Interpreting the data

The world three light years away.

I was having another look at Chengdu on Google Earth yesterday. I now understand what I see when I look at Tianfu Square (天府广场 Tiānfǔ Guǎngchǎng). The picture was taken when the square was being redeveloped so that the big gouge across it is probably the line that the Chengdu Metro will take as it passes under the square. of course, you can see in the pictures in the album below what it looks like today. I also noticed that Carrefour and the surrounding mall hadn’t been built at the time the picture of that part of the city had been taken. There was a car park in that area at the time.

I also had a look at my old school in Beijing. That picture has to be three years old because the area to the north of the North Gate is bare ground after it’d been cleared, but before any building work had started on it. There’s even a chance that I might be in the picture of the school because it appears to have been taken at about lunchtime.

I went for a walk after tea last night, partly to go exploring and partly because the local food is a little on the stodgy side, which means that I risk turning into a fat bastard again as I did a couple of years ago. Unlike Fuzhou, there are no hills around here and I don’t have to go far to find somewhere to eat. I headed north and then took a right down 羊市街 (Yángshí Jiē; site of old sheep market??) to 人民中路 (Rénmín Zhōng Lù) and down to Tianfu Square. I thought I’d walk along the north side of the square, investigate the shops beyond that, and circle back to the square before heading home. Instead, I got lost.

Somehow, I ended up walking down 新南路 (Xīnnán Lù) to the 1st Ring Road where all the computer shops are. If I’d realised just which river I was crossing somewhat earlier in my travels, I would’ve turned right and followed it until I got back to some place I knew, such as the bar that’s roughly on the opposite side of the road from where Glen and Row will be living, where I could’ve quaffed beer and amazed everyone with the tale of my harrowing adventure. [You poor darling. How you must’ve suffered. –ed.]

The most popular character in Chengdu appears to be 康 (kāng) “healthy; well-being; abundant” which I’m seeing absolutely everywhere.

Speaking of linguistics, I’ve been trying to listen to the local speech now and then. I was in a restaurant the night before last were there were three guys speaking something, but ich weiß nicht what. It was definitely something Sino-Tibetan, but from what I could tell, they seemed to be throwing around at least one non-Mandarin tone which – again from what I could tell – seemed to be prevalent clause-finally. So, they might’ve been speaking Sichuanhua or even Mandarin with Sichuan characteristics.

In spite of the signs at the school exhorting the use of standard characters, the name of one of the buildings has a character which, I must suspect, is a little obscure (see picture below). I know that some of these are the traditional forms of the characters, but the third one defeats me. I can’t find anything like it in the Unicode character set either. The grass radical is obvious, and the part on the left side under that appears to be a variant on the hand radical; but the part on the right-hand side looks like half a door. Oddly enough, on top of this particular building, someone has a small corn garden. I guess I’ll just have to call it the Corn Building.

Name of lecture theatre at Shishi High School, Chengdu.

[18.08.14. Traditional: 逸夫藝術樓; Simpli­fied: 逸夫艺术楼 (yì fū yìshù lóu). The third character is a particularly mangled thing.]

While we’re talking about linguistics, there’s an interesting post about Old Persian on Language Log today.

Meanwhile, I’ve been told that my boxes should be arriving this morning. Hurrah! Although that means I now really do have to go to Carrefour and buy a bookcase and some storage boxes.

In unrelated news, I note that the New Humanist Editor’s Blog which, I thought, was on blogspot has been blocked, although everything else on blogspot seems to be viewable. Perhaps the blog is being hosted elsewhere because the URL I get sent to isn’t the same as the one in the link above.

Peking Dork (a blog I was previous unfamiliar with) has an acerbic parody of an article about the return of Hong Kong to the inGlorious Motherland here (blogspot; you know the drill if you’re in La-La Land).

It’s grey and wet again. Oh joy.

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