Chengdu, Sichuan, China...
In addition to the Maosoleum in Beijing, I also visited the National Museum of China on the side of Tian'anmen Square. For a country that proclaims 5,000 years of history, language, and culture, I was surprised at the lack-lustre National Museum. I know that the KMT 'stole' a lot of stuff when the moved to the province of Taiwan, but still. There were a few tables and chairs from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and a couple of greenish blue pots. Without English explanations, and minimal Chinese explanation (size, and dynasty), it didn't lead to a very enlightening visit. The best part was the 50 or so national treasures. Still, it wasn't worth the 30Yuan entry price.
I flew with Air China from Beijing to Chengdu, and the flight was good. They served Chinese food with a plastic fork and knife -the 6th time in 5 months that I've used a fork and knife was on a Chinese airline!
It's been warm in Chengdu, at least compared to Baoding. Saturday was a temple and history blitz. First up was Wenshu Temple, which has a cool street in front that is hosting the International Food Festival -Chinese food with one Indian stall. This is where I tried the emu kebabs and the camel kebabs (both really good).
Next was the Green Ram Taoist Monastery. Then the DuFu Thatched Cottage, which was really expensive and I didn't appreciate that much because I haven't learned much about Chinese poetry. Then we went to Wuhou Temple, another Buddhist temple that is famous for its statues of the Shu Kingdom king of the Three Kingdom era. I tried ChenMaPo DouFu at the original restaurant. It's supposed to be quite famous, but I've never heard of it before. Pretty good though.
I was almost Buddha-ed out, but today I went to see the world's largest Buddha in LeShan, about 120km south of Chengdu. We ended up sitting in the bus for an extra two hours because the express way was closed due to 'too much fog'. The Buddha itself was quite impressive -seated, he's 71 metres tall (233ft).
Tomorrow morning I'm going to check out the Panda Research Centre, before I take a 20 hour hard seat overnight Chinese train ride to Kunming.