Chongqing, The First Stop
We were not aware that Chongqing was one of the most populated cities in China. Only upon arrival, we realised how huge the 8 million population city really was. There were countless skyscrapers on the way from the airport to downtown and so many more to come. Also, the traffic was surprisingly smooth compared to other Southeastern countries e.g. Vietnam.
As we had very few conversations with local people considering our poor Chinese skills, almost everyone we met was smiley and helpful. On one occasion where we felt helpless was taking a taxi back from downtown to hotel. The driver was asking for the hotel address „again" and we thought he wanted to negotiate the fare. So the conversation went one-sided with some evil staring and angry monologues until I showed him every possible item that he might need. In the end, he just wanted the hotel map and got us to our hotel safely.
When speaking about food, the one thing I loved most was spicy food and when they were lack of flavour, adding some chilli sauce would do the job too. Maybe it was an Asian thing or maybe not.
The spicy food in Chengdu was so much different than anything I tried before. There were dishes e.g. meats or noodles swimming in a gigantic bowl of fragrant red-hot oil. At first, for me, it resembled a punishment for bad people but when I put the first string of noodle in my mouth, the flavour was so familiar but also complex. It consisted of a hug of warmness, a familiar addicted touch of sweetness from MSG and the spicy blast from dried chillis together with chewy noodles or tender slices of beef. After the first bite, my tongue went numb. This odd feeling of satisfying mingled with the fear of what would happen to me the next day (I was allergic to chillis). At the end of the day, it was really yummy.