Chongqing: Getting lost along the Yangtze

I was really excited to go to Chongqing, I had been feeling exhausted and rundown and was ready to relax.

Turns out I was actually just getting sick and sleeping was probably what I really needed. Chongqing was awesome, but I was tired, didn’t feel well,  and I got lost…. a lot.

I also didn’t know that it’s considered an “oven” city of china – crazy hot. It made the trip not so enjoyable which is too bad because I probably really would have liked it if I was healthy- luckily its just a 2 hour train ride from Nanchong so I’ll be able to give it a second go.

Chongqing is beautiful, its set into the mountains and is sort of like how China does San Francisco. My hostel (Yangtze River Hostel) was set into an old city wall and was along the Yangtze. I was pretty excited to see the Yangtze -its always exciting when places that were once just items on a 4rth grade geography test become real. I loved the hostel. It had a funny hippie vibe that I haven’t found a lot here.

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I went to Ciqikou, an ancient part of town that was lots of shops and sort of touristy. I got some delicious shaokao (Chinese bbq). I also found a random American craft store that felt… American. It was nice. My favorite part was in the evening these ladies started cleaning the streets by just turning on high power hoses and spraying the street down. The Chinese girls in their 6in heels and long dresses were wailing as they tried to throw themselves into the shops and away from the water. With the amount of screaming going on you really would have thought there was a massacre happening.

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I also saw the Arhat temple after being lost for an hour… which was pretty cool though I thought the most unique part of it was how it buried in the middle of skyscrapers and shopping malls. They did have a hall of arharts (people who have reached enlightenment) which were cool. Their faces are so bizarre and somewhat menacing.

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I got lost for another hour trying to find Huguang Guild Hall which was something of an old community hall. I wandered around a bit and found a sunny spot to sip some tea and try to relax. Until like a 100 people came over to fuss at me. They weren’t happy I was sitting in the sun and wearing a tank-top. I think. I’m not sure anyways.

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I ended my day by getting insanely lost at night (it was my theme). I tried to get a taxi but for whatever reason they wouldn’t take me, the buses stopped running and I thought I could just follow the river but I ended up on some sort of overpass that was definitely not meant for pedestrians…I was not thrilled but thankfully there was little traffic and after an hour I stumbled into my hostel sweaty, tired, but no worse for wear. Luckily my hostel also gives a free welcome beer that was appreciated at that moment.

Despite getting lost it was pretty awesome to see the city lights along the Yangtze and the bright bridges. I also passed so many parks with people out dancing which is always fun.

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The next morning I took a cable car across the river that is supposed to be a big deal and also I heard it was rickety and scary…I didn’t think that but when it got to the other side it did smack into the wall before it made it back into its dock or whatever.. I kind of gave up on exploring at that point because I felt exhausted and just plopped down in a coffee shop for a bit.  Chongqing has a lot of tattooed people… I haven’t seen anyone with a tattoo in Nanchong.

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On my way back I sat next to a couple who didn’t say a word to me but at one point they opened a bag of food, and without one word they just dumped food on my lap. It was so funny- they didn’t say a word but since I was foreign they just wanted to be hospitable and since they were Chinese peasants it was done pragmatically.

And once I got home I realized I was really sick since my throat was crazy swollen and I had a fever. China and my immune system hate each other.

So Chongqing wasn’t exactly a Relaxing trip…but still not too shabby. I’ll definitely go back when I’m healthy at some point… also maybe when summer ends. And in the two days I was gone a new store opened outside my apt that sells ice cream. So that’s super exciting too.

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