China in Photos

China in Photos: Day No. 42 In Which We Lounge-Chengdu Style

The last few days have really been pretty high-octane around here, haven’t they?  Between the misplaced keys and the poo shower earlier in the week, and the tire blowout last night, things have been a little dramatic lately.

I can’t help but think this blog has been reading a bit like a juicy Korean soap opera…except you know, maybe trade sewage downpours for a spy ring and the tire blow-out for mind-blowingly gorgeous women tormented by adulterous longings.

Ok, so maybe our lives have nothing in common with Korean soap operas.  But maybe I just wish I could remember which Chinese channel the good ones are on.

Anyways, after dealing with the tire early in the morning, Chris and I managed to slow wayyyyy down.  Chengdu style.

We met some friends for the tail-end of their dim sum meal then headed over to Chengdu’s Wide and Narrow Streets, something of a pedestrian, touristy area with nice restaurants and some lovely bits of architecture.

It’s a bit too clean, a bit too expensive, but it’s also one of the prettier places in Chengdu–and they have lots of tea-houses with clean bathrooms and beautiful old-style private rooms to drink one’s tea in.

And so, in a move that we will not likely be able to repeat anywhere else in the world, we dropped about $10 each to drink tea for 4 hours and play scrabble in a room so beautiful and relaxing, we didn’t want to leave.

Tea houses are to Chengdu what 1950’s drug store soda fountains may have been to 1950’s America–iconic and essential all at once.

This is a city known for it’s extremely relaxed and laid back citizens. Lounging in laid-back chairs for hours over glasses of tea and games of mahjong is truly the highest form of art in the well-steeped tradition of Chengdu leisure.

In fact, Chengdu-ians are so devoted to their leisure that on occasion “stuck-up” East-coasters may use the word “lazy” to describe the people here.  I should note, this is an accusation that would be vigorously protested by most Chengdu-ians…as long as it doesn’t interfere with their afternoon siestas or 4pm mahjong game.

Today we did a fantastic job emulating the best loungers of Chengdu.  We sipped tea, we slouched, we admired the quality of the tea leaves.  Granted, we substituted a rousing game of Scrabble for the mahjong but all in all, it was blissfully relaxing.

And after a few blissful hours at the tea house, after our tea leaves had disintegrated into something that looked unsettlingly like pond scum and the dark (beautiful) walls began to feel just a touch claustrophobic, we wandered back out into the world in search of the perfect bowl of cold spicey noodles-another favorite Chengdu pastime.

Over our bowls of noodles we found ourselves on display for the many Chinese tourists wandering through the streets with massive camera lenses.  Dan is always a good sport about being the giant lao wai on display and so when I jumped up and ran outside the restaurant to join the crowd, he gave us his best “happy to be here and proud to serve” faces.

I just like this shot because you can sort of see the crowd and Dan all in one shot.

Even a bowl of delicious hand-cut noodles though could not satiate the appetites we worked up during our long hours of lounging, Scrabble competition and picture posing.  We would need….

And why yes, that is a black sesame seed-flavored ice cream cone. Which I will have to learn how to make at home STAT.  It was my  most delicious ice cream revelation since I made fennel ice cream a few months ago.  Not too sweet and with a finish that was all light and sesame-y like.

It totally kicked the ice cream in the pants. Which was a good thing because I’m pretty sure we ran out of ice cream after 3 bites.  Oh well, all the better to focus on the delicious black sesame cone.

It was a lovely, relaxing, totally lazy day.  So lazy and wonderful that we almost forgot about this:

Oooh yea, we’re sooo not looking forward to purchasing 5 new tires for Das Beast, but that looks to be the verdict after talking to the extremely kind mechanic and taxi driver who lent us a jack and helped us change our total mess of a tire for our just-slightly-more-trustworthy spare.

Ah well, after a day of such pure, indulgent, laziness I think we’ll be ready again tomorrow to face the real world of tire-shopping, work, errands, bill-paying, and whatever new messy and wonderful adventures await us in the new week.  Here’s to hoping they involve less sewage and more ice cream…


One thought on “China in Photos: Day No. 42 In Which We Lounge-Chengdu Style

  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work

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