Day 14 of my trip to China is spent on the Yangtze River & visiting the Shennong Stream
I am again awake early this morning, take a shower & then go for a cup of tea in the Yangtze Club. I have a cup of black tea & watch a few people who have come to join the ship Dr for a session of Tai Chi whilst they go through their routine.
At 7:00 am I go to the restaurant for breakfast. I'm greeted by our waitress who as ever is smiling & welcoming & gets me a cup of tea. I'm joined at breakfast by the others who have upgraded to the VIP restaurant, Pat, Mike, Ewen, & Tracy. We all enjoy a relaxed breakfast buffet & all agree this is the way to enjoy breakfast, in a relaxed quiet setting rather than having to fight off the Chinese who will be fighting each other for breakfast downstairs. I hope Mel, April & Branwen have formed a posy & managed to get something before it all disappears.
This morning there is an included tour of the Shennong Stream. Our ship docks in Badong & we disembark to take a smaller boat for a trip up the Shennong Stream. As we travel up the stream our guide points out various points to us including mountain peaks, pagodas & many small villages where people have settled after the dam was built which flooded the gorges. We are told that at its deepest point during the wet season the water can get to 185 metres deep. As we travel through the gorge the reality of how big this development is & how many people were displaced becomes more evident. We hear both sides of the story about the flooding that took place. We are told that many of the older people did not want to leave their homes & were forced to. We were also told stories by a younger generation of people that they were pleased to be moved, they had gained new modern homes that were twice the size of their old homes & only had to pay half the price for them. With the new development also came new jobs.
As we travel up the stream we are shown 'hanging coffins' that are precariously wedged high up the cliffs. It is said that they were put there to prevent grave robbers & that the higher up the cliff face they were the more important the person was to the village.
We soon arrived at a small village where we were to take a small tour, after letting the Chinese leave the ship first we made our way up to several very steep & long flights of stairs to the 'tourist village' at the top. We are given a voucher for a piece of Jade which we can redeem & then have jewellery made from it. I redeem my token & am given a dull piece of Jade, when I ask to have it put on a string I am told that we cant keep this piece of Jade but can buy an already threaded piece. I search through the Jade & select a green piece which is said brings you luck in love, I purchase this & put it away safe. I will give this to wife number 1 when I get back on board the ship, it may help her forget I got married without her yesterday.
We are then shown to a room where a show is going on with locals in local dress performing dances & telling a story. Unfortunately, it had started before I entered & I only saw a brief part of it.
Outside this building when we were leaving I saw what I thought was a marvel of Chinese invention. There is a stall outside with various foods for sale on it, duck, scorpion, rat & a few other delicacies I can't guess at. This is not what I thought was brilliant, what I thought of as so clever was the device they used to keep flies off the food. They had hung what can only be described as a child's cot, hanging mobile. It was made up of string and coloured cards that span in the light breeze, hanging just over the food it was enough to keep off all of the flies that we normally saw settling on the food in markets here.
We are soon descending the stairs again, back down to the motor launch we arrived on & are soon underway back to the cruise ship for an early lunch. Some of the people are going on an optional trip this afternoon but I will be having acupuncture treatment for my tinnitus.
After lunch, I discover that Branwen, Tracy & Pat have all also booked a session of acupuncture. I have the first appointment and am soon lying face down on a bed. I have a chat with Dr Hu & I'm told that tinnitus can be caused by the kidney not functioning properly. I sign up for the works, I figure nothing in England has been any help to me in relieving my tinnitus & it is a horrible illness that I will do anything to try & improve.
I first have acupuncture, which includes needles in different places on my back and in my ankles. I again get an electric current passed through them and this is very relaxing. Then comes the cupping, a deep penetrating massage that feels like he is trying to reposition my spine. This is uncomfortable but not painful & does seem to be releasing some pressure in my back. This is followed by a massage that stimulates the nerves. After all my treatment I am given two months worth of tablets to take which will, I am told, help my kidney & this will in turn help my tinnitus.
The cost to me for the hour's treatment & two months tablets was 1600 Yuan (about £160). Now if this doesn't work I will have had a great massage for the money. If it does work & it helps to relieve my tinnitus I will be forever grateful. My tinnitus is very distressing & whatever the outcome I believe the gamble was one worth taking. I do hope however that & on my return to England, I don't get arrested going through customs, carrying lots of tablets that only have Chinese writing on the box.
Victoria Selina Cabaret.
Selina my waitress was in a lot of the displays & dancing & I did my best to encourage her by waving to her or sticking my tongue out at her at every opportunity I got. How she kept a straight face sometimes I don't know. After one of her acts, she told me off for making her laugh & told me that at the end of the show she would be grabbing me out of the audience to dance with her.
Forewarned by the lovely Selina at what point I was expected to dance with her, I made myself scarce. Wife number one would never have spoken to me again if after getting married to wife number two yesterday, I had then gone dancing with another girl this evening. After the last part of the show had begun I returned back to my seat to see the end of it. As it finished Selina approached me & I was told off for running away so that I couldn't dance with her. Sorry Selina my wives were beginning to suspect I was up to something already.
After the show I keep Selina company at the bar for a while & then retire to my room for an early night, all of today's walking & Chinese medical treatments must have taken it out of me, or was it the late-night yesterday, either way, I'm ready for my bed tonight.