i went to chongqing today to try and take a photo of the yangtze river confluence near chaotianmen but on the other side of the river. the trick was no subway lines go there, so i had to walk most of it, which gave me an opportunity to explore that region of the city. i knew it was going to be hot but i wasn't expecting it to be hazy as well, which meant even if i went to where i wanted to go, i wouldn't be able to see very much. last sunday's weather - despite the wetness - was much better for phototaking. i did discover the bank across from chaotianmen is a great place to see the chongqing skyline at night.
i think the cream filling in those sponge cakes i ate this morning must've gone bad because in the middle of the afternoon i suddenly felt the urge to use the bathroom. this is one of a traveler's worst nightmare, to be beset with digestive issues while outside. there was a large furniture department store nearby and i decided to go there, figuring they'd have bathrooms. i bought a packet of tissue beforehand. their bathroom was surprising clean and with enough privacy in the stall to go about my business. i'd never used a squat toilet out in public before, this was my first time. i ended up stripping off my lower half because i couldn't quite figure out the logistics. i felt a lot better afterwards.
my metro pass died this afternoon while i was trying to take the subway back to where i came from. the RFID antenna must be totally fried because it wouldn't even read in the scanner. the clerks there said they could take care of it for me, but i have to return to that same exact metro station. i hesitated, but in the end decided that was fine, it'd just cost me an additional RMB$2 to come and retrieve it.
the second part of my chongqing trip was to buy a jacket. hard to imagine needing one on such a hot day like today, but there's been a few mornings when it felt brisk and i have zero cold weather clothes. from my last visit i knew there existed an H&M store. from their website it looked like they sold hoodies. there are at least 2 H&M in chongqing: one near jiefangbei, one near guanyinqiao. i went to the one in quanyinqiao, first chatting with a young man trying to sell me on an english language course ("i could probably teach it," i told him, a little conceited), before finally finding the H&M. the place was packed, but upstairs - the men's department - it was a lot less crazy. most of the guys there were shopping with their girlfriends, i did see one or two moms. i was unusual in that i was shopping by myself. i found the hoodie i wanted, at the price i saw online (RMB$179, around US$30). they came in all different colors, i picked an XS deep purple that could also pass as blue, very similar to the one i have back at home.
fengya called me while i was in chongqing, said tonight's home-cooked dinner at yangyi's place would be postponed until next weekend because he had some unexpected friends arriving in town. she told me we would still have dinner, but just out in a restaurant. i walked from guanyinqiao to the intercity bus stop, it wasn't too far. i got back to changshou around 6pm. after a quick shower, i called fengya. we had dinner at a restaurant beneath her apartment that specializes in clear broth. we also ordered rabbit because she heard i like rabbits. she treated. afterwards we took a walk to digest our dinner. i was pretty paranoid about safety, because we walked through some pretty dark and secluded spots, a perfect place to get murdered or worse. people tell me otherwise, but i don't for a second believe china is really that safe. but so far, either i've been very lucky, or genuinely you can walk around by yourself at night and not have to worry about getting robbed/raped/murdered/kidnapped.
i'll be tired monday morning, that's when i'll be tired. i've got to many things to do on sunday - my one day off - to even think about resting. it's going to be a slow week anyway, with everyone leaving for the 3-day mid-autumn holiday starting on thursday.
instead of waking up at 6:30 like on the weekdays, on sunday i get to sleep a little later. i woke up at 7:30 instead. i have never in my life woken up so consistently early. i don't even know how to sleep late anymore. my internal clock has been reset that i automatically wake up around 6:00 now. i do however still know how to stay up late. that's my default. but i'm a little more responsible nowadays and i try to go to bed early.
i was planning on leaving early to catch the first 8:30 bus leaving changshou for chongqing. but these buses run so frequently (like every 10 minutes), there's no big rush. so i took it easy, left around 9:00. i made sure i didn't take the scenic route 106 bus but instead caught the 105. i can't even remember how many times i've visited chongqing. this is my 4th visit maybe? i'm discovering the city in tiny portions, whatever i can fit into a single sunday visit before i have to return to changshou.
a mother with a young toddler sat next to me. this was probably the worst case scenario and i thought about switching seats but the bus was already pretty full. she asked me to watch her child while she went outside to get something. i held him in the seat with one hand, to prevent him from toppling to the floor. he was a bit fussy, but settled down once the mother began nursing. it was kind of awkward, as i adverted my eyes and gazed outside the window to give them some privacy. once he finished eating, he started kicking, his shoes in my direction. he calmed down when he played with the reflective strips i have on my bag. later he had to go to the bathroom. instead of diapers, he wore the traditional chinese crotchless baby pants. his mother cradled him while he did his business into a bag. i was mortified. if i could, i'd claw my way out of my seat, the situation was so surreal. he tried crying a few times but his mother managed to calm him down. she finally switched seats though because i had the curtains open to my window and she didn't like the sun. i was staring so intently out the window, she didn't dare ask me to draw the curtains. after she moved, i managed to sleep for the remaining 30 minutes of the trip.