November 13, 2006

On the Yangzi

To view all 80 Yangzi River Photos in a slideshow, press HERE.

1st Temple Stop
2nd Temple Stop
On the Yangzi
With Our Chinese Friends
The Lesser Gorge
The Mini Gorge

We took the bus from Chengdu to Chong Qing (Chung King). It was a pleasant four hour ride. When we arrived in Chong Qing, we planned to go to the docks and book a boat down the Yangzi. This was our first mistake. The second we got off the bus we were more or less jumped by shills for the local booking agents. These folks are dressed in uniform coats to indicate that they work for the shipping lines. I saw through it OK, and grabbed a taxi and instructing him to take us to the dock. But one of shills told him to take us to an agent about half-way to the docks. Betty thought that this was the real booking office. We expected to get a better deal here than that offered in the youth hostels. It was no better, and it is more prudent to book with a hostel. We ended up buying our passage here. They showed us a picture of a nice ship. The reality was quite different. We end up on a run down tourist boat that stank and was just awful. The name of this rust heap was the Yeng Bin Hou. We ended up paying about $165 each for the passage and some tourist stops. Your can book just the passage for about $135. If you go on a Victoria Line Cruise, this time of year, it costs about $300 and is really the only way to go. There are good Chinese boats for the same price we paid, but you have to be careful and check out the boat first. Only one tour was worth the extra money and that is to the Lesser and Mini Gorge. It is a wonderful excursion. The Three River Gorge is on the Yangzi. We passed through it in less than one hour of a three day trip. Because of the new river dam the water is up more the 220 feet, the gorge is not what it use to be. In two years, when the dam is completed the water will be up another eighty feet. We do not feel that it was worth the $260 that we spent to experience the river and its gorges.

A wonderful side benefit to taking the rust bucket, the Chinese national boat, is the people that you meet. If you are a bit outgoing and you put yourself out, you soon will have a dozen or more friends. This is what we did. I cannot name them all but I clearly remember George, Leili and Zhao Fei. There are pictures of all of them. I loved meeting them and getting to know them. We have also become fast friends with Maria Victoria Cosentino, the only other westerner (from Italy) on the boat.

We have been in Wuhan the past two days. We recovered from the boat trip. It was so nice to have a hot shower and clean clothes. We visited two museums. The Wuhan Provincial Museum is the best. Then we went to a beautiful park on a large lake. It was so peaceful, compared to the hectic life in the city. We have been doing this all with Victoria.

Tomorrow we will push off Hefei.

Posted by bill at November 13, 2006 09:12 PM

Wow, all I can say is that the pictures you took are worth the pain... Thanks for sending us such wonderful recits de voyage!

Posted by: Mariana Passo at November 13, 2006 07:44 AM

I could smell the " Bucket "from here in Edmonton !!But what an experience !! Better than sitting reading about it! Good for you, Jim always says that "one becomes an expert after the fact." At least you experienced great new days & met new friends.
Sad , that the gorges will be gone. how is the weather ??

Posted by: Lise at November 13, 2006 08:08 AM

I come from Guangdong China.Did you remember me who travel with you at the boat YingbinHou.You wrote the passage is very good but that is something wrong.In two years, when the dam is completed the water will be up another sixty-four feet.

Posted by: Chen Yaopiao at November 15, 2006 08:32 PM