, that immidiately starts moving when they're thrown into the tub. There are turtles, sea urchins, cuttle fishes, crocodiles and a lot of other species I don't have the words for in neither chinese, english or danish.
|Would you like alligator tail...||...or maybe a couple of frogs?|
And while I wander gaping around everyone else do their daily deeds, they eat, drink, watch TV, play computer, sleep. I really feel like an alien among normals in this strange world.
Just when I'm outside again and has got my bike ("doushao tian?" I ask to practise my few chinese words, and he answers "san mao" as expected) and have bought some bread/cake like stuff, Jiayuan, who's studying in Kunming and I'm going to meet when I get there, phones me. Embarrasing. I sms'ed her yesterday and the deal was that I should call her between 12 and 13 when she has lunchbreak, but the fishmarket has made my forget it.
It's difficult to talk on a mobile in a noisy street in China in a foreign language, or am I getting more deaf? I have one finger in my left ear and with the right hand I press the phone to my right ear as hard as I can. It's a short conversation. I promise to call her at 9 tonight instead. I must not forget!!!
When I continue towards the museum - I'm going to a chinese museum for the first time - my brother calls to tell me, there has been another earthquake in China. 300 are dead they say. But it sound like it's quite far from here. Up in Qinghai province, 1000 km away. Nothing could be felt here. But it's a bit strange. Am I the reason?
It called the Sichuan Museum, so it's full of what Sichuan has got of kaligraphy, relief prints, a temporary exibition from "The long March" (Sichuan part), soldiers badges, tibetan buddhism and in the end a historic going through the newest history ending with the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008. I've seen some of the pictures before, at the internet. Just when I'm to take my last picture an english speaking guide arrives to tell me they're closing now - already. I've been warned several times through the loudspeakers, but there was still half an hour left last time.
The permanent exibitions are in english too - at least the headlines, sometimes more - the temporary are only in chinese.
When I've got back I read what "Politiken" (danish newspaper) writes about the earthquake? It's more than 1000 km away and not as strong as the Sichuan one.
I've put the bike outside even I don't think I'm going to usse it any more today. When I a little later is in the office one of the girls, that I've been talking with earlier, asks where my bike is? And when I answer "outside", she claims "No, it must be stolen". I of course say that we're in China and that nobody steals here, but they're not convinced about this (and I'm not either even it's not like in Denmark) There is some giggling so I feel it's been moved to some new spot, so when I've finished my meal and walks outside to get it, it's not there. I'm cautious enough to go inside to make sure it's there. And it is. So I get my 500 back and is once again a rich man.
It was a nice day after all.
|There were many different people...||...at the antique market.|
I call Jiayuan at 9 as I should. Now I understand her. While we're talking the
line is suddenly disconnected. I'm worried that my 30 yuan talk is already out?
It can't be? I try calling her again. A voice, first in chinese then in english
tells me that the subscriber cannot be reached. So it's not me. A little later a
sms arrives telling me she's out of power. Then follows a l-o-n-g chat because
she's determined to tell me how I get to the busstation tomorrow. In the end I
have to wait while she asks her classmate, who's apparently from Chengdu. It
takes a long time and I feel a strong need to sleep. But in the end! From the
railway station, which is walking distance I'd say, I have to take a certain bus
and go 17! stops. But I know what it should look like.
The bus hours for Maoxian she's found isn't exactly the same like in the busstation. But it wasn't that bad from Kunming more than 1000 km away. Tomorrow I'll ask Laura how to get there. I'll probably get a different answer then? And then I have to choose.
If there is internet connection in Maoxian will havee to show, if not it will be some time before my next letter.