We're making dreams come true this trip.

Since Dan's stepfather Colin has always wanted to sail along the Yangtze River, when it turned out that he and Dan's mom and my parents were all looking to come to visit us in China at the same time, we decided to make it happen.

We packed up our apartment in Zunyi (thanks to a lot of help from our colleagues!) and arrived in Chongqing via train a few hours before Dan's family came from Australia. My parents came on the last flight from Shanghai and the next day we set off to explore Chongqing. We spent a lot of time in the Hong Ya Dong complex, shops and restaurants rebuilt in “old” style over 11 floors going up a cliff.

We also visited the old neighborhood of CiQiKou, good for shopping for local handicraft and for people-watching, and took an ill-fated trip to the zoo to see lazy pandas. I say it was ill-fated because the zoo was under construction and it was so hot we couldn't bear walking to the exhibits that were still open. We did get to peek at the rear ends of some napping pandas though so it was worth it. We took the light rail to the zoo, which was fun because for a lot of the journey the train runs on an elevated track through the city and along the river.

On Friday we boarded the ship, the MinShan, and took off to see the gorges.

The ship wasn't much to enthuse about, but we'd gotten a good low price for our tickets. We spent most of the time on the 4th floor's sun deck sipping free tea or Snow beer and watching the muddy river flow past us.

The first full day we went to a ghost temple near Feng Du and to a temple in honor of the legendary general Zhang Fei, who is still regarded a protector of China.

The second day we visited an island city where a self-proclaimed emperor had once lived a short reign and started through the gorges themselves. In the afternoon we took a different boat through the Little Three Gorges and the Little, Little Three Gorges.

The third day we visited an impressive narrow stream called Jiu Wan He and watched acrobats performing on a tightrope about 20 stories above the river and then disembarked to look at the Three Gorges Dam. From there we took a bus to YiChang. On the boat we'd lived on picnic-style sandwiches and instant noodles, so in YiChang we went out for a big steak dinner to celebrate a successful trip.

From YiChang, Marilyn and Colin will fly back home and Dan, me and my parents will take a train to Xi'an to revisit the Terracotta Warriors on our way to Inner Mongolia.

Happy Travels!


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