You’ve seen one street, you’ve seen ’em all

Self-similarity as an urban property.

There’s not a lot to say about today’s adventure. I headed south down 文翁路 to see what was beyond the temple. It turned out to be long line of the usual sort of shops, and so I turned down 广福街北街 (Guǎngfú Jiē Běijiē) as roaming around in that part of the world. I eventually ended up on 大石西路 (Dà Shí Xīlù) and somewhere around there spotted this large dome, like St Paul’s cathedral. 

However, it’s about to get a little embarrassing. 

Naturally, I was curious to know what this building was. It was either going to be a block of pretentious flats or some pretentious government building (the latter as it turns out). But when I got a decent view of the building, I noticed that it was on one corner of an intersection that I’d passed through a few minutes previously. I’d completely failed to notice the building the first time, although I think I turned left into 菊乐路 (Júlè Lù) so that the building was to my right or behind me. Not directions you look when you turn left in China unless you want to be run over. 

The edifice goes all the way with things Neoclassical. The name of the building is in pinyin rather than Chinese so that it’s helpfully called Si Chuan Sheng Cheng Du Shi Ren Min Jian Cha Yuan. Probably the locals tell taxis drivers to head to the building with the enormous titty on top because they don’t understand what the pinyin says. I assume the Chinese is 四川省成都市人民监察院. Some sort of prison service college? I know the phrase Ministry of Supervision kept appearing. I’m not sure whether that final yuan is the correct one. My dictionary is most unhelpful on this occasion and the building doesn’t appear to be marked on either of my maps of Chengdu. In fact, come to think of it, even on the signs pointing to the place, the English was in a serif font rather than the usual sans serif one. 

I headed along the 1st Ring Road until I got to 人民南路; thence home via the usual route.

Today’s outing not as interesting as the others. I wondered, as I cruised up 广福街北街, how the shops survive. 武侯祠大街 (Wǔhóu Cí Dàjiē) and the 1st Ring Road are much busier, although the former can sort of rely on the hordes of tourists.

As you may or may not know, in spite of China’s size, the whole country is a single time zone based on Beijing time. [So about 1957 then? –ed.] But properly speaking, Chengdu is really an hour behind China time, being more realistically GMT +0700. I noted yesterday or the day before that the sun was closer to being at its zenith at about 3pm. Instead of being 5.15pm right now, it ought to be 4.15pm, which is the time in Hanoi and Bangkok.


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