Figure 1. Picture of the day Figure 2. A photo of one of the many waterfalls at Jing Dao Xia.
Date: Friday, May 9th, 2014
Main Locations: SWU Campus, Jing Dao Xia,and Liuyishiu (restaurant).
Today was our first full day in China as aclass. We had breakfast at the bakery next door to our hotel, and thenproceeded to Southwest University (SWU) to meet the rest of the class, theChinese students. Everyone introduced themselves and everyone was very nice andwelcoming to us. After that, Dr. Wang and Dr. Stewart gave us an introductionto the course. We discussed safety, expectations, plans for the next two weeks,and how we will be evaluated in the course. After that, we had lunch at one ofthe SWU campus cafeterias. There were many options and the food was good. Lunchis eaten earlier than we are used to, as are all other meals. Everything isshifted back by a couple of hours.
After lunch, around 2:00 we traveled by busto Jing Dao Xia in Beibei, Chongqing. This took approximately an hour and ahalf. Jing Dao Xia means “golden sabre”, and is a gorge surrounded by limestoneand red clay, and hundreds of incredible trees and other beautiful and lushscenery. Where we began our hike we were approximately 792 metres above sealevel. We saw all kinds of species, including a millipede (Diplopoda spp.), abeetle (Coleoptera spp.), many pine trees (Pinusspp.), and lots of bamboo (Bambuseae spp.). We also noticed that the vegetationchanged rapidly depending on level of elevation. For example, when we got toaround 520 metres, a large amount of bamboo appeared to be growing everywhere.
There were many waterfalls along the wayand water trickling down the sides of the stone walls, which were covered inmoss and other vegetation. The water was very cold and fast-moving in mostareas, so it was clear (no algae).
We also came to a point along the hikewhere there were a whole bunch of monkeys (Macaca).Some of them were caged, others were not, so we were able to get really closeup to some of them.
We walked a lot today, and there were a fewtight spaces to squeeze through along the way. We even went through a cave, andtook a boat ride part of the way down the river. Overall the hike wasincredible. The beauty we saw and experienced could not be captured by photosor conveyed in words.
Finally, we ate dinner at a restaurantcalled Liuyishiu, not far from our hotel. This restaurant specialized in thefamous "hotpot" dish, which is essentially a big pot in the middle ofthe table with boiling soup, in which you place all of your meat and vegetablesto cook. You then remove it and dip it in a sauce which you concoct yourselfbefore the meal using oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, scallions, garlic, and more.It was delicious, and some of it was very spicy, which is the type of food thatChongqing is known for. What makes this dish so unique, at least to NorthAmericans, is that many of the parts of the animal that we might consider"weird" are eaten, such as the brains, intestines, kidneys, and otherorgans. There were also many vegetables to choose from. The selection wasgreat!
Everyone had a great first day in China andis looking forward to the next two weeks!
Figure 3. A photo of a millipede (Diplopoda spp.)at the Jing Dao Xia gorge.
Figure 4. A photo of a beetle (Coleoptera spp.) atJing Dao Xia.
Figure 5. A photo of the students walking over abridge at Jing Dao Xia.
Figure 6. A photo of a baby macaque monkey (Macaca) at JingDao Xia.
Figure 7. A photo of our hotpot dinner at Liuyishiurestaurant.