Friday, July 22, 2011

Chongqing (7/22/2011)

Friday, July 22, 2011
Took a taxi to the new Chengdu East Railway Station. Brynne's Blue M&M is getting dirty feet:
Boarded a fast train to Chongqing, which took two hours. The plane would have taken one hour, plus all the getting to the airport early and getting to and from the airport.
We were met in Chongqing by Peter, our China Highlights transfer guide. He rattled off lots of info about the city, including the fact that you won't see bicycles. "Pedaling uphill will tire you to death, and speeding downhill will scare you to death."
Acknowledging that we had plenty of time before we had to board the Three Gorges Cruise, he offered other activites. We allowed him to take us to the old part of the city. Had a view across the Changjiang/Yangtze River at the twin gold spires of the new Sheraton Hotel:
The hotel is due to open on September 1, 2011.
Old town:
Peter first took us to a youth hostel in order to show us the typical courtyard style home:
The entrance is adorned with the red lanterns of hospitality:
A small courtyard marked the entry, with more red lanterns:
There is also an image of a pig, to show the family had money.
Fish are kept in the water to show the water is not bitter:
The inner courtyard had two levels, and a cockatiel in the cage:
A table and stool of wood:
Courtyard kitty:
We then went to Huguang Huiguan/Assembly Hall, the guild for the immigrant population of the city.
It was established in 1759, after the emperor commanded that people from the Hu and Guan areas of China relocate to Chongqing to make up for a decreased population.
First the Yuwang Si/Temple:
Prayer or wish ribbons adorn a crape myrtle tree:
Inside is the deitized Yuwang, to whom the people prayed for good harvests.
Prayer or wish boards:
This hall was the theater for the lower-ranking people:
The buildings were ornamented with images and carvings that symbolize good fortune with money or wealth. Including the chaining the youngest of nine sons of the dragon:
Named Pixiu - keeping him reined in keeps the money in the house.
Another son of the dragon is Chiwen, and he is part fish. He protects against fires and also means good fortune:
Other symbols of wealth: birds sitting on a branch and Chinese coins (circle with square hole):
Reception Hall:
The height of the threshold denotes the rank of the owner:
It also keeps out evil spirits, who don't have knees.
Containers of water also symbolize lots of money, and can be used to put out fires.
A typical scene in the mountainous city of Chongqing:
Portrayal of how the guild helped the people, by providing rice:
A successful taker of the Imperial Examination thanks his benefactor:
Teahouse implements:
Teahouses were once only for men:
And there is that long-spouted teapot!
Another theater, for the VIPs:
Additional symbols of wealth include the "yellow peaches" on the roof:
And the ability to break up porcelain to use as decoration:
And, of course, there is Pixiu:
The men could sit in front of the stage, but the women had to hide behind curtains:
Lattice window:
Chinese coin floor tile/drain cover:
Prayer or wish ribbons in a pomegranate tree:
Peter then offered to take us to a "hot pot" restaurant:
This hot pot had the choice of spicy and non-spicy.
Plenty of things to cook:
Plus more veggies.
Peter escorted us all the way to the Three Gorges Cruise boat, sitting at Chaotianmen Dock.
We had to take a cable car down to the dock:
For $100, we upgraded our cabin to a deluxe two decks up with a balcony and upgraded a shared room to a single with a balcony. Woohoo, if you are ever going to upgrade, do it on a cheap Chinese cruise!
The Deluxe Veranda Cabin:
The Single Veranda Cabin:
Each room received a fruit basket...
Important sign on the sun deck:
The lights of Chongqing:
The Grand Theater becomes a giant crystal at night:
A passing ship:
Leaving Chaotianmen at the point of Chongqing:
Overnight aboard the MS Yangtze Paradise/President No. 6.

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