First Image to Chengdu
Before I went to Chengdu, I was told it’s a cultural city with spicy foods and beautiful girls. Indeed, it’s a fair review to Chengdu for many people. I couldn’t agree more. However, I found more interesting things about Chengdu after I began my university life in there. Four years ago, I went to Chengdu by train, a 24-hours long trip from my hometown. After passed through the Qinling Mountains, there are still numerous mountains in Sichuan, but when you nearly arrived in Chengdu, the terrain slopes gently. At that moment, I felt deeply about what Li Bai, one of the greatest peoms of the Tang Dynasty had written, “蜀道之难，难于上青天”, aka “The way to Chengdu is harder than flying over the sky”.
The map of Chengdu is composed of circles and lines cross the center. Under such city construction, the local people have really bad direction feeling. They decribe directions mostly using left, right, back and front, but not east, west, etc. Because they cannot tell from directions like east and west easily. You may think it’s impossible, as we can easily tell from east and west through the sun. It’s ture. But Chengdu is always cloudy day, the sun won’t help you on directions.
In Chengdu, people love sunshine. As mentioned, Chengdu is always cloudy day. So when Chengdu is bathed in brilliant sunshine, people are more likely to do ourdoor activities and enjoy their rare sunshine time. Roughfy speaking, with sunshine, a pot of tea, spending a sweet afternoon is a typical Chengdu lifestyle.
Sichuan Cuisine is one of the “Eight Culinary Cuisine” of China. The main feature is spicy. Sichuan Cuisine has spread overseas many years ago. When I traveled in other cities, I always try some local Sichuan Cuisine restaurants. Honestly, they are quite different with Chengdu’s. I couldn’t get that feeling in Chengdu. No matter whether you are rich or poor, Chengdu allows you pay a little money for a nice meal. There are tens of thousand small restaurants. The local people call some of the outstanding small restaurants “苍蝇馆子”. They are small, even not so clean, but the foods are delicious.
It’s said that Sichuan Cuisine has over seven thousands dishes. Of course, I cannot taste all of them, but some famous ones you can find in every Sichuan cuisine restaurants. They are Fish Flavored Beef Shreds (鱼香牛肉丝), Twice Cooked Pork (回锅肉), Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐), Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁), etc.
Sichuan dialect is similar as mandarin. After mandarin gets propagrated in Sichuan, they are mixed together named “川普”, pronouncing like “Trump” in English.
Like other dialects, Sichuan dialect has some special tone, some of them may cause misunderstanding. For example, “four” and “ten” sounds almost the same in “川普”. Do in Rome as Rome does. Recent years, many foreigners came to Chengdu, began to speak Sichuan dialect, even “川普”. The American, Jiang Nan just became famous because his fluent Sichuan dialect. CCTV did a report about him.
Fine Art in Chengdu
Talking about the folk art in Chengdu, we have to talk about Face Magic and Shu Brocade. Face Magic is a special opera art in which the actor changes face masks rapidly. It’s also a magic, because audience can’t figure out how they change face masks.
China’s earliest brocade debuted in the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th Century-771BC). More and more are made in the ensuing Spring and Autumn period (770-476BC). Shu Brocade was dichromatic or tri-colored mostly at that time with mainly simple geometric motifs. After the Warring States period (475-221BC), they became birds and beasts. After reunifying China, Qin relocated numerous Qin people to Shu (today’s Sichuan) with advanced brocade weaving handicraft from the Central Plain. Shu brocade gradually became well-known throughout the country from the Three Kingdoms period (220-280AD). The prime minister of the Shu Kingdom assigned Jin Guan (Brocade Officer) to supervise Shu Brocade production. Shu Brocade grew into its full wings in the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). In Song and Yuan Dynasties, Shu Brocade was famous for its elegance. It was weft-patterned produced by the draw loom. At that time, Sichuan, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang were reputed as the three centers of silk industry in China. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, the weaving techniques and products kept growing. But it cannot avoid the impact of modern mechanic techniques. Nowadays, Shu Brocade is mainly applied to decoration, traveling souvenir, works of art, and collection, but not for daily usage.
However, when you see the loom, the reprentation of ancient silk weaving techniques, you’ll still be surprised at its design. Let’s watch the video to demonstrate how loom works.
Panda is a symbol of China, and Chengdu is the home of panda. Near the earliest and largest panda reserve area, Wolong National Nature Reserve, Chengdu hosts the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. So panda has become the mascot of Chengdu. Pandas are cute, but fat. Eate bamboo, but as strong as bears. Anyway, the local people love panda, they design panda-themed metro station, they call it “胖达儿”, sounds like “panda” in English but it is meaningful and vivid description of pandas’ appearance.
Interestingly, some Chengdu beauties are just as cute as pandas.
Life in Chengdu is in slow speed, but economic development is in fast speed. Recent years, the innovation and investment environment of Chengdu is becoming better. Taken my familiar Internet industry as an example, Chengdu is reputed for its mobile game industry. Serveral game companies publish games globally and achieve good DAU. Camera360, a camera app company provides service for 200 million people. Comparing to first level cities of China, the house price in Chengdu is very cheap. The cost for startup is also less than Beijing, etc. Thirty years before, because of its least attractive location, Chengdu didn’t attract so many talents. But now things are different. Chengdu is now a good place for you to balance your life and work, a south-western cradle of startups in China.