I recently had the chance to ask my friend from whence he hailed in China, or as we say out here in the backwater of America,"Where ya fruuum originally?" Translated that means "Where were you born and raised?"
Since I know very little about the Sichuan Province of China I did what any citizen of the world would do and googled "Szechwan" - because that is how it is spelled on the menu in every Chinese restaurant I have ever been in. (Some of us on Planet Earth have never had the opportunity to travel far from home.)
While reading about the Sichuan Province of China I discovered this map:
It startled me. The outline of China resembles a distorted outline of the United States. Sichuan Province roughly occupies the central part of China the way Kansas sits in the heart of the USA:
When I saw this similarity, I wondered if there are Sichuan equivalents to the more colorful characters of Kansas. Did a Sichuan man spend his life collecting a thousand miles of string into a ball that his town later enshrined as a tourist attraction? Did an artist build a giant plate-steel meat cleaver, paint it lime green then display it on the corner in Chengdu? Is there a crazy Sichuan man who dances exuberantly on street corners with a table lamp, complete with the electric cord and light bulb but minus the shade?
I am going to go out on a limb and guess yes, there are crazy, quirky people and funny, unfathomable things in Sichuan, too, but maybe nothing as horrible as this: