Skip to Content

The People’s Park

 

Spring flowers in People's Park

I picked up my e-ticket to Kathmandu at Sim's Guest House travel desk and grabbed a taxi to the People's Park in central Chengdu. The Lonely Planet spoke highly of it, and I was surprised by what I found.

For a Thursday afternoon, the park seemed quite crowded. As I started to take photos of some flowers near the entrance gate, a Chinese woman asked for a photo of me. I was happy to oblige, though it still felt funny. Soon after, a 70-year old Chinese man came up to me and confirmed his hunch that I was American. We walked around together for a bit, as I was thankful to speak with a local who knew enough English to carry on a regular conversation. He indicated a lot of the people in the park were retired. He asked for a few photos with me, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I was suspicious of the idea. As he lead me toward a photo vendor, I imagined the photos would be taken, and I'd be expected to pay for them. In reality, he wanted them for himself, and asked for my home address so he could send me one too.

Music performance in People's Park

Large groups of men and women were dancing, people were singing full-on karaoke with mics and speakers, performance artists were putting on dancing and singing shows with large audiences gathered around, and of course people were drinking tea and playing card and board games. I found the atmosphere fascinating.

Eventually, I sat down by a pond and ordered “Snow on Green Lake Jasmine Tea.” When it arrived, there were white flower petals floating on top of the green tea with the leaves resting at the bottom of the cup. It was quite a sight, and a more apt name could not have been given to it. I continuously refilled the tea cup with the hot water from the provided thermos. A little Chinese girl at the adjacent table befriended me, offering an endless supply of sesame seeds and drool.

Chinese ear wax cleaning

It didn't take long for a guy to come over and offer to clean the wax out of my ears. I tried to bargain with him but he wouldn't budge on the price. I caved because I was curious to give it a go. Having a strange man stick metal and small pipe-cleaner type brushes into your ears in public is an odd experience at best. As he was poking around, I realized I was letting this random guy mess with my hearing. One slip and I'd have a punctured eardrum, but it was too late. He used what seemed to be a tuning fork at the end of each ear cleaning.

I'm going to stick with Q-Tips.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

Kango Suz

Wednesday 16th of April 2008

I'm always, always, always amazed at how you're litereally willing to try ANYTHING!!! (see my comment on the Brain food) I would NEVER have let a stranger mess with my ears.

The fire cupping though - I would have become an ugly american at that point. "AHHHH LET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!" but you're such a good sport! That's what makes your blog so mcuh fun to read.

Kango Suz

Wednesday 16th of April 2008

I'm always, always, always amazed at how you're litereally willing to try ANYTHING!!! (see my comment on the Brain food) I would NEVER have let a stranger mess with my ears.

The fire cupping though - I would have become an ugly american at that point. "AHHHH LET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!" but you're such a good sport! That's what makes your blog so mcuh fun to read.

Phillip

Tuesday 15th of April 2008

Hehe, I've seen both the hot cupping and this ear cleaning technique on Bourdain's show. I don't know about the ear thing, I don't want anyone sticking anything into my ears!

Dave

Tuesday 15th of April 2008

I must admit I saw the ear cleaning on Bourdain's show too, though I can't recall him doing the fire-cupping treatment.

Phillip

Tuesday 15th of April 2008

Hehe, I've seen both the hot cupping and this ear cleaning technique on Bourdain's show. I don't know about the ear thing, I don't want anyone sticking anything into my ears!

Dave

Wednesday 16th of April 2008

I must admit I saw the ear cleaning on Bourdain's show too, though I can't recall him doing the fire-cupping treatment.

Karl (from Dewey)

Tuesday 15th of April 2008

awesome dude! glad to have you back communicating again. I was missing the daily updates. Keep up the good work!

Comments are closed.