So much has happened during the last couple of days that I thought I would just throw up some photos as we go along and explain them one by one. I’m now on a ship on the Yangtze River, cruising from Chonqing to Yichang so bandwidth is rather limited for uploading Blog Posts. I thought I’d remind everyone that access to Facebook & Twitter is blocked in China, so if any of you have commented on these posts I can’t see it until I get home – I’m not ignoring you, I just can’t get on to see what’s happening. Let’s make a start…
People’s Park in Chengdu. Chinese people really work their city parks – think Central Park, Manhattan on the weekend. It’s all going on, cheerful, bustling and eclectic activity everywhere.
Here a man writes poetry on the pavement with a brush, using rainwater as ink – it evapourates in a short time. The transience of youth and love… (sorry, I was having a moment there).
And here, the Chinese version of a dating app on the phone. Parents write on paper details of their eligible offspring along with an explanation of their many virtues, along with a phone number. This is then attached to a fence or screen in the park for passers by. If interested, you call the number and the parents will visit to perform a sort of pre-screening audit before the youngsters are introduced to see how they get on.
I had to capture this pretty girl in traditional dress with the henna hands. She was boith delighted to be photographed and a little embarrassed that a Laowai (Foreigner) was doing so.
And so we move on to Pandas, in Chengdu. This isn’t a Panda, it’s one my clients, Mr. Michael, but he’s entering the spirit of things admirably!
And here’s the real thing. I always make an early start for our Panda day. Firstly to get away from the worst of the crowds, and secondly because of the nature of Panda Life. Basically, as a Panda, you wake up early have a stretch, eat bamboo, have a poop and then sleep for the rest of the day to get over it all! You have to try and catch them during the brief awake period – I live in permanent fear of waking everybody up early only to discover that the Pandas have gone back to bed early.
While waiting to board our ship in Chongqing we visited the People’s Palace Square – once again full of life and activity. I suddenly found myself surrounded by highly excited teenage girls (this happens often, of course) who were deperate to have a photo taken with me, and another member of the group, Mr. Garry. Many Chinese have limited or even zero experience of seeing Caucasian foreigners and are very keen to chat and take photos. You get used to be stared at and sometimes fascinated youngsters ask to touch the hair on my arm or even to study my nose – one of the Chines phrases for Caucasian is “Big Nose”.
We’re not quite sure what was going on here. It seemed to be ‘Bring Your Kid To Work’ day for the police. Either way, who cares… It’s a charming photo!
And so it was time to board our Cruise Ship to sail down the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Yichang through the famous scenic Three Gorges. This is a chance for my clients to rest and recover from the hectic schedule of the first part of the Tour. Leaving Chongqing (the largest city in the world with a population of 33 million) is a spectacular night time light show.
And in the morning, you wake up to views like this…
More on the cruise will follow at some point – when I can get the internet again after we have passed through the Gorges. Bye for now.