Three gorges, spicy potatoes and friendly gawkers
After our mad dash to get to the Three Gorges cruise ship it is safe to say that we were pretty tired. So we were a little startled when at 6.30am on the first day the ship wide radio alarm went off and we were shocked awake by a Chinese woman singing. As our walls are so thin we could hear the cursing of our surrounding neighbours and Sam’s reaction in particular was hilarious, “What the f*** is that???” In spite of her warbling in our ears we determinedly went back to sleep for a few more hours. We had a group meeting at 10 so that Joy could explain the sights we would be seeing on our cruise.
First stop was the Qútáng gorge, the smallest of the three. If you can get your hands on a ¥10 note, it’s the picture on the back of it. We oooed and ahhhed and took some pictures like the good tourists that we are but whilst it was stunning and magnificent to behold, we’d already been spoilt by the beautiful, and if we were going to judge, slightly more impressive formations all over New Zealand. So after a bit of gawping we headed back inside for a spot of Mahjong.
Before we knew it it was past lunchtime and we’d docked in a place called Wúshàn so the Chinese on the ship could go off for an excursion down the Three Little Gorges. Joy recommended we get off and have a look around the town. It was brilliant. This was the first time we felt like we had seen ‘real China’. There were no other tourists, there was no signs of Westernisation, it was just a normal Chinese town going about its business. We saw a guy getting his hair cut in the middle of the street, a group of people surrounding two men playing Chinese chess and shops selling the most random things. However because it was so untouched by the West we did cause quite a stir. People stopped in the street, cars doubled back for a second view of us. In other places this has felt aggressive and a little intimidating, with cameras shoved in our faces and people trying to crowd us. Here though it felt friendly, people were smiling, they were just watching us from a distance and the brave few would say hello to us. It was lovely.
We wandered round for a good few hours before heading back to the boat. There was a woman selling potatoes on the street just outside the dock and as none of us had had potatoes in a long time (not really used in the Chinese diet) we all decided to get them. They were incredible as she’d added a bit of chilli and cumin and we could, quite literally, have eaten the entire pan. Our quick stop didn’t go unnoticed though and before we knew it, there was a crowd of at least fifteen Chinese men watching us, thrilled to see us and many attempted to chat to us in English. One particularly friendly guy wanted his pic with Ben and Soniya, and they obliged. We said a sad farewell and boarded our boat again and got ready for a party!
Rex’s Rules of the Road
- Make sure you have a ¥10 note ready so that you can see the pic and the Qutang Gorge together! Read Rach's review here.
- Be prepared for early morning starts, there is no snooze button for the ship wide morning radio alarm.
- Enjoy every moment you can when you are walking down the street without people shoving a camera in your face.