28.07.2014 - 31.07.2014 38 °C
So we exited the boat early this morning to climb to the top of the Shibaozhai Temple, or Temple of Heaven. It is truly impossible to explain the heat and the humidity we encountered today. The ship docked, we climbed a number of stairs and were already soaking wet. Not just sweaty but SOAKING wet. Everyone has sweat dripping off of them, big, small, fit, young and old. It doesn't matter if you have a hat or an umbrella you are HOT! They call this sticky rice weather here!
So before we head to the temple we must walk through the city markets. I marvel at their determination to sell you something and they are all selling the same stuff, shirts, ties, silk pajamas, wine covers and, of course, fans! As you can imagine the fans are quite popular. We get to wander through the town, waving and calling Ni Hao to the children who are adorable.
Over a "drunken" swinging bridge and we start our climb to heaven. The are 9 levels all with 11 stairs. 99 stairs to the top of the pagoda and to the temple. The climb isn't to difficult in spite of the heat. I do wish I had brought an extra bottle of water! The views are spectacular and we learn a number of things along the way. I still marvel that these small people make temples with such large stairs.
Back through town to practice our bartering skills, we learn who is and who isn't the best at bartering. Not want to spend our money all at one place we show great restraint for what is to come.
The time on the ship is coming to an end. The part I have loved the most is the open seating concept. We have had some excellent, interesting, funny and stimulating conversations with people from the U.S, Britain, Wales, and Scotland. For example tonight we sat with a couple from Stoke on Trent in England. She is a wedding seamstress that works on wedding dresses for gypsy weddings. Their friends live about an hour away. He is a test driver for Aston Martin cars, yes the James Bond 007 car. He brings these $4000,000.00 cars home for the weekend! The staff is in no hurry to have you leave so the conversations can carry on long after dessert and the wine keeps flowing. Last night we were treated to a crew entertainment show which is always amusing and entertaining.
Well of to pack our bags. Just like big cruises our bag has to be outside our cabin by 11 PM tonight. We are off the ship at 7 AM. Off to see the pandas in Chongqing.