We were sad to leave Guilin and Ian our guide who took us to the ‘off track’ places where as Pat would say, we really got to ‘smell the roses’.
When we landed in Chongquin, the biggest city in China with a population of 32 million (and I’ll bet no one who is reading this has ever heard of it) we were immediately taken to see the pandas. I fell in love with the little brown ones although the big white ones are very cute as well. We were then taken around an old opera house which was charming but I could have eaten the Lamb of God by this time, as we had only had breakfast. Fortunately when we arrived on the boat we could feast on a choice of Western and Chinese food.
The Yangtze cruise is a totally different experience and actually a chance for us to rest a bit, practice our Thai Chi and chat with a few Europeans, Americans and Australians. Of course politics and the usual English and American suspects were mentioned… say no more.
Getting off the boat for a tour however, is really something else. The stall owners are all in a frenzy shouting out ‘Hello.. Hello, Money money, maybe later etc. and following a yellow flag. Now I know how a sheep feels when herded. Some dodgey looking pigs noses in the hotdog stall though.
I had to climb one of the many Pagodas of course and Pat took the photo but it seems the man beside me in the window is a bit under impressed or maybe he was thinking about the steep 75% angle of the steps he now had to climb down.
The night show was actually quite fun and refreshing and of course Pat went full swing into it wearing the mask but I think it was the easiest way he could get to get his arm around the pretty waitress.
We went up the ‘Goddess Stream and I was hoping to see the monkeys. Not to be! Every now and then we would hear “this is where the hanging coffins were … but there aren’t there any longer, since the damn was built they are now in the museum. This inscription on the cliff wall is 3,200 years old but this is not the original. Since the damm was built the original is now under water. This is were the monkeys are but now the damn is built the food is too deep for them so the government feeds them corn at the top of the mountain.” When we landed at the end of the gorge there was a strange song and dance routine from the guides and it was all very touristy but I actually enjoyed it.
Meeting other people was a delight and I hope to meet our Australian friends Carmela and Paul again some time. I had a great conversation with a girl who worked for Nasa and she was fascinating me with a work related story that we realized that we had momentarily lost our guide. It was a refreshing break from the numbers of the great damn. And I’m not sure I it was fog or smog all around but it didn’t make for fantastic photos.
Of course we had to get onto the Bridge. (to non sailors its where they drive the boat.. think Star deck and Captain Janeway at the bridge.) Although log book was in Chinese I could see how tidy the it was written. They have a ceremony at the start of every journey to the Goddess of Light and you can see they left apples there on it. I explained that we throw out a bit of booze to Neptune every time.
On the whole Pat and I enjoyed the cruise and it has come at the right time in the middle of our trip but three days on a cruise boat is enough for us. Once again a stress free change to flights thanks to guide waiting for us. She even gave us her card with phone number and said f we have a problem anywhere in China and need a telephone translation we could just call.
Next installment coming soon, I’m loving all your comments.