Friday, 20 February 2009

A Busy Day in the Misty Mountains of Chongqing: Part 1

I wasn’t expecting much from my day in Chongqing. Even though it had a population of 32 million people I had never heard of the city and as far as I knew we were just heading there to get on a boat that would take us down the Yangtze River.

It proved to be an incredibly busy day. In the morning we visited the Yangtze museum situated in Eling park. We were told about the Yangtze project and shown how the flooding of the river had changed areas along its bank for both better and worse. It was genuinely illuminating.

Walking back down the incredibly steep park (it is in the mountains after all) we came across a couple of incredible ponds. The pools have vegetation planted around them that when it drops its seeds change the colour of the water.

This created incredibly vibrant and natural colours. Add in a couple of ornate bridges and it created something of subtle beauty and real invention. It's amazing what can be achieved with a little bit of creative flair.

Colourful ambience appreciated we were heading for the city Monorail. It proved to be fun being packed in tightly with the local population. Many said hello and it seemed we were creating a bit of a buzz. Destination reached, we departed the train and descended down the steep steps into backstreets of the Chongqing old town district. It was fascinating to see how some of the poorer people went about their lives.

The back streets had an amazing atmosphere about them. Various kinds of Chinese dumplings, ducks, eels, clothes and produce from the various fruit and vegetable stalls were all on display. The streets did look poor but this was far from some kind of slum. It’s true that the people didn’t seem to have much but they were incredibly warm, friendly and interested in interacting with us.

Our adventure into the backstreets complete we headed for our boat. However, the day was not over as a night time tour awaited.

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