Cruising the ancient Yangzi . . .

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while now, well that’s actually a lie if I’m honest. I’ve been thinking about writing it for so long but I’m not sure exactly what to write about this trip.

I guess there are a few disclaimers.

First I haven’t been on a cruise since I was thirteen and my family was part of a global organization that basically organized an entire ocean liner through the Baltics, so not exactly a fair point of reference.

Second, cruises are for old people and the more luxury you go the older they get – this one was like a scene from Cocoon!

Three, I had no idea what to expect cruising down the Yangzi river for a few days other than rural ancient magic.

So all I can really say outside of the pictures is that somehow when you are sailing down an ancient river through some of the most breath taking scenery in the world you gain a sense of perspective, a sense of calm and a renewed energy that I don’t think any pool villa suite can bring, not that I’m going to give that up but I think the combination of experiences is important.

This trip was sensational and the Zen like sense of power I felt when I stepped off the boat seems so far away now I can barely recall it. Even when I look at the pictures now  I get a small feeling of what I remembered it to be like but alas, work, stress and 40 deg heat daily have squished the Zen master right back out of me!

Enjoy the sights of the Yangzi river . . .

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Cities in the middle of no where rising out of the banks of the river – the only thing i can think of that i can compare it to is QARTH from Game of Thrones!

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Some of the maybe 100 massive bridges I saw during the trip – all built quickly and designed superbly to increase efficiency (sounds like China’s motto) DSC00912

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An ancient fishing village probably thousands of years old, living off the land, incredibly beautiful!

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The Three Gorges Dam, the largest power station in the world. Responsible for the government forcibly moving 1 500 000 people to other parts of the country during its construction. Words cannot express the size and power of this thing!

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Just going through the locks of this amazing man made thing was an incredible experience. The efficiency of rising 100s of meters in mere minutes just sensational engineering (again could be China’s motto) !

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Just some of the ancient sights, blue skies (in the autumn all the water is apparently aqua – I can only imagine) green hills towering over each side of the boat – just sensational!

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Off the big boat into small row boats, the gorges get far too narrow for even a medium sized boat – only these tiny row boats with poor modern day ‘slaves’ paddling along with stupid Laowai tourists screaming Jaiyou at them to encourage the racing!

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Some of the most amazing sunsets of my life on this boat –  perfect calm, serene, oranges and reds reflected in the water. Pictures cannot capture what your eyes experience here!

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It wouldn’t be China if you didn’t see some very random stuff on the river, a giant head on the side of a mountain (above) and a transport ship of all men standing half naked outside (below)

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Finally I do have to say that if you are going to cruise, like an old person, then do it in style and these dudes certainly do it well on the Yangzi explorer. The boat is relatively small compared to the other monster ‘pack-em-in types, the suites are stunningly beautiful. The food is exceptional and the service is phenomenal. Just go have a look at this boat!

Certain things you do stick with you for a long time and what I saw on this trip, as with so many trips in China, will stay imprinted both visually and emotionally for a long time!