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Discovering little neighborhood treasures


June 30, 2010



EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Christopher's blog:
Ni hao
Sun Devils! The weather here in Chengdu is almost the polar opposite of Phoenix. Where Phoenix is very dry and has almost 300 days of sunshine; Chengdu is humid, rainy and has almost 300 days of overcast. One thing they do have in common are hot summers, although Chengdu doesn't get nearly as hot as Phoenix (thank goodness!).

As I mentioned before, our dorms are really nice and located in the Oversea Student Apartment Building. Our room is on the sixth floor, which gives us a great view; but because our building does not have elevators, it gets a bit tiring climbing up and down the stairs every day. But at least it will help keep us in shape!

The university has several on-campus stores, restaurants and dining halls. With a campus meal card (which works similar to our M&G dollars), you can get a filling meal that costs between 3 to 6 yuan (which is less than $1). But of course the best food is located off-campus, and while it is more expensive, you can still get meals that only cost between 4 to 15 yuan (which is less than $3). If we are feeling like something other than Chinese food, it isn't too hard to find Western or other foreign food off-campus, but for those meals the prices are closer to what you would find in the U.S.

To get off-campus we have to go through one of the campus gates. Sichuan University actually has a wall that encircles the entire campus, and you can only enter the campus through one of five gates: North gate, South gate, West gate, East gate and the Secret gate. While the four main gates are for people and cars, the Secret Gate (also known as "Little North gate") is a pedestrian-only gate that is hard to find if you don't know where it is. Each of the gates have good places to eat close by, but the gate I use most often is the South Gate, which has a bunch of small restaurants and shops that sell snacks. One of my favorite things to buy is called "Bao Bing" and is a bowl of shaved ice that can be topped with fruit, jello, sweet beans, syrup and condensed milk.

The Spring semester at Sichuan University has not yet ended. Students will finish up their classes on July 10, so right now all the Chinese students are busy getting ready for their finals and graduation. One interesting phenomenon here are the graduating student "yard sales." Students who are graduating find a corner, spread out a blanket, and display all the belongings that they will no longer need once they graduate and try to sell it to other students. Things they try to sell include books, school supplies and clothes.

Last weekend, we rode a huge tour bus that took us to see two of Chengdu's most famous buildings: the Wuhou Temple and the Dufu Thatched Cottage. The Wuhou temple was built in 223 A.D. and is a shrine for many of the famous figures of the Shu Kingdom, which is one of the kingdoms from China's famous Three Kingdoms period. One of those famous figures is Liu Bei, the king of the Shu, who established his kingdom in the area that is now Sichuan and was considered a very benevolent leader. The Dufu Thatched Cottage is a museum for the residence of a famous Tang dynasty poet who came to Sichuan later in his life and wrote some of his most famous works while living here. There is a replica of the cottage along with the ruins of the Cottage's original location and several other pavilions, gardens and exhibits. Throughout this area are several statues of Dufu, and one of his statues has the hands painted gold to represent his writing ability. It is said that if you touch his golden hands, you might receive inspiration in your writing. I touched his hands, so I hope my writing on my Chinese tests improves!


Christopher Robinson, a sustainability and Chinese major, is a student in the Chinese Language Flagship Program and will be a senior this fall. He is studying abroad in China this summer.