Thursday, June 18, 2009
China Diary -- Part 18 Chongqing
Our next stop was in Chongqing [Chunking] the manufacturing center of west China. It is huge! Its incorporated area includes, at last count, approximately 34 million people. That's more than the population of Canada. We took a rapid city tour during which I was unable to get very good photos. In part that was because we were in a moving vehicle but mostly because the air was incredibly hazy. To some extent that was due to mist rising from the Yangtze, but there was also this.
Whatever its effects on the health of the local population the omnipresent haze gave the city, especially its waterfront, an interesting and somewhat mysterious aspect.
And at night the place is gorgeous.
Our tour ended at the city zoo for a panda shoot.
These are the rare "Red Pandas", cousins to the familiar black and white ones. There is an ongoing debate among biologists as to whether pandas are more closely related to raccoons or to bears. Genetic analysis shows that the red pandas, shown here, are more closely related to raccoons and you can see it in their features, while the giant panda, shown below, are obviously more closely related to bears.
After the zoo came another shopping opportunity, at a nearby art institute. While others perused the pictures on display I wandered around taking photos. Here's a touching pic of a father taking his infant son for a walk in the park. Something seems to be missing, though. Actually, I was told that this was quite common in China. Diapers are expensive and children are allowed to simply squat and relieve themselves whenever the need arises.