I really love train travel, and in China it was just as exciting and interesting as anywhere in the world. You really get to see the countryside without the frills.
We all safely clambered aboard the Bullet train in Chengdu to make our way to Chongqing for our 3 day Yangtze River cruise. Took about 2 hours. Very comfy and lots of fun.
|Here is Sue, Dave, Marilyn, Sam and Stan, with Kay tucked in the corner.|
|Here is Anne, Margaret, Jing napping next to Jimmy. Then Dave, Sam, Stan, Kay, George and Marilyn.|
Along the way we encountered a rail work gang pushing heavy concrete platforms along the rail lines. I’m sure I’ve never seen humans do this type of work in my lifetime, but here in this bit of China these citizens were hard at it. And looked quite OK about it.
|Friendly railway workers|
What’s great about train travel is the chance to watch the changing landscape.
We boarded our ship via these really amazing cable car type vehicles. Excitement was high as we figured out that this was our way onto the boat.
|We were all a bit taken aback when we realised how we were going to get on our boat.|
|The beginning of yet another adventure.|
|That’s our boat on the far right.|
|We ignored this one.|
On the boat (like most cruise boats) they didn’t want us to bring our own alcohol on board. They wanted us to pay somewhat inflated prices for the bar drinks. But curiously there was a makeshift stall on the dock just as we were boarding, selling pretty much anything a person might want to consume on a cruise.
One night in particular was hilarious. Somehow Stan & Kay managed to procure some ice from the bar which depleted their entire supply. Kay had a bottle of gin and some warm cans of tonic water. George also had some cans of warm beer. So we filled our tea mugs with our preferred beverage and made our way upstairs to the top deck. It was a big night. We felt like a bunch of teenagers sneaking a drink behind our parents’ backs.
|Dave enjoying a tipple of Chivas|
We learned that China is naturally a very misty and foggy country. So, with the addition of massive industry and chemical production in some cities, there is bound to be scary stuff in those miniscule water droplets.
Best not to over-think it. It’s quite surreal, something like a really misty winter morning, but knowing there’s something not quite right in the air.
|Along the Yangtze, heavily populated “villages”.|
|This would be so beautiful on a clear day.|
|Another highrise village.|
One thing I was really looking forward to in China was the opportunity to do some Tai Chi classes. We were lucky to have a lovely class back in Yangshuo (now that was so funny, and maybe a story for another time) and then another opportunity on this cruise.
But when I turned up on the top deck at 6am(!) for a class I seriously could not breathe.
Other boats were tied up to ours and the fumes from their running engines, together with the general bad air was overwhelming.
I ended up getting really sick with an upper respiratory infection and sinus problems which lasted for the rest of our time in China. Sam also got very sick with a heavy cold during the cruise and he didn’t recover until long after we were home.
None of this stopped us enjoying ourselves. And the bad air certainly didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. It just added to the mystery of the place and was part of the great adventure.
There were so many more experiences yet to come on this leg of the trip.
A visit to a ghost island, Buddhist and Taoist temples, a sanpan trip through majestic mini gorges, witnessing our traverse through the great Three Gorges ship locks, then finally a visit to the world’s largest dam site – the Three Gorges Dam.
I’m working my way through this blog and must admit to a few struggles along the way. Finding the time to sit at the computer and put this together is not so easy. And I don’t know if anyone reads it. But I set out to publish this blog mostly for Dave and I to reflect on what was without a doubt one of the greatest trips we’ve taken.
So please come back in a week or so and hopefully I’ll wrap up the Yangtze River leg of the trip.