Yangtze River Cruise - (continued)

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Traci was up early the next morning to attend the tai chi class on Deck 6 before breakfast. All the meals except the Captain's Welcome Reception dinner were buffet. There were three tables reserved for our group.

That morning, we had to be in the lobby ready to exit the ship at our first port of call – Fengdu. Fengdu is known as the “The Ghost City”. I never heard a consistent story on how it became known as such. Our visit certainly had nothing to do with ghosts.

Port of Call: Fengdu



Unlike our experiences on big cruise ships, there was not a list of shore excursions from which to choose. Instead, there was only one excursion and it was included in the price of the trip. If you were not doing the excursion, you had to call the front desk to let them know you were staying on the ship.

Now is a good time to talk about some of what we learned from our visit to the Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing. Construction of the Three Gorges Dam was begun in 1992 to control the level and turbulence of sections of the Yangtze River. As a result, the Chinese government built cities on higher ground and relocated 1.3 million people to them. Fengdu is one of the relocation cities. Like Chongqing, it exists on both sides of the Yangtze and is connected by a large suspension bridge.

We boarded an awaiting motorcoach where a local guide narrated as we were being driven through the "old" side of the city. Even though it looked rather worn, the city has only existed since 1992. We were taken to a school where the children performed a song and dance for us. They were cute but Traci and I felt a little uneasy about the visit. I thought our visit was an interruption to their school day.

We were led through a rather pungent farmers market. Our guide showed us something I had never seen before. He showed us an egg that had been buried in the ground for several weeks. The yolk had turned gelatinous. People in the area eat it in that state. I was not close enough to smell it but I imagine it was pretty funky after having rotted in the ground.







snack - egg that has rotted in the ground for weeks


We visited the home of a relocated family. The people live in high-rise apartments. It is not uncommon to have three generations living in the same unit. Those units are more likely to have three floors. We were allowed to walk through the family's home - bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, etc.

Elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism are present in Fengdu. Our guide said that we would not be visiting any temples. He figured at this point in the trip that we were all ‘templed' out. I don't know about everyone else in our group but for Traci and me, he hit the nail on the head.

Back to the boat we went for our first lunch on the Yangzi Explorer. There were many items on the buffet; however, we were ecstatic to see pizza and fries offered. This was such a welcome change from all the Chinese food we had been eating over the last two weeks.

Traci and I attended the “The Yangtze River & The Three Gorges” presentation in the theater since we would be traveling through the Three Gorges the next day. The cruise director gave the presentation in Chinese and English. It consisted of mainly PowerPoint slides. It was pretty dry. We had already learned most of the information about the river during our brief tour of the Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing. However, I was surprised to learn that 40 million people live along the length of the river. It is the 3rd longest in the world.

That afternoon was the Captain’s Welcome Reception in which we had the opportunity to meet the captain while enjoying appetizers and free drinks. I had planned to wear one of the dress shirts I had packed until I found out the only way to iron it was to pay the laundry service approximately $6. Therefore, I went with a shirt that wasn’t as wrinkled.

Captain’s Welcome Reception


The rest of the evening was leisurely. The boat actually dropped anchor for the night. We did not resume our trip down the river until the next morning. Continue...


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