ciee - council on international educational exchange
CIEE - Study Abroad
Teach Abroad China Blog | Teach English in China | CIEE : TAUGHT

Teach in Blog

08/08/2014

雷雨 (Thunderstorm)

If I had one word to describe Chongqing's weather, it'd be HOT. If I had two words, the second would be thunderstorms. The only redeeming thing about the weather in this city is that it has great thunderstorms.

I'm from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and we definitely don't get storms like this. Last night, a huge storm rolled over the city and knocked out the power. People had trouble driving on the roads. The thunder rattled my windows. And the lightening lit up the entire sky every few seconds. It was incredible to sit on my bed and watch out the windows of my 28th floor apartment because I have a great view of the entire city. I managed to get a video of the storm. I apologise in advance for my excitement. I also got two videos from Alexis that I'll include too. Enjoy!

 

 

 

08/07/2014

洪崖洞 (Hongyadong)

One of the most beautiful places in Chongqing, in my opinion, is Hongyadong. It's a small area in Jiefangbei district full of shops, restaurants, and bars. By day, it's a beautiful little spot with old-style buildings that look like they belong on a postcard:

At night, though, Hongyadong lights up and it's absolutely incredible:

My favorite part of Hongyadong is the food. There are countless shops along the main street on the 4th level. You can buy grilled meats on sticks, bowls of spicy soup, milk tea, beef noodles, and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also some foreign restaurants such as Cactus, which serves delicious (although expensive) TexMex food. There are also a number of bars scattered throughout the village and it's a fun place to explore at night.

Look for a small imports shop in the back corner on the 5th floor behind the souvenir stalls. There are two wonderful ladies there who immediately sat me down for a cup of fresh tea when I wandered into their store. 

 

IMG_1942

It's also the first place where I found a Subway here in China. Let me tell you, sandwiches are definitely an American thing because this was the first place in all of China where I was able to buy a sandwich. Of course, like all foreign food, it was a little expensive, but it was definitely worth it.

Hongyadong is a great place to hang out day or night. During the day, there are plenty of tea shops and restaurants with wifi and outdoor seating. At night it's a bustling center for snacks and bars. It is definitely worth checking out here in Chongqing.

08/06/2014

火锅 (Hotpot)

This post is long overdue because one of the most iconic things here in Chongqing is its cuisine. Among its many local dishes, the one that most natives will say represents their city is Chongqing hotpot. 

The picture above gives a great idea of what most hotpot meals are like. In the center is the boiling pot of broth and spices that give hotpot it's unique flavor and name. Like most Chongqing food, hotpot is very spicy and the longer the pot boil, the spicier it gets. You can order it non-spicy, but where's the fun in that? The locals say that the spicy food helps them sweat in the summer heat and stay cool. I've even heard Chongqing people say that they must eat hot pot at least once a week in order to survive the summer.

When you order hotpot, you get a giant menu full of different vegetables and meats. When the food arrives, it's uncooked and separated onto different plates. You then choose whatever uncooked food you want, and you put it into the boiling broth to cook it. 

I've noticed that the locals always start by eating all the meat. They won't touch the vegetables until all the meat is done, even going so far as to bring the vegetables home, rather than waste space in their stomach. And the meat is not what you would expect in the United States. They do have strips of beef and slices of chicken and even hot dogs. But they also order duck intestines, cow stomach, chicken feet, coagulated blood, and a variety of other organs. If you keep an open mind and aren't too concerned with texture, I've found that the organs are actually my favorite part of hotpot. Plus, you only cook them for a few seconds and basically eat them raw. If anything, it's a very unique dining experience.

You have to be careful though. This dining experience can be a little rough on foreigners at first. Not only do the exotic food choices throw your body out of whack, but the spiciness alone is enough to upset your stomach. I suggest easing into this dish so that you can learn to enjoy it. You also must be sure to eat with a local who can show you the best dishes! I've only recently gotten to the point where I can go to a hotpot restaurant by myself and order, but it's become my favorite dining experience here in China! Happy eating!

08/04/2014

Chongqing Heat

Hot

If there's one thing that I'll never enjoy about Chongqing, it's the weather. This isn't just because I'm a foreigner though; the locals complain about the weather on a daily basis! But it's particularly bad this time of year: the summer.

For example, yesterday it was 116F and there was 60-70% humidity. In this kind of weather, you really don't want to do anything. I wake up in the morning before my alarm goes off at 7:00am because by that time, it's already too hot to sleep. I take a cold shower and spend the rest of the morning in front of my fan keeping cool before I head to work around 8:00am. By that time it's already in the mid-eighties. 

Luckily, most buildings have air condition. Unfortunately, Chinese people think it's unhealthy to keep the windows closed, so there is a constant struggle between the outside heat and the indoor AC. I close the windows every opportunity I get though.

After work, the walk home is brutal. It feels like there is a hole in the ozone layer that insists on following me around everywhere I go. I get home, immediately change out of sweaty clothes, and sit in front of my fan again waiting for nightfall so I can venture out and explore. 

