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My next travel destination! From a secret personal known source this place is the shit to go to for spicy food AND women! I'm sold will be leaving in April or May for a week or two, can't wait...
From this week on, we will hit the road to southwest China's Sichuan Province. Credited as the "Land of Abundance", Sichuan has a lot more to offer than its famous spicy food. It is blessed with enormous natural beauty and cultural attractions bestowed from over 3,000 years hence. As one of the country's hottest tourist destinations, Sichuan attracts millions of visitors every year from both home and abroad. On today's "Travelling Road", we shall first pay a visit to its capital city, Chengdu, a place for everything but hastiness. Here is our guide, Yunfeng.
Reporter: An article by the Los Angeles Times describes Chengdu as "China's party city". Chengdu outnumbers Shanghai in its number of tea houses and bars despite having less than half of its population. Local residents have a reputation both within Sichuan, and in China proper, for having a laid back life style and for knowing how to enjoy life.
Located in the west Sichuan Basin of south-western China, Chengdu is believed to be the most stress-free city in China. Bestowed with abundant rainfall, fertile lands, and a low cost of living, Chengdu is imbued with an atmosphere of ease and comfort, evident in its residents' leisurely manner. The peculiarities of this region are also evident in the local food, teahouses and, most of all, in the women. Visitors to Chengdu usually take pleasure in simply ambling around the city, enjoying its exuberant and inexpensive lifestyle, rather than rushing around to scenic spots.
Chengdu is well known for its Sichuan cuisine. Compared with Cantonese dishes, those of Sichuan are equally delicious, but more homely, and the gastronomic pleasures they imbue never subside. In China, twice-cooked pork, or huiguorou, and diced pork with peanuts in hot spicy sauce, namely gongbaorouding, are available in most restaurants, and are among the most frequently ordered dishes.
People in different cities have a diverse taste in food: Beijing people enjoy elaborate banquets to bolster their self-esteem; for Shanghainese, the environment and atmosphere of a restaurant take priority over the food, as dining is only a means through which to flaunt their refined taste. People from Guangdong, on the other hand, are solely concerned about the ingredients of the repast. As for the people of Chengdu, flavour is of utmost importance. Chengdu people love to try food that is new and in vogue. They will travel the length of the city just to taste a newly devised dish in an out-of-the-way eatery, and local restaurants are adept at coming up with an endless supply of exotic dishes to entice new customers. Once a dish comes into vogue, diners swarm in to try it, and it is soon available in almost every restaurant in town.
One very popular leisure pursuit in China is tea drinking, Chengdu is no exception, the teahouse is an indispensable feature of life here. As cafes and bars supersede teahouses in other Chinese cities, advancing them toward a modern metropolis status, most traditional teahouses still do a good trade in Chengduâ€”the most celebrated of which is inside the Great Mercy Temple.
It is said that the Great Mercy Temple was the first place that Du Fu, eminent poet of the Tang Dynasty, visited after arriving in Chengdu, and that he ate the free porridge given to the homeless there. In the dynasties following, the temple served as both a Buddhist sanctuary and a place of recreation for both officials and the populace. It is in Chengdu that Buddhism and human society blend in perfect harmony. Today, a Chengdu Museum and teahouse can be found inside the Great Mercy Temple. After ordering a pot of jasmine tea, at a nominal five yuan charge, the customer may spend the whole day in the traditional-style teahouse, with its winding corridors, carved beams, painted pillars and broad windows. Waiters serve tea in a particularly skilful manner, from a distance with a long-spouted brass teapot, a narrow arc of hot water pours directly into ones cup, without spilling a drop! Besides tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner, a full range of Sichuan dishes, are also served at the Great Mercy Teahouse. Casting a glance around the parlour, you may see young lovers cooing and swooning, middle-aged men reading the newspaper and elders tending to their pet birds.
The teahouses of Chengdu reveal a particular attitude trait of the locals toward life: That of acquiring the best service at the lowest price. Social demarcation within the social strata is blurred in the teahouse. Sipping tea at the same table, people from different regions, and of different ages, become friends.
The carefree lifestyle of Chengdu greatly benefits its local women, who are generally of a sweet and charming nature. A Chengdu-based writer has portrayed Chengdu girls in this way: "Chengdu girls sound delectable and tender, even when they are squabbling.â€
According to widespread belief, beauties in Chengdu are the most sought after of all, different from the ladies of cultured families or the capable and experienced career women of big cities. The moist temperature and minimal sunshine in Chengdu make it ideal for females. For this reason, Chengdu women seem to have an obvious advantage in their appearance, figure and complexion. In terms of personality traits, the gentle temper of Chengdu women is considered just right, as they possess a unique mild beauty. As for the reputation of "Sichuan spicy girls", it does not refer to their hot temper, but their glib tongue.
As a commercial city whose development is based on the small-scale peasant economy, Chengdu is also a consuming city, full of characteristic citizens. The most unique characteristic of Chengdu is its life interest and formation of society. Jokes and teasing have become the most essential of skills. Resulting in an truly unique way of speaking evolving. The typical tune of Chengdu speech is one humorous and full of implied meaning. The people are not frank and unreserved in speech, liking to speak in a roundabout way. Additionally, they have rapid responses and endless expressions.
During their first days in Chengdu, visitors may wonder at the prettiness of the local girls, and jovial talk of the local men, but they quickly discover why this is so: Good food, sound sleep, warm weather, rich resources, fertile lands and low prices. In Chengdu, even a small business can enjoy a happy standard of living. This also explains why relaxation and mah-jong are so prevalent in the city.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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