<Side note: These posts are from a trip I made in 2012 and lived in a gorgeous city named Chengdu for 5 months. Nevertheless its memories are fresh and warm in my mind and I’d love to share them with you. >
The next day was started from another friend’s apartment that we had reached the previous night after changing 5 trains and significant help with hauling my luggage. We then started off with the Zoo. While we were treated to the sight of gorgeous specimens of snakes and reptiles, and impish monkeys alternately enjoying attention and making faces at the crowd, we were the most enthusiastic at seeing the pandas and the penguins. For me, it was the first time seeing both and what a delight they were. There’s something endearing about the sight of penguins waddling in the water actually responding to the people around.
The pandas too were wobbling around their cage, some just sleeping comfortably on an awkward branch or chewing on some leaves. No matter what they did, they managed to look utterly huggable; the teddy-bear phenomena seems to have blinded us to even think of them as remotely capable of harm.
Ignoring the boards towards the lions and rhinoceros we headed to the Summer Palace as our next stop. As beautiful as the pathways to it were, it must have been outright heavenly in the summer for leisurely walks through meandering paths by the lake with a sprinkling of towers and bridges. The Suzhou Street that seemed to have a variety of local craftwork and other colourful bits and pieces, however, was closed by the time we got back. One place I’d definitely like to visit again to do it justice.
The Museum started off our day and quite a treat it was too. Absolutely divine filigree work, work on porcelain and the calm looking Buddha statues. I found myself open mouthed at the gorgeous work in gold from sachets to hair pins, to crowns, to other adornments.
Everything displayed seemed to have been through a lot of painstaking effort, whether they were incense burners, sceptres, or pottery with poetry and stories on them. The statues, of course, were of a 100 avatars of a mostly Budhha but also several other deities. After also witnessing a live clay modelling demonstration, seeing the myriad lanterns of all shapes and colours, and many specimens of folk art we headed to the next pit stop, Silk Street.
The subway conveniently has an exit right into the building. And yes, Silk Street is a building and not a street. Oh, the haggling! It was crazy how they’d directly price something at 300 RMB only to let you buy it at 20RMB! It was easy to get looted if one did not know the prices of things there. I did manage to pick a couple of things there. Nevertheless, the building was a place one could perhaps spend a day easily looking at things ranging from hair clips to jackets to carpets.