China Week Goals

'All Things' Considers China

Friday, April 4 4 pm Eastern Daylight Time

t's off to Chengdu for two hosts and part of the staff of the NPR news magazine All Things Considered this spring.

Our China Project is underway. Check in here for developments.

Chengdu is the capital city of China's Sichuan Province. And it seems to us like a fine place to try to tell some overlooked stories. To do so, we're originating much of the program from there the week of May 19-23. Among other things, we're going to tell the story of how young people fit into China's future. They're growing up in a world their parents never dreamed of. They have more money, more opportunities and new risks.

You'll hear the stories from hosts Melissa Blockand Robert Siegel on the air, online and on this blog. Here we'll try to take you behind the scenes as we search the best people to talk to in Chengdu.

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While I was driving from Shady Grove Station in suburban Maryland not far from Washington to pick my baby from the daycare center, the car radio was on NPR as usual. And I heard that All Things Considered is producing a whole week of show about Chengdu. As a Chengdu native, it is really an exciting news. It is wonderful to hear anything on the radio about my home town. I am pretty sure Melissa, Robert, and the other members of the production team will like the city, for it's rich culture, affable people, beautiful environment, and so on. I am looking forward to hearing the show in May.

Sent by Liang Huang | 10:58 PM | 4-4-2008

I lived in Chengdu for three years (2002-2005) while researching regional Sichuanese performance ('chuanju' or "Sichuan opera"). There are a number of great local spots in the city and surrounding areas. To see a pretty authentic chuanju performance, try Yuelai Teahouse at the Chuanju Yishu Zhongxin behind the Taiping Yang Department Store on Chunxi Lu. Performances used to be Saturday afternoon at 2 PM. Do not go to the tourist perfomance. Their performances featuring performers from the Chengdu Troupe; the Sichuan Provincial Troupe is harder to find because they don't have their own theatre anymore. The opera/arts school is located on Xinsheng Lu, just off of the first ring road between the west gate of Sichuan University and Jiuyan Qiao. They train acrobats from age 5 up, models, dancers, film actors, martial artists for the camera, and traditional "opera" performers. The Qingyang Gong has a rip-roaring open-air teahouse; teahouse culture is essential to Chengdu. Definitely eat rabbit head from the small vendors that hang out in front of shops on Dacisi Lu/Dongfeng Lu. You have to get your feet washed at a foot massage parlor or you haven't really been to Chengdu. You also have to spend a night eating chuanchuan xiang. It's far less glamorous than hotpot but just as fun, especially at the outdoor venues. There are lots of chuanchuan places near the university south gate. Other good hotpot places can be found on and around Yulin Lu. Eating shaokao from the small vendors is also essential--the vegetables and meat other than lamb.

Have a great trip! I'm very jealous--Chengdu--and Sichuan--is a very special place.

Best wishes.

Sent by Liza Bielby | 12:26 AM | 4-5-2008

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