John's Cozy Nest
Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
273Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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Andy was to be our third person for this journey, since he booked the same trip from the same hostel. That means we're instant friends. Andy is definitely one of those people who was born cool but who also makes anyone a friend because he's got a great personality
As I said, I slept through most of the bus ride, but I remember a video with a ridiculous amount of explosions and smiling at a little girl at a rest stop
We arrived in Chongqing and wondered exactly how we were supposed to find a phone and then call John so that he could pick us up. Fortunately we didn't have to make either attempt because John was right there and kindly gathered us up and took us back to his Cozy Nest. John's Cozy Nest is technically a hostel, but it's a strange sort of hostel. I think it's mostly a place for people to crash as they run through John's travel agency. As hostels go, however, it's pretty sweet. The whole thing is a whopping ten beds with free internet and the mother of all hostel kitchens. What I wouldn't have given for this kitchen when we were actually using kitchens! The common room is comfortable and opens onto a balcony overlooking the Yangtse. Yup, the hostel is on the 8th floor of a monstrous building that houses any number of other mysterious things. You would never find this place if left to your own devices. Luckily, we were not.
After John gave us our detailed itinerary for our delightful Yangste River-Three Gorges Cruise, he set us loose on Chongqing, saying that he knew of a great hotpot restaurant in the middle of town
Chongqing is the home of the hotpot, which was originally a poor fisherman's meal consisting of less-than-desirable offal. Now it's, like, a Chinese cultural experience. Hotpot is a group meal in which you drop uncooked things (they may or may not be frozen...most of our things were) into a boiling pot of chili broth. Our hotpot also had regular broth for some additional flavor options, although Travis generally delighted in just dropping everything into the pot of chilis. Doughballs are best when served spicy. We tried fishing stuff out of the pot with chopsticks. We were unsuccessful, so the waiter brought us some scoopers. Yay!
Anyway, Travis steered us down "hotpot street," but we didn't find any hotpot restaurants until well into our walk. Then we saw only two right next to each other. We picked one and got a Chinese menu. The waiter helped us decipher some food (none of which was recognizable when we actually got it) and then left us, so we just started checking boxes. We still have no idea what we ate. There were definitely duck feet, and there was a black substance that Andy tried and I could hear it crunching loudly where I sat. We all tried the strange chewy pink stringy stuff. The safest things were tofu, meatballs, doughballs, potatoes, and cabbage. I can tell you all with perfect assurance that I am too much of a pansy to eat duck feet or any other kind of feet. You learn things about yourself while travelling. Needless to say, it was an interesting meal, made all the more interesting by beer and Andy's antics.
On the way back to John's Cozy Nest we got stuck in a number of backalleys that were people's back yards. You know you're going the wrong way when the people you pass stare at you as if you've sprouted two heads. We finally did get back to the Nest, only to find a frantic John searching for Steven, who was supposed to have been back at five and didn't show up until seven. No biggie. Also turns out his name is Steve.
So Steve, Andy, Travis, and I walked down to the dock and embarked on our cruise fast friends, simply by virtue of being the only white people on a Chinese tour. It's amazing what boundaries fly up when you don't speak a language.