A few days in Chongqing
Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
176Trip End May 04, 2013
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After we checked in and headed to our dorm, we met one of our room mates, a Chinese man who spoke virtually zero English. Even with his inability to communicate, he was keen to talk to me and tell me what I should do with my time in Chongqing, using the guy I checked in with as a translator.
His advice for what I should in Chongqing sounded alright, but what was more concerning was how, as the broken conversation progressed, he became more touchy-feely. He would randomly place his hand on my leg whilst laughing, which I can deal with, but it was when, as I was standing, that he gently grabbed the back of my thigh, a little too close to my bum for my liking (maybe even touching). Too much, I stepped away at this point... it was a small dorm so only about half a step was managed, but enough for him to take it hand back haha.
In my time in China, I have seen some quite clearly straight touchy-feely guys and girls. It must be just another one of their odd cultural habits; like constant spitting and exposing their bellies in hotter weather, but this was too much for me. He probably has a lovely wife and kids and this is just the way he is??... or at least that’s what I was hoping.
He was also asking about my onward travel plans, which I had not decided on yet, as he wanted me to go back to Chengdu with him (???)... just so he could arrange some free transport for me to go to Guilin, where I had already been about a 6 weeks ago. I was alright paying for a bed on a train as it goes and politely refused his offer.
I would like to say this guy was just a little too affectionate; however it was the next morning (05/12/10) that surprised me the most and caught me off guard (asleep lol)
Moving on, the weather in Chongqing was miserable at the moment; overcast, drizzly and slightly smoggy. I didn’t want to head out in these conditions and, as I looked at the weather forecast, saw that in a couple of days it was to improve.
The first day I was invited by one of the girls at the hostel, Kira, to join an afternoon tea party with a couple of other hostel users; an older man from Taiwan and a Chinese looking Canadian guy. Kira was fun, the Canadian guy was ok but a little pessimistic/negative for my liking and the Taiwanese man was another strange one. He was obsessed with correcting my Mandarin, even though I explained to him that I had picked everything up that I knew on my travels, therefore also picking up different dialects too. I told him it was more important for me to be understood than to speak perfect Mandarin. He was a nice guy, but not very understanding that I had spent most of time in Southern China whereas Mandarin is based on the Northern Beijing dialect – the others understood. He would then start asking me questions about having Royalty and how it affects me and my home country, the British Common Wealth, the powers they have etc... I could only answer some of his questions haha.
I didn’t get up to much the rest of that day or the following day (06/12/10) apart from meeting a couple of guys from England; Jon from Birmingham and another guy who I only met once, and watching movies and stuff
The next day, Tuesday (07/12/10), the BBC weather forecast was spot on and it is much brighter today than the last couple of days, the sun is even shining!
After meeting Jon the previous day, we arrange to join a couple of the girls that work at the hostel, Kira and Annie, on their short hike up one of the adjacent mountains. We think the girls, as they board there too, are encouraged to spend their free time out and about with the hostel users. Of course they know the city well and it can only be good for the hostel’s reputation... we didn’t suppose that intimate affairs were encouraged though, plus one of them looked like a teenage boy and seemed to have temperament issues too haha!!
The morning was all bit of a failure in the end but still entertaining nonetheless, with the cable car to cross the river being under repair, finding a boat to cross and getting lost finding the base/start of the mountain. We eventually got under way though, climbed the mountain and had an amazing lunch at one of the many Mah-jong playing places.
We hung around for a bit at the top of the mountain (or more like a big hill with small communities at the top) and make it back to the hostel later on the afternoon.
That night, I go exploring to see what the city’s night life has to offer; the city centre, bars and clubs looked cool, but I was on my own at this point so didn’t venture in anywhere and headed back to the hostel instead. I liked the vibe this city has and could definitely see myself coming back here to spend some more time, maybe in high season when there are more people around to enjoy it with though.
The next day (08/12/10), I am due to leave Chongqing in the afternoon so in the morning, again with Kira and Jon (Annie had to work), we head to Chaotianmen and Jiefangbei to see some more of the city.
The Chongqing Planning and Exhibition Gallery, which is supposed to be really good was only partly open for refurbishment, but in the section we could visit, there were interesting statue type things we assumed ourselves with and, in another section, some pretty awesome paintings from 'scenes’ across China and Tibet – amazing attention to detail
From there we headed to the Three Gorges Museum in the city centre, which is kind of what Chongqing is famous for, the Three Gorges River and controversial dam, not the museum itself!! The museum was quite boring really and featured the river and dam only in one section, the rest was generic uninspiring stuff on Chinese history. Can’t complain too much, both places were free and it was good just being around the city itself.
The 3 of us have a pretty tasty lunch at a Chinese version of a fast food restaurant, but we had to head back to the hostel soon after so I could catch my train to Guangzhou, which is the next big city from Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.