Disembarkation was amazingly slow. The boat pulled up to a floating dock, inch by slow inch, and finally the ropes were thrown out. That took about ½ hour to edge to the dock. BTW, the dock is floating because the water table changes from season to season so the dock cannot be permantly moored in one place.

Another 20 minutes to get the ramp in place, and then we watched both passengers unload (we were the last), and the "bang bangs"--the porters move produce, supplies, etc. onto the ship as well as take off the luggage. The most amazing thing is that they carried the luggage up about 4 flights of stairs, two pieces on either side of a bamboo stick. They are the low rung on the totem pole, so to speak, and the porters from the ship are not allowed to help with this process.

We also had a great view of a man disrobe and proceed to take a bath in the Yangtze in full view of the ships. I don't know which we were more suprised at--the fact that he would bath in front of all these people, or to use the diesel and garbage filled water near the dock to choose to bathe.

A bus trip to the airport in the stickly 93 degree heat and check in. As I started to go through security, the women stopped, called someone over, and he made me move out of line. (Jim had already gone through.) He pointed down the concourse to an area marked "luggage check". I had to wait at least 10 minutes just get my luggage, and then they told me in terrible English that there was a battery (banned) in the luggage, to open it and take it out. Well, first of all it was Jim's bag!, and I had no idea what or where the "battery" was. I didn't panic but was getting pretty upset. Hubert made us put a Uniworld tag with his number on every piece of luggage. One of the girls agreed to call him-phone didn't work-used another one which finally did. Just as I was explaining all of this to Hubert and told him to send Jim back through to help me, I came upon his electric toothbrush with a permanent battery inside. I showed the girl, turned it on, and low and behold, she told me to close the suitcase and sent it through again. Just as Jim came to help, I was handed a sticker and told I could go. Throughout this process, very little English was used on their part, and I still don't know why an electric toothbrush that had gone through 4 other airports in China without a problem was picked out here. Took quite a while to calm down after that, but since our plane was slightly delayed, it worked out. I don't think I will go through the Chongqing airport again anytime soon!

Our excursion upon arriving in Guilin was to the Reed Flute Cave, an amazing underground (and cool!) cave of stalactites and stalagmites that was discovered in 1959. It is a little bit tacky since many of the areas are lit with a few too many colorful lights to highlight shapes that you may (or may not) interpret as lions, flowers, fish, and even the Statue of Liberty. Touristy or not, it was most impressive, large, cool (it is 95 hot and humid degrees here), and Wendy, at least, found it fascinating.

Onto our hotel which again is the Shangri-La and most beautiful. A quick rest, then onto a restaurant that served beautifully presented food, mostly vegetarian and was a welcome relief from the mediocre cuisine of the ship.

Back to the hotel, we stayed for a few minutes to watch a folk dancing show in the back courtyard around a fountain and pool.

Tomorrow is our Li River trip to see the gorgeous scenery here. We may go on an additional trip to the "country" to see the farmer's China, the way the country people live.