We are spending the next three days on the M.S. Yangtze Explorer, reputed to be the most luxurious ship on the river. The 124 passenger ship is home to our group as well as A&K, Nat Geo and a few independent travelers. It is nice and very comfortable, our cabin having 333 sq. ft, a king bed and a balcony. Wi-fi is slow and intermittent, but we do have CNN, and can keep up with breaking news from Boston in the USA.
After sailing during the night, we docked around 7am at Fengdu, the Ghost City. When the Three Gorges Dam was built on the Yangtze and opened in 2008, the water levels rose and flooded many communities and historically significant sites along the river. In anticipation, the government moved 1.3 million people into new homes, sometimes nearby. In the case of Fengdu, most of the local residents were moved to new apartments across the river, and some were moved higher up the hill. The government also saved and moved several homes, each more than 100 years old.
Today we visited some of those beautiful historic homes, as well as a local market and a pre-school.
The children, ages 3-6 were precious and enjoyed singing for us, as well as playing games with us. My husband had quite a time playing with a group of kids with three soccer and basketballs – it’s hard to say who actually had more fun. There was a lot of laughter all around.
Next up was the incredible market. We saw beautiful vegetables, tanks of live carp, every kind of meat (and organ) you can imagine, teeth (yes, teeth), tobacco and more. Locals were playing cards on the streets, and people were everywhere. No matter where you looked, you saw something wonderful and interesting. The only place I was shooed away from and couldn’t take pictures or even watch – was a local Mah Jongg parlor!
We toured a historic home that had belonged to the area’s wealthiest citizen, a local salt merchant. As we continued walking through the reconstructed historic area, we were treated to a surprise reception from the ship, with a variety of beverages and tasty snacks set in a handsome courtyard with two beautiful girls playing some delightful Chinese music.
Today we felt like we had a window into the way typical Chinese live their daily lives.
Back on board the Yangtze Explorer, we have been relaxing, attended an interesting lecture about the river, ate, drank, ate some more . . . . and enjoyed the scenery.
Tip of the day- don’t eat the pig snouts.