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Newer Page 611 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
China Chongqing Chengdu Bullet Train

2 April 2013

Contrasts

Today I made the journey from Chongqing, back to Chengdu, where I have another week of updating this website twice a day with nonsense.
The journey was largely uneventful, it was a bit rainy as I was leaving and again as I arrived in Chengdu, but nothing to stop me from doing anything. The pollution today could however be mist.
This obscured much of the view for the 2 hour train ride.
The only eventful things that occured, similar to a previous journey when I boarded someone had stolen my seat (they sell standing tickets) and since the woman knew she had stolen my seat she pretended to be asleep.
She even peered at me out of 1 half open eye in an almost comical manner before ignoring the polite tap on the shoulder I gave her.
This train had only started its journey from this station, so its not like she had been in the seat and asleep for hours.
Much like my previous experience with this scenario, the best thing to do is to take any baggage they have, which was under the ladies legs, and walk off with it. This gets their attention, and it gets me my seat. It also is highly amusing to the other passengers.

The woman who boarded next to me had her baby in a strap on wicker basket thing. Of course the baby preferred to not be in the basket, but thats no problem. The mother proceeded to wedge all her other belongings in the basket with the baby to trap him in there. He became just a head peering up, but seemed happy enough.

Now for my hotel room in Chengdu. I have booked a properly Chinese hotel room, it only has 2 English reviews on tripadvisor and those are from a couple of years ago.
It is very interesting, the room is full of so much crap theres nowhere to put my own things. The fridge doesnt actually operate as a fridge. Theres mini bar stuff everywhere that is useless to all, and strangely none of it is alcohol (not that that bothers me). Theres a full stationery kit, a full sewing kit, a postcard rack, a formal tea making set, a smoking kit with pipe and tobacco, shoe shining kit with display stand for your shoes, a huge range of condoms, apothecary products, grooming kits and various lotions made from lamb foetuses.
And lots more!
I also have a massive bathroom, with a spa bath, separate shower with room for 4 people, giant walk in wardrobe and marble entrance area.
The bed seems bigger than what would normally be classed a king size too.
TV has no English channels except CCTV news, an almost impossible to use menu to try and trick you into buying pay per view, and this one is new to me, the remote is sealed in a plastic bag.
Internet however, super fast and of course (like the entire world except Australia), free. Wired and wireless.
All this for $60 a night, breakfast included.

And now to type some crap about the wanky term used for todays text, contrasts.
I read before coming here about the differences between Chongqing and Chengdu, by westerners who had lived or worked or visited both.
According to them, Chongqing is a hole. Chengdu is the place to be. I have now been to both.
Whilst I can see what they are getting at, I will put it more eloquently.
Chengdu is a much more modern, cultured city, despite the lack of population, megamalls and modern infrastructure. The people in Chengdu seem more for want of a better term, civilized. And I know that sounds really racist but I dont know how else to put it.
The way people act is very different, theres less spitting, people dont push past you, theres a lot less people crouching around with baskets of junk no one wants etc. There is even a definite difference in the way people dress, Chengdu dress is much brighter, and modern, girls wear makeup, men are more likely to wear jeans and a t-shirt than grey pants and a polo shirt.
Now these are generalisations, and you can find squalor and luxury in both cities, but to these eyes, the difference is very apparent.

I will add, that if you wanted an otherwordly experience, Chongqing wins hands down. The geography, skyscrapers, massive infrastructure all make for a setting that seems more like being on another planet than any other place I have been, just not sure I would want to live there.

China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - The Chongqing high speed rail terminal is antiquated, and surely due to be replaced. You first line up outside, then x-ray, then frisked, then passpor

The Chongqing high speed rail terminal is antiquated, and surely due to be replaced. You first line up outside, then x-ray, then frisked, then passport or ID check, then ticket check, then you wait in a shed. This is the shed.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Some 40 minutes before your train, you get loudspeakered into the next waiting area, after a subsequent passport and ticket check. About 15 minutes be

Some 40 minutes before your train, you get loudspeakered into the next waiting area, after a subsequent passport and ticket check.
About 15 minutes before your train departs, you get loudspeakered (by that I mean men in red hats charge around yelling at you with a loudspeaker), into a carefully organised line.
Once the door opens, the line immediately ceases to exist, and theres a mad crush to get through the door. The loudspeaker guys go into overdrive and smack a couple of troublemakers with their loudspeakers.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - My hotel room, the bed and work area with some of the crap they have littered about the place in view.

My hotel room, the bed and work area with some of the crap they have littered about the place in view.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Looking back into the bathroom from the strange sunroom area. It would make more sense if you could enjoy the view from the bath, but you cant, theres

Looking back into the bathroom from the strange sunroom area. It would make more sense if you could enjoy the view from the bath, but you cant, theres no chair or anything in the sun room, just enough space to have a small party.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Above mentioned sunroom. I guess you could set up a telescope and look across at people in other buildings.

Above mentioned sunroom. I guess you could set up a telescope and look across at people in other buildings.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Huge shower with enough water pressure to remove chrome from metal plated objects.

Huge shower with enough water pressure to remove chrome from metal plated objects.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Huge walk in wardrobe.

Huge walk in wardrobe.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Better shot of work area, if you think you can put all that stuff in drawers, think again, they are full of stationery and shoe shine stuff.

Better shot of work area, if you think you can put all that stuff in drawers, think again, they are full of stationery and shoe shine stuff.


China-Chongqing-Chengdu-Bullet Train - Alcohol free mini bar.

Alcohol free mini bar.


NewerPage 611 of 968OlderFull Trip Report