There are tricks to staying cool. For example, I've found that buying clothes here in China rather than bringing them from the US was helpful. The clothes they sell here is made for hot weather so it dries easily and is very breatheable. You also HAVE TO find a friend with a pool. Many apartment complexes have them and I can't tell you how nice it's been to go swimming on a hot day, even if the pools are unbelievably crowded.

All in all, I have to admit that I'm adjusting somewhat. I still hide inside every chance I get, but every day I spend more and more time outside with the locals, suffering through the heat and griping about our city's weather. It gives you a sense of solidarity and acclamation to put up with the heat like a local.

08/01/2014

The Skylines of Chongqing

 

Longest Escalator in Asia and Graffiti Central

I rode the longest escalator in Asia with my friend and other fellow CIEE participant Eric. It was crazy! It is so long! 

 

After the zoo we went to a part of Chongqing not far from where we were, where all the buildings have graffiti on them. It was pretty cool. It’s the Huangjueping Graffiti Street 黄桷坪涂鸦街 and is said to be the largest graffiti art region in China and the world.

 

 

01b9cde8d63165d2bbc766203f08b4028b861513ee
019e6b46de8127906993ead3ea1956117e8da5f886
0159dce122a27ea0684ec2b4e3c86695369a41fbc0

 

01649c05d8d6889b9fa5611e11c5c0135c5924f235
01b12291780312e98ba9acfcf771486f3259a32f9b

 

01f694c114f55bac25bc675c9aad4d0d14d66e3d64
0171190a3848b2f7f2d5f3a3474155e13021dcddec
0160089578985971fb8cc2321e99259ab74e8734f0

 

015e66a74334ed8638319c5bc9a65ffe6b0dba446a
01fd52bfbc4080782b8c4d43bbaa8c12fb8e626714

Trip to the Chongqing Zoo

 

A few months ago I went to the zoo with my friend and fellow CIEE participant Derrick. We had a blast. Who knew the zoo could be so much fun? Although the animals don’t have big cages and don’t seem to be taken care of as good as in the USA, they weren’t in bad shape. I could go on and on about the zoo and the animals we saw but I think it’s better to let the pictures do the work. And yes I did feed a giraffe and a hippo :D

 

My Apartment

 

My apartment… What to say about it? It’s small but not so small that I cant have people over.Well maybe it’s best to use pictures.

011fbc40660ce13356ce5233ca14befcd2e06e6489

This is my apartment building. I’m on the 8th floor.

My hallway

This is my hallway. To the right is my kitchen and to the left is my bathroom.

my bathroom

 

This is my bathroom. This is a squat toilet for all you who have never heard of or seen one.That was me when I got here. It was a little bit of an adjustment, but they really aren’t that bad. My bathroom floor gets dirty quicker than humanly possible. I clean my floor before I take a shower seeing as my shower is above my toilet. Interesting right? It was a shock and I wasn’t sure how to work that one out, but the water goes pretty far so I stand on the corner and it’s all good. Most of my friends do actually have a regular Western toilet so I wouldn't worry about. 

 This is my kitchen. This is the counter, the sink and the door that opens up to my little porch with my washer on it.

 

 These are my gas burners and my fridge. I don’t cook as much as I should but I’m cooking more and more.

 

 This is my little balcony and my tiny washer. It works really well. It’s all in Chinese and I figured it out. I’m getting pretty good at that.

 

 This is my dining area of my living room. As you can see I have 2 chairs and 2 little stools. I also  have a nice 2 layered glass table. My table is like a catch all. I don’t have storage and I don’t have many places to put my stuff.

 

 This is my couch. It is actually pretty comfortable and it can be a second bed if needed. It also is a catch all. I have all my bags and backpacks and coats on it. I try to keep it clean but I don’t use it anyway. I have a tv that doesn’t work because I don’t have cable.

 

I have a bedroom that is separated from my living room by sliding glass doors that you can only kind of see through.

This is my bed. It’s actually 2 beds on top of each other. It’s not super comfortable but it's not that bad. I think the first night I really slept on a rock. I had to buy a “mattress pad” or should I say another comforter. It is a big bed though which is nice. I have space to sprawl out! On the right I have a closet and a little stand. I also have a night stand next to my bed.

 

View from my bedroom

View from my bedroom

So that is all I have. My apartment isn’t that big but it’s perfect for what I need. I like my neighborhood, the little store downstairs with the people that I’m getting to know, the small supermarket down the street, how close I am to work, the fact that Jared lives 20 floors above me, and that I’m super close to all modes of transportation. This is my humble abode that I will be leaving in 11 days. 

My Students

 

 

Recap of the time I've spent here

 

 

© CIEE 2011. All Rights Reserved.       Terms + Conditions | Privacy Policy

CIEE Teach Abroad Blogs

CIEE Teach Abroad Blogs provide a firsthand account of what it’s like to teach English abroad with CIEE. Blogs are written by CIEE participants and provide a real picture of what life is like abroad. To read more CIEE Teach Abroad blogs, from independent and past CIEE bloggers, click here.

Bloggers

Other Teach Abroad Blogs