Two Weeks in China travel blog

Our first early morning, gloomy day view of Chongqing

An unprepossessing docking place

'VIP's await their paid-for "Express Check-out" - after the other passengers disembark,...

A man can lives in hopes - fishing beside the cruise ship...

It was raining quite heavily as we disembarked.

Luckily we didn't have to carry our own luggage up these steep...

And MORE steps as we disembark! The lady with the striped top...

Huge loads these guys can carry - and that's up and down...

Some things are still done the old-fashioned way in China.

Looking back over the cruise ship dock towards Chongqin

Construction, construction, construction - this country is moving VERY quickly!

We should have thought of this before! Give Bruce the flag to...

Beautiful topiary at the Chongqin Zoo

This is Liang Liang who had a zoo 'career' in Malaysia before...

I didn't even KNOW there are brown pandas!

OK - I know I didn't need so many panda pics but...

Well, but who doesn't like pandas?

Panda pic 4

Panda pic 5

Panda pic 6

Panda pic 7

Panda pic 8

Mr Cool - relaxing while he chows down.

Walking through the Chongqin Zoo

Chongqin Zoo

This is how our time at the Zoo was mostly spent!

Even Bruce resorted to using a brolly

Then it was on to the interesting Old Town of Ciqikou. Sadly,...

Our meeting place was to be in this upstairs coffee shop.

This temple is tucked right into the heart of the Old Town

If nothing else, the rain kept the crowds away and it was...

Didn't take Lee long to repair to the upstairs balcony of the...

This man was pounding a glutinous looking warm dough with his huge...

The dough was taken away periodically by a nearby shop employee......

...... and formed into cakes that were cooked on a hot griddle....

This is the back view of the coffee shop where we all...


We disembarked the President No. 7 on a very gloomy, wet morning - our worst day of weather so far but we have had some spectacular days up until now.

The disembarkation was not so much difficult for some of us but, well, DIFFICULT! We trekked over irregular metal decks with sabotages placed strategically en route, then up some very steep, wet concrete steps - only to find even steeper steps higher up but at least they were under cover. The local people know this is difficult terrain for tourists who have been accustomed to a certain level of ease and there are men on hand who, for a fee, will assist you up the steps with one on each side basically giving you an arm-lift. A couple of our people chose to avail themselves of this service.

From the dock a bus picked us up to take those of us who had paid for the side-trip to "The Panda House". Now, for some reason, I had thought this was going to be some sort of panda conservation-type of site - NOT A COMMON ZOO! But that's exactly what it was and I HATE ZOOS! It was still pouring when we were ejected from the nice, cosy bus at the entrance which is where I read on a board outside that this was a zoo with hundreds of different species. Hmph! We plodded through the sheets of rain and, luckily, the first compounds were the pandas, where we did get to see something I've never seen before (or knew existed) - brown pandas. We squelched along for a short while after seeing the pandas but the next displays we came to were of two very much stir-crazy big cats - a white tiger and a regular tiger. Both were obsessively pacing the fence line and this is exactly what I can't stand about zoos so I chose to do an about-face and return to the entrance. Unfortunately, the bus wasn't coming back for a while having taken the remaining passengers to a mall (where there were coffee shops!), so our group huddled under whatever shelters we could find trying to keep dry, awaiting our release. (I know now something of how the poor tigers must have felt!)

The bus then took us to Ciqikou Old Town, which would have been a wonderful place to browse and explore were it not absolutely pouring. Hundreds of tiny little shops in old buildings on narrow alleyways. As it was Bruce took one look at the idea of shopping and hot-footed it into the coffee shop we had been told to meet up at in an hour. I did go the length of one main street and back, but I was getting absolutely soaked and the coffee shop beckoned to me, too. Luckily it had an outside balcony under cover from the rain, so I sat there to watch and photograph all the action on the street. It seemed like there were a lot of people (all under gaily-colored umbrellas) but the coffee shop person said there were "not many" people out today because of the weather.

After everyone was rounded up we headed back to our bus and were taken directly to Chongking Airport for our flight to Beijing. It didn't leave until just after 9pm and we didn't arrive at Beijing until just after midnight. It's been a l-o-o-o-n-g day.

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