Posted by: Jason | December 11, 2009

Transfer 3

Guiyang >>>>>>>>>>>> Chongqing

We had a couple free hours in Guiyang before our bus to Chongqing rolled out, so a few of us walked to Qianling Park.  The commitment of elderly Chinese men and women to their physical fitness is, frankly, astonishing.  I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say there were 100,000 people walking, running, doing tai chi, swimming, playing badminton, line dancing and doing group aerobics.

Tony – our tour guide and national escort – said that most groups who visit this region of China opt to fly into Chongqing instead of making the six-hour drive or chartering a bus.   I’m so, so glad we didn’t, because the views from the road were spectacular.  I’m trying to finish Infinite Jest before the end of the trip, but I couldn’t make myself look away from the window to read.

Chongqing is a massive, massive metropolitan area.  It has about 31 million residents – many of them relocated here after the Three Gorges Reservoir began filling – and recently became the fourth Provincial-level city in China.  It’s located within the boundaries of Sichuan province, but administratively, is independent and equivalent to all the other provinces. We’re only here for one full day – Thursday evening through Friday evening, when we board the ship for our trip down the Yangtze.

The city is known for a dish called Hot Pot, which is something similar to fondue.  We’d heard over and over that Hot Pot is incredibly spicy, so a handful of folks opted for noodles instead.  Man, did they miss out on a fantastic meal.  For about $9 each, we ate like emperors.  Byron – if you’re reading this, will you e-mail me the pictures of our table?  My vocabulary is too small to describe it.

Traffic took an hour to get through the checkpoint into Sichuan Province, and people from the village just down the hill took advantage of the standstill to sell fruit.

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