As kids we have read or heard that China is the most populous country with their demographic only constituting of old people. We have read about their communist form of government and how they are progressing towards a better economy. What anyone has never told us is how the air over there always has a tinge of pepper or how the weather keeps on fluctuating on a day to day basis or the fact that they practice 'Atithi devo bhava' more earnestly which makes us look like hypocrites.This summer I visited 4 cities in China which was a blend of history ,finance and modernity.
The first city I happened to visit was Chongqing ,which is a city that has grown on a mountainous region where google earth stops working because of the level drops that take place at difference of a few meters. In Chongqing I stayed in the Sichuan University campus where we were doing a 10 day long project studying the dying trade route of the city and how would we revive that region.The city has progressed tremendously on such a mountainous geography and serves as the economic centre of the upstream Yangtze basin.The area we were studying was the Huangiueya avenue which was an ancient trail for trade which in today's time is used for hiking.This trail thrived in the earlier times and brought an economic growth to the city but today the growth of the city is very much independent of the trail so our attempts to revive it would not have had a great impact on the city.What the city gave me was not really great architecture because it had lit buildings all over the place which did not stand true to it's history or context.It works as an economic centre so it is full of high rise buildings to accommodate the population it's inviting to the city to develop it economically but what it ends up producing is buildings with exaggerated scale that are made out of glass.It's not architecture but it's the people I met that made that city a beautiful one to live in.Those people without knowing English tried their best to help us out in a land where only Mandarin is spoken.China should come with a disclaimer that if you do not eat non vegetarian food please reconsider your travel!A traveler's tip :If you are a vegetarian the phrase:'Méiyǒu dàn' will be very helpful.One of the fondest memories I will have of the place is the night where me and a few of my friends helped a Chinese man to publicly propose to his girlfriend for marriage ,an act which would have alerted the anti romeo squads in India!If you ever happen to be in Chongqing do not forget to try hotpot,it's a delight for the non vegetarians and the vegetarians as well.