This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution in the 2006 journey, click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chengdu amid the Smog

Sim's Cozy Guest House

Around ten in the morning we arrived in Chengdu to be greeted by a mass of human touts at the station but two waving the flags of Mix`s and Sim`s Cosy Guest house, where we had booked to stay. We were given a free taxi ide to Sims, an old Chinese traditional house run by a Japanese with waterfalls, a tourist office, internet and a restaurant, which was just as well because bounding it was the sprawling smog-ridden city of Chengdu, which despite the Pandas is gross both in its size and in its dark atmosphere. Bordering Sims was a great hole in the ground which is destined to become a towering commercial block as if Sims itself was the last remnant of a former age.

Images of Sim's

However nearby was the Wenshu Buddhist monastery which we visited, surrounded by an area of town with sparkling new traditional houses.

Images of Wenshu Buddhist Monastery

Chengdu smog (part 1)

The next day we made it across town to the Green Taoist temple which gave us a taste of what we had hoped to see on Qingchenshan, the forested and temple clad mountain an hour and a half out of the city where Taoism was first born.

The problem was that Sim declared to us that the PSB (public security bureau) responsible for extending our group visa had decided that no extension were to be given in Chengdu for the Tibet type visa even though if you had gained a China visa already it had been canceled by the Nepali Chinese consulate.

We thus had no time to explore Qingchengshan, or the Qing (ching) village of Taoping, where there are intriguing stone towers and it is said Tibetan 'gene stock' originated. To make up for these, I have included three Wikipedia commons images of Qingchengshan (more images here) and one of Taoping, which itself would have been quite a detour, as it is a 170 km trip west and we are already going to have to make an even longer trip west to get to Lijiang. There is also of course the Panda reserve, if you are into Pandas.

Waterfall Qingchengshan (Wikipedia)

Gateway Qingchengshan

Taoist temple Qingchengshan (Wikipedia)

Taoping (Webshots)

So the next day we headed for the train station and took the night train for Panzhihua where there was a connection to Lijiang to position ourselves in a Shangri La within reach of the Laos border where we might ask again for a visa extension.

So here are the images of the Taoist temple, which really does have much of the flavour of the many Qingchengshan temples, although it would have been great to walk in the misty mountains as well.

Images of the Taoist temple in Chengdu

Chengdu smog (part2)

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