Sunday, February 13, 2011


Heavy snow overnight but miraculously managed to get a taxi which gingerly made its way to the airport. The scrapers, gritters & spayers were out in force, and I was having a coffee in the boarding lounge less then an hour after leaving home. Heathrow be damned! Having said that, we sat in the plane for an hour while they de-iced it.
Chengdu is another big (11m) Chinese city, capital of Sichuan Province, famous for pandas, on a plain between Chongqing and the Tibetan border. The afternoon was spent with 150 art students listening to Brit artist Mark Titchner talk about his work which sits somewhere in between fine art, graphic design and advertising. Pseudo-philosophical slogans, always in caps, scream from billboards and gallery walls. The effect is not a million miles away from the socialist-realist graffiti that doubtless once daubed the neighbourhood’s walls.

The neighbourhood has been well and truly gentrified now. Kuanzhai, where we went for dinner, is a tastefully done-up area of pedestrianised streets, tea houses, restaurants and shops in Ming & Qing style.

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