Chongqing - A city of 13 million that most people have never heard of


We spent only about 10 hours in Chongqing, our departing site to begin our Yangtze River boat cruise. While spending only a short time here, I liked what I saw. We were told that Chongqing is similar to San Francisco as it is also built on many hills. Chongqing is one of China’s targeted development cities, so it is huge, modern, and bustling.

Chongqing is one of the cities that stand to benefit most from the construction of the Three Gorges Dam development downstream. The dam will open up the Yangtze River up to Chongqing for movement of cargo and provide needed electricity.

We did notice a Wal*Mart in this city and wondered, "How inexpensive it must be!" considering there would be no transportation costs from China? However, I have since learned that in China, Wal*Mart is known as an upscale store selling "American- quality" products. While they may still be made in China, the products are made to a higher quality standard.

Our first stop in Chongqing was to see the panda bear exhibit at their lovely city zoo. Perhaps we saw about six different panda, including a recently born panda. They were all cute, and I better understood that yes, they grown to become large bears.

Next stop was to visit a garden park at the top of one of the city’s hills. This is a great spot to see the surrounding city, but as in most places, the smog prohibited viewing to any distance. We did enjoy a private tea ceremony and instructions about teas and the proper ways of serving and drinking tea. My favorite was ginseng tea--very refreshing.

After tea, it was time for lunch. We had the option of various types of restaurants including a hot pot restaurant. This being Robert’s favorite type of eating while in China, we chose this one and it was great. Read more about this experience in the eating section of this travel log.

Our next stop was at a convenience store to stock up on items for the 3-day boat cruise-necessary items like chocolates, rum, and colas. These were available on the boat but at higher prices.

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