Saturday, February 19, 2011

Concrete & stone

Fascinating day experiencing crumbling concrete and stone... Spent the morning wandering the favellas of Chongqing which was fascinating. A lot has been razed but some neighourhoods remain. I wouldn't want to live there, for sure, but they had a history, a character and a community spirit which is maybe lacking in the uniform developments of the last 20 years.

Then took at car to the Dazu stone carvings 150kms west of Chongqing. There are several sites but the main one is at Mt Baoding where a Buddhist monk, Zhao Zhifeng, oversaw the rock carvings of hundreds of religious figures in the 12th century. They're a strange mix of Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist subject matter. It's now a UNESCO world heritage site. Interesting lunch beforehand: instead of a menu, I was taken to the kitchen and asked to point at which vegetables I'd like with my rice. When I asked if they had any chicken the chef pointed at a live one pecking dirt the dirt just outside the back door which he would happily kill for me. I stuck to veg.

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