Hello! This week was a tad bit on the miserable side for Kevin and I. Our time in China has been so hot and cold– we’re either so happy and excited to be here or we’re totally dragging. It might just be that the lows feel lower without our support system. We do well at helping each other out when we’re actually together, but the opposite work schedules are killer. This week we both were really sick. I swear I’ve never been sick this often in my life.
I judged a 9 hour English competition on Saturday. It was definitely an experience, and good money, but I think I will kill myself if I ever have to hear the 3 Little Pigs again. Kevin was busy all week trying to get everything in order to get his new visa. Not all weeks can be winners! So, instead of dwelling, I’m going to talk about 2 weeks ago when we took our trip to Chongqing. I’ll try to get up a couple of posts about Chongqing this week so that next week I can get back to writing about the present. I expect by then our spirits will be back up!
So, I wrote about the Dazu rock carvings, which was our first stop in Chongqing. It was pretty magnificent, however we didn’t get back to the city until around 7pm and we were tired, wet from the rain, and dirty. We needed to first book it to the hostel, get cleaned up and situated, and then continue with the evening. It took us a bit of time to find our hostel because the hilly nature of the city and all the small back streets made the map confusing for us. But by around 8 we were checked in and settled. I will write about the hostel next time; I think it was one of our favorite hostels so far! Very inexpensive and very cozy.
We decided that night to look for 2 things: hotpot and nightlife. The nightlife part was kind of a bust (I think you have to get to know a city a little bit before you find places where you’d actually want to hang out), but the hot pot was on point.
Anyone who knows anything about Chengdu and/or Chongqing knows that they both love their hotpot, which is a spicy oil where you can cook practically anything. Meats, veggies, tofu, eggs, and pretty much every animal organ you can think of. Since Chongqing broke away from Sichuan province in the 90′s there has been competition between the two cities about who has the prettier women and the tastier/spicier hotpot. There’s also some confusion, it seems, about where exactly the hotpot originated. I think it was really Chongqing, but because they’re so close and were originally the same province, much of their food (specifically the heavy use of the Sichuan pepper) is pretty similar. It’s hard to say.
Kevin and I don’t usually dig hotpot nearly as much as the locals. It’s okay, but we don’t eat it every day. For one, it can be REALLY spicy, sometimes to the point where my mouth is on fire well before my stomach is full. It also really tests your chopstick skills. I dump a lot of food in, but what I can actually locate in the pot and then get to my mouth is a whole different story. But, since we were in Chongqing, we decided we wanted to give it a try.
It wasn’t difficult at all to locate a place. Ordering, however, presented a bit of a challenge and included a lot of pointing at things other people had until they asked us if we’d like an English menu. Uhh.. yes. We would. When we got the English menu we got excited and way over ordered. We should have known it was bad when the server actually told us to stop ordering food, but after a long, rainy day we were feeling really enthused about hotpot.
The hotpot was really tasty. Better than in Chengdu? Who knows, it varies place to place. Does this make me a traitor?
After a filling meal we wandered around a bit to see what we could find to get into for the evening. We stumbled upon HongYaDong, a touristy mall type thing built up the side of the mountain and dropping down to the river. It has lots of restaurants, bars and shops. Despite the “Old Chongqing” look, we found it to be pretty touristy and expensive and moved on.
We wandered around the area for an hour or so stumbling across many outdoor food stalls and mom and pop restaurants where locals were eating and drinking late into the night. Being stuffed, though, we decided to head back to the hostel and get a good night sleep. We wanted to make the most of our other full day in Chongqing.
I will write about our final day in Chongqing and more of our impressions of the city soon! Love to you all.