Wednesday 30 Aug
Dried fish and pesky water features in the Furnace of Fire
The highlight of the flight to Chongqing was that the only 2 juices being served were carrot and orange. Carrot is my favourite and orange is Andrews. What are the chances? However, when the air hostess brought out dried fish as the inflight snack we had to politely decline The lowlight was that Andrew forgot that the Swiss Army knife he left in his hand luggage (that I bought him 9 years ago in Nepal - no sentimental value at all ) counted as a knife and had to be chucked in the bin at security! A good excuse for Hong Kong shopping if there ever was one, hey girls?
Chongqing is one of the 3 furnaces of China. I don't think I quite appreciated just what this meant until I stayed there. Think 43 degrees during the day, 35 at night and 90% humidity. Actually just stick your head in your oven next time you heat up that lasagna and you'll be right with me. It was also here that we met the rudest receptionist alive. However, instead of contacting the Guiness Book of World Records I am going to tell the Mgr all about Miss Receptionist 002. We had made a booking for a dorm and when she had finished ignoring us and waving us away dismissively and saying 'no dorms' and 'no english' every time we said 'reservation' she finally tired of us and the army of helpers who had gathered around us and acquisced, realising that these 2 scruffy people were not going to go away and especially were not interested in going back into the furnace carrying 30 kg on their backs! Rude receptionist 0, scruffy backpackers 1.
Chongqing also had some madly lovely people like the book shop assistant who left work on what turned into I think a personal quest for him to locate us an internet cafe. After 1 hour of searching he eventually realised there just weren't any and took us back to the book store and set us up on a display computer in the middle of this massive, busy section where I politely sent one email (Sas that was the one to you!) with about 5 other staff members and several curious members of the public gathered around me trying to work out what was going on! Bless he did try but it wasn't quite the leisurely browse I had pictured.
We also visited this beautiful old tea house (think House of the Flying Daggers) where I drank gorgeous tea with dainty snacks and Andrew had a beer (men!). To much amusement I managed quite unceremoniously to fall into their stream water feature that was built into the floor whilst trying to get my head into the air conditioning unit.
Actually the main reason we were there in the first place was to book a boat down the Yangtze so I better get on with that before Andrew tells me I am rambling again...