Sunday, May 01, 2005


Work has been busy enough to keep me from blogging for a week. Among other things, there have been two more newspaper interviews (Chinese this time), prompting friends in another NGO to tease that I'm in this job for the fame. We have also had two days with volunteers from an American Christian group on a mission experience trip.

The American volunteers were 18-24 year olds from Colorado in the middle of a ten month training program in Christian ministry. They had originally been booked to stay in the YMCA but the organiser had put them in a guesthouse in Chungking after getting in touch with us. He knew the reputation of Chungking Mansions and wanted to give to give them the most challenging experience possible.

They picked an eventful week to stay in Chungking. An official celebration was held to mark the end of the management's first 'five year improvement plan' and the opening of the new shopping centre on the 2nd floor, called 'Chungking Express'. I'm presuming it's named after the film and not this blog, nevertheless, I'm looking forward to a increased amount of hits coming from internet searches!

There was a newspaper article a couple of days ago about the improvements in Chungking Mansions. The writer opened with something like this, 'Chungking Mansions is no longer the hell-hole it once was, haven for illegal immigrants and drug dealers. Over the last five years it has improved so much that even the clergy want to stay there!'.

That surprising statement was backed up with a quote from a well known guesthouse owner, 'The reputation of Chungking Mansions has improved so much that I even have 70 clergymen from America staying in my guesthouses this week. That just proves how much the reputation of Chungking has improved in the last few years.'

Hmmm, not quite!

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