1. Especially outside the immediate center of town, it feels as if something wacky is always happening. Someone is screaming, backslapping, bumping fists, or screaming while backslapping and bumping fists. Interactions appear to be random, highly intense, and short in duration. The following interaction is more intense yet. It reminds me of that old Humphrey Bogart movie “Beat the Devil.”
2. Every cabbie seems to know a random person standing on a street corner, who somehow mysteriously signals to that cab to be picked up, even if said cab already is delivering a Western passenger to some other location. Shouting ensues, the random person is moved along in the cab only a short distance, always along the Westerner’s route, and then the person is let off again. With a shout. Rinse and repeat.
3. It is a better city for street food and stall food than is Chengdu. The tastes are stronger and spicier, though I believe the peaks of Chengdu are higher and more subtle.
4. Don’t just stick to “the peninsula,” also travel to the alternate sides of the city’s two rivers, the Jialing and the Yangtze.
5. Haagen-Dazs is much more popular in China than in the United States, at least at the retail level.
6. “Sun Zhengcai, the former Communist Party chief of the Chinese city of Chongqing, is under investigation by authorities, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing people it didn’t identify.” He had been considered a possible successor to Uncle Xi.
7. On my flight from Kunming to Chongqing, I witnessed my first “facial surveillance” arrest. Just as they were about to let us off the plane, two policemen appeared at the entrance, with a copy of a facial surveillance photograph. (Before you board any plane in China, they photograph your face plenty, and match it to various databases.) They walked down the aisle, turning left and right, looking for the passenger who matched the photo. They found him and escorted him off the plane, with the crowd watching nervously. He showed neither surprise nor did he protest his innocence.
8. An excellent room in a five-star luxury Chongqing hotel, with view and upgrade to a larger suite, costs $70 a night.
9. Nearby is “the world’s longest cantilevered glass skywalk.”
The city’s “mind-blowing overpass has five layers, 20 ramps and eight directions,” good photos at that link.
Here is Wikipedia on Chongqing, by one measure it is China’s most populous metropolitan area. “Its population is already bigger than that of Peru or Iraq, with half a million more arriving every year in search of a better life,” and that was written eleven years ago.