Saturday, 16 August 2014

Concrete Chongqing

The escalator to infinity
What an ugly concrete we emerged into when we exited the hotel the next morning! Arriving past midnight we hadn’t seen the overwhelming number of high-rise buildings and the infinity of concrete that we were now surrounded by. This was what we had expected Hong Kong to be like, and whereas Hong Kong had pleasantly surprised us with its cleanliness and greenery, Chongqing seemed to have neither.

We had decided to only spend one night at our current hotel as it we’d found a cheaper place available for our 2nd night. It was a short walk to Motel 168 where we had to wait a little while for our room to be ready, but once we checked in we were again surprised that the cheaper hotel had bigger rooms and was much nicer. By the time we’d moved hotels and managed to check in it was already 1pm and again we’d missed breaky so we grabbed some dim sims to eat en route to the monorail. They were really tasty, but we were so hungry almost anything would have tasted good!

Our huge red bean dessert!
The train station was only one stop away on the monorail and when we exited we had to pay extra to ‘catch’ the escalator down the steep mountain – granted it was the longest escalator ride we’d ever been on and could almost be classed as a ride. The station turned out to be one of the ugliest we’d seen. Dirty high rises surrounded it, motorways crossed over in front, huge concrete bridges on the sides, pollution and 35°C heat all combined to give a terrible impression. We tried to buy the train tickets we needed but they wouldn’t sell them to us without our passports which we’d neglected to bring, thinking a photocopy would be enough, so we were unsuccessful in our mission so we perked up our mood with an ice cream to help combat the heat.

We tried to find the Old Town but after half an hour of walking in circles we realised that the Triposo map was completely wrong and we were in fact nowhere near it. Surrounded by various unsavoury sights and people, we decided to return to our hotel to pick up our passports and then went to the North Train Station instead to get our tickets. This time the pedestrian section of town was in walking distance and it was much nicer than where we’d previously been. We had a great dinner in one of the massive food courts in the main shopping centre followed by a massive red bean ice for dessert – delicious and just what we needed after a hot, frustrating day in this concrete jungle.

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