Chair Carrying: Things Worse Than Quarantine

Carl Mydans

Chair carriers support travelers and their goods as they painstakingly make their way up the steep steps from the Kialing River in Chungking, 1941. And they didn’t even have Asics with good arch support. The provisional capital of China, not under Japanese occupation, would suffer from continuous terror bombing by the Japanese air force until 1943.

Below, conscripts of the Chinese Nationalist Army walk through the city on labor detail. Makes social distancing seem like a walk in the park.

Today, what we called Chungking is now Chongqing, but it still looks a bit congested for my taste. You wouldn’t catch me on that tram.

Honestly, before today, I only associated the word with old Chun King ads.

But today, I am sheltered-in-place and more educated than before.

And glad I don’t live on the Yangtze River.

Skyline of the Chongtianmen area, at the confluence of the Yangtze (left) and Jialing (right) rivers
© JingAiping/

10 thoughts on “Chair Carrying: Things Worse Than Quarantine”

  1. It’s funny…my first exposure to things Chinese was Chun King chow mein. It was kind of…exotic. Little did I know back then that so much of my life would be spent in Asia and the Pacific. Not only ended up with a Japanese wife but my step-mother was mixed Chinese and Hawaiian.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That brown river shot makes me think of the news story about how the satellite photos noted the significant reduction in pollution as one of the results of life dealing with the virus in China, Kerbey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. During college my husband and I invited a friend over to our house for Chinese. Lance was quite sophisticated and worldly, and accepted. When he arrived and saw that we were using canned Chun King, he was appalled. Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

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