ANDDDD we reach Chongqing! It’s a city that we all had never heard of before, a city that we were all waiting to visit, and a city that we had been researching on for the past seven weeks! Did you know? – Chongqing is the fastest growing city in the world (and yes we could see that in the crazy development and infrastructure and tons of construction sites in the city)! Its GDP grew by a whopping 12.3% in the first half of 2013, more than the national average. This is primarily due to the government’s efforts in encouraging manufacturers to build facilities and take advantage of the cheaper production costs in the inner areas compared to the coastal areas such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Beijing.
We took a cab from the airport to our hotel, and during the cab ride, we experienced the thrill of what they call – organized chaos! I felt like I went back to India, and my fellow American friend felt that he had the best 20 mins of his life. After checking in at the hotel and some much needed break, we headed out for some dinner at a local restaurant to get some HOTPOT! Read on to find out more about hotpot and our local food experiences.
There is only one word that comes to my mind when I think of the food here in Chongqing – SPICY!!! And be warned – this is the type of spicy food that can make your voice go weak, your face go red, your eyes water, and your stomach burn. On our first day, we ordered a hotpot, which is basically a. We are so lucky to have teammates who know basic Mandarin and so could communicate to the waiters and place the food order. Almost 5-6 waiters gathered around our table trying to help out ‘us confused foreigners’.
The spicy street food experience in Chongqing.
Communicating! (for those who do NOT know Mandarin)
The rule is simple: If you do not know Mandarin…..well, LEARN MANDARIN! (at least basic). Else get ready to mime your way to communicate your thoughts. The entire broken communication process that I had to go through just to explain the word ‘make-up remover’ while eventually successfully buying one was a memorable experience for me. Similarly, I noticed that every time I asked (through gestures) the attendants at the malls to explain the various discounts and schemes, they would either signal some numbers or even better, pick up a calculator, do some math and give me the final amount.