A pretty easy day today. Before setting off for (yet) another coach ride, we took the opportunity to take a brief stroll beside the river, across from the hotel. Our drive to Jingzhou was only around three hours - not much more than expected - and we arrived at a city centre restaurant for lunch at a very civilised 12:30.
In the restaurant, we were on the second floor balcony, overlooking the main dining area, and had a very good view of a Chinese wedding in full swing. As we have learned over the last several days, holiday periods, such as the National Holiday in which we find ourselves, are extremely popular times for young couples to marry. This also means that every restaurant and hotel is very busy with catering for wedding feasts. Usually, this has not been an issue, but we did have to wait about 30 minutes for our food to appear - not at all a long time by restaurant standards at home, just longer than we have become used to on this trip. Besides, we were in no hurry today!
It was quite nice to observe the wedding. While we were obviously unsure of the detail, part of what we watched seemed to involve the bride and groom making an offering, by way of a glass of drink, to each other’s parents. To my imagination, it was a way of welcoming the new member into the family. I’ll go with that!
A short drive after lunch brought us to our hotel which, in common with almost all the others is easily four or five star in quality, which is what we were promised. Our room is large and well-appointed and we have a view over the outskirts of the city with its mushrooming high rise apartments. Even in this very small (only six million!) agricultural city, the evidence of expansion is everywhere.
The afternoon was free time and we used it to just rest up and plan our repack to suit our flight in a few days time - it is a domestic flight with a relatively restricted baggage allowance. Then it was time to get dressed for dinner, which involved putting our shoes back on! It is a pretty relaxed tour.
Back at the hotel, we just did a few housekeeping tasks in order to be ready for a quick start and a fairly busy day tomorrow, which will end with us sailing off on the Yangtze.