14 December 2011

Nihao! - Part Six

Part five can be found here. Yesterday we had our first relaxing day since arrival with a tour of Chongqing. Today we continue our sight seeing at some amazing local markets.

Day six: After a great nights rest at Ava's house (it was nice to be out of a hotel for a change) it was time to explore the sights. You've probably noticed a dramatic drop in the tempo of our trip... it was a welcomed relief. The group today was taking us to a very traditional Chinese market which I regrettably forget the name of. This place looked and felt fantastic, it was bustling with people and had really cool small stores with heaps of gift ideas, which was perfect because I had yet to buy presents for family and friends back home. With us for the day was Ava, Bette and Mary.

I don't have many pictures of this place I have just realized which is a shame because it really was such a cool place, I guess I must of been to preoccupied with chatting to the group and shopping.

How cool!
I played this! Much to the delight of the shop keeper and passes by.
Stopped for some delicious lunch.

A local.
We had already spent hours at this place, I went into every store both to buy gifts for people and just to have a look around. This kind of China is what I prefer by far, with the small local shops, traditional gifts and food and little foreign influence, not the department store lined streets catered for tourists like Shanghai. If I wanted that I could of just stayed home.

Isaac knew I was eager to learn a traditional Chinese game called mahjong so after lunch we went to a tea house where the tables are specifically set up for it. It was ridiculously confusing at first but I think I finally got the hang of it towards the end, great fun!

View from the second story of the tea house. A very cool place I thought.
Bette about to start the game.
Ava and my mahjong team mate Mary.
Isaac thinking carefully before his next move.
Mary and Bette were the coolest. They were at the dinner the previous night but I didn't get a chance to talk to them much so I was very glad I could today. Mary was heaps of help when it came to buying gifts and we chatted for hours, and Bette is moving to America for study next year so there was talk of maybe even meeting up some time when I go to New York City.

Reluctantly it was getting late so we had to rap up our mahjong session and head into town in time for another dinner with a few others friends I had yet to meet and even an appearance by Isaac's parents.

Chongqing busy as always.
An accidental rather 'artistic' looking photo of Ava.
Ava, Penny, Isaac and Mary. Great people.
Dinner was much like the night before but much more fancy, and gratefully I got to meet another of Isaac's friend who turned out awesome, Penny. Today was to be our last day here with Isaac and I having a train scheduled the next morning to take us to our next destination, so as soon as dinner finished I enthusiastically suggested that we make the most of our remaining time and hang out some more. A quick brainstorming session later and they had decided to take us to the habour, which reminded me very much of Sydney Harbour (Australia).

Some random building taken on the drive to the harbour.

A very awesome view.
It was such a good time, the place looked amazing. The whole length of the river was lit up with buildings and cruise boats, there was music playing in the background, the night was pleasantly warm and there was plenty of people about to give it a nice bustling feel. We chatted and laughed and strolled and gazed, all the while telling stories of our own lives and taking many pictures. Then out of no where a very memorable moment happened, and I don't think it was just me whom it impacted upon.

I was on my own leaning against the rail, just looking out over the river, completely lost to the world in thoughts, enjoying the peaceful night. Suddenly a voice appears next to me, ripping me out of my ravine and back into reality.

"Thinking about home?" It was Mary. A welcome surprise.

"A little. I am having so much fun here that sometimes I forget about home to be honest." It was true. Then I asked "Have you ever been to Australia? You definitely should."

"No, I haven't done any traveling." She said in a lower tone "I am too busy with work now. Maybe in a few years time I guess."

"A few years time? No way, you need to do things now! Work can wait, trust me."

She laughed, gave an unconvincing nod of agreement, and went silent. Suddenly inspiration struck for I remembered that I just happened to have a photograph in my backpack that I just knew I needed her to have at that very moment. A quick rummage through my bag and I had found it:

Penny, Issac and Mary holding the photo. It says "Quit your job. Buy a ticket. Get a tan. Fall in love. Never return."
And on the back in pen I wrote:
"To Mary, never wait for life to pass you. 
Live big, 
love deeply. 
I expect to see you in Australia soon, Aaron"

Everyone thought it was amazing, and I was pleased with myself that I rolled with it so well when inspiration struck, not a care in the world, just letting the motions take me. Mary loved it and I could tell she would keep and remember it for quite some time. I definitely need to live like that more often I think.

The night was late and it was time to leave. I said my last goodbyes, although I never know what to say at the time, and Isaac, Ava and I headed home, my time in Chongqing coming to an end. It had been such an amazing time here, although of course it was definitely the people I met that made it so. They will be surely missed.

Part seven can be found here. Tomorrow's plans? A train ride in the morning to a smaller city called Chengdu.


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