Rural China!!?

Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Chongqing,
Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Congqing- where? Dunno, never heard of it but its where the Yangtze river cruise starts so have to go there really!"
Chongqing is the biggest city in the world with a population of 32 million! To put that into context, it's half the UK, four times London or 60 million times the size of Caistor! Think we were both a bit down after Xian, partly because we were both ill there & partly because on the train journey down we seemed to be getting deeper & deeper into dark communist block style country & we thought it was going to be dark & dreary from there on in. That all changed though with the Yangtze River cities- Chongqing, Yichang & Wuhan. They're all massive with a great blend of old & new China & a touch of Europe. I guess this is because they're on the Yangtze, which leads to Shanghai, so have been open to trade as long as Europeans have been coming here. We made a great call for the trip along the Yangtze, through the Three Gorges to Yichang. Having read numerous bad reports about the 3 day cruises (the boats are in a terrible state & the tourist traps are a tedious nightmare apparently), we chose to do it by hydrofoil in one afternoon. This is the local means of transport to get from A to B, which meant whilst the locals were sat in the boat watching a movie, we could sit by the open doorway & view the spectacular scenery! Apparently on the cruise boats, which start at 100 quid plus, you then have to pay extra to go on deck! The 3 gorges are famous for being huge and because they've built a damn at Yichang to raise the water level 175 meters to help power the region. In doing this they've relocated entire towns & villages. One of the tourist traps is a ghost village, but as we've since been told there are more souvenir sellers than there ever was inhabitants!!
Yichang was even more sophisticated than Chongqing and Wuhan was the best of them all. A conglomerate of 3 seperate cities: Wuchang; Hankou & Hanyang, built where the river Han meets the Yangtze, the place is buzzing!
The food options are excellent, one night we ate al fresco at a plush restaurant, the other at a local food market & it was hard to chose which food was better- except one tasty chicken dish contained the entire chicken!

We got a ferry across the Yangtze for 10p & the sky line was fairly New York-esque!

This part of China is definitely what you would call a hidden gem!
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Where I stayed
Yangtze River Youth Hostel
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