Day 9, 10 and 11 -Slow boat in China


We boarded our cruise ship Victoria Lianna for our much anticipated three day cruise

 

Goodbye Chongqing

down the Yangtze River.  After a few (a good few drinks) in the Yangtze Bar we settled in for the night in our great little cabins. It was so nice to leave balcony door open and watch the world (China) glide by.  The first tag team took on David (guide) in a drinking session, looking at likes of Gary and crew they were unsuccessful as David bounce up full of beans and they were a little worse for wear.      

Our cozy comfortable cabin

Night 1 
It would have been worth being up at three in the morning to see Louella headed to the bar in her robe looking for Gary who she was certain must have fallen overboard somewhere.




David in strife following big night
Breakfast was enjoyed by most of the group with exception of a couple people who chose extra rest over the meal. Almost all the group set

on the guided tour to the ghost city with all reports pointing to fascinating experience. 


For those of us who remained on board it was chance to catch up on some rest and try and ward off the colds that are starting appear among the group.
In the afternoon we all headed out on deck for the viewing of the first two of the three gorges. Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge. Qutang Gorge is the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet), and most dramatic. The 25-mile long Wu Gorge is known for its quiet beauty, forest-covered mountains, and cliffs so sheer that the sun barely penetrates the precipices. It was a sight to be seen, this afternoon also featured the captains reception where we were treated to canapés and drinks.  Dinner was uneventful and team two took up the running with David who saw them off in style. Not sure who was in this group but there was a fair amount of mixing drinks during the evening.

The scenery from the deck or the cabin was forever changing and it was hard not to just sit and gaze out but there was always something to do.  The only problem some many things happening little time to just sit on the balcony and enjoy the passing views.
 
Another feature was the trip was transferring to another vessel for a relaxing excursion through the attractive gorges of Shennong Stream. Once at top of gorge we watched traditional dancing and singing before returning to our cruise ship. This was the most amazing place and the people living here must be very strong as the terrain would make every day activities almost impossible. Needless to say the mountains were dotted with homes, power lines and roads. How they ever put this infrastructure is beyond belief.

Back on board it was time for a rest before a practice for our cabaret act. It was decided that the group would sign G’day G’day with some actions and limited props.  It was decided that Sharpy would give a demonstration of an auction with our group acting as buyers. This went over well and I think Don (with David interpreting) introduction as to why we were in China was well received and gave some context to our performance. There will be no Oscars, awarded for the performance but we had a lot of fun and certainly entertained the other passengers.
 
After the performance it was time for us to go through the locks at the dam, this was sensational and we all stayed out on deck for the whole process, which takes around 4 hours to be completed. In the meantime it was the final tag team turn to take on poor David, pleased to say he withstood phase three but I think his stamina was starting to wane, another night on board and I think they would have had him.
 
After 3 big nights finally
wearing him down – Needed 1 more night 
Up and at ‘em next morning, albeit a little more slowly for those who partied on until well into the night.  We tramped off the boat again to bus over to the three gorges dam for another tour- another highlight to add to the long list of highlights on this tour. What an amazing feat to build such a structure, although we could see it all that well as it was a very misty (smoggy) day but to see the lock system that we came through during the night and see the dam itself was all I expected and much much more.
 

Back on board for lunch before disembarking for a bus ride to Yichang airport for the short flight to Shanghai, the last leg of the main tour. Eleven members of the group are travelling on to Beijing while eight of us are headed home after few days in Shanghai.

Day 8 Chongqing Old Town, Panda’s and boarding the Yantze Cruise

Old town in Chongqing and Panda Zoo was on the schedule for the morning of day eight.  
This was very interesting and most of the morning was punctuated by a game of pegging (someone from Tilpa who shall remain nameless purchased half a dozen pegs).
Pegging at its extreme
These pegs where pegged to various of the tour group members followed by much giggling and snickering among the others until the pegee found the peg and then homed in on the next victim. 
At one staff group from Yass who will remain also remain nameless ended up with no less that 5 pegs on backpack, someone decided to add their hanky to the peg as if drying washing.  

Oh yes a couple rogues in the group peg the statue of a kangaroo in the panda park.  It was funny to see how such a silly little game could cause so much laughter and so many alliances formed, you keep eye on my back and I will watch yours, etc

River mist not pollution – that was the line provided
The panda’s were very sleepy but we did get to see one up close 
enjoying a bamboo lunch. After the enjoyable visit with china’s national treasures we headed off to lunch of our own in the old town and our first real experience of street seething with people. 


It was unbelievable but everyone was so nice and I really felt very safe prowling around the streets.

After a meal at a great place that of looked the old town street were headed our to sample their wares, everyone seem to come back to the meeting point with a purchase or two.

Doesn’t everyone carry compressor like this?
Back on the bus to navigated (at one point our national guide, David was off the bus folding in drivers mirrors so the could pass the bus in narrow gridlock little road) our way to teahouse and learn how to make and drink traditional Chinese tea. 
Right ..well I think a quick board meeting is required
Once at the teahouse drop off point the two MacWool staff decided they need to have a meeting on the bus while the rest of us visited the teahouse ZZZZZzzzzzzzz.
The park was very beautiful and the tea was tea but worth doing just the same.  After another dinner you guessed it Chinese but it was again tasty but a few dishes that seem to make repeat performance such as the scrambled egg and tomato, very yummy but not three times a day. 
Following dinner it was back on the bus for a 10-minute ride to the dock to board the Victoria Lianna, our home for the next three days. 
Thanks goodness we walked down the 200 hundred steps to board and not up otherwise I would be still in Chongqing.