We had to be at breakfast at 6:30, so we got up at 6:00 – no time for showers this morning. Off the boat by 7:30 (once again the first ones off the boat and our own guide for just the six of us – gotta love it!) for our tour of the Dam Project. Very heavy smog today – worst we’ve had.
First we drove through the “resettlement village” of Sandouping that was fairly attractive. The public landscaping is very beautiful and no trash at all along the sides of the road. The architectural detail of the apartment buildings themselves was better than we’ve seen elsewhere – perhaps the government did this on purpose knowing that tourists would be coming through. Continue reading
Got up early this morning (6:45 am) to see the first of the famous Three Gorges, Qutang Gorge, which we entered at about 7:15. It’s billed as the most dramatic of the Three Gorges. Lots of early morning haze, so pics will be iffy. The sun was just coming up.
This section of the Yangtze is very sparsely populated – only saw one tiny village and it was accessible only by boat. Can’t imagine how it must have looked before the dam flooded everything. It’s quite dramatic as it is – sheer cliffs plunging right into the water. The spectacular scenery only lasted about 20 minutes though. Continue reading
After a good sleep in the gently rocking boat, we had a nice buffet breakfast, but nothing like the spreads we’ve been used to. Very foggy/smoggy again today. Can’t see much – only the very near hills . I went for a massage. Got cheated out of 10 minutes – supposed to be 80 minutes long but I only got 70 minutes. OK massage – a lot of brisk rubbing over the same areas; guess this is for circulation – no deep tissue. Continue reading
We left the Shangri-La Hotel at 7:30 am bound for Chongqing airport. We expected to be overtaken by the Australian Prime Minister who was also staying at the Shangri-La (can you believe it!), and run into a traffic nightmare. Police were already lining the streets and highways at all intersections. But thankfully we managed to stay ahead of her.
We boarded our China Air flight without problems at 9:30. On the plane we were joined by at least 60 other China Spree travelers who were on several different (non-luxury) CS tours.
We had a bit of a problem on landing, an hour later, with retrieving our luggage. We took a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong baggage area. What a goat rope! A young lady baggage attendant told us to go outside security and proceed to “6”. Baggage area 6 ended up being in Terminal A (we had gone to Terminal B) and turned out to be a quarter mile walk away and outside the buildings, all the while toting our carry-ons. Since we had left the secure area, it required several of us to re-enter through security to secure our luggage. We were having a bit of an issue explaining this to the security guards, but fortunately our guide, Merry, showed up and we got through. We hoped aboard an almost identical beige van to the ones we had in Xian and Guilin and off we went into town.
Chongqing has 33m people (8m in city center) and is smoggier than Beijing. Very, very smoggy as a matter of fact. It is the world’s largest metropolitan area, surpassing Tokyo. Continue reading