Sunday, June 8, 2008

China Day 09: Hello to Yichang

After our meal we waddled to the bus and headed out to the airport. The rest of our day was uneventful, which is the way you want your air travel to be. I did see one of my favorite airport signs of the trip, though.

Our arrival in Yichang was met with pouring rain. We walked down an enormous flight of stairs to the dock where our river boat awaited us:
Dad was well prepared, having kept his rain gear where he could get at it:
We boarded to the accompaniment of music from an actual brass band
playing such Chinese standards as "Doe A Deer" and, wait for it, "Red River Valley"!

Our ship is the "Princess Elaine", run by Regal China Cruises. There are about four different tour groups on board, so we will see some unfamiliar faces. We are the only folks on board yet, though - the rest of everybody will arrive tomorrow.

This ship was made in Germany, and then owned by Russia for a few years; China bought it when Russia couldn't make the payments or something. Our cabin is tiny, but contains all the essentials: beds
which fold up into couches during the day, compact-but-functional bathroom facilities
a TV, a fridge that actually cools things (in happy contrast to the one in Shanghai)
and magnetically-closed cupboards, not that we're expecting high seas:
The elegant glass carafe is our source of drinking water on the boat: they come and refill it with distilled water every day.

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