Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pandas, Pauguang Monastery and Jinshe Museum - Sunday Sightseeing

Today we spent the whole day in sightseeing. We left Chengdu early morning. Well, not really early morning. It was around 9 am when we left the hotel and got onto the bus. I was surprised to see the driver wearing a red IBM jacket. It seemed it was presented to him by an IBM group that he had taken on a tour previously. We first went to the Panda zoo. The weather was extremely foggy and damp. So, we were told that most of the pandas may not be coming out and playing in the open. After walking (and it was steep - like climbing up in a hill station) a fair bit, we did spot a few pandas. We were lucky to see about 10 pandas including red pandas. We then went a saw a nice short documentary on the life of the pandas.

After the panda zoo, we headed towards the Pauguang monastery in Chengdu - the 4th largest in China. It was really beautiful. The startling thing there was the food. We ate at the canteen run by the monks there and all the food was vegetarian. But, the dishes looked and tasted like non-veg!! Like there was tofu which looked and tasted so much like pork that it would really be difficult for people differentiate it from the actual fare. Similarly, potatoes in the guise of fish, tofu masquerading as beef was absolutely delicious.

We then went around in to the inner chamber which contained a lot of statues with inscriptions at the feet. We were supposed to count steps depending on age and the statue that would match ours was supposed to provide details for us. I statue said "Wisdom". Not sure if that means I am wise or if it means that's what I need most :-)

After that we went to the Jinshe Museum. Here we saw relics of the Sichuan area of around 1000 B.C. It was fascinating to see the objects that have been uncovered here. It was similar to Mohenjodaro and Harrappa but I doubt if we have done such a nice job of creating a huge museum and show casing it to the world.

We are now in Dujiangyan city and will remain here for the next week. Tomorrow we go and meet the electric supply company. Hoping that we can help them in their quest for excellence.

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