Another 6.30am lot of wake up music. Man they know how to hurt us. The front desk opened up for bill payment and I and took care of mine. Breakfast was next of course then it was off the boat for a tour of the 'Three gorges Dam Site'.
It is a massive structure and quite something. It will be responsible for a fair amount of energy production for this country which is the whole purpose but I got to see some of the houses that would be wiped out by the rising waters and the farm lands lost. Areas that used to be one meter deep and twenty meters wide, where now one hundred and thirty metres deep and one thousand meters wide. That's a lot of land.
Glad I have seen it though but will not be taking up the invitation to return. It's not the prettiest area and I have no idea what I am going to do as the internet on board the boat didn't work so I have no booking for accommodation and no one seems to know anything about Yichang, except that it is apparently crap by Sarina's opinion.
Speaking of Sarina, I got the low-down on those two. She was on holiday in London when she met Shen in the Museum. They clicked as some do and she invited him to go to NZ. It was a bit far so he agreed to China. He booked his tickets the next day. He got warnings from his friends about her and going to China saying she was a gold digger and China was dangerous but none of it is true of course.
She handles all the bookings as she speaks fluent Chinese and he goes along for the ride. They are having a great time and he is enjoying using all the new things he bought for the trip like his camera. He hasn't been on holiday for twenty years so is taking it all in. I love it. How fantastic of both of them to take that chance.
One of the American's, an ex Australian, said that I should see if I could catch a lift to the airport with their group. I had made friends with them and she couldn't see why not as they had the room. I had to ask Jake their tour guide and he said it would be fine as long as they all agreed. Otherwise my option was to take a taxi that would set me back 150Yuan.
Well Jake for what ever reason had a change of heart and without asking the others let me know on a very unsubtle way that I should either pay up or go it alone and it was best I went it alone. With that attitude, no problems!
Shen and Sarina let me know that I could share a taxi with them and split the cost three ways. I would also be able to have lunch with them. So I said goodbye to the others and headed off the boat.
We stopped for lunch at this place that Sarina suggested. She is a very smart lady and showed us how it was done. We went out the back and picked out our fish from the pond. They then cook the fish three different ways. The bones are bought out as a yummy soup and the flesh gets dived between a kind of barbeque flavoured dish and a steamed one. Damn there was a lot of meat on that thing. More than enough for the three of us.
From the restaurant Sarina booked a flight for me. There was no flights to Guilin or Xian and the flight to Beijing was expensive so I ended up on the same flight to Shanghai that they were on. She did it all on the phone using a system called Ctrip. Bloody good system. They can organise flights and accommodation for a much cheaper price. I love that I have met this woman.
It was then a long ride to the airport where poor ol' Shen got a sore bum. I managed to get one of the free Ctrip cards at the airport and also some more 'Golden' Throat lozenges. Low and behold the American's were also there. They were on the same flight as us. Bet Jake was a little surprised to see me!
The flight was full and relatively smooth. There was one big bump that frightened Sarina but Shen soothed her worries and we landed safely. So here I was in Shanghai, the most populous city on Earth. Wonder what to expect. Getting our luggage was easy and then after using the airport Accommodation Desk to get me a room ( I didn't want to stay at the same hotel as Shen and Sarina as I was starting to feel a little like a stalker myself), we headed out to catch a taxi. Wholly crap is there a lot of people here. They had us lined up five rows deep to get a taxi. We moved alright as the taxi's are three deep themselves but I have never seen anything like it. Driving in at night made Shanghai look a little like a smaller version of Hong Kong gone 'Vegas'. Nice lights though, lot's of colour.
I bid a farewell to my two friends and exchanged emails and phone numbers. I was helped with only one of my bags by the bell boy so not impressed by him. Check in was okay but didn't like that my room number was 315. Hoped it didn't bold badly. I think I am getting superstitious.
Well the bell boy had put my bags on the trolley and we headed up. He bought them in then hung around like a bad smell. He didn't even shut the door as he left and looked back as he was walking away. I figured out he was waiting for a tip. I faulted and gave him 10Yuan which he didn't seem too happy with. Tough shit mate you didn't help with both bags and tipping is not a Chinese custom. Be bloody grateful.
The room was far from special and had a view of an ugly wall. There was only one English channel, the pamphlets where up to two years out of date and the list of prices for the mini bar was useless as there was no mini bar. So much for me having an orange juice. I couldn't be bothered with room service as they throw a 20% extra levy on the bill. Not liking this place.