Saturday - November 2nd - Transit to Yangtze River Cruise
Our plane leaves around 11 am, so we have time for a leisurely breakfast before hopping onto the van to Lhasa's aiport. It is a 90 minute drive to the airport and our guide tells us that it used to be 3 hours before the road was paved two years ago. At the airport, we are instructed to remove our shoes for security check. There are no seats, so folks are hopping around on one foot on the cold floors trying to remove their shoes. Earl finds a small stuffed toy yak, falls in love and is determined to take care of his new pet for the rest of the trip.

We arrive at Chengdu airport after noon and Simon picks us up and drives us to the bus station. He tells us more jokes. No problem with missing a bus as the buses run every 15 minutes to Chongqing.

We take a break to check out the bus station restrooms. The restroom has no doors and it resembles a pit stop. The bus trip is five hour long and shows two movies - A slapstick comedy with subtitles in English and "Dinosaur" dubbed in Mandarin. The bus hostess serves us bottled water.

We arrive in Chongqing and the local contact hurries us off to the boat. We pass stalls of noodle makers and other goodies and wish we could stop for a bite. The ship is located down a long flight of stairs and we're too lazy to go back out and check out the town for dinner. We have plenty of food accumulated from our travels, so we dip into that for dinner. The weather is humid and hot, especially after coming from Tibet. I go out to the deck to get some fresh air.

View of Chongqing from the boat at night.
(Put your mouse pointer on the picture to see Chongqing by day)
The city is built on hills and there is no bicycle traffic.

Sunday - November 3rd - Yangtze River Cruise

We have assigned tables and breakfast is at 8:15 am. We are told that the cruise will be ending early because the dam project blocks to divert the water are being put in place and this would prevent the ship from being able to go all the way to the scheduled disembarkment locale. We'll be getting off the ship tomorrow evening rather than the day after tomorrow. I go ahead a buy a book that has 5 Video CD's and commemorative stamps about the Yangtze River.

Leaving Chongquing at 10 a.m. We watch the river commerce until lunch time


Earl catches the hoovercraft with his point and shoot camera.

Demonstration of Snuff Bottle Painting
The artisan paints inside the bottle with a special brush. He started his apprenticeship in this craft at age 8. This became a popular craft in China after an artist won an international award for painting President Lincoln inside a snuff bottle. A lottery is held based upon our cruise room keys. They draw our room key. Chie-Mie and I play stone, paper, scissors to determine who gets the bottle. We both do stone the first time. On the second try, Chie-Mie gets the bottle.

Chie-Mie examines the painting of bamboo and chrysanthemums inside the bottle.

It's time for the Fengdu Ghost City excursion.

Arrival in Fengdu

Most of the city will be drowned when the Yangtze River rises. They are bulldozing the city and rebuilding it on the other side of the river.


It's a 600 stair climb to the Ming Mountain Temple.

Seth opts to take the ski lift for $2.50.

Fengdu has little touristy interactive games. Balance on the rock, cross the threshold in the right fashion, lift the stone and prove your fidelity, etc. The site has a Halloween flavor with its statues of the gods of hell. Vendors sell little ghosts that move, shake and make ooooo noises.


Return to the ship

There is "Meet the Captain Cocktails" and then sit down Dinner. Green vegetables are the last items served. There is supposed to be a dance on the upper deck but we don't see any action so call it a night. The boat continues to sail up the river during the evening. There are 2 large search lights on both sides of the ship illuminating the shoreline. Earl thinks it's quite romantic.

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