Thursday, June 10, 2010

China Journal Day 8 From Xian to Chongqing

It has been another crazy week, I wish today is Friday but... we can escape to China instead! We carry on with Day 8 of our China trip, click here to see all posts.

In Xian we stayed at HNA Hotel Downtown, Trip Advisor gave some pretty good reviews so I booked it through Travel China Guide. The location was great, we loved the view of the Public Square and most venues were within half hour bus rides. Our 3 day stay was very enjoyable and could not believe we almost overlooked this city. The Terracotta Army, Muslim Quarter and the bike trip on Xian City Wall was just awesome. It was too short a visit, we hope to return!

So... goodbye Xian and hello Chongqing, where we embarked on the Yangtze River Cruise! I spent days staying up until 4 AM phoning long distance to China to get cruise and airline tickets, the whole trip risked cancellation as we must visit the river and boat reservation proved most challenging.

However Chongqing was off to a sour start. I borrowed a cell phone from a security guard to confirm the dock number of our boat, he wanted 5 RMB for the phone use. Then the taxi driver wanted to charge us 500 RMB ($72 Canadian) for a city tour which we declined. Boy were we glad to arrive at the dock, where baggage carriers wanted 10 RMB per luggage, we could not carry them down the long flight of steep stairs to our boat so we agreed.

Dinner was at the restaurant located under the red sign pictured below, we had pork with fungus stirfry, french beans, fried spareribs, chicken soup and rice for 50 RMB, about $7 Canadian. The food was very oily but not spicy as we requested, fellow travelers warned Chongqing food tend to be spicy. They also spoke of the famous steep stairs, bit by bit with stops in between we slowly made it to street level.
At street level, several stalls displayed their wares on the floor. The ones below sold jewelry, there was little buying and looking. We were amazed at the amount of advertising on the walls, it was endless and impossible to ignore.
Across the street, numerous workers unloaded a truck full of goods. No machines were in sight, all were moved by hand.
On the main road, a laborer traveled with a cart full of merchandise.
The above was a rare sight, most goods were strung onto a bamboo pole and carried by workers. Below is a bang bang man, he got his name from the bamboo pole he used to carry the load. Our luggage was carried by a bang bang man.
One of several recycling depots on the sidewalk. After the unloading came the unwrapping of merchandise, packaging materials such as boxes and plastic wraps were separated into neat piles, tied into bundles and awaited pick up.
As evening approached, eateries were set up on the walkway. The one below specialized in dumplings, a customer waited while his dinner was prepared, seating was available on the side.
Hot pot is one of Chongqing's local specialty, we saw a few restaurants on the sidewalk. Under the large red tent, various meats and veggies were skewered and sorted into containers.
Close by, next to a large handwritten menu, one of several tables with a central pot where customers could boil the food they ordered in a very spicy broth.
The grilling cart smelled so good, several customers gathered around for their snacks while the husband and wife team cooked away.
Fresh sugar cane anyone? The vendor below set up shop quickly, soon afterwards the cane was peeled and cut into sections. Moments before this picture was taken she sold a few. On our way back to the ship we noticed the buckets were mostly empty.
One of the few fruit stands situated by the steps. The little orange rounds on the bottom right that resembled tomatoes were actually local persimmons, they are not as sweet as the Fu Yi or the Korean variety.
Chongqing at night by Chaotianmen Dock, we enjoyed the light show for about an hour before returning to our cabin. An itinerary schedule was placed on our bed, it looked to be an eventful three days ahead of us. We looked forward to the cruise and slept soundly that night. Stay tuned next week for another China travel post!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this fascinating post, I got caught up in the street life and the momentum of all the activity.