Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back On The Chinese Tourist Circuit

Since we came all the way to Chongqing, we figured it would be a good chance to jump on a boat and see some of Chang Jiang (the Yangtze River). Our only stipulation was that we did not want to be on a big cruise liner that caters to Western tourists. We had the idea to find a smaller boat where we would have no choice but to practice our Chinese speaking and listening.

With the help of Sophie, we were able to turn this vision into a reality. It isn't much, just a few levels of modest cabins. There's no heat on board, so as I write this, I am laying on my bunk with my winter jacket on.

And we're not the only ones. Last night, there was dancing and singing in the boat's main lounge. Desi remarked how everyone there was dressed for the elements!

This lack of heat, and the ever-present karaoke, are just two characteristics that are making this excursion decidedly Chinese. Yes, every cabin comes with a thermos for keeping hot water. Our outing to Fengdu involved the group marching from place to place, pausing briefly to listen to the guide tell a quick story and then push us on to the next stop. And the boat itself comes equipped with a series of rooms for playing Ma Jiang. Which we have done, under, of course, the watchful eyes of a constant procession of our fellow travelers. Ahh...it's good to be back.

~Steve

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