City on the Yangtze
Chongqing Travel Blog› entry 9 of 13 › view all entries
June 1st, 2007 – by: sissanoel
Our flight to Chongqing was delayed about 1 1/2 hours due to the late arrival of our plane and then having to have some cargo off-loaded because the plane was too heavy. After dinner in Chongqing, we went for a walk around our hotel and realised we were smack bang in the middle of a red light district - very strange to be in a culture that does not appear to have any qualms about obvious prostitution, the brothels are very obvious with the girls lying around on couches just off the street. It's certainly quite different to home. Even found a cross-stitch and tapestry shop - very cheap compared to Australia, but Melissa's got plenty to do at home if she gets bored!
Chongqing is a very attractive city, lots of trees and parks and seems to be quite well laid out. It has a population of 30 million people, so one of the largest cities in the world. Most of the Yangtze river cruises depart from here, although the river does not seem very big. A lot of reinforcement works are being done for the completion of the Three Gorges Dam project, which will stabilise the river level through Chongqing and prevent the problem of flooding. Also has quite a big problem with "fog" - to an extent some of this is actually natural because of the mountainous position, but most of it is the never-ending pollution. The city has always been the final destination for trade from the east coast and is the chief industrial centre of south-western China. Chongqing is also known as one of the "three furnaces of China" (along with Wuhan and Nanjing) due to the intense summer heat.
We had a quick look at the Peoples Hall and Square and enjoyed watching the locals dancing, practising tai chi and kung fu. There was a children's martial arts class, showing just how disciplined these kids can be. If they made a mistake they got a kick up the pants from the instructor and had to squat-jump up the big steps at the end of the park - a bit tougher than aussie kids are used to! Drove to the Flying Dragons Museum, in honour of the American volunteer pilots who helped protect Chongqing during World War II. This museum only opened a few years ago, no doubt because during Mao's time it would not have done to admit that the Western capitalists had been instrumental in protecting China from the Japanese army. Walked down the street to the General Stillwell Museum, which honours another American instrumental in Chongqing's recent history. It's quite an austere, typical 1940's government building but houses lots of interesting photos and old furniture. Then had a wander through E'Lin Park for a view over the city. The park was glorious and leafy and would be a real haven during the hot summer (temperatures of 40c plus are quite common). Lots of dancers and singers about - and they all have to try and drown out each other with megaphones and amplifiers so not very peaceful! A guide took us through the exhibition about the Dam Project, which includes a 50 metre long panorama painded by a famous local artist.
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