Bunks On The Boat
Got up at what I thought was nice and early to realise that on my way back from the shower that the hostel staff was just about to rap my door. He told me the driver was here to take me to the bus for Chongqing. As this was 0645 and I had been told 0730 I was somewhat surprised. Luckily I was pretty much ready though I told the staff that the driver will just have to wait till I gather my bags!
Got to the bus which then left at 0710. I don't think there was actually any specific time for this bus to go. It wasn't full either. It just left...
Arrived in Chongqing ("ChongChing") at about lunchtime. Looked like a right grubby/smoggy/icky place. Unfortunately I think that describes it to a tee.
Chongqing Dock At Night
We (others from the other hostel in Chengdu
who were also getting the boat) were met by our 'travel agent' who brought us to his office where we confirmed our tickets and bought tours if we so wished - I bought tickets for the Little 3 Gorges Trip and also The Big Dam trip. These were excursions of the main cruise boat. He treated us to noodles. Very tasty and well needed.
Walking up the town to find the supermarket to pick up some supplies just confirmed that Chongqing is not the most pleasant of cities in China. I don't know if this was just the part near to the dock rather than the real 'shopping' area but it did not inspire me to go venturing further afield. In truth I was too tired anyway, so once I had bought some food I just headed back to the travel agency and sat down until it was time to get on the boat.
The Yangtze. Yeuch.
Catching the boat on the Yangtze River - actually this should
be better described as being STUCK on the boat for 3 days. Not the most
pleasant of boat trips, it wasn't horrible just not anywhere near
wonderful! Like everytime we went to the canteen it was closed or there
was just no food! We never did really figure out what time it opened
at. I did meet some other travellers, one couple whom I met up with
again in Hanoi! (Hi Michelle & Paul). I guess we thought that once
we were on the boat the smog/haze/stuff blocking out the sun would
improve a bit since we were sailing down the middle of a rather large
river. Unfortunately it actually seemed to be worse. The banks were a
lovely grey-green rather then green and we couldn't see very far
infront. I had heard that many of the stops (pay extra to go see the
'sights') were not really worth it so I didn't bother with them. I was
disappointed in the one extra trip I did which was to the Little 3
gorges. It was nice, just not as spectacular as I was expecting.
Admittedly again the weather/conditions may have added to this. It
certainly wasn't the nice crisp clear gorges that I am hoping to see in
New Zealand. Still it was funny watching the Chinese tourists all
swell out onto the deck and point in one direction as the guide
continued here non-stop oration. We have no idea what we missed, but I
doubt if it was important!