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Mahjong on the Yangtze

Chongqing to Yichang

View Two Pairs of Shoes on arianemeena's travel map.

After a morning in a pay-by-the-hour hotel (for post-train showering you understand, though one doubts the motives of the other customers) we left Chongqing by bus for Wanzhou, where our river boat awaited us. I think we had all pictured something rickety and wooden, perhaps with dorms, but what met us was a 160-passenger cruise ship with en suite cabins. After a late night departure we woke (after ignoring the 630am broadcast in aggressive Mandarin) to the first and shortest gorge, Qutang, outside our window.

After lunch a few of us joined an excursion to the Little Three Gorges of the Daning river. Since the rise in water level due to the downstream dam, many consider these smaller gorges to be the more beautiful and they certainly provided some impressive views, particularly when we swapped our river boat for small traditional fishing vessels.

As the sun set we cruised through the second gorge, Wu, with its twelve peaks, each with some fanciful name such as 'Goddess' and 'Peak of the Immortals'.

Whilst the Chinese did karaoke very badly we learnt Mahjong, ably 'assisted' by some passengers who found our lack of speed and general ineptitude hilarious.

The third gorge, Xiling, drifted past late at night but this was almost more impressive as the black peaks loomed in to view through the mist. Our disembarkation was early and on the way to the next town we stopped off at a viewpoint for the Three Gorges Dam, beloved of A-level geography students everywhere. Sadly the fog somewhat detracted from its impact but it was mandatory I had a cheesy picture in front of it (this one's for you, Viv)

After indulging my inner geography geek it was time to have a train geek moment as to get to our sleeper we needed to take a bullet train from Yichang to WuChan.

Posted by arianemeena 03:13 Archived in China

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I think you should collate all the place names you pass through and make them into a song, a la Amateur Transplants and their 'The Drugs Song' http://www.last.fm/music/Amateur+Transplants/_/The+Drugs+Song

by Josh Storrar

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