China Trip – Day 9

Continue on the Yangtze River with an excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda / Weather: Cloudy, overcast, with occasional rain and the ever present smog

We get up at 6:30, go to breakfast. (I thought this was vacation, what is it with all this getting up so early?) At 8:15 we go on the shore excursion to the Shibaozhai Pagoda in Changqing. This pagoda is referred to as one of the eight construction wonders of the world. It is built into the side of a rocky cliff face and done without the use of nails! The pagoda is original, greater than 400 years old, built in the Ming Dynasty. It is 12 stories high and stands over 100 feet high. To get to it we hike up the hill through the market to the swinging bridge to the island. It is much quieter here and our guide tells us he gets a three bedroom house for only $300/year!

Looking back at our ship at dock in Chongqing.
Entrance to the city and market place.
Walking through the market place. Lots quieter here than in the big cities.
Walking through town square to the pagoda.
Entrance to the big swinging bridge to cross to the island where the Shibaozhai Pagoda is. This was our local guide with Gate 1.
Our little group was small in comparison to all the Chinese visitors.
Rick isn’t too sure about this swinging bridge idea. All the wooden slats move and especially with so many people on it. Nancy and John also staying close to the railing.
Sign at the base of the pagoda and temple. The temple has been rebuilt due to being destroyed in the revolution. However the pagoda itself is all original.
Us in front of the pagoda.
Can I do it? I decide yes and climb up to the very top. Rick says he will stay at bottom and take pictures.
Chinese sayings on the ancient walls.
Me after making it about half way up, stop and wave to Rick.
Showing statues and original tiles on the roof.
Some of the statues inside the pagoda.
Looking out of one of the windows of the pagoda back to our ship.
I made it to the very top!
Looking down from the top of the pagoda. Rick is the dot sitting on the planter box, it is a ways down there!
View from the top, looking out the back over the swinging bridge and back to the city.
Coming down the back side is a lot easier than going up the front!

We head back to the ship. We stop and buy two circular wooden carvings of dragons that I think we will use for hot plates on our table. A few more interesting sites we see on our way back:

Interesting carvings on giant planters
A lady getting a ride back down the mountain in a human powered carriage.
Local women doing laundry at the river
Looking back at the island, pagoda and bridge
We get back on our ship the Century Sun.
One last view of the Shibaozhai Pagoda as we start cruising again on the Yangtze River.
As we cruise we pass a lot of barges with coal.
All the coal and industry adds to the horrible smog.
Things brighten up with these fields of canola.

While back on the ship we watch a demonstration of painting in snuff bottles, like the ones we bought yesterday. It is a dying art, there are less than a hundred artists left. The new generation has no patience to do it. We have lunch and then get to take a private tour of the captain’s bridge. They have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mate on duty. The captain is on the bridge only for going in and out of port. The mates work 4 hours on, 8 hours off, 4 hours on and 8 hours off.

The mates on the bridge.

Rick still doesn’t feel well, now feels like he is getting a cold. I go to watch a demonstration on how to tie scarfs. Rick ends up going to learn how to play the game Mahjong. Next we go to a documentary about the Three Gorges Dam. Two Chinese ladies in front of me are very rude and talk for the entire hour instead of watching the movie.

We go to the farewell dinner and join in celebrating with drinks. After dinner we find our ship manager – Stephen and pay him a gratuity. We then head to our to pack and be ready to disembark tomorrow.

Our Gate 1 Tour Manager – Frank and the ship manager – Stephen.
As we cruise our last night we enjoy the night lights of the cities as we pass by.
The end of our cruise on the Yangtze River.