A Travellerspoint blog

Eling Park and Fotuguan Park

We take a short ride to visit two parks in the area near Fotuguan Light Rail Station

We are on our own from here on out. Lillian is in Chengdu so we will wrap up our visit to check off the last few remaining places I wanted to see. Also Sunee has two Chinese watercolor classes to attend before we head out to Wuhan.

We left this morning a little later, got some breakfast near the Light Rail Station and hopped a ride to Fotuguan Station. This time we were looking for Eling Park and Fotuguan Park which are near each other. Eling Park was supposed to be within walking distance of the Stilwell Residence so it should be no problem. WRONG! Everyone kept telling us that it was far away. We finally asked some older ladies and they gave us directions but we had to catch a taxi. The park was not within walking distance as it took over 20 minutes by taxi.

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We asked these ladies where Eling Park was. Far away, far away

Was the trip worth it? I took a lot of pictures but there was nothing special about either park. Eling Park is definitely pleasant and relaxing. Fotuguan Park is messed up with a lot of construction going on. You judge for yourself from the following pictures.

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As you can see, the park is very pleasant and relaxing

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Historically, this is the World War II Australian Embassy. Very nice location

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This is a very beautiful Chinese set of buildings overlooking a nice pond

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Sunee loves peacocks and so we always take pictures when we find them

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The peacocks were very tame and very beautiful

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A panorama of the Yangstze river. General Stilwell's Residence is right below the park

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This is the only picture I took at Fotuguan park just down the street

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When we returned to our hotel at around noon, we met this wedding party. Nice shot, huh?

In the afternoon, Sunee went to her painting class and I visited the Three Gorges Museum.

Posted by inchinahil 05:48 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Chongqing's Eighteen Staircases Area

We visit an old section of Chongqing which will be gone within a year

Got a call from Eric about an hour after we got back from Dazu City. Seems Lillian wanted him to take care of us since she had to return to Chengdu for business. No problem.

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Eric, a classmate of Lillian

We met Eric at around 0900 at the Victory Monument on Friday and he took us on the Light Rail to a shopping area for breakfast and for some shopping. The interesting part about this trip was the underground shopping areas. All the town centers have huge areas underground that were once bomb shelters from the Japanese intensive bombings during World War II. Chongqing, because it had become the headquarters for Chiang Kai Shek's government was heavily bombed and the civilians paid a heavy toll in deaths and injury. All those old bomb shelters are now huge underground malls.

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One can kind of get a feeling that this was once a bomb shelter

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Cannot tell what it was when one gets inside as there are hundreds of different shops

After the shopping excursion, I asked Eric to take us to the Eighteen Steps Tea House which I had read about. No problem. It is near the hotel we stayed in the first night. The only problem was that Eric did not understand that I was interested in the tea house and not the eighteen staircases area. We walked down the old eighteen staircases and it was interesting but very, very old. No ancient Chinese buildings, just old. No wonder it is going to be torn down and replaced. It was a pretty miserable area but interesting.

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Nothing special, just old and falling down

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They use glass bottles in Bangkok to do the same thing. This is really strange looking

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It is a wonder that these building are still standing. They are that bad

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This is the bottom or eighteenth staircase. The place was called Eighteen Staircases because ..... Yep, there are eighteen set of stairs.

Posted by inchinahil 04:34 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Bao Ding Shan Rock Carvings

After a great Dazu City celebration, we go to the biggest set of Rock Carvings

Early in the morning, we caught a bus to Bao Ding Shan. The trip was about an hour or so and was through some typical sichuan-like scenery. Lots of farms with every inch of ground under cultivation. On the way up, we played with a baby that absolutely had no fear of us "wai guo ren." The baby especially liked it when Sunee held her.

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This little gal loved to be held and was very friendly toward Sunee

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This guy welcomes all visitors to the Bao Ding Shan Rock Carvings

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This is where one has to pay to get in. We already had our tickets

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Not sure what this was as the people waved us away and toward the "real" entrance some distance away

Once we reached the area of the rock carvings we had to walk about a half mile to the actual entrance. A huge stone entrance way with lots of stuff to buy showed us the way. Since we had our ticket from the day before, we were ready to enter and enjoy the carvings.

Since I usually am the one taking the pictures, I very seldom have any of me taking pictures. I gave Sunee the A640 and I took the old G2 so she could get some pictures of me. The following are of THE PHOTOGRAPHER. The A640 is a ten megapixel camera so I cropped some of the pictures Sunee took to get a different perspective. They came out pretty interesting.

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Finally, the photographer gets photographed. How was my cropping?

