Chengdu is really a great city. The best way to compare the cities I have been to – Beijing is like Washington or Pretoria (government buildings, monuments), Xian is just crappy (Brackenfell) and Chengdu actually feels a bit like New York, strangely enough. At least in the city. But then again, it isa city of contrasts – glass and granite skyscrapers down the main stretch and then grimy small shops as you go further afield.
The above picture is a pedestrian mall with Leads on the one side and Gucci in the other and the mall is called – wait for it – Times Square!
The picture above gives a very nice contrast – peasant lady probably bringing her harvest to market in the plush streets of Chengdu. Nancy told me that there’s a tremendous pull from the cities to get more cheap labour. A subsistence farmer could earn, say, RMB 500 or less per month and in the city or manufacturing areas a starting wage would be RMB 3000 pm. As they come into the cities they stay in the really dingy parts of town and the people from these areas then upgrade to something better. You are always passing one or another apartment development – its just a country that is growing fast.
Most of you should know that I worked as a traffic engineer in another life and that’s why I took the pictures above. What do you do when you have a main city street that is congested and you can’t widen it? Well you just build another 4 lanes – underground! And then they did the same for the pedestrian flow – two big city department stores on opposite sides of the street, so you bridge between the two (nothing surprising) but then extend the pedestrian walkway along the length of the road above the cars.
This ones for the ladies – Chinese weddings are also in white.