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Published: August 31st 2011
Liz and I set our alarm for 5am so as we could be up for sunrise on the boat. When the alarm sounded we peaked out of the window to see nothing but darkness. We fell back to sleep and the next thing we knew it was the 6am wake up call for breakfast and we had missed sunrise. We quickly got ready for the day and headed to the dining room where to our surprise a table had been reserved for us and our table had bacon, eggs, omlettes and toast laid out for us instead of the traditional Chinese fare. We were overjoyed with this and it was great to eat some bacon and eggs!
As soon as breakfast was finished (they only serve food in half hour slots, so if you miss it you're screwed) we hurried off to the reception area where we had anchored ready to depart the boat and explore Fengdu City for the morning. However, Fengdu city is no longer a city, it is merely a hill with pagodas and temples on the top that is commonly known in China as the 'Ghost City' for it is said that there are tests to be taken on this hill to ensure your place in the afterlife. Nothing else of the city remains as the dam flooded the whole city and displaced over 50,000 people from their homes. Across the water is a large scale project underway to practically re-build Fengdu on the opposite shore and they are calling this the 'New Fengdu City'. How original. It did make me sad to be where a thriving city once stood and it is quite errie to look into the water and know that there is a whole city underneath it. I just hope the dam was worth the pain of making so many people leave their homes and land.
We walked up to the top of the hill and the views of the river and surrounding mountains were excellent, and the tip of Fengdu was lovely, a lush green hill top with beautiful statutes, pagodas and temples and our guide took us through the steps and challenges of obtaining afterlife, such as walking over a bridge in only a certain amount of steps, rubbing the stomach of one of the statutes and running up a flight of stairs whilst holding your breath. We all passed with flying colours and we are all going to the afterlife one day which is nice to know!
We left the city behind and headed back on the boat in time for a spot of sunbathing on deck. There we were, the 6 white girls in shorts and bikini tops catching some rays and we were the only ones who braved the sun for it was very hot and the boat was still docked so we had no breeze. At around 12.30pm we were called for lunch, an average affair of much the same foods as we have been having the whole trip, although I must say I am seriously sick of rice and the little rice belly it is giving me!
We were sleepy from the sun and the climb up the hill so after lunch Liz and I had a siesta and dosed for a couple of hours. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing cards and reading books on deck four in the bar area and we were just really enjoying the laid back atmosphere of the boat. Dinner was served around 7pm and we watched a beautiful sunset before having a welcome talk (which was in Chinese, not terribly helpful) and then we chilled out on the top deck for the rest of the evening with the Sweedish guy (his name is Dan) drinking beers and listening to music whilst watching the stars, all in all a pretty perfect evening.
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