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The Buddhist Circle of life. This was huge and magnificently carved

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These carvings were pretty high up on the cliff and very big

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One of the most beautifully carved Buddha heads on the site. It was actually taller than me

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Two really strange looking dudes. Gotta admit, though, the detail in the carving was unbelievable

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A lovely pagoda set amongst the trees

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Probably the best picture I took all day long. I love the way the temple is surrounded by evergreens

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And the people who worked at the site were a joy to visit with

We spent most of the day at the carvings even though it was extremely lot. Fortunately there were only a few people wandering around so the place was very pleasant. No doubt, these rock carvings will be one of the highlights of our visit to Chongqing. They were actually better than advertised.

Our return that afternoon to Chongqing was uneventful. The bus ride was pleasant, air conditioned and smooth. Tomorrow we will probably be on our own once more as Lillian went back to Chengdu to work a part-time job. Good on her!

Posted by inchinahil 17:29 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

The Joe Stilwell Residence and The Flying Tigers Museum

Almost forgot about our visit to these great places!

The morning after our Yangstze River Cruise, Sunee and I pretty much had the day off from our guide, Lillian. We decided to check out the light rail system and make a short trip on it. Our hotel was only a block away from the entrance so it did not take us long to figure out how to use the system. Since this was a spur of moment decision, I had not looked in my own guidebook to find out where we would go. We just went.

When we had to decide where to buy tickets for, I looked at the choices and remembered reading something about Fotuguan station. We bought tickets to Fotuguan. It took us only around 20 minutes to get there and we had no plans as to what to do. As we walked off the platform, a Chinese janitor asked if we were going to the museum. Not a clue what museum he meant so we said "YES."

"Just down the road a couple of hundred meters on the left," he replied.

So we walked the couple of hundred meters and immediately saw The Flying Tigers Museum on our right and Joe Silwell's resident across the street on the left. Wow! These were two places I had checked off for us to visit.

Joseph (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell's residence is nice. It is a 1930s style house built on the side of the mountain overlooking the river. A great location. One thing we found - it had wonderful working American bathrooms. This is a plus for us fat old guys who have trouble squating.

Anyway, we went through the nicely done museum (cost 5 yuan) and I took a few pictures. We even bought a Flying Tigers T-shirt. Lots of history here and, if you are an Air Force guy like me, you will like it a lot. It was just a very pleasant place to see and the lady in charge was marvelous. For me it is a "must see" place.

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The 1930s style residence of Stilwel located along the river

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The is where the "business" took place

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Had to get a picture of this wonderful antique from the era

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A bust of the General outside the house near the backyard entrance

Across the street was The Flying Tiger Museum. I had read that it had only a few things attached to the Flying Tigers. It was mostly an art gallery with many works from local artists. Hey, now we are in Sunee's world. We loved the museum for the Flying Tigers stuff AND the art stuff. The people in the museum all spoke excellent English and we hung around for about an hour.

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This is within easy walking distance from the Fotuguan Light Rail Station

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The museum was nicely done but only offered a few real items of the Flying Tigers

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I've seen this picture before so most of the pictures here looked not to be so original

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The gallery really did have a large selection of Chinese traditional and modern paintings. Sunee loved it

While we were in the museum, a small group of Americans showed up with their Chinese guide. They were from North Carolina and Minnesota. Very nice group that appeared to have some vets among them. We did not get a chance to visit much but from their friendly smiles and outgoing personalities, I could see that their Chinese guide was enjoying herself. I did take their picture as they watched the local artist do a watercolor that he hoped to sell to them. He was not so lucky.

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Americans come visiting

Overall the trip was great. Later we planned to return and find Eling Park which is also in the same general area. The return to Jie Fang Bei was as easy as coming. No problems.

Now it was time to prepare for the Dazu Rock Carvings adventure the next two days.

Posted by inchinahil 21:11 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Dazu City Celebration

A great adventure as we are asked to be the honored guest at a city celebration

After our trip to the Beishan Rock Carvings and a bit of time relaxing in our hotel room, we set out to see how the senior citizens spent their time in Dazu City. Normally, senior citizens in China are very active and congregate in the city squares for exercise, tea drinking and other leisure activity. We love to go visit with our fellow seniors.

On the way to the city center we found a place that served great noodles. Dazu City is a very friendly place with people smiling at us or saying "Hello" as we walked by. Felt good. Felt very good.

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When in doubt, we can always find some good noodles. These were a bit different, though

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The noodles were dried and looked like telephone cable wound around a core

The city center was about four blocks away and the entrance has some beautiful carved statues of lady musicians playing their instruments. I did some fill-in photography to try to capture the features without losing the feeling of dusk that was apparent at around 1830.

