We'll board Air China #1475 at 11:30 for Wuhan, then coach to Yichang. In the afternoon, we board the MS Yangtze Two. There's a great You Tube video about the ship at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8mK0iFMI1M.
08Apr – Beijing flt to Wuhan; coach to Yichang; board ms Yangtze 2
Today was a travel day with a 2-hr flight from Beijing to Wuhan. Much to our surprise, we got a hot meal for lunch on the aircraft (rice, chicken or fish) with a seaweed salad. Better than anything Air Canada would offer on a 2-hr flight. After arrival at 2:30, we collected our luggage and were greeted by our guide for the day, Holly.
Our 4-hour coach ride was ... well ... long. The scenery was picturesque farm land on either side with no evidence of factories. The canola plants are in full bloom; a sea of yellow. Apparently, canola was originally called “rape seed” but it contained a poisonous component. Scientists at the University of Winnipeg modified it to eliminate the poisonous part and renamed it canola. The yellow-flowering fields stretch for acres and we wonder if the farmers are part of a collective.
Along the way there was very little traffic, no sign of livestock of any kind, no large barns or fenced properties. Holly explained that all farmers have a few chickens and perhaps a pig and subsistence crops for their own use like rice and vegetables. The air is either misty or there is a layer of pollution along the valleys. It’s difficult to tell; according to Holly, it’s mostly mist from the Yangtze, but we also know that this part of China has a large number of factories. Holly also entertained us with instruction in Chinese. Many on the bus joined in and practised counting while others wished for a bit of peace and sleep ...
Our arrival at Yichang was a bit later than expected, but we still had time to stock up on wine (Great Wall wine is pretty good!), beer, snacks and trinkets at a local convenience store. As we arrived at the dock, we could see that our boat was colourfully lit up and we’re told that dinner would be served as soon as we board ... no time to freshen up. Dinner is served as many of our dinners have been so far. There is a large lazy-susan in the middle of the table onto which dish after dish is placed. Each meal typically has deep-fried meats, lots of green veggies, baby bok choy, sticky rice, assorted mixed vegetables (some dishes quite spicy) and soup. The last thing served is almost always watermelon. We know dinner is over when the watermelon arrives.
Thankfully, most of us are sleeping better now, so a quick dinner, unpack and we’re ready for an early evening and good night’s sleep before we start our three-day journey on the Yangtze River to Chongqing.