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23 April 2024
Cruise ship on the Shennong Stream.

I woke up early this morning. I took a shower & then went for a cup of tea at the Yangtze Club. I had a cup of black tea & watched a few people who had come to join the ship doctor for a session of Tai Chi.

Shennong Stream.

At 7:00 am, I went to the restaurant for breakfast. I was greeted by our waitress, who was smiling & welcoming & got me a cup of tea. I was joined at breakfast by the others who had upgraded to the VIP restaurant: Pat, Mike, Ewen, & Tracy. We all enjoyed a relaxed breakfast buffet & all agreed this was the way to enjoy breakfast in a comfortable, quiet setting rather than fighting off the Chinese who would fight 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 was an included tour of the Shennong Stream. Our ship docked in Badong & we disembarked to take a smaller boat for a trip up the Shennong Stream. As we travelled up the stream, our guide pointed out various things, including mountain peaks, pagodas & many small villages where people had settled after the dam was built, which flooded the gorges. We were told that at its deepest point during the wet season, the water can get to 185 metres deep. As we travelled through the gorge, the reality of how significant this development is & how many people were displaced became 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. A younger generation also told stories that they were pleased to be moved. They had gained new modern homes twice the size of their old dwellings & they only had to pay half the price for them. With the latest development also came new jobs.

As we travelled upstream, we were shown 'hanging coffins' 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 influential 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 were given a voucher for a piece of Jade, which we can redeem & then have jewellery made from it. I redeemed my token & am given a dull piece of Jade, when I ask to put it on a string I am told that we can't keep this piece of Jade but can buy an already threaded piece. I search through the Jade & select a green piece which is said to bring you luck in love.

We were then shown to a room where a show was 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.

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: duck, scorpion, rat & other delicacies I can't guess at. This is not what I thought was brilliant. I thought the device they used to keep flies off the food was clever. They had hung what can only be described as a child's hanging mobile, made up of string & coloured cards that spun in the light breeze, hanging just over the food. It was enough to keep off all the flies we typically saw settling on the food in markets.

We descended the stairs back down to the motor launch we arrived on & were soon underway back to the cruise ship for an early lunch. Some people are going on an optional trip this afternoon, but I will have acupuncture treatment for my tinnitus.

  Photos from the Shenong Stream.

Acupuncture treatment.

After lunch, I discovered Branwen, Tracy & Pat had also booked an acupuncture session. I have the first appointment & am soon lying face down on a bed. I chatted with Dr Hu & I'm told that tinnitus can be caused by the kidney not functioning correctly. I signed up for the works. I figured 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 had acupuncture, which included needles in different places on my back & in my ankles. I again get an electric current passed through them & 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. If this doesn't work, I will have an excellent 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 worth taking. However, I hope 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 many of the displays & dancing tonight & 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. The last part of the show had begun when I returned to my seat. As it finished, Selina approached me & I was told off for running away so I couldn't dance with her. In hindsight, I should have danced with her. She was gorgeous.

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.