Orient Express 09 travel blog

The lock

Part of the Dam

Can you believe we are on the Yangtze River. We cant. Even sleeping on the worlds hardest mattresses hasn’t made it sink in that its not a dream. We were all very stiff and sore when we compared notes at brekky. They tell us we will get used to it, and when we go home we will all want to buy new mattresses.. (Eyes rolling)

So today we travelled by bus to the three gorges dam project. Once again we had a local guide who was brilliant. They must get very bored, saying the same thing over and over. This boat is huge but there are only 40 people on it... Made up of us (Australians and English), Germans and Chinese.

So the guides have to say everything 3 times... which would be ok, but when they do the German it just goes on forever. David says they are giving the exact proportion of sand, stone, cement in the concrete mixtures. My god, we are over the krauts, well not them, but listening to the interpreted explanations.

One of them is in our group photo. Dunno why he thought he’d do that but he did.

The dam project is enormous, and I thought very innovative but we have a couple of very good engineers in our group and they look at things and say, that’s copied from there, that’s copied from there. So it appears they aren’t as smart as I thought. They do engineering knockoffs as well as clothing, jewellery etc.

I almost got ripped off on the way back to the boat, which I’m cross about.

A hawker had made me promise to go back to her shop after our bus trip, and was waiting for me at the bus when I got off. The guide said we didn’t have time to shop so I asked him to tell her there was no time, but he didn’t... so I ended up in her stall. I finally found a beautiful white cotton shirt with a Chinese pattern on it with long sleeves that I wanted and I needed to buy something from her so I bargained it down to 150 Yuan. So then they all swarmed me as they figured I had money. They saw what Id purchased and followed me with more. The lady said 2 for 100, which was an absolute bargain after just paying 150 for 1, so I said yes, and told her the size... We were still walking back to the boat... she ran back, I checked the sizes and gave her 100. She then said `50. I said no... you said 100. She kept arguing and Jason the guide said, give them back so I thrust them at her... She took them and tried to just give me 50 back!!! So I said Jason she’s ripping me off ... and I stood firm. In the end she gave me the 2 shirts for the 100.

She had the last laugh. Those ones are short sleeves!. But I ended up with 3 shirts for 250. Between 40 and 50 Australian.

I’ve hurt my arm sleeping on the hard ‘mattress’. So I decided to have acupuncture and massage on it. To cut a long story short, shes made it worse, and I cant lift it very far. The others all think it will slow down my shopping but it hasn’t yet. There’s an ‘entertainment officer’ called Vincent... he has the task of explaining all the stuff to us.. eg the tai chi, the history and info re acupuncture and reflexology, and last night Helen attended a talk given by a lady interpreted by him on embroidery. Apparently she spoke little, and he spoke a lot. Maybe he ‘embroidered’ as well?

So now we think he pressed the point on the reflexology too.

We were way too tired to stay up for the fashion parade put on by the staff. Helen and I were in bed

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