by Julia Pierrepont III, Gao Shan
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Around a hundred Americans and Chinese gathered on Wednesday evening at a scenic courtyard in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate "all things Chengdu."
The 2019 LA-Chengdu culture and innovation exchange event presented to the Southern California city a handsome photo display, stunning traditional handkerchief dancers, delicate Chinese paper cuts, and a duo of jolly Panda Bear-suited performers.
It brought together Angelenos and visitors from Chengdu to explore ways to advance cooperation between the two cities that share many similarities.
"The foundation for any relationship is being connected and talking more. And so the fact that we are doing this is just one of the many other good things we can do together in the future," said Miguel Sangalang, Deputy Mayor of LA.
Wang Jin, cultural consul of the Chinese Consulate General in LA, referred to Chengdu's long history, colorful culture, amazing cuisine and adorable giant pandas, saying it has much in common with the "City of Angels" as a center for entertainment, creativity and technology.
The exchanges of rich cultures and tourism resources are not only beneficial to the prosperity of these industries but also to the promotion of mutual understanding between the two peoples, she added.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein also applauded the endeavor and welcomed the guests to exchange ideas, explore opportunities and build bonds of friendship and mutual respect.
Attendees learned much about Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's Sichuan province. As a popular tourist destination most famous for being the home of giant pandas, Chengdu allows eligible international travelers to stay for several days visa-free so that they can sample the sights, sounds and flavors of this vibrant city.
"As an important cradle of ancient Chinese civilization, Chengdu carries thousands of years of history," wrote U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu in a letter to the event organizers.
As with great agricultural capacity comes great love for fine food, the city is famed for its world-class Sichuan cuisine, whose spicy dishes might tantalize palate with exotic spices and peppers and send body temperature soaring.
"I had an opportunity to visit Chengdu and see some of its natural splendor and taste some Sichuan cooking - which was very spicy," said Sangalang. "It was a fantastic experience that I think should be shared."
The event also featured sugar sculptures that were gobbled up by eager guests. These ultrafine delights, made from melted sugar in the shape of butterflies, dragonflies and animals, are often as delicious as they are beautiful.
"I like the dragonfly. It's just right, not too sugary," said Grace Bristain, with the Alpha Skylight travel agency, while expressing hope that she would visit Chengdu in the near future.
"With its rich cultural heritage and unique blend of Chinese and international art, food, fashion and music to choose from, there is something for everyone to love in Chengdu," said Michael Tiberi, a longtime LA resident who had visited Chengdu several times.
"The event showcases the legacy of traditional civilization in Sichuan, China," said Duoyang Namu, Director-General of the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism.
The event was co-hosted by the bureau, the Foreign Affairs Office of Chengdu Municipal Government, and the Sino-American Friendship Association, and supported by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti's Office.
"On the basis of more and more tourism and cultural exchanges, Chengdu and Los Angeles are working together to further promote cooperation in all fields," Namu said.