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The Cruise

I did not have had internet access since we left our hotel in Shanghai, so these are my writings day by day; they are rather long, so bear with me, I will try and divide them by day:

July 1: I have not had internet access since we left our hotel in Shanghai yesterday, but I may get around to posting this later today. I am aboard a Victoria River Cruise ship, the Anne I believe is her name. Yesterday I packed up from the Motel 168 (approximately 28 times better than a Motel 6) and headed back downstairs into the airport below. We mobbed the counter for Szichuan Airlines and moved through security en masse before boarding a crowded and primarily Chinese flight to Chongqing. The airplane food was relatively palatable, besides some rubbery vegetables in a sealed package. When I landed I was greeted by our upbeat tour guide, Cathy. Aboard the moderately plush bus, our group took in our first substantial view of a large Chinese city. Mangy dogs, monstrous apartment buildings in various stages of construction and unfurnished habitations in old bomb shelters dotted the streets as we drove to the former home of an American general who worked during WWII to help end the Japanese occupation of China and kept the city of Chongqing from folding with the help of the Flying Tigers, American aviators who flew in supplies and weapons over "the hump", aka the Himalayas. At his house I sampled a couple of the grapes hanging over his backyard, something that I may or may not pay for dearly sometime in the future. We cruised through a museum and small art gallery and then headed to E-leng park in Chongqing, where we walked to the top of a mountain and viewed a Three Gorges Dam museum. We got some pretty entertaining pictures on the walk up the hill and saw our first infant-public-defacation (IPD). I have decided to make a point of taking pictures of all of the signs that I see that have hilariously butchered English translations, so look forward to a smorgasbord of those. After i walked back down, we stopped again to take a short walk to a shady market area in downtown Chongqing. The highlight of that stroll was a dentist we walked by who was standing in the doorway of his "office", wearing his dirty dental frock looking like he wanted to murder all of us. After that excursion I headed off to a restaurant for some "hot pot". Hot pot is an eating style in which raw meat, noodles, and uncooked vegetables are laid on the table with a pot of broth in the middle. The liquid is heated from a propane tank below the table and you dump the food into the pot and wait for it to cook. After a few minutes, I fished the bits of food out with chopsticks and chowed down. It was pretty delicious and very spicy. We finished out our meal and headed to the cruise ship on the Yangtzee river. Everyone was pretty exhausted after we finally got settled in on the ship, so most people passed out, but a few of us stayed up late and shot the breeze in the "Yangtze Club".

July 2: Today we woke up early, ate a delicious, American breakfast and then went to shore for a temple mountain hike. I have become an expert at brushing off the constant attention from street vendors with a quick "bu yao, xie xie" (no thanks, i don't want it) and the climb up the mountain commenced. We walked up around 500 steps to reach the pinnacle and along the way passed through ancient temples and shrines to the god of heaven, Yama. There was also a partially built 5 star hotel visible on another mountain which was a huge imitation of Yama's face. At the top of the mountain there were a variety of horrific paintings and statues of people being tortured in hell. Quite gratuitous. Hungry, sweaty and thirsty, I made my trek back down the mountain, through the pushy vendors and onto the boat. Lunch ensued, followed by a nap and then some touchy feely team building activities with one of the Baylor professors. We "got to know each other" in a handshake circle of sorts and then did an activity in which we passed hoola hoops (plastic piping taped together with masking tape) around a circle with hands held. I went up to the captain's reception later with everyone and sipped a very sweet chinese champaign and ate appetizers that would eventually ruin my night. During dinner my stomach was starting to complain, so I took my leave and walked around, then took a bit of pepto bismol to try and calm things down, but to no avail. I decided to try and sleep it off, but found myself up for much of the night in relatively intense abdominal pain.

July 3: In the morning I woke up feeling fine, if poorly rested. I was relatively victorious in my first battle with food here in China. Today, after another American-style breakfast, we departed the boat and enjoyed an excursion along the Daning River to the Lesser gorges. We passed some breathtaking, mist encrusted mountains and some entertaining monkeys. After the four hour excursion, we ate a pretty tasty lunch and now I am relaxing and recanting here what we have done. We are about to pass through the second gorge, so until next time.

Article from:http://paxroman.blogspot.com/2008/07/cruise.html