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Photo album by krisek: Chengdu - Sichuan's capital; full of surprises, and rather lovely.

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Chengdu - Sichuan's capital; full of surprises, and rather lovely.

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The 4000000 inhabitants of Chengdu may not have a metro system yet, but are fortunate to enjoy a few magical places, so great for a large metropolis. And I saw the locals of all ages taking advantage of them! And for visitors, there were the Giant Pandas. The size of Sichuan's capital city was slightly overwhelming. I know that, as I ended up walking everywhere. Not all of the walking was planned, and although initially frustrating, I did enjoy it in the end. The majority of the architecture was not terribly inspiring, I must say, but there were bits of the city that were fortunate to had been built in a more appealing Chinese or Sichuan styles. These pockets of authenticity set Chengdu apart from all other Chinese cities I had seen by that time. Also, for the first time, I saw a myriad of teahouses, which were used more for socialising rather than quenching thirst. The city appeared as a good example how the development in Chinese economy had been changing the urban face of the nation. The remnants of traditional housing, parks, temples, and teahouses were mixed with excruciatingly ugly high rise blocks of flats with Starbucks coffee shops, and modern glass-and-steel skyscrapers housing offices of banks and mobile phone companies. Very interesting sight for sure, but perhaps a little disappointing. China started to look like America rather than like a country with fascinating thousands of years of history and beautiful traditions. I hope this album shows many aspects of Chengdu...

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