Coloring the season of winter.
23.12.2011 - 02.01.2012
Chengdu, December 27th 2011
Chengdu suddenly became extra warm to me. I took off my jacket and walked to the travel agent's office that had been extremely kind to me. She went with me to the train-ticket-booking office, saw it through that I got the ticket I wanted, and showed me the way to the bus-ticket-booking office to get to Jiuzhaigou. So first thing as I stepped back on Chengdu soil, I sought for her, just to say thank you. I have made it to Jiuzhaigou and back. It had been a satisfying journey which she owned a credit for. Since I was a kid, Mom often told me that Granpa, a teacher in Hong Kong, often said, "Hutang budi dibawa sampai mati." which means "A debt of gratitude is carried to death." That's a Chinese philosophy Granpa had taught Mom which Mom repeated to me so often that I would feel like betraying my Chinese blood if I don't thank someone for the slightest thing I've received, in a manner of more than merely uttering the word "thank you".
In whatever Mandarin I had, I greeted her, "Hello! I'm back!"
"Oh, hello!" She looked pleased and happy. "Have a seat!"
"That's my bus," I pointed to my bus that parked right in front of her office.
Her eyes broaden. "That's your bus? You've just arrived?"
"Yes, I have just arrived."
"So how was it?"
Hahaha...! She laughed.
And then she said something which I couldn't get. She paused. I paused. She looked at me the way she did when she wanted to explain to me where the bus-ticket-booking was. "Errr..." She was obviously thinking hard to find the words in English. "You... " she said. She pointed at me, and then clutched her arms... cling! I know what she said just now! I heard the word "lěng" just now. Aye! She was asking me, "Don't you feel cold?"
"Where's your jacket? Put it on!" I got that.
Now it's my turn unable to express to her in Mandarin, "It had been terribly freezing in Jiuzhaigou that now I feel warm. And actually, even without a jacket, as a matter of fact, I'm wearing four layers of clothes already."
The sweater I was wearing was a magic sweater. I bought it in Japan just because I thought the color and model suited me, and was cheap -- by Japanese standard of course. The owner was Chinese and recognized me a Chinese immediately whereas nearly everyone in Japan mistook me as a Japanese. The sweater was made in China. The material doesn't look as thick as other sweaters use to be. But this sweater gives extreme warmth. That's why I call it magic. I had wore this sweater in highland areas in my home country, like Lembang. I only could stand wearing it at night. In Bandung, it was out of question. Even at night, I sweated under this. Therefore, under such a sweater, I can reduce the astronaut-look but stay warm in winter. The other magic thing of this sweater is that it gets easily dry after laundry. Why am I telling you this? Well, in case you are going to experience winter for your first time, you might want to find a material like this. If my sweater could talk, I would have asked it, "How do you feel being back home?" LOL
This time, with full confidence, I walked to the bus stop of bus number 48. Hmmm... I'm walking like a local, am I?
I got a key to my new room in the same Lazy Bones, and my luggage in their deposit room. I hung my astronaut-looking jacket on the wall, and stretched out for my coat from my suitcase. I also took off that Chinese magic sweater. Just one sweater is enough. Ah... I couldn't wait to roam the streets of Chengdu, again. But before that, I asked the hostel staff to take my picture. Here is it!
As all staffs here speak fluent English, I asked her, "I want the sign of 'Lazy Bones' visible." She listened to my request so well that the focus fell on her hostel sign rather than on me. Aye.
"Can you take another one for me, please?" I asked. "Now I want the street to be the background."
"Sure. No problem," she replied. Here it is.
Well, maybe it was my fault. I had told her to aim the camera in a vertical position. ACDSee said itu would be better like this:
I mean, I cropped the picture using ACDSee.
I thanked the staff, and made another shot myself. This is what the street looked like.
I was anxious to try the thing that wasn't here when I first came to Chengdu a year ago. That's the subway.
Tianfu Square, that's my destination. Again.
Tianfu Square is only one stop away from Luomashi Station, the station across Lazy Bones Hostel. Like bus fares, subway fares here are also flat. 2 yuan to whatever destination. And I forgot to mentioned, the ticketing machine had an English translation of how to purchase a ticket. It was very practical.
Tianfu Square, here I am. I wanted to practice shooting from the hip as I didn't dare to aim my camera directly to the monks. However... yeah, it became like this. Oh ya, this is using G12. I left my whole camera backpack in my room, because I felt like my shoulders were getting sore. G12 is really a traveler-photographer's best friend. I just hung it around my neck under my shawl. Sometimes I put it in my coat's pocket. With my Chinese look, as long as I don't speak a word, I won't stand out as a foreigner in this place.
Typically winter view, I guess. Gloomy and dull.
Chinese wouldn't be Chinese if they couldn't think of a way to color the dullness. I like this little boy. He was so active running and hopping around the flower pots. I also like what he is wearing. It's almost like the little girl next to me in the bus this afternoon. Ah, babies and toddlers in winter look very cute to me, because they are dressed up in a way that makes them look like a ball.
Oh ya, the characters say "Happy New Year". I didn't really like that, to be honest. New Year to me means that office hour is near. Ah.
I wanted to make a closer shot of this boy, but always failed. I didn't dare to deliberately point my camera at them.
Just a little close up of the colorful flowers. Flowers that withstand the cold.
Across the street, tulips joint in coloring the season.
While waiting for the musical fountain to play, I searched for dinner.
For those who can't or who don't eat pork, this restaurant is yours. 牛肉 means "beef".
Just as my teacher told me, China has built underpasses far before my hometown did. This underpass doesn't lead to a station. It just leads to across the street. But it's not just a pass. There are shops and restaurants here. It's quite a good place to take refuge from the cold.
Here comes the musical fountain!!!
I had been here last year. But the lights weren't as colorful as the photo I had seen in the internet. So I thought of revisiting the fountain hopping that there would be more lights of different colors. No they turned out not to be really so. Only blue, I suppose, has been added to the green I saw last year. Anyway, the music itself is something not to be missed out.
Actually I made another clip before this one, but with a horizontal format and different song. Unfortunately, I was too carried away by the music that I didn't realize I hadn't pressed the focus button.