Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chengdu Tibetan Quarter - unusual gifts

For the person who has everything a wad of Tibetan Prayers - these wads of brightly coloured paper are all printed with Tibetan prayers. They're usually used - confetti style,being thrown out the window when a vehicle passes over a high and difficult mountain pass - as thanks for safe passage. One of our child guests had the brilliant idea to buy these as a super unique, but cheap, gift for the other kids in her class - each of her classmates getting their own prayer. They look pretty good in a small frame on your bedroom wall.

In central Chengdu - very close and within easy walking distance of the popular tourist destination of Jinli Street and Wuhouci- you'll find the Tibetan quarter (south of Wuhouci on Ximianqiao Cross Street). This place, with it shops and people, reminds the visitor how close Chengdu is to the Tibetan Plateau, and gives an opportunity to get a souvenir or two that can't easily be found at other China stops.

A lot Tibetans come to Chengdu to stock-up on goods they'll sell in their own stores back home on the Plateau. A lot of this merchandise has a religious purpose - here we can see prayer flags and prayer wheels, but these stores contain all sorts of other useful things for life on the grasslands.

There are plenty of clothes shops - here we see a monk eyeing up a new outfit.

But its not only monk attire - here's one of Meggie's Tibetan.

Here we see a guy on the street wearing the same style jacket - those sleeves are meant to be long - giving protection in the cold, but on warm days allowing the wearer to slip off a jacket arm to tie it round their waste. The blender type machines in the shop window are the modern tool for making Tibetan Yak butter tea.

Rows of small religious idols - customers are shopping for things to take back to their temples.

There's some pretty vivid art work to be found.

Some of the more exclusive clothes shops have a pretty neat line in silks.

This really is for the person who has everything - a mini, electrically powered prayer wheel. in our pic, a blur of motion and bright flashing lights!!!!!!

The above is sitting on our dressing table - you can also buy those prayers in stone!!!!!!

Another kid's favorite - skull beads carved out of Yak bone. You can buy strings of these small skulls - 108 beads to each mala. We put them together with the turquoise. By the way be carefull when buying supposedly expensive beads. For example that turquoise is cheap color enhanced stone - but it's often sold at high prices to customers who don't know about quality difference. In the Tibetan quarter, and anywhere in Chengdu, also pay special attention to that which is supposed to be coral and amber.

And of course, with all that energy expended on shopping, we shouldn't forget food. Some great restaurants in this area selling foods you won't find anywhere else in Chengdu. Yak is heavily on the menu - this is Yak and onion stuffed bread. Tastes pretty brilliant!!!! The yak yoghurt is also a special experience - and that butter tea - well you've gotta try that!!!!!!!

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