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Chengdu Vs Melbourne

Posted by glen , 07 February 2013 · 4,008 views

Hi everyone,

I am on holidays at the moment in China in a city called Chengdu. It feels like it is about the same size as Melbourne in terms of land area but the population is about 3 times higher.

People mostly get around here on buses or electric bike.

But I amazed at the number of expensive european cars on the roads. They have Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Lexus etc. There is clearly a big divide here between the rich and the poor. I would say there is more luxury cars here than Melbourne for sure.

The air quality here is pretty bad at the moment. Some say it is because of the current rate of construction with a new train metro system being built and new apartment buildings going up. But I think the more likely reason is the lack of wind. It has been so still lately that I think even Melboune would be full of smog if we had such conditions.

They have some big rivers flowing through the city. A bit bigger than our Yarra River. Unfortunately, the water is a green gray colour and it looks quite polluted. It makes the Yarra look quite beautiful. I was amazed to see some fish swimming in the river. They are clearly as tough as nails!

One of the biggest differences I noticed here is the amount of dust everywhere. Most trees and shrubs are covered in a fine layer of dust. It really doesn't look very nice. I noticed in some areas people "wash" their plants with a hose to wash away the dust. Luckily they seem to have plenty of water here.

Beer seems to be much cheaper in Chengdu than in Melbourne. I bought some cans of beer for 2 RMB which is about 33 cents Australian. The beer was called "Blue Sword". Now it doesn't really matter which Chinese beer you buy because I think they all taste the same. If you want a more well known brand you could go for "Snow Beer" or "TsingTao".

If you like bread, you may be in for a shock in Chengdu since it is suprisingly difficult to find normal bread. There are plenty of bakeries selling sweet bread which tastes nothing like normal aussie bread. I borrowed a bread making machine from a relative to try and make some at home but that was such a pain so I gave up on that idea. Luckily my father-in-law knows a shop that sells bread buns that taste like bread. What a relief! I am not much of a cook (and not much of a baker).

One thing that I find interesting here is the number of people you see in the street compared to Melbourne. Lots of people, particularly older people just hang out in small parks and public spaces. They especially like to show off their grand children. It is typically the grand parents that do most of the parenting here. The parents are off at work 9 to 5.

I also find it interesting the number of people not embrassed to do activities such as dancing in public. I think most Melbourinans would be to embarassed to do this. But it is quite common here for 10 or 20 grandmothers to get together with some music and line dance the night away on a street corner or in a park.

I also find that Chengdu people have some quite cute hobbies that I think people in Melbourne would be too embarassed to do. For example, men take tweeting birds in cages and hang them in trees along the river so they can listen to the birds whistle. Or some people like to draw caligraphy on the pavement. Or some just like flying kites. It seems that lots of older people here are still kids at heart and they are not afraid to show it. I think this is quite a beautiful thing. Melbourne is so much more reserved.

Anyway, that is just a few thoughts I had.

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year to everyone.

Cheers, Glen

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Hello Glen.
Your blog is the first I have ever read!
Are you impressed?
Is the blog supposed to be argumentive?
PS.
I will never swap Melbourne for any Chinese city!
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That is fair enough. The food is certainly better in Melbourne.
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