MY STATUES

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The entrance to the park from the main highway

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As we walked around the open area, we saw the typical scenery we have come to expect in Chinese cities.

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It must be China if one sees the three-wheeled trikes running around

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One can always find someone practicing their calligraphy. Here she is very young and very good

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We have come to always expect seniors doing various Chinese things for exercise. Here was no exception

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This lady was very good and was working hard

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Sunee borrowed some ribbons to join in the fun

We then walked to the far end of the area and found this huge billboard and a stage set up with loud speakers and such. We had no idea what it was all about until we were invited to watch the Dafu City Celebration as honored guests. What a great and wonderful time we had as we watched a Chinese performance that last over an hour and a half.

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Here is the billboard that advertised the upcoming extravaganza. We had no clue

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The show started at 2000 (8 PM for you none military types) sharp

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Lovely Chinese dancing ladies

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They also had a bunch of kids doing some great dancing as well

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The Chinese costumes were beautiful. Yes, I was concentrating on the costume only!

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The Dragon Dances

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But this dragon had a bunch of friendly fish swimming with him (dancing with him?)

What a way to spend one's evening in China! On the way back to our hotel we met a fellow teacher. This lady taught middle school and wanted to meet us "foreigners." So pleasant! So very friendly! Makes it easy to understand why we are having such a great time in China.

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Our new teacher friend from Dazu City

Next up will be the Rock Carvings at Baodingshan which are supposed to be the most spectacular. Tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day!

Posted by inchinahil 06:16 Archived in China Tagged events Comments (0)

The Dazu Rock Carvings: Beishan

We travel to Dazu to see the fantastic Buddha Rock Carvings

The Yangstze River cruise was great but it is time to pack up and head to Dazu City to see the Buddha Rock Carvings I have read so much about.

We left at around 0800 by bus to Dazu City. It is about a three-hour trip and we encountered absolutely no problems from the trip. There are at least three (probably more) bus stations in Chongqing. We went to the one the hotel staff said would take us to Dazu City. The station was crowded but Sunee managed to get the tickets and find out where we needed to be. It is great if one speaks fluent Chinese!

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Checking out of our hotel at around 0700. They kept our big luggage

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The bus schedule inside the Chongqing bus station

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One needs to speak Chinese to buy a bus ticket in China

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We check in to the Dazu Hotel at around 1130. A three-star hotel but we stayed in the back

We arrived in Dazu City and caught a taxi which took us to the Dazu Hotel. Expensive and not very good but . . . we were only going to stay one night. The idea was to take our time and see the two most important areas at our leisure. We ended up in the back "Chinese" section of the three star hotel with no elevator and smaller rooms. It cost of 180 yuan and was definitely not worth the money.

I have since read an internet article about a guy who went to Dazu City and got a cheap hotel room locally. He was accosted at around 11 PM by police informing him he could not stay at that hotel but had to move to the Dazu Hotel. One of those "bushiwai" hotels, I guess. He refused to move and faked his inability to understand Chinese. Promised to move the next day. Sooooo it looks like we got "touted" once more. In fact, the first evening we walked in the area of our hotel and found two very nice and small places for around 100 yuan. No big deal but one does have to be careful of touts everywhere in China.

After settling in, we walked to the main road and hailed us a taxi. This guy wanted 30 yuan to take us to the nearest rock carvings at Beishan. I had done my research and knew that the place could be reached for 2 yuan by bus or 5 yuan by taxi. Seems we looked like a couple of "chump" tourists to that taxi driver.

We got a taxi and, sure enough, the fare was 5 yuan. A nice guy, he explained how to get transportation back to our hotel from the rock carvings as well as how to get to the bigger rock carvings at Baodingshan. A nice guy, but not surprising as most Chinese are very friendly and helpful.

As is now our custom, Sunee negotiated the price of entrance. We got in at half price because of our age and also due to us being teachers at Southwest Jiaotong University. She showed them my Expert Certificate and passports to prove our age. Good for both sites and two days. There is some benefits to being old in China!

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Negotiating our tickets. No consistency across China. Sometimes it works

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Here is the ticket pricing to enter the Dazu Rock Carvings sites

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Easy and casual walk to the carvings

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A beautiful Chinese entrance to the site

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Panorama view of the first groupings of carvings

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This guard was at the first set of carvings and was extremely helpful

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The carvings were supposed to have been done done between the 9th and 13th Centuries AD

A study in Buddha heads:

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Enough of these Buddha heads. I took hundreds of pictures of these carvings. Way too many to try to put in this blog.

