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Tuesday 17 June 2014

[Monday 16 June 2014]

Yangtze River cruise
Day 6, Yangtze River Cruise (B/L/D)
Following breakfast you will take in a tour of the Shennong Stream, a zigzagging watercourse where local inhabitants line the shore. You will then sail to Wu Gorge, the prettiest of the Three Gorges, followed by Qu Tang Gorge, the shortest. In the afternoon you will have the option to take a tour of the White Emperor City, an ancient temple perched at the top of an island in the middle of the city.

Day 168 1 Kings 16; 1 Corinthians 14
I slept well after I eventually went to bed — but again Janet didn’t. Because the exudate from the site of the wound on the left thumb had made a yellowish stain on the dressing I replaced it. Some of the redness on that terminal phalanx was now purple, and the hint of pus lower down had become a swollen, yellow pyoid lump, though deep-seated with a thick layer of skin above. “Should I seek medical intervention — have it lanced?” I thought. In the event to do that wasn’t necessary. We went for breakfast at 7am. We were at anchor, not actually moored up to the shore, in a city. Afterwards, I looked out from the balcony and saw a goatherd grazing his flock in the grassy margin between the river and the city street-level. I later ascertained that in winter the water level would rise and cover that margin. So I guess that the grass had freshly grown between the time the river level started to drop after the winter rains and now.



Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:49:24
Part of the Badong County centre-city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:49:24
Part of the Badong County centre-city (detail 1)


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:49:24
Part of the Badong County centre-city (detail 2)


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:49:46
Goatherd and flock


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:50:34
Goatherd and flock


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:51:28
Part of the Badong centre-city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 07:51:48
Part of the Badong centre-city

At 8.00am we gathered for the Shennong Stream boat excursion, and shortly afterwards boarded the boat, moored alongside, that would take us on it. “We were on the top deck,” Janet wrote. “[John] was taking photos and I was content to sit and look at the scenery, observe people, and enjoy the weather. Then I had another ‘Amalfi Coast do’” (cf. 15 June 2014, where the term was coined; also, see 9 June 2013, note). “I managed to get up, grab our gear, and struggle down a flight of stairs to the closed-in deck below with more comfy chairs. I was in a hell of a state again and weeping. Several folk asked if I was OK, as the ferry docked at the Tourist Centre (there was to be a Chinese ceremony performed for us). I had seen Max sitting in a corner and was desperately trying to attract his attention to get [John]. Finally, a woman realised what I was trying to do and told him. Max went to get [John].” The first inkling I had that all might not be well was when I was about to join the knot of people on the top deck waiting to go down the ladder to the lower deck, and go ashore to a dance-and-drums demonstration in the Tourist Centre: I couldn’t see Janet anywhere. Then when I got below, there was Max, tugging my elbow to take me aside to see Janet.




Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:16:24
Badong Bridge crossing the Yangtze


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:16:24
Badong Bridge crossing the Yangtze (detail)


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:17:16
Proceeding to the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:24:56
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:26:16
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:27:40
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:28:30
Shennong Stream

As we passed a less steep riverbank, the commentary pointed out some monkeys, but I didn’t see them.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:41:34
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:48:30
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:48:44
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:57:34
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 08:59:40
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 09:01:04
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 09:04:56
Shennong Stream

Elsewhere, we passed high, sheer cliffs, and the commentary pointed out hanging coffins. Again, I failed to see them. But I’d seen hanging coffins (and monkeys too) on “The Tribe of the Three Gorges” tour yesterday, so it didn’t matter much.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 09:16:24
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 09:16:44
Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 09:24:42
Our destination on the Shennong Stream

“We stayed on the ferry whilst everyone was at the Centre,” Janet wrote. “I recovered slightly and went to find the loo, and was dismayed to find a ‘hole in the ground’ — and no lights… In the end, I simply left all the door open and went for it, only to discover I couldn’t pee!… [John] stayed with me” — not in the loo! — nor for the duration of the rest of the tour, but until everyone came back aboard and we set out again. On the outward trip, just about everywhere I pointed the camera there were either other people to be seen or bits of the boat — canopy, rigging, lamps, equipment — but on the way back I found an unoccupied gangway on the port side, just outside the saloon that Janet was in. I went back in and checked on Janet from time to time. “I ‘came to’,” Janet continued, “just before the ferry reached our boat and [John] told me I’d been asleep as he’d shaken me me at one point and I hadn’t responded. We returned to the boat, had a wash-and-brush-up, and went for lunch.”…


