Shangri la

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May 23rd 2018
Published: May 23rd 2018
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Our ninth day in China proved to be the most quirky yet. An early flight from Shanghai to Yichang meant getting up at 4.30 am - never an easy thing to do.
We had no idea what we were to do with ourselves once there but in fact, Sarah, who was there to meet us at the airport, had activities planned for the whole day. First, she took us to a garden on the banks of the great Yangtze River (third longest in the world) and I breathed the first fresh air in this country. Yichang has a population of 1.4 million people and it has no hint of the smog of the cities we have been to thus far.
Next, we decided to have a foot massage (our neck and legs we also manipulated during the 75 minute experience). We were served fresh pear pieces and chrysanthemum tea while being massaged. Our attendants were tiny girls with hands that were made of steel. I felt so much pain and yet so much better at the end of the massage.
Lunch was a strange event: Mark and I were the only diners in the cavernous second floor restaurant of a hotel. The food, the usual banquet fare, was tasty and welcomed.
After lunch, we visited the Yichang Museum and were expeditiously guided through various displays of “cultural relics” salvaged before the Three Gorges Dam reservoir began to cover the surrounding countryside. Pieces ranged in age from a mere 100 years old to about 5000 years old. The museum was selling off some of its relics to fund next year’s building expansion. Mark and I purchased a dragon wine goblet made of bronze. I am so thrilled to be taking a “cultural relic” home and don’t worry, it’s not one of the 5000 year old ones. Our drive to the embarkation point was long and took us through some amazing scenery. However, the ramshackle nature of the pier, Maoping Port, had me feeling a little worried. Once we reached it, our ship, the Victoria Sophia, was in fact more than river worthy but we did have to cross through two other ships to get to ours.
I have begun to experience the the more earthy countryside of China.
In the spirit of “you only live once”, we upgraded our room and are now in the Shangri La suite. We will probably never cruise the Yangtze again - it seemed the extravagant thing to do! This trip gets curiouser and curiouser.

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