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Nice little pagoda between the first and second areas of carvings

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A panorama of the second area of carvings

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This guy was a lot taller than the rest of the carvings. More than life-size

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A couple of walls of carvings with dozens of carvings inside a cave area

A few of the dozens of carvings I took during our visit:
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Panorama of the third area of carvings

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This was in the third area I think. Very intricate carvings

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This guy and bird were inside a cave area with three full walls of carvings

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Again, very intricate carvings of everything surrounding the Buddha

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Lots of arms on this Buddha

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More arms can be seen on this one as well

We finished our visit at around 1700 and got a taxi back to our hotel. It had been a hot day but the carvings were as fantastic as we had expected.

After relaxing a bit, we decided to walk to the city square to find out what the local seniors were up to. In our experience, the local seniors always come out at dusk to the city square to do all kinds of neat things. To our surprise, we had another adventure. Check out our Dazu City Evening Adventure next.

Posted by inchinahil 23:48 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Night Lights: A Yangstze River Cruise

We take a cruise on the river to see Chongqing at night

Lillian said she could not come with us this evening because she had prior commitments. However, Grace Sprite (see our Guiyang Adventures) and her German boyfriend had recently arrived and we would be joining them on the cruise.

Got a call from Grace and we met at the Victory Monument at around 1730 and then walked about a block to get a taxi to the Chaotianmen Docks. On the way, we got "touted" by a tiny little Chinese kid wanting to sell us a flower or two. She ended up being helpful by showing us where to catch a taxi.

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A little tout who told us where we could catch a taxi

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Here is our River Cruise ship waiting for us

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Portrait of two Chinese ladies waiting for a cruise

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Boarding our River Cruise ship

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When does this thing get underway?

The following are some night scenes from the hour and a half cruise:

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Hong Ya Dong is beautiful at night

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Hong Ya Dong not far from Jie Fang Bei Plaza

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A beautiful view of Red Rock Village (Hong Ya Dong)

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The cable car across the Yangstze. We never got to take it

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Grace's Little Honey from Germany. The name "Little Honey" is an inside joke

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Just being Grace Sprite

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Another cruise ship with a boat load of passengers

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Ask Grace if she had a good time

This river cruise is one of those "must do" events while in Chongqing. I think it cost around 50 yuan a piece without dinner. It is around 90 yuan with dinner thrown in. Our experience has always told us to not do the dinner as it is usually mediocre at best but usually extremely bad. The dinner is where the money is.

We were a bit disappointed as the trip, we thought, was supposed to be two hours. It clocked in at less than an hour and a half. Oh well, once you've made a pass back and forth there is no more to see.

My camera, a Canon A640, is not supposed to do well at night shots and I am a bit disappointed at its lack of ability to do good night work. My backup camera (one I bought new a long time ago) is a Canon G2 and Sunee was using it. Unfortunately she is not used to taking night shots so hers did not come out very good.

Did we have a good time on the river? Hey, the complaint about the cruise was just providing information for those of you who get to take it. I would not take it again but would advise others to do it one time so they can check that "must do" box.

We, early on, decided not to take the cruise down the Yangstze River to Yichang as most people come to Chongqing to do. It was just too hot to be on a boat that long. Also we were not sure of the accomadation and we certainly were not going to pay big bucks to go first class with working AC guaranteed. We travel lie our fellow Chinese travel, cheap and fun.

Overall this river cruise was fun and especially with my student Grace making us all laugh. We did have a great time and look forward to more Chongqing over the next few days.

Posted by inchinahil 19:33 Archived in China Tagged boating Comments (0)

Foreign Street: World's Largest Bathroom

We visit a theme park called Foreign Street which has a huge bathroom with over 1000 toilets

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In my research on Chongqing, I had read about this place called "Foreign Street" and its largest bathroom in the world. Not much else was written about it with most of the entries by Westerners saying they had not visited it but heard about it. That is why we decided we wanted to go check it out.

With Lillian and us in tow, we took a bus to the entrance and then a van on into the theme park. Let me emphasize the "theme park" concept because that is exactly what this place is. It is like the Disney Epcot Center except it is for Chinese to get the feel of being in Europe. I did not get the feeling of very much American with the exception of some South American influences.

Ok, Ok. We went to Foreign Street and were immediately confronted by a huge Egyption looking Sphinx.

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Looks Egyptian to me

Nice picture and you get the feeling of a Disneyland, make-believe world right. But check out the panorama of this toilet.

