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China Chongqing Ciqikou Chilli

27 April 2018

The mountain city

Beijing and Xian are planned cities, most Chinese cities are planned cities with 4 gates and at one stage a wall. Generally they place the cities on a nice flat bit of land, where a nice wide slow flowing part of a river runs through it. Chongqing is not like this at all.
Instead it is built where 2 huge rivers meet, and used to flood every week on Thursday killing millions of people. The three gorges dam fixed that and gave everyone free power forever, while drowning a few thousand naysayers, and slightly slowing the rotation of the earth!

Anyway, The location of Chongqing with its rivers, cliffs, ravines and mountains makes for a confusing mess of streets, alleyways, subways, steps, under and over passes, monorails, cable cars still used to get people to work every day, transport catapult, ferries that run through buildings on aqueducts, mag lev rickshaws etc.

So instead of checking out all the futuristic stuff, today I went to the old part of town, well the tourist friendly old part anyway, called CiQiKou. When I was last here in 2013, I also went to this street, and wandered down to the river, crossed some industrial waste and then watched people racing dune buggies in crushed asbestos. Unfortunately they have shut that activity down, so today I sampled some of the street snacks, flavoured by the hordes of weekday tourists brushing against them and sifting through them as they passed by.

China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - After eating crap from the train station yesterday and arriving into Chongqing too late to have a real dinner, I was very relieved to find out my room

After eating crap from the train station yesterday and arriving into Chongqing too late to have a real dinner, I was very relieved to find out my room rate includes the full buffet breakfast. Time to load up on vegetables to prevent scurvy for a few more days. I really did feel healthier after eating this.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Chongqing is all about contrasts. The subway goes most places, and often you have to ascend an alarming number of escalators and or stairs to reach th

Chongqing is all about contrasts. The subway goes most places, and often you have to ascend an alarming number of escalators and or stairs to reach the surface, then when you pop out at the entrance to the tourist shopping street, you are at a rubbish dump. You then walk roughly through the middle of this in the traffic with about 9 million other people to reach the spotless entrance to an ancient street filled with holographic representations of old things.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Well, actually before you get to the real part of Ciqikou you first go through this fake version of it, in case any tourists are tricked into thinking

Well, actually before you get to the real part of Ciqikou you first go through this fake version of it, in case any tourists are tricked into thinking this is all there is to see.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Due to the steep streets, steps, alleyways etc which I already discussed above, nearly everything in Chongqing is still delivered by people with a bam

Due to the steep streets, steps, alleyways etc which I already discussed above, nearly everything in Chongqing is still delivered by people with a bamboo pole over their shoulders. These guys are delivering cooking oil / gutter oil.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Woman posing with sign pointing to public toilet. I remember when I last came here I could not find a public toilet, now there are lots of new ones.

Woman posing with sign pointing to public toilet. I remember when I last came here I could not find a public toilet, now there are lots of new ones.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - And now we enter the start of the street, not too busy yet at this stage.

And now we enter the start of the street, not too busy yet at this stage.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - As I already said, Chongqing is all about the chili / chilli / chile. Seriously the internet debates how to spell this more than any other word. There

As I already said, Chongqing is all about the chili / chilli / chile. Seriously the internet debates how to spell this more than any other word. There is the one or two L's debate and then the i or the e debate, and even within the USA they argue about it, normally they settle on the one best way to spell things.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Getting busier now. My camera does a really good job at photos like this I think.

Getting busier now. My camera does a really good job at photos like this I think.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - I bought some of this delicious snack. They mix sesame seeds, oil and Sichuan peppercorns together, stuff them into chillis, slice them up and fry the

I bought some of this delicious snack. They mix sesame seeds, oil and Sichuan peppercorns together, stuff them into chillis, slice them up and fry them. It wasnt too spicy but the locals watching me buy some were laughing at me so I scoffed a handful and told them it was baby food, where is the man food? Laughter erupted!


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Lots of people for a working day! Lots more Chinese flags around these days.

Lots of people for a working day! Lots more Chinese flags around these days.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - This guy puts on a song and dance show as he beats the fresh liquid noodles through the molecular sieve.

This guy puts on a song and dance show as he beats the fresh liquid noodles through the molecular sieve.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - It is a very nice street, everyone thinks so.

It is a very nice street, everyone thinks so.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - As I mentioned above, you used to be able to keep going down to the water, you cannot anymore. I think part of the river was dammed up while a huge br

As I mentioned above, you used to be able to keep going down to the water, you cannot anymore. I think part of the river was dammed up while a huge bridge was being built when I was last here, uncovering an ancient culture, a million dead pigs (that actually happened in Chongqing, also the river turned bright red once and no one knows why) and a dune buggy track.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Here is the view across the river, so murky! Would you like to eat some of the fish those guys catch?

Here is the view across the river, so murky! Would you like to eat some of the fish those guys catch?


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - The street back to the station was also nice, tree lined. I was grateful for trees as its damn hot and I had not applied sunscreen.

The street back to the station was also nice, tree lined. I was grateful for trees as its damn hot and I had not applied sunscreen.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Time for my second snack, candied strawberries on a stick. The candying process ensure as much dust / dead insects / phlegm as possible gets glued to

Time for my second snack, candied strawberries on a stick. The candying process ensure as much dust / dead insects / phlegm as possible gets glued to the berries.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - On the way back from ancient street I got off the subway at one of Chongqings many city centres, this one is Shapingba, if memory serves its the least

On the way back from ancient street I got off the subway at one of Chongqings many city centres, this one is Shapingba, if memory serves its the least shiny of the 4 city centres. Last time I was here it was very dirty, now it is spotless.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Memorial to the man carrying the chillis who accidentally fell into a pot full of them and died from chilli overdose.

Memorial to the man carrying the chillis who accidentally fell into a pot full of them and died from chilli overdose.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Have a bit more Shapingba.

Have a bit more Shapingba.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - It hasnt all be made nice just yet, we now descend into the underground.

It hasnt all be made nice just yet, we now descend into the underground.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - Which was suitably grungy. Grimey? I hate both those words. It was a world of nail boutiques, beauty spas, clothing shops, and women asleep sitting on

Which was suitably grungy. Grimey? I hate both those words. It was a world of nail boutiques, beauty spas, clothing shops, and women asleep sitting on up turned buckets who havent had a customer this century.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - The food court however had lots of really nice updated options, I skipped those and headed to the bing bar! Gimme a bing damnit.

The food court however had lots of really nice updated options, I skipped those and headed to the bing bar! Gimme a bing damnit.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - I opted for vegetarian, ordering in Chinese, and it was delicious. Different to bing boy in Australia, they fold it into a square and chop it in half,

I opted for vegetarian, ordering in Chinese, and it was delicious. Different to bing boy in Australia, they fold it into a square and chop it in half, makes it much easier to eat. Best $1.50 I ever spent.


China-Chongqing-Ciqikou-Chilli - And then while buying water from the enormous Carrefour supermarket next to my hotel, I spotted a chilli snickers. How can I not try that? Snickers is

And then while buying water from the enormous Carrefour supermarket next to my hotel, I spotted a chilli snickers. How can I not try that? Snickers is by far the main chocolate variety in China, as it has been since I first came here. The chilli version seems to be a local variation for Chongqing. It needed a lot more chilli.


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