Days ago, when we received our travel itinerary we were disappointed that the CCAI representative that would be with us all week in Chongqing would not be Marie, the same guide we had 5 years ago. We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted at the CQ airport by her! Though she would not be our rep this week, she welcomed us with hugs and rode the bus with us over to the hotel. I was very sad to see her go. She took such good care of us the last time!
Our guide for the week, Eva, took us on a tour around the hotel area. This is the most populated city in all of China... home to over 30 million people, so the crowded streets make NYC seem small. A couple of times we had to remind Eva to slow down because some of the families traveling with us have kids with them and had trouble keeping up. We went all through the downtown square, where she pointed out McDonald's, KFC, and even Starbucks! She said that Chongqing is growing so fast that they have to create a new city map every 3 months. I know that Starbucks was NOT there 5 years ago... this I would have known! We walked through an underground mall, which was a nice reprieve from the heat. The gocery market was similar to the one we visited before in CQ - lots of interesting sights and smells. The local "massage center" was pointed out, which I DO plan on taking advantage of this time! And there is a community pool in this underground mall, which we do NOT plan on swimming in! Easy access up to the hotel will make this mall a very convenient amenity for us this week! But don't count on us buying any of the chicken feet, rabbits, or pig snout that we saw in the market!