Today was a long day, but unfortunately in the more uneventful way. The girl I mentioned in the last post (Lili) and I went around Dujiangyan. She and I were very different, which was bad in that conversation tended to lull, but was good in that we had nothing better to do than near constant learning of words. As such, it was like a high speed language exchange while we explored Dujiangyan, I think I probably learned a chapter's worth of words today alone.
What Lili and I had best in common was food, girl can eat like crazy, and she has good taste. In true Sichuan style we went out (spicy hot pots, Sichuan pepper corned up noodles, etc). I can now eat spicy without much of a question, and my love of Sichuan food is even greater (these people can cook lights out man). That said, I hate their dialect, there are just enough common words for me to make out little bits but not understand. Outside of a few lifted tongued words (which make the guttural R sound in Beijing speech), the dialect has nothing I find interesting to hear. Plus they keep speaking it to me expecting me to understand it.
That is not to say that we did not talk, but what we talked about was hard for both of us, best example, politics=way too awkward. Lili for a solid period of time was taking a hardline government stance and was starting to creep me out. Given the scenario of Taiwan declaring independence, "give them conditions," and if Taiwan does not follow those conditions? "Fight."
Okay, okay, that was the first time I had someone say they would go to fighting over Taiwan (though basically everyone else implied it). Next up, a question I had never asked (but I had spent a bit of time with Lili so I felt safe in asking), so do you know about that whole Tiananmen thing? At first she did not know what I was talking about, and then realized that an older person had told her a bit about it.
Her belief, if a thousand students fell for the protection of the whole country, it would be worth it. It was clear she trusted her government to make this decision. That said, she did think it was stupid she could not read some websites, including those related to this specific incident.
A bit later, seeing a sign written by Deng Xiaoping, I asked her how she found him: very good. Assuming it to be a fish in a barrel, and Mao Zedeng? Not so good. I was a bit shocked but she said most of the younger generation felt this way, anti-Mao and pro-Deng. This should be good news for the current government which finds its roots much closer to Deng than Mao. She had no opinion of the current administration, noting that it was not as powerful or as important as previous administrations.
While we talked we were exploring an ancient (256 BC) system for channeling a raging river into two rivers, allowing for smoother irrigation of the area. This system still works to this day, and is a World Heritage site. It was pretty cool, I found it interesting. Plus, I was with the right person for this. The pride Lili found in the channel was clear, and it was also clear that pride was critical in her deep nationalism.
I found it interesting, but bad weather and a morning spent looking for her friends (long story that is completely devoid of interesting moments) took the day down a notch. Now I need to figure out a cruise (its the only way to see the gorges that I have found), as I hope to leave on Monday for that (after bamboo sea and yet another World Heritage site).