I arrived in Chongqing in the late afternoon of May 12th, without knowing about the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan, which is about 200 miles northwest of Chongqing. The taxi driver told me that even people in Beijing and Shanghai felt the quake. I knew the situation was pretty severe.
There were many aftershocks. To be cautious, I changed my hotel room from 22nd floor to the 10th floor. In the middle of the night, I felt my bed was shaking and people in the hallway were yelling and running. I guess I must have been too tired, I thought I was dreaming and fell back to sleep.
Things started getting back to normal in a couple of days. Chongqing is a city that grows on me. When I first arrived, I thought Chongqing was too crowded, with ugly buildings densely standing next to one another. But after a few days, I started to like it.
Chongqing is also known as a “foggy city.” Although there is no blue sky, the air was not full of smog like other cities in China. All the taxis and buses were fueled by natural gas. Chongqing is China’s largest production base of natural gas, which can supply Chongqing alone for about 300 years.
Chongqing is also one of the fastest growing cities in China. In a single day new construction can add approximately 137,000 square meters of usable floor space to satisfy demands for residential and commercial space. Everywhere I went, I saw high-rises that go on and on and on…. yet there are more buildings under construction.
Geographically, Chongqing is like Manhattan – a peninsula embraced by two rivers. The night before I left Chongqing, I went to Chao Tian Men, where the Yangtze river is joined by the Jialing river. The lights on both sides of the banks were shining spectacularly. People were dancing in the parks and squares. Women were beautiful, wearing Calvin Klein, Max Mara and other name brands.
Pretty soon, Chongqing will be another Shanghai!