27 days away
30 km / 19 miles since last post
20,997 km / 13,047 miles total
Despite our initial reservations about the look of the shower in our room aboard the boat, it wasn't too bad when you used it. At least the water was nice and hot. (Stu note: use the toilet AFTER the shower, then use the shower to flush the toilet).
When we peered out of our window this morning we could see that we were still on the move and going through a large area of the gorge, so there was some nice scenery.
A girl knocked on our door this morning to collect our rubbish bin. When I first opened the door she gave me a very strange look, didn't say anything, then started giggling. It took a few seconds for me to realise what was going on, but behind me Stu was changing his t-shirt and for some reason the Chinese girl found this hilarious. Strange...
We had to be ready at 7:30am and meet the others as we were changing boats. The boat we had been on up until now is too big to travel along the next section of the gorge, so we need to change down to a smaller one to get through it.
On the new boat we took some seats on the top deck outside to get a good view. It was a bit chilly sitting outside, as the journey to the next part of the gorge probably took a couple of hours or so, but it was nice to have some fresh air. Some of the guys in our group played a few games of cards, with some Chinese tourists looking in and taking pictures of them.
We made a brief stop for the Chinese to get off the boat and visit a temple, which they had already paid to do as part of their tour. We stayed on the boat for the twenty minutes or so that they did this as Ricky said it wouldn't be of any interest to us as there was very little to see.
Soon after this we made another stop as we had to change boats once more. The gorge was getting smaller, and we needed to change down to a small wooden boat which could take around 25 people, plus the driver. This boat was fairly quick, and it took us around twenty minutes to get through the smaller gorge, and then we came back. The scenery of the gorge was very nice, but it didn't really change the further into the gorge you went - so it was, dare I say it, a bit 'samey'. (Stu note: read as 'waste of time').
After visiting this part of the gorge we were returned to our larger boat once again, which then took us back to our main vessel we had started our journey on. The irritating thing about getting this boat back to our main boat was that we had to sit inside - some bizarre Chinese rule that even Ricky didn't understand. Also, the whole way along there was a Chinese woman with a piercing high pitched voice giving a running commentary on every part of the journey in Chinese, which obviously we couldn't understand. For some reason she would also break into song now and again too. It was awful! Most of us put on our iPods to drown it out.
Another unpleasant incident along the way was a woman taking her child to the corner of the room to take a wee. I don't mean into a potty or pot or anything, she just pulled down the child's pants and let her wee on the floor! Tyson hadn't seen this, and it was only a few minutes later that he realise his backpack had been on the floor and it had run down onto it! Why this woman couldn't have taken the child outside or to the toilet, I really do not know. Really disgusting! (Stu note: Nothing really surprises me here anymore. I saw one woman holding up her child so that it could crap into a bin in the street. Broad daylight, crowded area and this woman is using her portable poo-gun.)
Once back onto our main boat again, it was around lunchtime so we took this in the restaurant on board. We had a really nice banquet lunch, with dishes chosen by Ricky as usual. The Chinese tourists already had their lunch included as part of their tour, and we saw they had things like pigs ears, and other unpleasant looking items. I'm glad our lunch was separate! We had sweet and sour pork, cauliflower, cooked cucumber, aubergines, egg and tomato stir fry and rice. Really good! (Stu note: worst meal of the trip so far).
Stu was feeling tired after lunch and had a nap in our cabin. I took the iPad up to the top deck and played some games with Jo, Tyson and Tegan. It was really nice on the top deck as the sun was out and there was nobody else around. Unfortunatley, a short while later the Chinese tourists all came up to the top deck, along with their tour guide with the screeching voice. She even has a microphone, just to grate even more! There goes our peace and quiet!
The reason for them coming up though is because we were just passing one of the large peaks along the gorge, which is featured on the 10 Yuan note.
The boat soon stopped off at a small village so the Chinese could visit another temple here. We had the chance to get off the boat too and walk around the market. It was a very tiny market, mostly consisting of deep fried animal parts and dried fish that all looked like it had been sitting out for a bit too long. There were lots of flies around the food as well which was a bit off-putting. Not very appealing. We took a brief walk around and then got back onto the boat. (Stu note: amoungst all of this relative poverty I noticed two shady looking men in suits and a few women who were dressed like prostitutes).
The boat was now due to return to the starting position. I don't think any of us had realised we would be going back to the start again. I think we had expected to continue our journey onwards. This meant we would be staying on our main boat until tomorrow morning, but would have to leave at 5:30am to get off out boat, then board a speedboat to take us back (as this would be quicker). It all seemed a bit of shame to just go all the way back from where we had come.
This evening we met everyone around 7:30pm after some food and played some cards in the recreation room until around 9:30pm. We didn't want to have a late night as we had to pack up our luggage and be up at 5am tomorrow! We're not looking forward to that!