Chongqing is one of the five national central cities of China; a massive city with a population of over 30 million right next to Sichuan. Before we left to Chengdu, my friends and I decided that we would go to Chongqing after a friend was scheduled to leave Chengdu two days ahead of everyone else. The four of us would head to Chongqing for two days and after, myself and another friend would head to Harbin together. Of course, it wouldn’t be an exciting trip if everything went as planned, right?
While we were booking our tickets, my ticket on the same plane with my friend to Harbin was taken and the price shot up a ridiculous amount for that same flight. So, I wound up having to go on a different flight than my friend. I was fine with that, since we were still going to the airport together and our flights left at the same time. But of course, he just so happened to lose his passport an hour before we were supposed to head to Chengdu together, so he didn’t even make it on the trip!
Then, when we arrived in Chengdu, the friend who was supposed to leave two days early instead booked his flight to leave from Chengdu a day later. That was fine since the rest of us could still go to Chongqing for day, but the day before we planned to leave my friend realized he didn’t want to spend money to go to Chongqing and back for just one day so he opted out. Now it was just me and my friend May who planned to go to Chongqing. To top it all off, right before we were to leave to Chongqing, she had a reaction to the seafood from the night before and had to go to the hospital!
So I’m the last person left and I was terrified. I hate traveling alone, and the idea of traveling alone in a foreign country with a language I can barely speak had my anxiety skyrocketing to new levels. Luckily, May had an older sister in Chongqing who said she would show me around.
I took the slow train to Chongqing for about 4 hours and met May’s sister at the train station. She couldn’t speak any English, which worked in my advantage as my survival Chinese kicked in and we were able to communicate some. If we couldn’t, we used a translation app to talk to each other.
We headed over to Yuzhong district which reminds me of Manhattan. It’s super busy, everyone is rich or trying to look like it, and there’s monuments like the Chongqing Liberation Monument that you have to check out!
We stopped for some street food and looked around a mall for few hours before heading to an all you can eat seafood restaurant. Even though it was technically a buffet, it was super fancy and we ate our weight in seafood by the end of it.
We soon rushed over and made it on the last tour boat on the Yangtze river. I was able to see a good part of the city that I wouldn’t have been able to see in such a short period of time. May’s sister was really lovely and she showed me a great time!
Around midnight, she dropped me off at the airport so I could catch my early flight to Harbin the next morning. Even though we couldn’t talk much I was kind of sad to leave her but she left me with a bag of Chongqing peppers that I’ll probably use for hotpot. My stomach will probably disagree, but I can’t wait to try them!