Published: November 16th 2010November 9th 2010
Last week was spent studying, studying, studying in various locales: my room, Clare and Audrey's room, the hostel, a tea house at the Wenxu Monastery, etc. The midterm was Friday morning. I felt all right about it. I was happy to be done.
Monday morning, at 6:30, everyone met in the lobby to go to the train station. Once there we had some time to spare, and a lot of us hit up Kentucky Fried Chicken for breakfast. I finally had "grease stick," something I have wanted to try since Mr. Cook, my first Chinese teacher, mentioned it several years ago. It was good, especially dipped in coffee.
The train trip was two and a half hours. I read. It was wonderful. I haven't had time to read in a long time.
We arrived and started touring straight away. First we visited the Stillwell (sp?) and Flying Tiger Museums. In the first museum Adam took over from our tour guide. Thank goodness, because our tour guide was terrible. All he did was compare Chongqing to Chengdu. Our roads are so much better! Much less traffic! We have seafood. Your subway might be up and running, but we have
outside the stilwell (sp?) museum
a monorail. It was ridiculous. I miss Penbo and Henry.
The Flying Tigers Museum was actually mostly an art showroom. It had traditional art, modern art, jewelry, and a random oil painting of a horse by "David M."
We went to another tourist restaurant for lunch. Bland, fishy, and unappetizing. Then we checked into the hotel. I roomed with Maria this weekend. The beds were not soft.
Next we went to the Three Gorges Museum. This was really fun. We had two hours to explore four stories of exhibits on our own. Only one of the exhibits was about the Three Gorges Dam. None of the captions was in English, so we spent our time posing in front of statues, etc. and taking pictures. I also bought a framed painting of the Sleeping Buddha on a bantam(?) leaf. So pretty! It was such a good find I didn't even try to bargain.
Outside the museum construction workers were setting up for the fourth annual Environmental Symposium. There were a bunch of windmills set up on the steps, a tent with tables and chairs underneath, a stage. Pretty ironic considering the thick smog hanging over Chongqing.
an art demonstration
inside the Flying Tigers Museum
After another sub-par meal at the hotel, Maria, Clare, Audrey, Kristiana and I went to the coffee bar on the top floor (30th) of the hotel. Great view, crappy expensive coffee. Good conversation.
We tried to find the bowling alley advertised in the hotel directory, but no go. We only found KTV and a billiards/bar area. So we left the hotel to find a sit down bar. It took a while, but we found an outdoor one, which was nice, in the middle of downtown. We sat and drank a bit and talked. We chose not to go clubbing. Not in the mood. But unfortunately we never found the alleged bar street set into the side of a hill next to the river.
The next morning the people who had gone clubbing were not feeling their best, having slept only two or three hours. We ate breakfast in the hotel, which had eight different kinds of cereal!! Then we went to a monument/museum-ish area of sorts. First we went to the original communist headquarters where we visited the room where xinhua-- the CCP newspaper/propaganda device-- was born. We also saw some dormitories of female spies. Then we went
up through a garden with a signpost pointing toward a kindergarten, a cherry tree garden, and a bomb shelter. We only visited the bomb shelter.
After lunch we had free time!!! I love free time. Clare, Audrey, Maria, Kristiana and I found a touristy area next to the river, which had a Starbucks, Subway, Dairy Queen and pirate ship at the top. I treated myself to a grande nonfat vanilla latte. Yum. And then we descended several levels to a food and traditional crafts area, somewhat like Jingli.
After a while we walked back to the central city square and went into a gelato shop. Gelato in China? Really? Yup. I got a tea and honey peach flavored milk shake.
We met everyone in front of a wedding dress store. Others had gotten manicures, visited a foreign language bookstore (jealous), shopped for clothes...
We got back on the bus and went to the confluence of the rivers. Then went to the train station to go back to Chengdu. We had a lot of free time at the station before the train left, so we sat in Dico's for a while, then in the station, and then
boarded. The train ride was nice. I read for a while and then chatted with Adam, Jeff, Sara(h), Maria and Audrey. We talked about creepers. Adam had never heard the word before he came to China.
As soon as we got back, at ten thirty, I unpacked and went to bed.
Chongqing was nice enough: hilly, with some green, and water. The traffic was an improvement. People actually follow the rules of the road. The taxis are cheaper, until they tack on the extra three kuai gas tax. I don't think I am planning on going back.
Monday I did not get my test back. Today I did. 92 out of 100! I am in the clear.
There are more photos below