Day 141: Country #15.2
Chongqing is one of four Tier 1 cities (of 5 total) directly controlled by the national government, with it’s own unique look and feel. Located along the Yantze River, it’s access and control of the Three Gorges Dam has fueled dramatic growth alongside China’s economic development, yet you can still see old and new, side by side throughout the city.
I began with the ancient side by joining my new friend to visit Ciqikou, a functioning traditional market showcasing Sichuan foods, including shops making the super spicy hot pot secret ingredient.
I was lucky my friend had a Chinese GPS to help navigate us through the narrow and hilly alleys as we collected plenty of food samples, then made our way to Daping, a much flatter and modern commercial center featuring large malls. But instead of exploring the malls, we walked through to check out Chongqing Medical University.
My friend needed to catch the train for Guangzhou so we got back on the subway and parted ways. I took an indirect route to the Three Gorges Dam museum via the super high metro, capturing pictures from stunning heights.
The Three Gorges Museum was quite large with exhibits on ancient Sichuan history, a 360 theater movie about the Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam as well as a colorful war simulation show using scaled city 3D models.
The plaza outside the museum separating it from the Chongqing People’s Grand Hall was quite large with lots of people out and about. I barely managed to enter before the hall closed, but since there were no people around, I was able to wander all over the place.
Afterwards, I decided to take a walk along the river so I could get a closer look at the size, height and elevation of the metro and roads. I looked for what I heard was the longest escalator in the world, but ended up taking a really long series of steps to reach the waterfront.
I was surprised to find farms by Shan Hu Gong Yuan park alongside people fishing and exercising. Lots of shirtless old men running up steps, Rocky style.
I found myself taking a very long path along the river watching people gathering for tea, Mahjong, fishing, and speed walking, eventually reaching a series of condemned abandoned buildings designed like Hongya Cave where I saw a U-turn lane and turned around to head back to the city center.
If you’re physically able, usually, taking the stairs and the direct foot path are faster than looking around for escalators, elevators or public transit.