31 December 2010

In the heart of China

After a quick two days in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, we arrived this
morning in Chongqing to visit our classmate, Timtim.

Before writing about what we did today, I'll recap what we have done
since we've been here in Asia.

Starting off, when we arrived Tuesday night, we met up with Carlo, who
is another classmate of ours and immediately went on an hour long walk
through SoHo and Kowloon looking for food. We settled on MX, a local
chain that provides trendy Cantonese food. After a long flight, it was
nice to get some great food with a familiar face.

The next day, Kristen and I hit up Hong Kong in our usual style.
Starting at 9am we visited the Stanley Market, got dim sum at a local
eatery where we were the only Westerners there, visited Man Mo Temple,
saw trendy shops, went to Victoria Peak, and saw the Hong Kong Light
Show. With limited time it was good to cram a few days worth of
activities into a single day.

Yesterday, we had originally planned on visiting Lantau Island,
however we were concerned with the time it would take to cross the
border into Shenzhen, so we decided to go immediately. We left our
apartment at around 11am and got settled into our hotel around 2pm. We
found a nice hotel (Home Inn) that had a fairly nice room for a cheap
$30 per night! We then headed off to the pedestrian shopping street to
take a look at the local goods. Sadly, many of the local goods turned
out to be international brand name good which we couldn't afford in
the United States, let China. After finishing up there we headed back
to our hotel, but not before we wandered the streets nearby. We
walked all the way into a local community and were able to get a brief
feel for the traditional Shenzhen lifestyle.

This now brings us up to today. This morning we got up and began to
make our way to the airport. After finding a taxing and giving him the
requisite arm signals and broken names, he finally figured out we were
trying to get to the airport. Once there we quickly made our way to
Chongqing. Once here, the first thing we noticed is that it's cold!!
On top of that, they don't like to use heat here (something about
saving money).

Since we hadn't eaten much, our first stop was for a Chongqing
specialty: Hotpot. Like it's name suggests, it is hot. However, it
isn't so hot that you can't taste the spices and flavors of the dish.
We had a fantastic meal with all sorts of beef (lips, intestines,
stomach, meat), fish, veggies and more. It was a real treat and a
great welcome to China. After we were fully stuffed, we headed off to
the dock to see the Yangzhee river. This was very enjoyable as well.
While I realized that Chongqing is a very large city, it's strange
that it never occurred to me the size of the city. It's just like any
major US city in terms of size and magnitude of the streets. I've just
never really thought of it since it's frankly overshadowed by the
Beijings and Shanghais of China.

Once finished we drove to the peak of Chongqing to get a glimpse of
the city lights. Apparently, Chongqing is known as "Hong Kong without
the electricity" due to a similar layout and lack of lights
comparatively. We finished the night off by getting another great meal
and meeting Timtim's parents.

Overall it was a great day and a very enjoyable way to step into
China. I'd write more, but it's getting late (HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM
CHINA) and we have an early start tomorrow.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button