If it wasn’t for the pandas, few Americans would have ever heard the name Chengdu. Yet, here’s another huge Chinese city (of 15 million people) that is just as modern, maybe even more modern, than many American cities. In fact, Chengdu is one of more than one hundred cities in China with over a million people. Chengdu is huge, bustling, modern and clean. There’s a lot of stuff going on in Chengdu, that unless you’ve been there, would have no clue about. Besides the pandas, Chengdu is home to the world’s largest building (by floor space), has a brand new suburb built just for technology companies, and has a legendary face-changing opera. Plus you can have your ears cleaned by professional ear cleaners at the local park, something that is apparently unique to Chengdu. We spent a day walking around the city. We passed thousands and thousands of people on the streets with nary an acknowledgement. So many people going about the business of the day. So many lives we knew nothing about, or even knew they existed before our visit. So much conformity. Chinese, even the young, are conformists, all dressed basically alike and walking to their next destination with purpose.

Photos

Above: Panda images are everywhere in Chengdu.

Above: We thought this armored personnel carrier was just for show until we happened to see a soldier inside peeking out of a window. This was a “react” vehicle ready to go.

Above: The Chinese love Kentucky Fried Chicken more than any other American brand.