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Panorama of the largest bathroom in the world

According to the information in the rest area inside, this was actually a Xia Dynasty toilet area. This must have given the guy who built it his idea.

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An ancient toilet site and now a modern one

Inside this huge toilet, the Chinese have a lot of fun. The following are just a few pictures I took from inside the men's side. Pretty hilarious I thought.

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I had seen this concept on the internet about six months ago. Hahahaha

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And if you are lost

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Urinals are dangerous in this toilet

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Buildings here are not subdued at all. Check out the bright yellow of this Spanish-style building

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This is the first building one sees upon arrival. It sells refreshments

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Foreign Street on a hot day

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Another view of Foreign Street

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Obviously for kids to look at and play in. Still weird

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This head was in the middle of the South American section. Well done replica

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A couple of English majors from a local university

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See! Once again, even Chongqing ladies get hot in Chongqing

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A Chinese boat that was just one of a few Chinese props found in Foreign Street

We had a good time visiting this strange, Disney-like place. Unfortunately it was hot. VERY HOT and we were glad to return to the comfort of our hotel. Foreign Street would be a neat place to take your kid if you are Chinese. Lillian said she had been there several times and on the weekends it is fairly crowed with kids doing the rides that are scattered among the streets. It is, however, a good hour and a half away from the center of Chongqing.

Instead of taking a bus back to Chongqing, we took a taxi. We were just too hot to sit in a bus. The taxi cost of around 25 yuan and for us it was worth it.

Our next adventure: a Yangtze River cruise at night to take pictures of the lights of Chongqing

Posted by inchinahil 15:03 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Chongqing People's Hall and Square

After our Ancient Street Adventure, Lillian takes us to see the Chongqing People's Hall and attached People's Square in the afternoon

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Panoramic view of the Chongqing Great Hall of the People

The Ancient Street Adventure was fun. We arrived back at our hotel and deposited our stuff, got a quick lunch and then took a taxi to the People's Hall.The construction of it began on June 1951 and it was finished in April 1954. The building consists of three parts: the great hall, the North Wing and the South Wing on each side of the hall and the Pailou Archway by the street. It has an area of 25,000 sq.m. The highest point is 65 meters and the hall is 55 meters high. Now if this sounds boring, that is because it is. On the outside the building looks like the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. On the inside, well, it is nothing but an auditorium. Big disappointment but then Tom told me to expect disappointment for the inside.

Views of the Great Hall and People's Square

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Before we actually got to the front of the People's Hall, we found a place called the Curio Shops. Sunee immediately wanted to go check out the paintings. As luck would have it, this was the kind of place Sunee had been hoping for with lots of painting supplies and a good chance of finding a Chinese art teacher.

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Looks like there might be some art going on here

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A place of art. How exciting!

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Looking for art supplies and hopefully a teacher

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Of course, Sunee found a place to shop

Oh, yes! I almost forgot. We found Sunee a teacher.

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Sunee's art teacher

Posted by inchinahil 17:49 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

A Trip To Ancient Street (Ci Qi Kou)

Lillian takes us to the famous Ancient Street to show us what old Chongqing was like and to shop

Lillian came by the hotel at around 0900 to take us on our Ancient Street Adventure. I had read that this was an authentic part of old Chongqing and was pretty well all that is left to show what Chongqing used to look like. It was not close so we had to take a bus and then a taxi. We left at around 0920 and arrived to the area an hour later.

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We left Jie Fang Bei at around 0920 via this bus about a block from our hotel

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It was a long trip and it was early in the morning so . . . . .

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The Entrance to Ci Qi Kou or Ancient Street

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More street scenes

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Activity on ancient street

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The entrance to the local Buddhist temple

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Where do these stairs lead?

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Everyone's favorite past time in Chongqing is eating

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Shopping for all kinds of things

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An old man on the street

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Very inexpensive these masks are

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A view of ancient China

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Even local girls get hot in Chongqing

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This represents a local legend Lillian told me about. Forgot it!

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Representative of Chongqing. The leaves are from the Chongqing official tree

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Another street scene

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Sunee is always on the lookout for Feng Sui related items for our home in Thailand

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The end of the street at the Yangtze River

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Remember the cotton candy we used to get as kids, welcome to China

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A very colorful shop that caught my eye and my camera's focus

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Ahhh, the traditional Chinese candy man. Spin to determine what animal you get

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More street scenes

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Nice way to spend a morning but it is time to return to our hotel

We are scheduled to go to the Great Hall of the People in the afternoon so we had to get back to the hotel to relax before our next site. A great time but it was indeed hot - furnace hot!

Posted by inchinahil 05:50 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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