Day 13 - On the Yangze - Shennv Stream
Our only excursion today started nice and early, at 7:45. Walked through several ships and docks (they all park next to either on the docks so often you have to go through a couple of them) to get to our destination--small sightseeing boats which took us down a beautiful smaller tributary of the Yangtze called Shennv Stream, also referred to as the Goddess Stream. It is newly created due to the Three Gorges dam. Passing many peaks including Feifeng Peak (looks like a phoenix flying in the sky) at the beginning, Shangsheng Peak, etc. they all meld into each other amid the beautiful scenery that made us take photo after photo to try to capture it all. There are several places that landslides have eaten away from eroded areas, and a few moss covered stalagmites amid small caves. It was incredibly peaceful, beautiful and you felt like you were inside one of the famous Chinese watercolor paintings.
On the way back, our guide sold various Chinese herbs, some kind of ginseng, and a special tea, or really "herb infusion" as the name "tea" has to come from the specific tea plant, to the eager Taiwanese tourists on the boat. This "tea" is thought to be bring longevity to the people who live up on the mountain.
We heard once again how many of the people along the river had been displaced by the dam, but they are grateful to the government for relocating them to higher (obviously) and somewhat more luxurious homes from where they were before.
The rest of our day was spent relaxing. There are several activities on board typical of cruises, but most are not too interesting to us, at least today. Wendy went swimming where, surprisingly, there was no one else in the pool, and Jim had a Chinese "Kung fu" massage which was lovely, and Wendy watched part of a Chinese movie "Dragon Blade" which recreated the story of the Mongolian village that was an optional tour this afternoon. Jackie Chan is getting old (well, I guess we all are...!) Dinner (food is OK, but IMHO, not really great), then there was a cute evening Talent Show with a costumed crew playing various roles in an emperor story. It was followed by several cute children singing songs (there must have been a sign-up in advance). When it started getting tedious, we left to get our beauty sleep to the rhythm of a gently moving ship.
Tomorrow we stop at the Shibaozhai Pagoda, a famous landmark along the river and continue our cruise about 100 miles toward the city of Chongqing, our final destination and disembarkation point the next morning.