i spent the whole day in chongqing with the IT guy as my guide. took over 1500 photos but still in the process of sorting them out. we went to 3 different grand squares, a place with an old set of stairs, an old part of chongqing, and various other random sights. unfortunately now is my bedtime and i think i might've caught a cold, so i'm going to go to sleep early and work on the blog tomorrow.
i woke up at 7:00 to meet huey at our usual bus stop at 8:15. i got up with a cough which made me wonder if i caught a cold. i left the apartment early to see if i could find a convenience store that sold cough drops. i ended up going to a small smoke & liquor store, the lady storekeeper very happy to help me find some throat lozenge. i got another box of "run hou tang" which is like chinese ricola, a mixture of natural herbal ingredients, and tastes like grass jelly. i also bought a bottle of water. i was worried huey would arrive late but he arrived right on time, wearing shorts. i noticed he wasn't carrying anything and i asked him where was his pentax dSLR. he said it was too heavy to carry around, which told me everything i needed to know about his level of dedication to the craft. "besides, you have your camera," he added.
we flagged down a taxi, huey instructing the driver, "bus station, xi an." the bus station is easy enough to get to, a straight shot down the main dragfrom the new city to the old city. it's close enough that it's actually possible to walk there (no more than 2 miles), but only on a day that isn't hot. there are however plenty of freelance motorcycle taxis willing to take you back and forth for the same price as a taxi (RMB$5.90) with less safety. it was overcast this morning, with a mild temperature, but when i checked the weather forecast yesterday, it said today would be hot, like 95 degrees hot.
arriving at our destination, we crossed the street to get to the bus station, huey taking the opportunity to smoke a cigarette before we went inside. i noticed an animal had been run over on the road, couldn't tell from the remains what creature it is, hopefully it wasn't a stray dog or a cat. also a loud procession of old ladies wearing matching band uniforms paraded down the street banging drums and cymbals. i'd seen them before in the new city, figured they were for hire for special events, turns out they were just marching down the sidewalk with some paid advertisement.
inside the station i asked to pay for all our transportation expenses, but huey wouldn't hear of it, said he'd pay for our ticket now, and i could pay for the ride back to changshou. i stood back while he waited in line to purchase our tickets. we caught the first bus to chongqing, 8:30, and got there early enough that there were still plenty of empty seats available.
during the one hour ride to chongqing, we chatted mostly about work. not sure if huey is a reliable source of information or not, but he told me the main consideration for many of the people working in the office is whether or not they can understand english. pretty much if your english is good, you're hired. but having listened to the english of some of the workers here, the bar isn't set very high. as for the other aspects of the job, they can all be taught. things like document control, quality assurance, procurement - they can all be learned on the job. heck, my department, change & claim, i knew nothing about it 2 weeks ago, and now i'm like a 20-30% expert!
in chongqing we arrived at the bus station next to the hongquhegou subway station. it was only 9:30 and huey asked if i was hungry. we ended up going to his mother's noodle shop on honghuang road, which is actually fairly close to the bus station but we ended up taking a taxi.
i met huey's mother, who's only in her mid-40's. she owns the shop along with 2 other lady partners. i ordered a medium spicy wonton, which is one of their two specialties. the other speciality being spicy cold noodles. huey explained to me while he was preparing the noodles (apparently cold noodles is a self-service sort of food) that the way his mother makes it is different from how other shops make it because she blends the noodles with the sauce, instead of just dumping the sauce on top of the noodle. i didn't notice much difference, but i took his word for it.
(to be continued)