July 07, 2010

The Largest City in the World

Chongqing was the provisional capital of China during the years of the Sino-Japanese war. Since then it has evolved into the nation's most prosperous inland city, famed both for its hot pot and its hot women. The central government carved the city out from the province of Sichuan, putting it in the same heady company as the other three directly controlled municipalities of Beijng, Tianjin, and Shanghai. The largest city on Earth based on the surface area it covers, Chongqing is spread around the confluence of the Yangzi and Jialing Rivers. The city state is the size of Austria and boasts 32 million inhabitants.

I flew from Beijing to Chongqing on October 1st, shortly after the the skies were reopened to commercial traffic following the 60th Anniversary Parade of the People's Republic. I visited the lavish Three Gorges Museum, the intriguing Planning Exhibition Gallery depicting the grand plans for Chongqing's future, and the Arhat Temple. Its rolling hills were a welcome change to the flat terrain of most Chinese cities, but the level of pollution was on par with the coastal megapolises. The sky and the river were similar shades of brown, and I spent only a few days there before heading of to the wilderness in Yunnan.


"The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark." ~ Barbara Hall