Dec 2, 2012

Chongqing: Day and Night

And up and down

Chongqing city center
Baskets, in a museum
Above: We saw this stick-and-basket display in the museum in Chengdu’s River Viewing Pavilion Park, but as you can see … right: The bang bang man is still very much alive in modern day.
Baskets, getting some present-day use

Central Chongqing has a similar set-up to Luzhou, with a peninsula tapering west to east between the Yangtze and Jialing rivers. Our hostel was towards the tip, and pretty much right on top of all the river-import/export activity.

Chongqing is one of China’s steepest cities. Like, think San Francisco ups and downs. And, thanks to the rivers, it’s also one of China’s busiest commercial ports. These two facts combined to create the bang bang men. “Bang bang” is the Chinese word for stick — which refers to the thick bamboo poles these supremely muscular guys sling over their shoulders to carry goods up the hills from the piers to wherever it needs to go. It is impressive to see them in action. It also makes me thankful that Luzhou’s peaks are somewhat less treacherous.

A ten minute cab ride west of all that industry, you find all the restaurant-shopping-tourism action. The downtown area retains that up-and-down steepness, but it’s still far more walkable than that of other Chinese cities we’ve visited. Our visit was short, but we managed a lot of wandering — from the requisite big-city-Carrefour-stop to historical sites to delicious nibbles. More on that to come …