29 May 2014
Chongqing is the largest city in China. I think our guide, Ellie, said there are 30 million people here. She also said that if you drive across the city from east to west, it will take you six hours.
We left the riverfront and rode to the zoo, arriving just as it opened for the day. Although, like most of our days in China, it was cloudy and overcast, the rain had stopped, so we enjoyed seeing the Pandas on display. (We were told that since the Pandas are not always "out" on display, the tour company we were with crossed some palms with extra cash so they would offer the pandas a morning snack - otherwise, we wouldn't have gotten to see them.)
The zoo entrance is grand and has beautiful carvings, etc
We saw 5 different pandas (but these pics all seem to be of the same one.)
After leaving the zoo, we drove a couple of hours outside Chongqing to a World Heritage site called Dazu (which means big feet.) It is home to many oversized stone carvings — carved into the mountainside. The carvings are about 800 years old and depict Buddhist teachings. There was LOTS of walking at this site.
Part of the walk toward the formal entrance to the carvings site.
Approaching the formal entrance.
Standing inside the formal pagoda entrance.
The public restroom at this site was one of the most beautiful we've seen.
But, there were still no western-style toilets.
A view of part of the walk from the entrance to the rock carvings. . . Did I mention there was LOTS of walking at this site??
Some of the stone carvings. . .
After we left Dazu, we stopped not far away and visited a farm. These typical Chinese farms looked more like large family gardens to us. The people live in very simple circumstances and I wondered at them being willing to have their privacy invaded by groups of people on tour buses. I wondered if they were compensated at all.
This farm was a series a connected small houses with farmland around them.
(Note the satellite dish)
And then, there were the beautiful children!
There are mountains all around Chongqing and Dazu but, with the overcast weather, we didn't get great views.
We rode the two hours back to Chonqing and had dinner at a nice restaurant there. After this many days of Chinese food, though - we look forward to the time when we can eat a meal that isn't Chinese.