April 20 Chongqing

Docked at Chongqing, the largest city in the world, 33 million. We left the Yangtze cruise boat walking up many steep gangplanks to the docks. The “stick men” carried the luggage, sometimes eight or ten suitcases. They struggled down the distance under the weight of watermelons, cases of soda, vegetables, all the goods for the next round of tourists. Then, dressed in an open cotton shirt, cotton jackets, pants tied with a cord, sandals flapping dangerously, the stick men staggered back up under the weight of all those extra suitcases tourists bring.

One tourist on our tour, a bald giant of a man weighing over 400 pounds, dressed in mammoth shorts and boat-like white sneakers had to be half dragged, half carried, his meaty arms draped over two wiry stick men while two more pushed at his back as if they were moving an ancient car that couldn’t start up the many gangplanks to the top where the giant had to rest, panting. The stick men grabbed new loads and scurried down toward the waiting cruise ships.

Chongqing looks modern, with cranes building new high rises on what were islands in the harbor. The steep road into the city from the port became a web of more steep city streets, precluding the use of the ubiquitous bicycles we had seen in Beijing. Surprisingly, as in all the cities we saw, there was lots of green space.

Walked into the city center to the old city hall. In a park below people playing board games, doing their exercises. Visited open market housed in a multi-storied building. Tables of twenty kinds of mushrooms, meat hanging from hooks, chickens, live frogs in sacks and huge vegetables everywhere. Daikon radishes as big as baseball bats. 

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