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Published: October 22nd 2015
Along the Yangtze
Leisurely morning this morning, pick up 9.30a.m. and 1 hour to Beijing Railway Station for a 1.50p.m. departure for Yichang on the Yangtze River. Security checks, passports, tickets etc checked and double checked, one our of guys had bought a toy gun for his grand child, NO GO!!! Bags searched etc so throw that one away. Learnt this morning that one of group had died, we hadn’t seen them since the first day of arrival as he wasn’t feeling well…how horrible! His poor wife, they were from Tyabb. Like a sheep shed down at this railway station, thousands of people boarding trains to all over China, got away on time at 1.50p.m, lots of shananigans on the train, we have a very unusual family from Coffs Harbour, mother, son maybe 30-35 and the mums boyfriend, absolute bogans, inherited some money from Aunty and first overseas trip, all have anxiety and on meds, drink a lot of beer, well son Joel told he couldn’t have anymore beer on train, could hardly stand up, she has already lost her credit card and on it goes…. Merl Walsh (friend of my cousin Lesley, small world!) from Oaks Flat an
absolute hoot but you don’t know whats going to come out of her mouth next… but we were fortunate to be in the next carriage with just 9 of us…. arrived down in Yichang at 7.38p.m. was a very pleasant trip through loads of farming communities and cities ,train did a top speed of 311klm hr so a quick trip compared to the slow train which takes 17 ½ hrs…were picked up by our Yichang guide and bused to a restaurant for dinner then boarded our boat about 10p.m., welcomed by our cruise director with a nice cup of tea…could have done with something stronger but anyway! We are on the Victoria Katarina, the guides have been shoving down our throats 5 star, 5 star…well I think it is around 3 star I would say but very comfortable. Bought a few bottles of wine for trip down the river, a bottle of Rawsons Retreat on boat $45, outrageous!
Sunday morning breaky and relax this morning before embarking on a tour of the actual Three Gorges Dam Hydro Scheme, the biggest in the world! This is one amazing project, more amazing three sets of escalators in the open on the
edge of a hill to get you up to the top for a birds eye view of all five lochs. We had a lovely guy, Max, as our guide, been a guide for 25 years, he was so cute, when we started said, “this group my group sticka together lika the sticky rice” so we don’t get lost. It took approximately three hours to get through all the lochs, raising us up about 110 metres. Captains Welcome dinner tonight, complimentary champers (could hardly drink it) and appetizers (which we didn’t get to SEE or eat), the Chinese and Indians were just like a swarm of locusts…us Aussies just sat back in shock! Then dinner…very unremarkable…came back to cabin for some yummy cheese and crackers which we had bought at a gourmet supermarket in Beijing! Lyn this maybe the boat you guys were on because there are a couple groups of Wendy Wu tours on this as well.
Monday we boarded a ferry to sail us up the Shennong Stream, which is a tributary of the Yangtze, quite a bit narrower than the Yangtze and the scenery I have say was stunning, cliffs and mountains rising up towards the sky
MV VICTORIA KATARINA
Drinks in the lounge
with caves and interesting rock formations…in a few spots there were coffins wedged up high in the crevasses into the mountain…so they could be closer to heaven! The Coffs Harbour outfit drinking beer by 8.30a.m.! We are all on holidays I guess! Shocking smog which we cannot escape! So glad we had the first two days in Beijing without smog such a bonus! This river is an environmental disaster I would say, green algae everywhere and rubbish in the river..they really need to address all these problems.
Tuesday last day on boat, did a walking tour from the boat in ShiBaoZhai, to the Red Pagoda, an amazing place perched high on an island against a rock wall, 450 years old, when the Yangzte was flooded for the Three Gorges Project it was high enough not to be affected and a seawall was built around it, smaller town and people very desperate to sell you stuff! Took about two hours and meandered slowly back to the boat, we have thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing time on the boat. Alan and Carmel in our group came down with a bug and were on the drip for two days on the boat…hoping they
Hundreds of cargo ships
are on the mend now! Nothing worse than getting sick here.
Wednesday, had a lovely farwell dinner on the boat last night, the best meal we have had on the boat, the food has been basic to say the least....like prison food.. we had a variety of dishes in our banquet last night, lots of tasty dishes! Up early as docked in Chongqing and here for the day...this city is mind boggling...bigger than Beijing 24 million people, thats 10 million more than the whole of Australia...can't get our heads around this. We took a morning tour to the Ciqikou Ancient Town which was the real China Town... then onto Goose Neck Park which sits high above the city and such a peaceful lovely park where the local Chinese go to dance, play cards, get together, talk....great space! Lunch on our own today...tour guide tried to talk us into a banquet Hot Pot lunch at around $35 a head... no way..so expensive for China..we opted for a whole in the wall type local place and had the most magnificent bowel of spicy, spicy noodles...no English but communication between us bought a great bowl of noodles to the table.. so delicious!
River life for locals
Then took ourselves on a tour of the Three Gorges Museum...out to airport 5.40p.m. for a 9.35p.m. flight to Xian. Arrived Xian 11.00p.m. hotel 45 min drive, bed 12.30a.m. and up and out at 9.00a.m. Can't wait to see the terracotta warriors.
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