Spring is notoriously short in Chongqing.
Once the sun breaks through the stubborn blanket of winter cloud around late March, temperatures can blast from single digits right through to the high twenties in a matter of two or three weeks.
Today is such a day, and it just happens there’s an excuse to go out on an excursion to the central Yuzhong District渝中区, namely to sit through a photo sifting session for my wife, and a trip to Broadway Electronic Market down the road to fit her a new Vivo screen for the one she dropped and shattered in Nanjing.
We went to Lianglukou via the subway, partly to give the rush hour traffic a miss, but also to try out the new loop line for the first time.
Everything was fine, but anyone needing to change between the Loop Line and Line One should be aware it’s not possible to connect in station. You have to leave the station and walk a few hundred metres across Shapingba沙坪坝 and buy another ticket if you don’t have the transport card.
Emerging from Exit 4 to heart warming bright skies and sunshine, I slipped off a few minutes expressly to take the largest single indoor escalator in Asia.
A friend took me on this escalator not long after my first arrival in Chongqing over 15 years ago, yet today was only my second trip this way.
The slightly antiquated escalator still possesses a historical charm, leading up and down the steep hill between Lianglukou on top of the hill to Caiyianba Train Station菜园坝火车站 at the bottom.
Here are a few hard facts for you to digest.
It was completed in February 1996 after three years of construction. There are three escalators available at 112 metres long, 52.7 metres tall, with a gradient of 30 degrees. It operates at a swift 0.75 metres per second, and the whole journey takes two and a half minutes to complete. At peak times, each escalator can carry up to 13,000 people per hour.
With a Chongqing transport card, it’s possible to ride at no extra cost if changing from the subway or a bus route. The journey back up only cost an extra 1.8 Yuan, but a single ticket costs slightly more at 2.
The escalator is fun to ride if you happen to be passing close by, or need to travel between the train station and Jiefangbei peninsula.
As for Broadway, I will cover the electronic markets in a future post, but the name of this particular establishment makes for an amusing finale for this post.
Broadway, the famous New York theatre, is translated as Bailaohui百老汇 in Chinese. Here, they cleverly changed the ‘lao老’ to ‘nao脑,’ a word that can mean ‘brain’ or more pertinently in thia case, ‘computer.’
The funny play on the name of Bailaohui was certainly not lost on me.
Having visited the electronics market, the official English name for 百脑汇 is Buynow, but it still works as a play on Broadway.