The program has been setup so that we (myself, Valerie, and Caroline) get to work with someone from Chengdu who can give us the cultural side of the city. We had our first Cultural Day on June 13th. Alex met us at our hotel at 10 am, by 10:30 we were off to explore the city. First I must mention that Alex is an awesome person! He is super funny and he worked really hard to provide the best experience possible. We started by going to a monastery. It was beautiful! There were individuals lighting incense and praying. It was incredible to observe. There is a pond where people bring turtles to free them. There were so many! Everything is very green and quiet at the monastery, which is quite a difference from the city streets of Chengdu.
We went to lunch and it was so so so nice to have someone who could read the menu. I got some delicious potatoes with peppers. Amazing! After lunch we took the subway to the People’s Park.
The most fascinating thing about this park was the blind date applications. Allegedly parents will type up a full-page paper about their child. They discuss their height, weight, and living standards. Anyone who is interested can call the number on the paper to find out more information. It was a big deal! Alex said that there is a lot of pressure being put on individuals in their 20’s to get married. It was very interesting.
There were groups of people dancing all over the park. It was a very fun place. We decided to find a quiet tea house and relax for a little while (about 2 hours). It was wonderful to sit and chat with everyone while drinking delicious tea. The atmosphere and the company was perfect.
After the tea house we went to a hot pot restaurant. Let me tell you, my food was SO spicy. It was delicious though! The way a hot pot works is, everyone gets their own private pot and then you order vegetables and meat. It is all placed in the middle and everyone can reach and grab what they want. My favorite was the pumpkin. It was amazing. I had been craving vegetables. We got aprons (thanks heavens) in case we spilled the oil.
After dinner we went down by the river. It was breathtaking and peaceful with really cool lights and bridges.
There were so many bats, it was fun to watch them. After the river stroll we decided it was best that we head back to the hotel. We left on our journey at 10 am and returned home around 11-11:30. It was an absolutely incredible day. There was so much to see and experience! We ate a candy that I can only describe as peanut crumb on hair candy. It was super different, but good! Alex was a trooper to take us all over Chengdu. I had an excellent time.