Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Feb 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hui Fu Da Sha

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Monday, January 24, 2011

Last week, the staff, interns and Pam and I had received invitations from the Foreign Relations Office to attend a reception and the opening Ceremony of the 17th Annual Dinosaur Lantern Festival of Zigong. The invitations were spectacular and I've scanned one to attach as a picture.

Monday arrived and we ended up closing the clinic for the afternoon so that we all could get dressed and ready to be at the hotel for this formal banquet that would start at 5 PM.  We were determined to not be late as this is a major FOPA when dealing with the government.  We walked over to the Huidong Hotel and were there a full 15 minutes early as planned.  There were several hundred people gathering there and we knew we were in the right place.  We met Sherrie Lan Qing and Jimbo and Jing and the rest of our party.

We were aware that we were no staying at the Huidong and that we were going to be bused to the Cheng Shi Ming Ren  5 star state guests hotel.  Were were told we were ready to board and when we went to the staging area, there were 10 identical shiny new white buses numbered 17 thru 27 with a police escort.  We were traveling in style.

All Aboard, and off we went through a gauntlet of road  blocks and police officers and flashing red and blue lights as our caravan wound its way through the Streets of Zigong to our intended destination.  We had a short distance to walk to the banquet hall and we gathered at our assigned table for our sumptuous banquet.  I've also scanned and attached as a photo the menu for the meal.  There was the required welcoming speech and greetings from the Mayor of Zigong as well as several high ranking members of the CPPC (I think that means Communist Party Peoples Congress ) not unlike our Senate and House of Representatives.  The initial toast was made and the meal began.  It was remarkable.  The Students were very much focused on as foreigners and complemented and toasted on several occasions.

Our feast was complete and we were escorted back to our carriages and soon off to Lantern Park. Each bus of 40 had a standard bearer and we followed them to our assigned positions in front of the stage for about 15-20 minutes of speaking and the symbolic flipping of the switch, turning on the lights of all the Lanterns.  Lights of Life, Lake Lanier, Callaway, eat you heart out. This was the most spectacular light show on Earth.

The central piece this year is a circular pyramid of elephants topped by a Giant Lotus.  The Elephant on the bottom were all assembled from dinnerware, has glaring yellow eyes, blew steam from the mouth and trunk and trumpeted like real elephants.  The smaller elephants on the next level were waiving their trunks in the air and the giant Lotus on the third level was opening and closing.  I will take a video next time so You can see the movement.  It was gigantic and spectacular.

 We were told that the buses would leave to return to the Huidong in two hours, so we were herded off in a semi-guided tour of the area. (which worked a little bit.)  Pam and I fell behind taking pictures and shedding some clothing because we were over dressed.  But I knew my way around the park and was not worried about getting lost.  We did eventually catch up to our group and all was well.
We walked on the lake (floating walkways) and meandered through one wondrous sight after another.  I cannot begin to describe some of the wonders that had been sculpted of wire and silk.  They brought so much to the eye and brain that it was almost beyond comprehension.  It was visual overload at its best.

Reds and yellows and greens and blues and lifelike and abstract, cartoonish and surreal, moving and still with fog machines and live performers that appealed to most all the senses.  It was an experience and a wonder to behold. Pictures do it no justice; it must be Tinkerbelle and He Man, Sharks and Dolphins, Dinosaurs and modern day creatures of all shapes, sizes and colors.

One of the most unusual attractions was the interns.  The Chinese were intrigued by the 6'5" height of Patrick, Leigh’s shoulder length blonde hair, Ernestine’s cornrow  braids and golden skin and Latrice’s black hair and ebony skin.  They were as much an attraction as the lanterns themselves.  The young people were intrigued and took myriads of pictures and asked them to pose with them over and over again.  They are Rock Stars.

We got back on the bus, after buying Ellen and Ada lighted Rabbit Ears, after all it is the year of the Rabbit and they learned a new word.  We took the 'scenic route’ home, enjoying the lights scattered throughout the city and along the river.  This city glows like a crown jewel at night during this time of year and when we returned to the Huidong, our Big Dragon was waiting to greet us in all the splendor and glow of this magnificent landmark at the traffic circle in front of our Apartments.

We said ‘adeux’ to Dr.John Downes who had joined us for the evenings festivities.  Ada will escort him back to the Chonqing Airport on Tuesday for his return to the US on Friday after several more meetings of behalf of Life U and Chiropractic in China.  Enjoy the pictures.  Doc and Pam

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Debra on

What a wonderful experience!

landpdochina on

Loved the blog... Wish everyone could see this since the pictures don't even do it justice!

nick prestby on

doc and pam the pics were awsome i always enjoy reading about your travels over there be safe

drclairewelsh on

The report & photos are awesome! I've always wanted to go to the Lantern Festival...since I first heard of it as a child. Got my fingers crossed...perhaps this, the year of the rabbit, is the year! Have fun!

nick prestby on

just got looking at all the pics of the lantern festival .Sam and Rachael were looking at them too they were really impressed. Have fun be safe........

Carole Cowles on

Your description was wonderful! The pictures outstanding. Thank you for sharing. Now that my knee is better, I need to see about coming to see you.

Carole Cowles on

Just wondering how cold it is getting there

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