The River Cruise has just begun!

The River Cruise has just begun!

Finally the ship has moved away from the shore line, all the passengers has checked in, I guessed the seven of us who had not had an early dinner started feeling a bit hungry while sitting at the empty dinning hall.

The all inclusive food service will begin tomorrow morning promptly at breakfast time, so we ordered a bunch of fried rice and fried noodles just to tie us over until tomorrow.

About this smoking anywhere culture of ours in China, like a bad dream, a quite well dressed middle age man walked into the dinning room casually and promptly lighted up a cigarette. Our table being the only other table in this otherwise empty dinning hall – promptly complained to our server. To his credit, he quietly walked over, asked the man to butt out, and he did! We felt like winning a minor battle.

The cruise ship has notices posted everywhere, no smoking anywhere indoors, not even inside your own cabin. Since every guest room has a little bit of a deck space – this ship did not have inside cabins, I guess most of the nicotine feeding was done while the guests were outside standing on their little bit of deck space.

Our cabin was on the port side – left side. Our team mate P. and his wife occupied one room down stream. Unfortunately one cabin up from us had smokers; you could not really be out there enjoying fresh air unless these people were not smoking!

Chinese TV channels do not accept cigarette commercials, they only advertize spirits, and the commercials are all very well done and elaborate, with 13 billion people as potential customers, there is no chance of poor sales. Ever!

Cigarettes are not cheap, as compare to local beers, I don’t remember the exact prices, say if a large bottle of local brew sells for RMB $2.5, a pouch pack of twenties would be
between five and eight dollars, so it is not inexpensive. I am no medical people, the way some of our fellow travelers smoked, what kind of medical bills they would have to face when their time came?

As our cruise ship sailed smoothly down stream away from Chong Qing, let me give you a little bit of statistics, Chong Qing City has a population of 33 million people, the city itself has about 82 thousand square kilometers in her metro area. The city is quite warm in the summer – it can rise as high as 43 C with summer humidity between 90 to 95 %. So it might be wise to pick your cruise schedule around November – December.

We occupied a standard room of 19 square meters, the ship takes 265 passengers with 132 guest rooms, a crew of 128 members, top speed of 28km/h ( not in knots ).
The ship was built in 2004, with a width of 15m, and a length of almost 100m.

That said, the ship itself is maintained pretty nicely, no cigarette burn marks on the carpets, no smell anywhere, the crew is efficient and fast, on board entertainments were plenty and the service crew doubles as the entertainment crew when called upon. They either were musically talented or a good dancers. Unlike cruise ship in North America, their entertainers on board do just that. One thing worth mentioning, the chief purser on board was a Texan named Ernie – and he looked as though as he had passed his retirement age of 65 by ten years. But he was energetic and friendly.

On board ship there were about twenty English speaking tourists – that included some English speaking Chinese Americans working in Shanghai, some others from the US eastern seaboard, some Midwest, and some Canadians and Australians in our group.

Morning came fast as the ship approached Fengdu (豐都) – The Ghost City – the old ghost 石city was immersed under water by 17.5 meters when the Yangtze River Dam was constructed in the early Year 2000. Approximately a few hundred thousand residents were relocated to a new town to the south bank of the Yangtze.

Right now, Fengdu has a population of about 750,000 people, with lots of Buddhist and Taoist Temples. As usual, all tourists’ attractions are admission fees applied. We did not go ashore as some other people did. Our ship sailed on towards the City of ShibaoZhai (石寶塞)

More to come! 

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