Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Friday, March 30, 2007 YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE

Up about 6:30 am we went upstairs to the lounge and early coffee. Watched the energetic ones learning Tai Chi, while we enjoyed the view and wonderful coffee with a fresh roll. By 7:30 the dining room was open for a buffet breakfast followed by lectures and/or demonstrations every hour. At breakfast Gene and Gina told a story about a grandson that always wants to do the opposite of everyone else. Once while on a trip with them he shared his philosophy with them: Expect the worst, Hope for the best and Enjoy the rest….we all thought it was a pretty wise statement for travelers.

I found the Computers and signed on to the Internet. They are using satellite services and the speed is verrrrrry slow. But I was able to read messages and send a note to my kids. But will have to wait until Hong Kong to send this journal and more photos. I have to take my computer and camera batteries to the front desk for charging so will try to conserve as much as possible.

This morning we had lectures on the Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam project. Then the ship’s doctor gave us a lecture on Chinese Medicine including acupuncture and pressure points. The last section was really informative and we all enjoyed learning the pressure points. The doctor understands English but doesn’t speak as well so he used a translator. Good to know that there is a doctor on board: yesterday Betty and Howard fell on the escalator at the airport in Lhasa. Her luggage pulled her backwards and he fell trying to catch her; Gena immediately told them to stop the escalator, Jim yelled for us to stop….a small group with Jo had gotten ahead of them….then Deane ran (not a wise move in Lhasa) towards us to get Jo. Jo took off running down the hall when she realized there was a problem; gave everyone a fright but bumps and bruises and a scraped elbow seem to be the jest of it. With Nancy and Elisabeth both being nurses they were well cared for until arriving at the ship and seeing the ship doctor with Jo after they boarded the ship. We do have our exciting moments on this tour.

Small world items: Howard (from California) and Norm (from Iowa) have discovered that they were born in the same hospital in California; abet many years apart. I’ve discovered that Kristen and I have a mutual friend; Priscilla who worked in our real estate office for the last seventeen years. She is Danish as is Priscilla and they both attend the Danish Church in Yorba Linda. Kristen lives in Los Angeles so doesn’t get out too often but the Danish Churches in Southern California are few and far between.

We’ve just finished lunch; I’ve written postcards to each of the grandchildren…that’s all I’m doing on this trip…and Jim is about to go to the class on Chinese painting. This afternoon we will have a shore excursion to visit a family that has been relocated because of the Three Gorge Dam project.

The tour for the rest of the ship was of the Ghost Temple but our group, Overseas Adventure Travel, traveled by bus into the city of Fengdu and had an opportunity to sit down with a family that has been relocated due to the building of the dam. We spoke, with Jo as our interpreter, with the grandmother who stays home and manages a store that they have built on the first floor of their three story home. They were given 10,000 Yuan for each of the family members and they added to this amount to build a three story stone building for two families and three generations. She has three sons and two of them live with her. She was very gracious and answered all of our questions. Then we were allowed to tour the house and take photos. There is a basement that houses an extra kitchen, storage rooms and three huge pigs. The main floor has the store, a kitchen and more workrooms.

The living quarters are on the second and third floors. Very nice bedrooms and sitting rooms, actually the whole structure was much larger than we’d expected. The two bathrooms had squat toilets, and one had an open shower plus the washing machine. The second floor had a patio and was used to also hang the laundry. Chinese people definitely like to air dry their clothes. On the bus trip into town I saw one tree that had clothing draped on every branch. Our family had their socks draped over the cactus plants in the center of the patio. Most of the clothes are on hangers and then put on the line or wherever they find a place to put them where they will have sunshine to dry them. The weather is quite humid so it takes longer to dry things as opposed to Tibet where things dried in hours even in the shade.

After we left our host family we drove into the center of town and spent half an hour walking through a very authentic bazaar. The types of food were varied and unusual for westerners. We were a main attraction and they gathered in groups to watch us and continued to say hello to us. We are known as “hello” and/or “big noses” to the Chinese. At the end of the tour of the bazaar we found a small store that had a freezer and many of us enjoyed an ice cream bar snack. It was a challenge to make them understand what we were looking for until Jo arrived and talked with them. She told the clerk that “it’s ok if you charges us one Yuan more than usual but just tell us how much!” All said in a very firm and authoritative voice. It definitely helps to have a guide with you in China.

Our evening back at the boat consisted of getting batteries charged; dressing up a bit…none of us brought very dressy clothes…for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party before dinner. They also sang happy birthday and happy anniversary to those that are celebrating; we had Betty and Howard’s anniversary and Betty, Birgette and Barney’s birthdays. After dinner I headed to bed as I have apparently, along with several others, caught the cold virus from our orphans. Jim attended the Chinese fashion show which was very nice and then also hit the hay instead of joining the Karaoke singing.

I did manage to sign on to the Internet twice during the day. To say it was slow was an understatement….it took me an hour once to send one short message; but nice to have the opportunity to read emails.

No comments: