Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Time to be a Tourist - Back Home

As the bus took us back up the hill, we watched the city go by and marveled at the contrast between rich and poor, futuristic buildings and past their prime abodes, and high tech and low labor, all the while watching our driver make exciting and gutsy moves in and out of traffic. Driving in Chongqing makes driving in Italy seem orderly and polite.

Back home, we stopped for a quick bite to eat before heading up the hill and our beds. The pedometers said we had walked 20,000 steps, no wonder we were tired.

Time to be a Tourist Part 6

The final stop of the day was Ciqikou, an older part of town, where two blocks have been set aside for pedestrian shopping and eating. We joined the throngs of nationals many who were enjoying the three day weekend. Once again, our senses were consumed by sights, sounds, and smells. Storekeepers vied for our attention with clappers, microphones, and samples.  Since most of the snacks and food are inexpensive, the cost of venturing out into the unknown is low, and we tried several different things throughout the day with varying degree of appreciation. Here in Ciqikou we found delicious nutty bars and grabbed a whole bag to bring back to our apartment.
It is hilly in Chongqing - we climbed many stairs

An earwax removal spa - or choose the cheap removal at the street corner

How does a tiny cone hold 10+ scoops of ice cream? Price? about $1.50

the streets are packed

Happy pigs in the store that sells pork jerky

There are many stores likes this one, selling American style uniforms, with American insignia. Yet, the flags above the door tells another story...

making burnt sugar lollipop art

Time to be a Tourist Part 5

Our next stop was the Communists Martyrs' Prison - one of China's most highly rated tourist attractions. It is an almost mandatory visit for nationals to learn more about the history of the few and the brave for the motherland. The gift shop had a vast selection of Chairman Mao merchandise, hand fans, pins, statues, t-shirts, hats, and prints. Most of the prison had burnt to the ground but was rebuilt to for the creation of a movie based on a book written by one of the escapees.

The AAAA rating sign

Time to be a Tourist Part 4 and lunch

 The People's Liberation Monument - 2018 and then, probably late 1940s or early 1950s

Comparing the size of two new iPhone models

Colorful buildings and shopping all around the monument
Food court hostess

food on a stick

Lukas trying to capture our travel in the rain

What we found in the bookstore

Five people worked in this kiosk that was at most 10 x 10 ft

Mango Vanilla soft serve

We headed downtown to the People's Liberation Monument. This 27-meter tall structure was built to celebrate the victory over the Japanese in World War II. In 1950 it was renamed to commemorate the communist conquest of the area. The tower was surrounded by hundreds of poinsettia a welcome addition of color on a gray day.  Our guide took us to the underground food court where our senses were quickly overloaded by sights, smells, and sounds. The variety of food was amazing, and we watched as one vendor made the noodles for the soup that Bob ordered. The noodles were made out of green beans and had a distinct flavor to them. Each vendor had someone stand outside the stall with a microphone to invite people to the booth - and given the proximity, each screamed a little louder as if that would draw the customers in more quickly. In the middle of the food area, enterprising young singers bolted out the latest American songs with the help of a karaoke machine. It indeed was an experience for our senses although we were all rather happy to get out to the street again, where the noise that before entering the food court had seemed loud all of a sudden seemed subdued and quiet.  We rode the escalator up in a department store to get a bird's eye view of the square, visited the Apple store, and a giant bookstore before it was time to grab an ice cream and head back to the tour guide and the group.

Time to be a Tourist Part 3

The next stop was a four-story market along the river with a waterfall cascading down the mountainside - Hongya Cave Walking Trail. The shops offered spices, foods, and crafts and our brisk walk-through peaked our interest enough that we will come back for a more leisurely exploration.
We even encountered Emperor Yu again!

Chongqing Opera House

Cityscape from behind the waterfall

Making sweet rice for treats

Szechuan peppercorn which really are berries