[Saturday 14 June 2014]
4* Ocean Hotel, Shanghai
Yangtze River cruise
- [i] Changed to 11:35 on the e-ticket.
- Day 4, Yangtze River Cruise (B/L/D)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Wuhan, where you will continue to Yichang to board your ship for the four-night Yangtze River Cruise which will tour the Three Gorges Dam and breathtaking scenery along the way as you cruise upstream.
Day 166 1 Kings 12-13; 1 Corinthians 12
I slept well, but Janet hardly at all. “I finally fell asleep ca.4am and was woken by the alarm at 6am…,” she wrote. “At breakfast, I felt nauseous and didn’t eat or drink anything. I was just so tired.”… I changed the dressings on the elbows. The swollen thumb didn’t seem much worse, if at all; the main cause for concern today was the spreading oedema on the left forearm.
Janet did the packing, apart from the little I needed to pack in my hand luggage. We took everything down to the ground floor with us
i.e. completely vacated the room, left the cases in the lobby, handed the key-cards back at reception to check out, then took our hand-luggage in with us to breakfast. After that we met the group in the lobby (8.15am), then went out to our respective coaches to be taken to the airport for internal flights. Max gave each of us our passport and boarding card as we lined up for baggage check-in. One of our cases was stopped for inspection, so we had to go to the bay on the other side of the conveyor system. It was because there were batteries packed in the case;
Janet was able to find them without too much disruption of the case’s contents; and we were allowed to keep them once they’d been identified. And
Janet’s satchel was pulled over for inspection at the security check; she’d unwittingly packed a screwdriver, which on the previous flight she’d packed in the hold-luggage; and it was confiscated. We found “Gate 63” and waited in the nearby seats. It was a
Boeing 737-800, with a seat configuration “3 + 3”. Our seats were on the right (as one faces the direction of travel). They were window and middle, but
Janet was able to arrange with the Chinese young woman in the aisle seat to swap with us so she could have the aisle seat. The plane was scheduled to take off at 11:35, but did so nearly ½-hour late (12:03); nevertheless, it landed at 13:24, a minute ahead of schedule (13:25).
Janet began to feel very ill indeed and spent most of the flight with her head between her knees. She later wrote, “I had an ‘Amalfi Coast
do’[ii]… So on these two occasions it must have been a combination of lack of sleep (mostly that, I guess) and the travelling.… I felt so desperately ill and distressed.” When the Chinese man in front of her reclined his seat, the woman next to me tapped him on the shoulder and indicated
Janet behind him; he restored his seat to the upright position. When at last
Janet sat up again and remained in that position, I tapped the man on the shoulder and indicated that it was OK to recline the seat again, but he didn’t. I’m writing this on
3 July 2014: I can’t remember whether we were served lunch on the plane or whether the coach we boarded took us to a restaurant in Wuhan. Probably the former, I think. I do remember having a word with Max as we waited to board the coach to say that
Janet was feeling ill and could do with a rear seat to spread out on. He let her have his own travel pillow. However, by the time we got on the coach the rear row was occupied by a couple, and the man said he needed the leg-room. I assumed therefore that he would sit in the centre seat to stretch his legs out, but he didn’t. So the leg room available to him was no different from that in any other seat. May God reward his unkindness and obstinacy appropriately!
Janet had to lie down as best she could on one of the two-seat sets. The journey from Wuhan to Yichang was some 300km and took over 4 hours. I got my first view of paddy fields. The green shoots in most places were so abundant that it wasn’t obvious that the soil was waterlogged below them. It seemed that every piece of flat land or land that could be flattened by terracing was used for rice production. The other main crop that I saw was maize. There were also many forested hills on the journey. At one point we passed a building quite a long way off on a rise, with an ornamental gate and turned-up eaves, and it had a Christian cross on the roof. We had a stop at some services along the expressway, and
Janet was dismayed to find that the “ladies” was provided with squat toilets, but she managed to use one.… We arrived in Yichang, 7pm-ish, and it was dark. We had dinner at a restaurant — the usual round tables, with a glass turntable which became full of the dishes placed on it one by one.
Janet found one of the guys at our table — pot-bellied Frank — who was the life and soul of the party, or thought he was, very annoying on this and subsequent occasions. She kind of got used to him by the end, though, and tolerated him almost quasi-affectionately. His longsuffering wife was pleasant. Others on that table were an embarrassment too, making depreciatory and contemptuous remarks about Chinese food, speech-patterns and customs — guests in China, in the hearing of Chinese people! After dinner we stopped and trooped off the coach at a medium sized convenience store — for water and soft drinks in our case, and for beer and “snacks” in the case of the overweight louts. We re-boarded the coach, and were taken to the quay where two or three large boats were moored. I paid for the cabin upgrade by credit card — and were shown to a much-larger-than-expected stateroom, with spacious bathroom, a double bed that almost seemed like a quadruple one, and double sliding doors leading to the balcony. “I was beyond tired at that time,”
Janet wrote, “and we had to attend a tour briefing at” 9.30pm in the bar on deck 5. There the boat’s guides “Judy” and “Herbert” were introduced to us. If the ship’s whistle gave a long blast followed by six or more short ones then we had to muster in the same location: the bar on deck 5. One thing they told us: Keep the balcony doors closed at night, otherwise we’d find ourselves in the company of mosquitoes and cockroaches. We fancied both of the optional tours they promoted — “The Tribe of the Three Gorges” tomorrow morning from 8.30am, and “The White Emperor City” on Tuesday afternoon — so we booked and paid for these before returning to the cabin. “It was… 11.45pm before I got into bed ([John] was already there) after sorting some packing out, organising our stuff for the morning, and having a shower and washing my hair,”
Janet wrote. “It had been a long day and I was still [feeling] a bit iffy. So tired I felt quite weepy.”
- [ii] → 9
June 2013, note.
[Monday 16 June 2014]