University Singers, China 2016 - Days 4 & 5 (May 22-23, 2016)
This is going to be a double update for the past two days (Sunday and Monday) because I haven’t had a chance to write yet. Sunday was our first full day in Chongqing. Gary took us to the home of American WWII general Joseph W. Stilwell which has since been turned into a museum. Stilwell lived in Chongqing and served as a senior officer in China during the war and worked closely with Chinese general Chiang Kai-shek. After the Stilwell museum, we drove further up the hill to the former residence of Chiang Kai-shek. It is now a beautiful park with walking trails and unbelievable bird’s eye views of the entire city. Next, we were taken to a local farmer’s market closer to downtown. It was full of fresh vegetables and spices, as well as every kind of raw meat you can imagine. For lunch we ate at a local restaurant that served Hot Pots. A big pot of water, herbs, and spices is brought to your table and placed on an open fire in the center. When it begins to boil, you dip raw meats and vegetables into the pot until they are cooked. It is similar to fondue and was definitely and true test of our chopstick skills! Chongqing is famous for its spicy Hot Pots. One of Gary’s friends, Lucy, helped us on our tour of the city and after lunch she brought us to her own coffee shop and gave us all a discount on coffee. We ended the day by spending time at a local shopping center bartering for souvenirs.
Monday was a long day. We drove about an hour and half outside of Chonqing to the ancient city of Anju on the Fu River. The city has been there for nearly 1500 years and is now a beautiful area full of shops and local restaurants. We spent about 4 to 5 hours wandering the city. We congregated in a local square and passed out candy to some of the Chinese children. According to Gary, some of these people have never seen foreigners in their life, so we attracted a good amount of attention. A crowd started to gather around us, taking pictures and talking to us, so we decided to sing Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower), a very famous Chinese folk song arranged by our own Hans Heruth. They absolutely loved it! We at at a local restaurant and then explored the riverside. We even took a complimentary short boat ride across the river and back. After leaving the town we saw and met a farmer tending to his rice paddies. Then we visited a stunning field of flowers kept by some of the locals. We drove back to Chongqing and went to Liberation Square in the heart of downtown. It was extremely similar to Times Square in New York with all of its lighted buildings and shops. We braved the public transportation and took a monorail back to our hotel. After freshening up, some students went to get foot massages at a place recommended by Gary. It was a full, but rewarding day for sure!