Chongqing and Kaixian

Kaixian Travel Blog

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Me signing autographs in a Kaixian hotpot restaurant.

One of my old coworkers is visiting Beijing and I asked if he's interested in going to Mongolia for a weekend trip.  After checking the Mongolia weather reports, he suggested that we could go to visit his little brother Didi in Chongqing.  Didi has been asking for a moped, and he thought it might make a good Christmas present.

It turned out that Didi doesn't live in Chongqing city, but in a city called Kaixian, four hours away.  We arrived in Chongqing at 2am, checked into our hotel, and got some sleep before going to catch a bus to Kaixian.  We weren't sure what to expect in Kaixian and got varying reports on the population of the town, from 50 thousand up to 1.8 million.

We arrived in Kaixian and waited for Didi to arrive and show us around where he's working etc.  He arrived on a motorbike, without a helmet and we warned him that he should be wearing a helmet when he rides a bike.  He shook his head no and smiled.  Wearing helmets isn't cool in Kaixian.

After walking around the local high school, we went with him and two of his friends to have some world famous Chongqing hot pot.  The hotpot was spicy, oily, and delicious and the restaurant was a mix of upper middle class families and workers chain smoking and dropping the butts and ash on the floor.  Not many foreigners visit Kaixian, so there was a lot of interest in my friend and I and we exchanged our contact information and practiced english and chinese with several students who were eating there.  After eating until our lips burned and getting a photo taken with each of the watresses, we left to find a hotel.

We checked into the hotel and said goodnight to Didi and his friends, planning to meet up at 9am the next day to visit his hometown.  We went up to our room and bundled up to go out again and see if there was anything interesting to do in Kaixian.  On the way out of the hotel, we saw a crowd gathered at the street and an ambulance pulling away.  We asked an old woman in the crowd if everyone was okay and she motioned to her cheek and eye, indicating that the victim's face had been hurt.  The crowd thinned out, and we continued on our way, eventually finding a little bar where we could relax and talk to people.

"I wonder if the person in the crash was Didi," my friend wondered later that night.  Was it possible?  It seemed unlikely, so we put the thought out of our minds.

The next morning at 9am, there was a knock at our hotel door.  It was Didi's friend, and he told us that something had happened to Didi and he wouldn't be able to meet us that morning.  He was at "Renmin Yiyuan."  We said goodbye to Didi's friend and then tried to figure out what "Yiyuan" was.

"Yuan is park, right?"

"Yiyuan...isn't that hospital?"

"Yes, I think so."

"I bet that accident we saw last night was Didi."

Later that day, we went to visit Didi in the hospital.  His face was cut and bruised, exactly as the old woman at the scene of the accident had described the previous night.  Fortunately, no serious permenant damage had been done.  Didi was lucky.  We reminded him again about how important it is for him to wear a helmet on the bike.  The hospital room he was in had three other patients, all of whom looked like they were probably in motor vehicle accidents too.

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Me signing autographs in a Kaixian…
Me signing autographs in a Kaixia…
photo by: seattlejon