Poets, Warriors, and Pandas!!!!!!!

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Thursday, July 14, 2011

I had planned last year to go to Chengdu, but my train was cancelled because of floods and I couldn't afford the plane ticket. The reason I was drawn to Chengdu was because of its history. After the fall of the Han Dynasty China was divided up by many warlords. Ultimately three kingdoms emerged, which is why the period was named the Three Kingdoms Era. Chengdu served as the capital of the kingdom of Shu led by Liu Bei.
The story of Liu Bei and his followers is one of the most famous stories in China. He and two other men, named Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, swore brotherhood in a peach garden. They then travelled around China gathering an army and fighting against various foes. They finally settled in Chengdu and created the Shu Kingdom.
One of the sites I wanted to see here is a memorial temple built in honor of Liu Bei's adviser Zhuge Liang and the three brothers. The location is called Wuhouci, and is easily reachable through the public bus system, though I find that paying 30 RMB to take a comfortable taxi is more worthwhile than standing on a crowded bus. The temple was definitely interesting, but only if you are interested in the stories about the Three Kindoms Era. If you don't know much about the period, then the temple is no different from any of the other temples you will see around China. One of the coolest attractions there is a Kwan Dao, that is made to weigh the same as Guan Yu's. Needless to say, it is clear that the stories about his power are exaggerated.
One of the other places I wanted to visit was the cottage built by Du Fu when he escaped to Sichuan during a rebellion in the mid 8th century CE. Du Fu was a famous Tang Dynasty poet, who wrote very prolifically, focusing particularly on the topics of war and hardship. Du Fu's Thatched Cottage, as you will see it written in most books, is a very unimpressive site and is not worth seeing. Unless you are really interested in Du Fu's poetry, then you will find the large groups of tourists a nightmare to wade through.
Finally the last site I wanted to see inside the city was the Panda Breeding and Research Center. 80% of the world's pandas reside in Sichuan, so this center is one of the main locations working to protect the Giant Pandas. At the site they have many pandas that you can see along with a group of red pandas. You might also see some peacocks wandering around the paths. Though the center attracts tons of tourists the size of the facility allowed me to find a place without people to watch the pandas. The only place that will always be full is the baby panda area. People just can't resist the cuteness. Just like a zoo the animals mostly just sleep, but if you come in the morning then you can see feeding time, which is a little more active.
Unfortunately I have been suffering from a cold the entire time I have been in Chengdu, so I am not sure of my plans for the next few days. If my cold gets better then I will attempt to climb Mt. Emei and go to Leshan to see a giant statue of Buddha, if I don't improve, then I might just spend my days at the park playing Go.  
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Julie D. on

That's where I had planned to go :>
I'm glad you got to see it ^^

zhihe on

You should go if you ever get the chance. Chengdu was far from my favorite place in China, but it has a lot of cool stuff to see.

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