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Day 13 - Chongquing

As we were being ejected from the boat at 8:00 am it was an early breakfast. We were met in the lobby by a new guide, who led us to our minibus.

I really am disappointed that VJV haven't provided us with our own guide throughout the holiday. We were the only group on the boat who have not had someone with them all the way through – and it isn't because of the size of our group (8). The Pacific Delight group is only 6 strong and they have their own guide.

Chongqing is a typical Chinese large city – all high rise flats, very tatty concrete and traffic jams. It really looks better at night, when it's dark and the neon signs are lit up.

The Flying Tigers

Chongqing had a very bloody history in the second world war. It was the capital of China during this time, and the Japanese bombarded it mercilessly. There are caves along the river banks, which were used as shelter by the population, but even so tens of thousands were killed.

A group of volunteer American pilots helped to set up and train an air force to help protect the city and surrounding areas. They were given the name 'The Flying Tigers'. There is a small museum set up to them in Chongqing – nothing too exciting, but it is self-funding, and attached is a lovely picture gallery, where you can purchase original paintings. I was very taken by a beautiful Chinese lady painted on silk, but as she was in a large glass frame, I was told in no uncertain terms by Art that 'We're not taking that home in our luggage'!

Dazu

Two hours drive away, is the town of Dazhu. Best bit of the drive is that – at long last – we're in open countryside. It is worth adding that the modern Chinese houses don't get any prettier – how can a whole country have such tatty concrete buildings?? And it's not that the place is that poor – the people dress very smartly, and in very Western clothes. It is also good to see a country where the women can wear practical clothes for the weather, without having to pander to the whims of the country's (usually male-dominated) religion. We're into the agricultural area here, complete with wheelbarrows and men with wicker baskets slung on a wooden pole carried across the shoulders. The area is currently (end of August) in the middle of the Rice harvest. This is generally harvested and threshed by hand still. The rice must be de-husked, and dried, and to do this flat surfaces are needed. Any flat surface will do – including the main road! All along the road were carpets of rice seeds, being pushed around by ladies and gentlemen with wooden rakes and boards. This narrowed the roads substantially, and with the number of lorries and buses whizzing past I am amazed that there were no accidents.

The Buddhist Carvings

There are numerous places in this area where buddhist statues can be found – apparently there are over 60,000 statues in the area overall. We were visiting one of the bigger and better preserved sites. The grounds are beautiful – lovely green bamboo and trees. The insect and bird noise in this area is very loud, which after the dearth of life on the Yangtze was lovely to hear. There were definitely less tourists than we'd had in previous places, but unfortunately there was still the Chinese group in front, with the guide who insisted in using the personal amplifier.

There are many carvings, most of which are over 800 years old. They have the remainder of colour on them, but I don't know if this is original. All the carvings tell stories.

Chengdu

It was a five hour drive to Chengdu. Actually, it would have been less. We arrived on the outskirts of Chengdu at 6:00 pm, just in time for the rush hour. But it took us an hour to get to the Tibet Hotel. We are sure that our guide and driver got lost, but he'd never have 'lost face' by admitting it!

Tibet Hotel

Eventually we pulled up outside – and the hotel looked very good. We were informed that there was a 'cultural show' that we should go in to see as soon as we'd got off the bus. After 10 hours of travelling, the whole bus rebelled, and informed the guide in no uncertain terms that 'we were going for a shower, and it that meant missing the show we would'. It was delayed 'til 7:30 pm. And when we got down, we realised why – we were the majority of the audience!!

The entertainers were very good, but I did feel sorry for them – we really weren't up to being entertained. The food was yet again excellent – Art is continuing to get the hang of chopsticks and Dave is getting a taste for Chinese food.

The rooms in the hotel are excellent – very plush. It is a five start hotel, and I think it deserves the rating. The bathroom is huge, and very well equipped. Only two gripes – the lighting levels in both the bathroom and main room are very low, and although the shower was very well cleaned, they needed to use the 'mould remover' spray on the grouting, as it had started to show signs of the pitch black mould that can so easily grow in a humid atmosphere.

Another great plus – free Internet connection!

Visitors to the carvings

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holidays/abroad/china/day_d.txt · Last modified: 2010/09/11 13:36 by art
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