26.07.2014 - 29.07.2014
Well, time for some catch-up. We have been on our river vessel, partly boat and partly ship for two nights now. Everyone has settled in nicely to the routines of eating, drinking and relaxing. The cabins are nicely appointed, everything you need, lots of water and a comfy bed.
The biggest plus of a ship with only 250 people is that you get to know the staff very quickly. Take Lois, for example, as she is the epitome of a sales person. House beer and wine are free and unlimited. However, Lois is quick to point put that the beverage package is the best deal. For 150.00 you can drink unlimited amounts of outstanding world wines, mixed drinks or whatever else your heart desires. Of course Lois sells us. I, in turn, sell most everyone else sitting at our table on the idea. Now to reduce the overall drink cost will be the challenge. My sales class students know that you need to sell the 'WIIFM" or what's in it for me. My benefit, you might ask, is not having to drink inexpensive Chardonnay for 6 days!!!!!!
Here is a shot of Marty and our waitress, Bella, who is also part of the crew entertainment show.
This type of cruise is different in many different ways. Three meals a day, served buffet or served plate for breakfast and lunch. Last night's dinner was a family style Chinese meal, the night before was your choice of beef, pork, chicken, fish and vegetarian. There is one single reason I could stay on this ship for a long time and that is the house made Greek yoghurt. It is made in individual jars and comes in flavours of green tea, coffee, mango, blueberry, etc. So far all that I have tried is OUTSTANDING. I am looking forward to breakfast already.
They also have some unique shopping opportunities. Yes, there is a tailor on board. Yesterday morning I was measured for a beautiful silk jacket, red and black or course, and it was ready late in the afternoon. You can sit for a tea ceremony, watch artisans paint bottles from the inside and buy a strand of pearls! No tacky tourist gifts here.
Activities are limited on the ship. This is not a trip for those who need to be entertained. There are one or two talks a day about what we are going to see. This morning's talk taught us about the Three Gorges Dam project that we will be visiting this afternoon. This dam is 8 times the size of the Aswan Dam which I have seen. I can't quite imagine the magnitude of this project.
The scenery up until this afternoon has been a bit ho-hum. However at lunch today we entered the first lock and was lifted up to a whole new world. The color of the Yangtze changed to a deep green color from the brown we had previously seen. We have already passed some beautiful pagodas and have now entered Xi Gorge. The scenery has changed to deep forests, white cranes and cicadas chirping in the air.
Have I mentioned how hot it is? I think the forecast is for 38 degrees. Having spent about 90 minutes outside coming through the gorge I have caved and retreated to the air conditioned, National Geographic windows and a Tsingtao beer, maybe two. It isn't exactly your high test, Peroni type beer. It is more like a traditional American lite beer. Think Coors Lite......and is it hot, The always soaking wet, clammy, muggy wet when you combine hot weather with high humidity. This is something we Calgarians know little about. Even the breeze of the boat provides little relief. I will remember this day when it is freezing cold in Calgary in January.