Steve's China Blog

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Rain and an infant party

Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province, and Sichuan means "four rivers", since it has four major rivers that run through it. Since we have so many rivers in Sichuan there is usually a lot of flooding, but in Chengdu there is usually not any flooding. On Sunday though we had a lot of rain, and there was some flash flooding around the city.

Where I live it was not too bad, since we live very close to a river and a lot of the rain drained down to the river quickly. The rivers in the city have high walls built into the banks, and I've never seen them come close to overflowing. This picture was taken last August and shows the river in front of my apartment, and this was the highest I had ever seen the river get. On Sunday it was about this high.

In some parts of the city though they had up to 30 inches of water. A lot of roads became impassable, and even one subway station got flooded. I also heard that a lot of cars, bikes, scooters, and motorcycles were completely submerged in some underground parking areas. You can see some pictures of some of the flooding in Chengdu here.

Some friends of mine recently had a baby, and Sunday I was invited to a party for his 100th day birthday. This is pretty popular here since only a few decades ago the infant mortality rate was much worse than it is now. If an infant lived to 100 days then it was usually a good sign. Anyways, I went out to find a taxi, which are hard to find even when it is not raining, and after waiting for an hour and not finding a taxi I gave up. I was soaken wet, so I went back to my apartment and dried off, fixed myself some dinner, and watched an old episode of Poirot.

It turns out that there were about 100 people invited to the party, and only about 60 could make it on Sunday. There was another party held on Monday for the 40 or so of us who could not make it on Sunday. I'm not sure what the name of the restaurant was, but it was somewhere in the western part of the city.

The food was very good, and I ate too much. As the only foreigner at the party a lot of people came up to greet me, make sure my wine glass was never empty, and made sure that I was given a cigarette as soon as I extinguished the previous one. I think I was smoking through almost the entire meal. One of those strange but happy events in Chengdu.


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