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:22:26
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:24:20
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:25:00
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:25:36
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:28:46
“Shennong Gorge”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:29:00
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:30:42
Returning along the Shennong Stream — Shennongxi Highway Bridge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:30:42
Returning along the Shennong Stream — Shennongxi Highway Bridge (detail)


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:33:32
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:34:22
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:37:48
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:38:28
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:38:58
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:39:06
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:40:20
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:42:02
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:44:04
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:47:24
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:47:42
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:49:26
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:55:08
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 10:57:22
“Parrot Gorge”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:00:16
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:00:56
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:01:06
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:01:14
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:01:24
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:02:28
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:04:22
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:05:18
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:06:08
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:07:14
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:08:06
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:08:28
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:09:02
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:09:18
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:10:34
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:13:42
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:14:06
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:14:28
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:15:20
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:15:32
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:16:14
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:17:20
Returning along the Shennong Stream


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:18:24
Badong Bridge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:18:56
Badong Bridge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:19:36
Hydrofoil boat


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:20:52
Badong Bridge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:22:26
Part of the Badong County centre-city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:22:42
Part of the Badong County centre-city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:23:38
Part of the Badong County centre-city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:25:00
Our cruise-ship, the M.S. Yangtze 2


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 11:26:16
Coming alongside our cruise-ship, the M.S. Yangtze 2

Afterwards we went to the observation bar on the fifth deck; Janet had a non-alcoholic “Pineapple Delight” cocktail and I a Tsing Tao beer. The announcement came that Judy was giving English commentary on the top deck as we passed through the Wu Gorge, so when we finished Janet lay down in the cabin and I went up, listened, and took photos and videos. When at one point she handed the microphone to Herbert for his commentary in German I asked her about the broad white band at the foot of the mountains: it was green and forested above, bare, pale rock below within this band. It marked the amount by which the Yangtze rises in winter.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:08:26


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:14:12
Listening to Judy’s commentary in the Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:14:46
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:16:46
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:19:28
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:20:54
Wu Gorge — “Goddess Peak”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:25:56
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:26:10
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:26:28
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:29:42
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:29:42 (detail)
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:29:42 (detail)
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:36:28
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:36:58
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:37:32
Wu Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 13:58:16
Wushan Yangtze River Bridge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:09:50
Wushan city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:12:42
Wushan city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:14:22
Wushan city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:17:14
Wushan city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:17:28
Wushan city


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:17:38
Wushan city




Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 14:47:38
Sign above one of the ladders between decks on the ship

Copied the 93 photos and 50 videos from so far today from the camera to the WD Elements HDD (15:02–15:16). I didn’t go up to hear Judy’s commentary when we entered the Qu Tang Gorge, but I did do one video sweep from the balcony outside the cabin (included in the second movie, above). Ca.4.30pm the call came to depart for “The White Emperor City” tour. Janet had been in doubt whether she’d be fit enough to go on this, but she did go. Because the battery was running low on my camera, I decided to use Janet’s. We passed through three or four other vessels before we got to the quay, then proceeded between stalls selling souvenirs and various fried seafood items, small fish, tiny crabs, etc. To get to street level there were very many steps, but from about halfway up flights of escalators had been provided. Our guide led the party of about eight people, pointing out features of the town (Fengjie), to where the coach was, again ending up passing through stalls of souvenirs and food. There were ourselves from “Coach A”, and a couple from “Coach B” — a Swiss German man Harry and his Belgian wife Paula — and some younger people, not from the Mercury Direct group, from Australia.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:23:48
Going ashore for the “White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:31:18
On the way to board a bus to the “White Emperor City”

As Harry and Paula reached the top of the steps pictured in the photo above and the one below, Paula stumbled and fell, causing a bit of alarm, though she was uninjured. Harry blamed her shoes for the accident: “Shit shoes!” he added, to everyone’s amusement.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:32:46
On the way to board a bus to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:36:08
On the way to board a bus to the “White Emperor City”

