The Second Half Of My Cruise

The second half of the Yangtze River trip:

The daily routines of a tourist’s life are pleasant enough, breakfast started at 6:30 am promptly.

The one and only restaurant located on the aft (back) part on 2nd floor, just off the main lobby area. Bright and airy, it is well maintained, utensils are well polished, each table are assigned two service personnel, how ever they also deal with two other tables at least, so their workloads are heavy.

Our table had a male and a female service people, the guy was called Kevin, and the young lady is named Rita. It was unusual in the Chinese society to me up to that point, because in the factory environment, everyone had their traditional Chinese name.

In my daily encounters in Ningbo, I was addressed as “grandpa” a few times, or “laoban” (boss) a few times. It was just in that part of town, that was how people addressed others if they didn’t know you.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all self services, except the “Welcome Reception” – which was presented on the fifth floor bar and ballroom area.

“Welcome aboard Dinner” was a sit down dinner on the second evening. Very nicely done and presented. Our table had nine people, seven from our little tour group, and a Jewish American couple from the eastern seaboard of USA. Well, this couple apparently had travelled quite a few more times than anyone of us in China, with the exception of our team captain – S.

It was certainly interesting to listen to their viewpoint being Jewish American – the guy was at an age that he said he had participated the week long war between Israel and Egypt in the late sixties.

There is no denying that if you are Jewish, or if you are Chinese, you are of that heritage by birth. I myself certainly would have no problem accepting that. But to enlist in the Israeli Army and to fight against the Arab people you never had any dealings with before until the day you put on your Israel army uniform, that I certainly would have a lot of thinking to do before I would make that sort of commitment.

By the same token, the atrocities the Japanese Imperial Army did to the Chinese people during the Second World War. To this day, the Japanese Government would not acknowledge such happenings, nor would you find any mentioning in their text books through out their education system.

I am not happy with what is known as the Nanking Massacre, I watched the peaceful protestation in Hong Kong and Memorial Service in Nanking the other night. The male staff who came out of the Japanese Consulate in HK looked perplex and very young. He accepted a letter presented by the protestors. His facial expression said it well,” What it is all about?”

Diplomats are very hierarchy conscious, sending a young staff out to face the crowd is a not so subtle way of saying they do not see any significance of the demonstration. In simple street words: “They don’t give a damn!”

Looking back at the city I was last at in the mainland, during morning and evening rush hours, of all the one person operated vehicles to and from work, 80% percent are manufactured under licensed from Japanese manufacturers. No doubt it created jobs for local people.

But, it did nothing to persuade the Japanese Government that we are serious to right the wrong.

Anyways, people, I tend to sway away what I set out to do. To relay my travel story.

Our cruise ship sailed / motored through Wushan and many of her spectacular gorges with beautiful names. The weather was pleasant but always misty.

The last sight seeing spot was The Three Gorges Dam Project. We disembarked about twenty minutes drive away from the Dam’s entrance way.
After a short twenty minutes bus ride, we checked through a security check point, all hand bags and day bags must go through a X- Ray machine. Then the tour bus dropped us off in a huge parking lot right in front of a large complex with a good sized model of the Three Gorge Dam Project. There were multiple tour guides giving short talks about the Dam Projects.

At the Exist way, there were counters lining the four walls leading to the large walk ways outside, at the far end, there are lots of fenced in area allowed tourists to take pictures and what not.

Again, full credits to the planners of this Project, Project Management had already quietly begun an ambitious undertaking of building elevators that could lift ships up the next level instead of going through water locks the usual way.

The Project construction began in 1994 became operational in 2003, and completely operational in 2009. The Dam measured 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide at the top, and 130 meters wide at the bottom.

This Dam regulates water levels between winter and summer months. It raised her water level to 175 meters, and at summer months lowered to 146 meters to regulate and store summer flood water.

This Dam creates a lot of controversy, common folks who lived along the original river banks were displaced, old towns and historical sites demolished to make ways for the project. And some folks questioned who would ultimately benefit from it?

We all understand numbers; let me throw a number out for you all, the Project was said to cost RMB 230 Billion, or USD $ 28 Billion.

I have seen some documentary film; no doubt it displaced a lot of people, but for the good of the country and the future generation. It is done, and we are all very proud of it.

It is the largest water reservoir ever built in the world.

So all of us bought more souvenirs, a lot of it will no doubt be left in the crawl space or attic after a while. But it created a fond memory for the seven of us. The evening before docking at Yichang, the ship’s Captain held a farewell party for us. A lot of song and dance performed by the cruise ship’s talented crew.

Next day mid morning the ship arrived Yichang (宜昌), all we took a nine seats transport van to Wuhan. (武 漢). It was a four hundred kilometers drive.
The driver looked tired, and so S., myself, and even the quiet spoken Dr. T took turns to keep him awake. We got to Wuhan in the early evening. It kind of feeling empty and sad, because two weeks of hopping from one hotel to another, from one plane to another will soon comes to an end.

We will soon back to our own home, sleep in our own beds, resume our own routines. Travelling gives us insight about a lot of things, how we deal with friends in a more intimate setting, like having meals together, like seeing the interaction between couples, like giving a friend a helping hand when the friend is in distress.

At the end of some days during the last three months, I wished I hadn’t made this “Three months commitment” to myself. But I am glad I did.

It enriched my life, and hopefully others, in some way.

This concludes the descriptions of my holiday trip. I will recall some of my impressions of the society I spent three months in. So talk to you again soon

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