Teacher, student, slacker or expat-package bigshot, everyone is given a couple of days every week where they let themselves believe they’re in control. You call those the weekend (even on mondays) and on the weekend you should have fun, right ?
Now we’ve already made it clear how much contempt we have for the Jiefangbei lifestyle : clubs clubs clubs, the outside bar, get laid, repeat. Unfortunately, this lack of imagination seems all too common, as if five days of work in a row were enough to stifle the inquisitive spirit and desire to explore that brought you all here (supposedly)…
Meet Keith Gardiner and Kevin Kreitz, longtime residents of Jiefangbei and, as you can imagine, pretty much over the whole club scene. A few years ago, they decided to actually get in touch with their surroundings. The stories of the outings that ensued are sure to summon back some of that adventurous spirit you had at first, long since castrated by fake Chivas and neon lights.
Last Tuesday, CQScene followed them on a boat trip down the river. Jolly Roger to the wind, bandanas on our heads and slingshot ready to inflict minimal damage, Jialing Pirates we…
"We bought the raft on a whim, about 4 years ago, from an outdoor store in JFB that has since been converted into a baby clothing store. If i had to buy one these days I'd just buy it on taobao." says Keith to explain the origins of this wild ride. Kevin continues : “We tried to get to that island on the Chang Jiang but our paddles broke halfway, we panicked and rushed back to shore. We hadn’t really used the boat since…”
Three weeks ago, however, they decided to haul it up to Shuangbei station, on the newly finished section of the red line that now goes all the way to University City, and float down slowly to… uh… wherever.
That day, they drifted for five hours. That’s the time it takes to make it from the back end of Ciqikou (yeah the taxi driver that took them to the shore didn’t know a closer spot) to Huanghuayuan bridge in Yuzhong district. They had caught the boating bug.
Last week, they took me to Dazhulin station on line 6 (the new pink line), where there’s absolutely nothing to see. We hopped on a taxi and asked a guy with a dog (no one would bring a dog there if they didn’t live in the area) how to get to the river. An eight kuai ride took us through the Jingke construction site and almost to the shore. We inflated the boat and were on our way.
An hour or so into the journey, we realized how quickly our resources, a 24-pack of Shancheng, garlic peanuts and some guazi, would get depleted. This “journalist”, not knowing any better, had only brought a bottle of jingjiu and one miserable mixer to the party. “You don’t go on a five-hour boat ride with one bottle of jingjiu !” Keith berated me, so sure enough, we had to stop somewhere to fill up.
A weird twist of fate occured as we approached the shore. Two weeks before, the Pirates had twice run into an english speaking middle-aged man whilst exploring abandonned factories in Shuangbei. He had worked on cargo ships, been around the world and was now down to his underwear, getting ready to go for a swim right where we had chosen to stop…
Knowing there was a trustworthy dude around to watch the boat, we went up to Lahongzui Yuzhuang (辣红嘴鱼庄), the two-floor restaurant with a wide terrace we had spotted from upriver. Was it the shock of seeing three foreigners come up for jingjiu or was it simply the generous nature of the boss, we’ll never know, but we managed to get a massive discount on the three bottles we bought without even trying to haggle. Mission accomplished, so with a reinflated raft, the trip continued.
Quickly after that, we almost met our doom under a Shuangbei bridge nearing completion, when a giant steel pole fell from above and landed at least twenty meters away from us. Nevermind.
Next we ended up in Ciqikou, where we boarded a restaurant ship, commandeered their bathroom and sailed back out, our bellies full of liangmian. With the river currents dramatically slowing down after that, it took us at least two more hours to reach Shimen bridge but boring it was not.
Danger reared its head one last time as we drifted under Gaojiahuayuan bridge. The river police approached, slowed down and… just sorta waved at us, gave the boat a little shake and kept going. Pleasant.
As the Pirates put it, it’s kind of like sitting on a couch drinking beer all day, it's just that the scenery keeps evolving…
Couch flotilla anyone ?
Pro tips for a fulfilling city life in Chongqing…
1-Be the first to find stuff
Keith : “Back when we first found out about Cici Park, we didn’t want anyone else to know, because we were certain it would go downhill if they did, and sure enough, it’s not what it used to be.”
While Kevin doesn’t agree with that last statement, one must admit any place is better when it’s fresh. Keep your discoveries for yourself (at least for a while) and you can always say you did something before it was cool. Sound familiar ?
2-Take a bus/train/subway to nowhere
The Pirates used to take a bus to wherever every Monday, this tradition took them whitewater rafting in Pengshui, bungee jumping in Tongjing and blacking out in numerous locations, among other things. Now, with the ever-expanding subway network, they pinpoint a station and explore the area. It’s a gamble and you might end up in a shitty technopark (hint : don’t go to Guangdianyuan on the pink line), but the more you try, the better your chance of finding the next Gongrencun…
3-Don’t drink where everyone else drinks
We get it, you like people and you want to be where other laowai are. But you’re in China, mix in a little ! No city is quite like Chongqing when it comes to nooks and crannies. Find your own and really choose who you drink with.
4-“Be the change you want to see in the world” –Kevin (or Gandhi)
If the rafting story isn’t proof enough, think barbecue parties on isolated Yangtze river islands, camping on Nanshan, construction site bonfires downhill from the ‘Bei or kickass block parties all around the city…
Photo by Minoru Nitta Jetset Inc. Japan.
Duncan Wang, and kickboxer turned Yogi, will be in Chongqing this evening for a workshop entitled, "Yoga as a Lifestyle." The creator of Yogic Arts, a philosophy that combines aspects of yoga with martial arts zen Buddhism, and other eastern practices, Duncan took the time to answer a few questions of ours before tonight's workshop.
CQ: When and how yoga came into your life?
Duncan Wong: As a youth recovering from kick boxing life.
CQ: You have come up with your own philosophy in Yogic Arts, which from what I can understand is a combination of yoga and forms of martial arts. Can you tell us a bit more about yogic arts and how it may better help us to reach enlightenment?
DW: Yogic Arts helps us to stop reaching for anything; allowing everything to arrive naturally through the law of attraction. Stay fit and happy and help people grow up into productive peaceful beings :)
CQ: I started doing yoga while living in China, and have taken literally 1 class in English and the rest in Chinese, in the year and a half or so I have been practicing. Being that my Chinese abilities are lacking, is there any advice you can give someone whom, while in class, can watch and imitate a teacher, but can not understand them?
DW: Watch the teachers eyes and there breathing; that explains all movement. Also, watch their feet and toe positions to know their intention and ability.
CQ: Finally, what can we expect from the workshop?
DW: A transformational good time !
Duncan Wong's Yoga As Lifestyle workshop will take place tonight:
Friday November 26
20:30 - 22:00
@ Bridge Book House(building with Ferrari dealership): 江北区 龙湖水晶郦城晶郦馆1-1-5（法拉利楼下）