I could not see Chongqing for fog. As with many other cities in winter, gloomy Chongqing seemed unusally leisurely under the muted sunshine, which had not been seen for a long time.
The layout of Chongqing is unplanned and casual. It is like this because the topography of Chongqing limits a more orderly development. Chongqing is mountainous, so most of its construction has taken place on the flatlands and smooth riverbanks. Hence, the names of its city districts Shaping-ba, Caiyuanba, and Chenjia-ping, referring to their location along the rivers' margins. These districts are somewhat separate from each other and are connected by roads, bridge, tunnels and cableways.
Chongqing lies at the confluence of the Jialingjiang and Yangtze River. It is the biggest port along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, and it has, in recent years, been elevated to the status of the largest centrally administrated region in China. Chongqing was not overawed by this special favor. It was once the capital of "The State of Ba" and "the Daxia Kingdom" and also the second capital of the Kuomingtang government.
Being backed by its heavy industries Chongqing has an inner strength. The universities in Chongqing are famous for their science and engineering courses. Solkd, hard-working Chongqing produces straightforward and practical people.
Chongqing, the largest industry city in southwest China, has mechanical, chemical and metallurgical industries as its backbone. In the 1950s, the industrial system featuring heavy industry, made Chongqing one of the six major industrial bases in China. In the middle of the 1960s, Chongqing was listed as a ¡°sanxian city¡± (a remote region away from the coast) and at that time some plants were enlarged and others newly constructed. Its technical advancement greatly enhanced Chongqing's position ad the first mega-city to implement structural reform of the economy. Automobile manufacture has been part of a pattern of diversified production through foreign-funded up-to-date techniques from overseas, Jialing, Jianshe, Chang'an and Hongyan have become nationally famous brands.
Correspongding to its position as a city of heavy industry, the buildings in Chongqing are high and huge. Local citizens and overseas visitors roam through the spacious square at Jiefangbei shopping center, bustling but not crowded at all. Chongqing Peoples' hall is spectacular. Chaotianmen Square displays rare folk crafts. Bridges in Chongqing, spanning rivers or crossing tunnels, seem to dance in air.
Streets in Chongqing not only zigzag but also undulate. Following the wavy terrain, the buildings occasionally rise high or appear to fall below, giving the terrain a Y profile. Bicycles are seldom seen in Chongqing, for they simply are not convenient. You have to lift or push them more than you can ride.
It is a must to eat hot-pot in Chongqing. This is the home of hot-pot and hot-pot in other places is not authentic, say Chongqing natives, just a reproduction of the masters.
It is said that the origin of hot-pot is related to the fact that Chongqing surrounded by water. The Yangtze and Jialingjiang Rivers, like two dragons, energize Chongqing and dampen the air in the city. In order to save time, the porters working at the wharfs boiled various kinds of food in big pot and added some hot pepper and spices to ward off the cold. Slices of meat and vegetables were dropped into the pot, which was partitioned by thin iron sheets. The porters asked for some liquor, stripped off their clothes while eating (hot-pot is firey!) and eating was often accompanied by drinking games.
The culinary art is well developed in Chongqing. For example, there are so many ways to cook chicken alone: pepered chicken, spring water chicken, hotpot chicken and steamy pot chicken. These modes of cooking soon spread to and were taken up by people in Chengdu and Wuhan.
Chongqing natives are forthright and daring. In the streets, people walk quickly and speak loudly and fast. Many strangers to Chongqing may think that people are not talking but rather, quarrelling.
Chongqing, the State of Ba and Chengdu, the State of Shum were once brotherly cities. The Chengdu Plain is abundant in resources and people lead an easy life there. In water-and-mountain encircled Chongqing, people have to struggle to survive. Ba people, the ancestors of Chongqing people, inhabited rock caves and lived on hunting. So, Chongqing people's traits of bravery and skillfulness in warfare may probably result from this.
Chongqing is a migrant city. Long ago, people from Hube, Hunan and Guangdong provinces settled in Sichuan and cultivated its fertile fields, scattered among otherwise barren hillsides. During th eanti-Japanese War, batches of government officials, cultural celebrities and revolutionaries came to Chongqing. The martyrs of Geleshan deserve our continued respect. Among the millions of people who must migrate because of the Three Gorges Dam Project, those from the Chongqing area amount to 85 per cent of the total. Sixteen of the total 40 prefectures and counties are shouldering the resettlement of these migrants.
(Courtesy of "China Southwest Airlines Bimonthly")