Monday 29 February 2016

China Part 6...

Embarkation of the Century Sky completed we enjoyed a relaxing evening on board, with a super buffet dinner and entertainment.

After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast we spent most of the following day relaxing on our balcony and the sun deck as we sailed down the Yangtze,
watching passing traffic
and enjoying the scenery.

Our ship docked in Zhongxian County, famous for the Shibaozhai Pagoda, which means Stone Treasure Fortress, it was first built in Qing Dynasty in 1750

We disembarked to walk around the little market on the way to the Pagoda.

We eventually arrived at the gate to the Pagoda

but as it was a very steep climb to the Pagoda we didn't visit.  We stopped at a local cafe for refreshments before heading back to the ship,  exchanging the time of day with the locals, well those that weren't asleep.

Back on board we relaxed on our veranda watching the comings and goings on the river

before getting ready for the Captain's welcome party before dinner.   After dinner we were treated to some fabulous local entertainment, which included a 'Changing Faces' artist.   This is act quite magical,  it would seem with the wave of a fan in front of the face the face of the artist completely changes makeup!    We weren't allowed to film but I have found a clip of a similar show on You tube if you'd like to watch it.  

The dance group invited a member of audience to join them on stage to take part in the show and a very game man from our group volunteered.  The result was hilarious and amused the Chinese members of the audience as much as it amused us.

After a lovely relaxing day and exciting evening  we retired for the night,  looking forward to sailing through the Wu Gorge the following day.

I hope you will join me for Part 7 of our cruise. 

Monday 22 February 2016

China Part 5....

After our overnight stay in Chongqing it was time to depart our hotel for a tour of the city, before our onward journey.   Our first stop of the day was a visit to Ciqikou Old Street, which means "Porcelain Port",  an ancient town originally called Longyinzhen and was also known as Little Chongqing. According to an old Chinese proverb: "One flagstone road, and one thousand years' Ciqikou". The name of the town can be traced back to porcelain production during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing Dynasties.   Formerly a busy port located at the lower reaches of the Jialing River, a thousand years after its foundation the town remains a symbol and microcosm of old Chongqing.

 Fascinating old buildings,

thriving businesses,

interesting entrances and carvings.

We found a lovely modernised coffee shop up a hidden flight of stairs where we enjoyed some refreshment.

It had a veranda at the front overlooking the street

and one at the back overlooking their back terrace.
Our next stop was lunch, yes you've guessed it another Chinese banquet, then a full city tour where our first destination was People's Square

with the magnificent Great Hall of the People, which is a large hall for political meetings and cultural events.
On the opposite side of People's Square stands the Three Gorges Museum

 with it's magnificent entrance hall.
Displays include painting, calligraphy, porcelain, coins, sculpture and cultural objects.

From the museum we joined our coach again to visit the Huguang Guildhall.
The Huguang Guild Hall is an old complex of buildings that was a cultural, business and social center for more than 200 years. When people came from other provinces to settle in the region during the Qing Dynasty, they built guild halls. The Huguang Hall was built for people from Hubei, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hunan.   This complex of rooms and halls served for business, entertainment, religious and social activity and as a meeting place for people from the provinces in the southeast and east.

It contains many interesting artefacts.

We were interested to know why every doorway had a steep lip to step over to enter a room and were told it was to deter ghosts from entering, apparently ghosts cannot step over anything.

As we were leaving the Guildhall we stopped for a while to watch the great traditional entertainment in the courtyard.

Then it was time for us to join The Century Sky Cruise Ship for a two day cruise.

I hope you will  join me for our cruise on the Yangtze River in Part 6.

Monday 15 February 2016

China Part 4.....

After breakfast, luggage already loaded onto the coach, we departed our hotel in Chengdu and headed for the Bamboo Park to visit a tea house and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

The tea house was right in the middle of the park and our hosts were waiting to seat us and serve us tea.

After sampling the tea some locals were offering shoulder and neck massages so I, and a few others in the group,  decided to try.

I have to say it was quite vigorous and caused a lot of amusement amongst our group.  We posed for photos with our guides,

some local people enjoying the tea house very kindly let us take their photo too.
After sampling tea and massage we walked around the park, which is popular at weekends with parents bringing their children to enjoy the park, fortunately it was still early so it wasn't too busy whilst we were there.

The park is quite beautiful and smelled so fresh, probably because it had been raining earlier, before we arrived.

 You can see from the next photo just how huge the bamboo is next to MWM.  Another friendly local kindle agreed to let me take his photo too.

We had a lovely relaxing couple of hours in the park, by which time we had to leave to go for lunch, which was a chinese banquet in a local restaurant.     After another delicious leisurely lunch we joined our coach again for our 370km journey to our next destination, Chongqing.   We had enough time to unpack and freshen up at our hotel before heading out for dinner, yet another Chinese banquet, lucky we like Chinese food eh?

Join me next time for Part 5 and a day sightseeing in Chongqing.