Leaving Chongqing, we caught one of those old, slow trains that have been kept in service in the more rural areas, where the biggest cargo riding the tracks is more likely to be coal than people. Away in our little drab passenger car we went, following the north bank of the much-smaller Yangtze out of Chongqing. After a few stops, we got off at one of the more interesting train stations we’ve been to yet.
Tag Archives: Chongqing 渝
It’s been a restful couple of days here in Chonqing. Being on a steep hillside, we’ve enjoyed leisurely strolls up and down thousands of stairs. And it’s been great to escape the humid summer heat for a short while. Eating the sweat-gland-stimulating peppery food really cools you off. And since the local Party Secretary’s wife didn’t have us murdered, we’ll be moving on to our next destination with only the fondest of memories. See you later, Chongqing!
Last night, not fifteen minutes after embarkation, I met our neighbors across the hall. (This is easy to do in China, where people routinely leave their doors wide open in hotels and trains and anywhere else where they are separate by walls: something about wanting to chat, or not miss a moment, I suppose.) “Hey,” the man called cheerfully from his bed, where he was chewing sunflower seeds and spitting shells on the floor. “Does your bathroom stink or not stink?!”
Imagine: The “Yangtze Sightseeing No. 3 Ferry,” your mode of transportation/home for the next 1.5 days, arrives at the pier a full hour later than its 9:30PM scheduled departure. Baby is exhausted, wife is annoyed. Upon embarking, it becomes clear that the sights on this so-called sightseeing boat will actually be the drunks, tramps, and old workers calling out from the steerage section that you are a spy. Glancing toward your second-class (of three) berthing section, you see shafts of bright incandescent light piercing through thick clouds of cigarette smoke. Then, as you complete yet another registration form that lets China keep track of you, the frumpy clerk says, “Hey, Old Foreigner, move up to first class for $50USD. You’ll have your own room…” three 100RMB bills are out on the counter before she can even finish“…and a private toilet.”