It was a strange coach (called a “bus” in the photo-captions) that we boarded for the short journey: up some steps but not a double-decker. There was another party of Chinese people who also boarded. Their guide spoke to them in Chinese for the whole journey. The rise in water level caused by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam had turned the mountain on which the “White Emperor City” stood into an island, but a covered bridge to it had been constructed.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:53:36
On the way to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:56:28
On the way to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 16:57:28
Bridge to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:00:40
Bridge to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:05:40
Bridge to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:05:40 (detail)
Bridge to the “White Emperor City”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:05:40 (detail)
View from the bridge to the “White Emperor City”

“There were 300 steps up to the [White Emperor City],” Janet wrote, “so I took the soft option and paid ¥60 to be carried up by two men in a sedan chair! Mind you, I felt a bit guilty about them carrying me in that heat.”


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:07:16
Janet opts for a sedan chair up the hill.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:07:24
Janet opts for a sedan chair up the hill.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:08:06
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:09:58
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:16:12
Qutang Gorge


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:22:04
Qutang Gorge

The 300 steps, or however many of them that there were, didn’t present themselves all at once: there were flights and then paths. And the way was quite shaded, so the effects of heat and exertion were minimal.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:23:16
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:24:08
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:24:26
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:29:48
“White Emperor City” tour

Janet wasn’t taken to the very top; there was an intermediate point at which she joined us, a viewpoint across to the Qutang Gorge along which we’d come earlier in the cruise-ship. It seemed a lot more than two or three minutes till a tourist-free gap appeared to enable the photo below. I pointed out to Janet the similarity of the scene to that on a ¥10 note.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:34:58
Qutang Gorge




Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:38:44
“White Emperor City” tour

Our guide appeared to be wearing black-framed glasses, but they weren’t “glasses” at all, because they had no lenses. There was an exhibition of calligraphy, with plaques reproducing a poem written in a number of hands, including that of Mao Zedong.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:39:54
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:40:10
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:41:22
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:43:44
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:44:40
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:45:34
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:46:12
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:46:50
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:47:04
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:47:24
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:49:22
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:49:38
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:49:50
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:51:16
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:51:44
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:53:38
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:55:16
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:55:56
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:56:22
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:57:52
City inundated as a result of the Three Gorges Dam project


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 17:59:20
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:04:06
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:04:22
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:05:14
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:06:06
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:07:06
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:23:42
“White Emperor City” tour

We saw an exhibition of “hanging coffins”, short ones but each holding the bones of two people.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:24:52
Hanging coffins and contents


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:26:18
Hanging coffins and contents


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:26:46
Hanging coffins and contents


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:26:58
Hanging coffins and contents


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:34:38
“White Emperor City” tour


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 18:36:06
“White Emperor City” tour

The Chinese contingent was already on the coach/bus/whatever-one-should-call-it by the time we returned; and there weren’t two seats together available, so Janet and I had Chinese companions on the short trip back. Again their guide was “yap, yap, yap” the whole time. Because this was an optional tour, not included in the Mercury Direct itinerary, I figured that our guide would get nothing out of Max’s gratuity-fund into which we’d all put money on the second day. So on the way back I pushed a few notes into her hand. I regretted then not doing so for the excellent guide on “The Tribe of the Three Gorges” tour yesterday.


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 19:01:54
Returning to the M.S. Yangtze 2


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 19:02:08
Returning to the M.S. Yangtze 2


Tuesday 17 June 2014 — 19:05:16
Returning to the M.S. Yangtze 2

As we returned I noticed that there was a large reddish stain on the thumb-dressing. The call had already been sounded for dinner when we got back, but I nevertheless changed the dressing because it was unsightly. There was a lot of sticky dark-red exudate still to come out which I expressed before I applied the replacement dressing. Even so, a red patch quickly appeared on this. After dinner we went to one of the bars; I had two Tsing Tao, and Janet had a “Pineapple Delight” followed by a “Swan Lake”. Copied the video from my camera to the WD Elements HDD (21:27). The “battery low” indicator didn’t come on as I expected it to. Copied the 57 photos I took on the last excursion from Janet’s camera to the WD Elements HDD (21:37–21:39). “Then we both went to bed at ca.10.15pm,” Janet wrote.

[Wednesday 18 June 2014]



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