Chongqing and Surrounding Areas - Pandas/Stone Carvings/Farms

I never imagined it would take me this long to record our trip to China and Bali! We've been home eight months and I still haven't finished!!

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.)

Many people here gather in public places, such as the zoo, to practice Tai Chi each morning. It was fascinating to watch them. (These are two of the groups we saw in different parts of the zoo.)

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. . .
When one emperor came to power (during the last century), the monks here covered all of these works with earth so they wouldn't be destroyed (because of their religious nature). It was many years before they could safely be uncovered again for public view.

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.

 The farm
 The kitchen
The kitchen was separate from the house and I wasn't sure if it was shared by more than one tenant or not. It was hard to tell. A few animals were kept in the back, behind the houses.
These photos were all taken of them in their main living area. Even with these meager circumstances, though, they each had a tv and a computer in a side room.
(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.

Then, we were off to the airport for our flight to Beijing, our last stop in China. It looks like we won't get to our hotel in Bejing until about 1 a.m.