We were out again, bright and early to walk to the Shibaozhai Pagoda, a well-known attraction that is a 12-tier wooden pavilion about 400 years old (Ming Dynasty) built against the mountain but exceeding its height by three tiers.To get there, we walked up a hill and through small roadways that were lined on both sides with a slew of vendors selling products. Many were exactly the same, some with stalls in the front with the actual larger store behind them. Again, we heard the story that these ex-farmers were more content with their life now, after the entire village had been moved, stone and brick up the mountain when the dam was built. The pavilion has been renovated, but the original front gate would have been completely covered by the rising waters. What was left of the village was demolished and is now under water.
Jim and a couple of new friends who are professors in Texas intrepidly climbed nine tiers of the pagoda. The legend says that for every tier you climb, you add a year to your life (whoo hoo!). Since they made it to the top, they should be good for at least a few more years!
Meanwhile, Wendy went back across a swaying, but not really rickety bridge to get back to the village. She found several things and had lots of fun bargaining. For the Chinese, bargaining is a sport, and the better you do it the more your are respected. The trick is to start low--10-30% of what they are asking. And her trick is to not go too high to counter, just walk away and insist that the final price is the final price. Of course, to save face at the end, she usually went up maybe 10 yuan ($1.60) more. The best bargaining was for a mask. These were the only masks we had seen in all of our travels so far. The vendor gave Jim a big thumb's up when the bargaining was finished--she did good!!!
We have a lot of experience bargaining in our travels. But we heard a funny story about a passenger who obviously didn't. He must go to Vegas a lot. When the vendor stated the price of 80 yuan, he countered with 100!! That vendor enjoyed his big dinner that night and most likely replayed the story to his entire family.
Rest of the day was quiet with not much to do - a little too lethargic for our taste. Most of the activities are lame, although Wendy learned about 10 ways to tie scarves, and we watched a bit of kite flying. The Captain's dinner ended the day. We were all dressed up and the only passengers in the Pavilion dining room on the 6th floor. Here's a picture of our entire group. Tomorrow we leave the ship and travel to southern China and the city of Guilin.