Yangtze River, China, days 15 & 16
We slept like the dead and had travelled just under 200km to Fengdu by the time we woke, when after a mountain of breakfast in glorious splendour we disembarked in the pouring rain to visit the Ghost City. China is said to have two capitals, Beijing for the living and Fengdu for the dead, those who believe think that when they die they will come to Fengdu to meet the God of the underworld. He will judge them on their life and if they have been good they will be reincarnated, if they have led a bad life they will be tortured for eternity. A series of temples lines a hill leading to the oldest one which is 1600 years old and stands at the very top of the hill. Along the way are several challenges to determine if you are a good person. Within four small bridges built by the 11th son of the Ming Dynasty is one bridge that needs to be crossed without slipping to prove your character. J and I had to cross it holding hands tightly and looking into each others eyes so that we could be eternally together ?? A later challenge required us to step over a threshold with our left or right foot depending on if we wanted to be a man or a woman in our next life, J chose a woman so it looks like we’ll be lesbians in that one ☺️ so let’s hope the world is a bit more inclusive by then. The final challenge required us to stand with one foot on a smooth rock balancing with arms outstretched for three seconds without wobbling to show our honesty, which some managed better than others ?. The rain had stopped midway through our exploration and by late afternoon the day was truly glorious.
We spent the afternoon first learning how to play Mah Jong with Herbert the ships enthusiastic guide and then playing each other with a retinue of chinese women telling us how to play and what we should and should not be laying down which was awesome!
After another delicious meal served by KK our wonderful waiter we joined the rest of the passengers for a crew cabaret. None of the performers were professional but were so earnest and committed it was brilliant, such a fun evening. I AM LOVING THIS BOAT/SHIP whatever it is Xx
Oh how we slept, we’ve all been nursing chest infections since the pollution in Beijing so coughing fits have become the norm but this boat is a dream to sleep on. Breakfast is ridonkulously early so that excursions can fit in between stretches of travelling farther down stream but we did our best to make a dent in the piles of food provided before playing a few hours of mah jong with Ma and Egil.
We opted to stay aboard while everyone else went on on an excursion into a smaller tributary and we simply relaxed, watched boats drift by and revelled in the tranquility.
The Yangtze river is breathtakingly beautiful and we have traveleld through the first two of the famed three gorges today. This has without doubt been the highlight of the trip so far, we sat on our balcony and watched glorious scenery go by for hours.
The rest of the day was filled with more lovely food, scenery and mah jong until it was almost midnight and time to go through the first of five giant locks, which we’d stayed up to witness. The magic of locks on a canal is cool enough but a 218 passenger ship going through them is quite extraordinary! I’m posting this as we wait in the queue for the locks, I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow Xx