Journey to Yangshuo, China, day 17
Day 17 started a few minutes past midnight going into one of five huge locks at the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze river. In front of us a much larger cruise ship was moving within inches of the right wall leaving a good few metres clear on his port side. We were small enough to need a lock buddy, in this case a massive gravel filled barge who inched into the lock along side us leaving less than a foot between us and on either side, AMAZING! The precision of the Captains is staggering considering the size of the ships. Once completely within the lock the doors slowly closed and we were soon speedily dropping down a few dozen metres. While this was all happening tiny Chinese people had been pressing full body into us to get a look, personal space being an entirely foreign concept 😳.
Abandoning our railing side viewing spot at the front of the ship we headed to our cabin on the second floor where the lock walls boxed in our balconies entirely, so very cool! By now it was almost one and we hit the sack.
Another lovely nights sleep and I woke sad to be leaving this temporary home.
It’s been a tour of highs and lows and today was no different. After the awesome last few days at check out time we struggled with our bags down narrow flights of stairs, through the bowels of our ship and the one next door and along a long makeshift gantry of several rust covered barges and finally up more stairs to the shore, back to G Adventures basic tour with a bang.
By the majestic Yangtze, at the bottom of the locks we had passed through while we slept and alongside the largest power station in the world, the Three Gorges Dam we boarded a coach to the railway station in Lichang for our final all day and night crapola open carriage hard sleeper journey, this time to Yangshao. A pit stop at a mall on the way saw us visiting the golden arches once more and stocking up on food at Walmart for our 15 hour train journey. Who knew we’d eat more big macs in China than anywhere else in Asia. Most bizarre as we love local food wherever we go but we simply aren’t taken to any on travelling days and navigating no picture no English menus solo with limited time is a risky proposition, they really do eat anything and everything here ☺️.
The train is as gross as I remember, dirty sheets and tiny open privacy free bunks, incessant inane chatter flowing barrier-less and smoke drifting intermittently down from the window-free smoking spot between carriages. We’ve at least found the off switch for the god awful music being pumped in, sadly not one for the shit music one of our group decided to subject us to.
Thank cheese this is our last long train journey and almost the end of this shit show. Soon we’ll get to return to our own schedule and have lovely CLEAN accommodation as the norm! I may sound incredibly ungrateful but this has truly been the most basic, cheap and badly organised tour I’ve ever been on and has put me off organised tours for life. Seeing my 60 something mother struggle with the shitty accommodation, transport and poor organisation has been enraging and heartrending in equal measure. Much better to do it yourself, cheaper and most definitely more enjoyable with a FAR better level of accommodation and travel. China itself has been awesome and I am trying to separate the incredible highlights from the rest of it in my memories. Hard when Ma just suggested she might sleep in the hotel lobby at the next place if it’s anything like the last few, they’ve all had very shiny lobbies.
4.30am we were all woken to get ready for our stop. Having had nowhere to sit I’d napped since we boarded at one in the afternoon yesterday and was daisy fresh, ready for our five hour cheap and crappy coach journey to Yangshuo Xx