Just arrived with Lisa in Chengdu and am amazed that we found a hotel for 270 RMB a night with flat-panel TV, bathrobes, Internet and everything else. 278 kuai! And the prostitute offering “massagey” courteously called my room at 9pm, unlike the one in Chongqing last night who called at midnight, ruining my sleep. (I hung up on the caller last night; tonight I simply said I didn’t understand Chinese and politely wished the silky-voiced lady goodnight.) The train from Chongqing was 100 RMB; I think the total trip will cost about $800 including transportation, hotels and meals. There is still someplace on the planet where you can travel dirt-cheap and have an amazing time.
We met some great people in Chongqing (more on that and other trip details in a later post), and got to see the city that most resembles the world Ridley Scott created for Bladerunner. A bit frightening, the sheer size and impersonal feel of the city, but it’s also teeming with life and optimism, even now. I’m afraid they are in for some very rude shocks soon (construction is everything in Chongqing) but I also think they’ll see it through, after a whole lot of agony.
Spent much of yesterday writing an emergency speech for a client. This is really what I’d like to do the rest of my life – do freelance work and explore the world.
Details about the trip to follow. Please note, comments are still being screened, so if your insights don’t appear right away, be patient.
Last observation: I miss Yunnan. I love every city we got to, but Yunnan is the place that most captured my heart (again). I can live and work in Kunming forever. I’m in love.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.