Jiefangbei shopping area at night, Chongqing
First, a little background information about Chongqing: Chongqing 重庆 is a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities in China. Administratively, it is one of the PRC’s four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and the only such municipality in inland China. From 1937 to 1945, during the second Sino-Japanese War, it was General Chiang Kai-shek’s provisional capital. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chongqing Chongqing sits at the confluence of the Jialing and Changjiang (Yangtze) Rivers, and is extremely hilly. Because its streets and narrow alleys twist and turn up and down hills, there are virtually no bicycles here. It can be a confusing city to navigate, and even its taxi drivers often get lost. Chongqing municipality has a population of 32.8 million, making it one of the largest urban areas on the planet. An article in The Guardian gives an interesting perspective on the city: Chongqing is the fastest-growing urban centre on the planet. Its population is already bigger than that of Peru or Iraq, with half a million more arriving every year in search of a better life. And yet so frequently is this story repeated in China, that outside the country its name barely registers. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/mar/15/china.china Upon arriving in Chongqing, I took the subway to the central city, where I had reserved a room at the Sunrise Mingqing Hostel. Located down a few flights of stone stairs, and hidden around several turns in a narrow lane, the hostel was an oasis
I spent a long weekend in Chongqing, working as an IELTS examiner. I left on Friday evening, taking the express train, so that I could arrive early and not have to go directly from the train station to the testing center on Saturday.