How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Wuchan: Day 12, Part 2 – Cruise Ship

74 Comments


Harry, a soft-spoken Chinese fellow (30-ish) met us at the airport. We walked for miles and miles to reach our awaiting bus, which smelled bad: between burned electrical wiring and forgotten musty rags.

We asked him to use the microphone as he choked off facts about Wuhan during the drive, but still he didn’t project. In fact, speaking louder would not have helped his English. He sounded as if he had a hot potato in his mouth and was the least confident guide to date. The bus trip took forever before we reached our destination.

Quick Facts:

  • Population Wuchan: 12 million
  • It takes 2-1/2 hours to drive from East to West Wuchan
  • Three towns joined into one in 1927 and called Wuchan
  • This is an educational standard next to Beijing: 87 universities; Wuchan has 69 universities
  • Smallest college in Wuchan has 8,000 students and the largest has 50,000
  • A total of 1.5 million students in the city of Wuchan
  • So far, our bus drivers have made U-turns as a matter of course

The three main industries are:

  1. Steel and iron (10 square kilometers)
  2. Automobile factories: Citron (since 1993 venture with France), also with Honda and Toyota
  3. Main industry, state-owned factory: tobacco. Produces cigarettes. Pays the second most tax next to Citron manufacturing.

Cigarettes:

  • 1-pack = 10 cigarettes
  • $3.50 USD for cheapest ones and locals smoke these
  • Special cigarettes are exported: sold by carton of 10 packages: 3,000 Yuan or $500.00 USD
  • Factory located 80 kilometers outside Wuchan

Nightlife:

  • Most important social skills in China: smoking and drinking
  • Legal drinking age is 16, same as eligibility for a driver’s license
  • China white wine very strong: 35 to 43% (sounds closer to white lightening than wine)
  • In northern China, one famous brand 70 to 75% (rice wine, high alcohol content). Only the people in northern China drink this because it’s cold there.
  • Chinese saying, “If you run out of oil for the hot pot, just pour in some wine.”
  • Traffic is terrible after 9:00 p.m. as the bars open
  • The bars are loud and packed with young people (9:00 till midnight); the older generation can’t stand the noise

  • Life isn’t much different for the young people in the east from the west.

 

  • Square dancing is popular with Seniors, who enjoy it mornings and evenings in the parks
  • Young people don’t like the sound of the loud dance music on weekends because they like to sleep late.

This is square dancing? I wonder why they call it that?

Weather:

June is the beginning of summer. The average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius. There are three ‘ovens’ (also called furnaces) in this area:

  1. Wuchan
  2. Chongchin
  3. Nanking

Six-and-a-half to seven months of the year, everyone wears Tee shirts in Wuchan because of the heat and humidity. A historical record high of 48 degrees Celsius occurred in 2006. Usual  temperature is 44 or 45 degrees. When it gets this hot, school and work are cancelled, a policy made ten years ago. Everyone now has air conditioning to combat the heat.

Harry came only as far as the dock and then, vanished. Dark had fallen some time ago. The cruise ship glowed in the distance like a mirage, outlined with tiny white lights. Slam. Bang. Clatter. We dragged our luggage down long planks of wood and sheets of steel. The ship’s crew members shone flashlights and cautioned us to watch our step at intervals along the way. At long last we boarded, and were handed heated hand towels and tea or apple juice.

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8

© All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8

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Something extra for you:

http://herschelian.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/bodysnatchers-in-china/

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Next on December 5, On the Yangtze River, Day 13, Part 1

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

74 thoughts on “Wuchan: Day 12, Part 2 – Cruise Ship

  1. Such a great and informative post. Glad you made it through on that smelly bus. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So all of you went through that little obstacle course in the dark (to get on the cruise ship)? That was some suspense, because i really was afraid you were going to tell us that somebody landed in the drink. Which brings me to the white lightning wine…
    Your adventure gets more interesting with each episode, Tess. The link was interesting too.
    I am once again reminded of how fond i am of my sofa… 😈 Great big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe they call it square dancing because they are dancing in the town square. Doesn’t look anything like the square dancing we have down here. That ship looks kinda scar. Glad you made it back safe. 🙂

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    • It had something like five levels (?) I never made it past the second. They tried to entice tourists to swanky dinners just for two for extra $$, of course. What we paid for and all the meals on 2nd deck were no cause for complaint. 😀 Why pay up?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Apparently I would not make it socially in China. I love the “square” dancing.

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    • I scratched my head over and over again over that one.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if square dancing wasn’t the four sides of a box they danced in. A little like line dancing, with something like Tai Chi thrown in, to my way of thinking… 😮

      Like

  5. In northern China, one famous brand 70 to 75% (rice wine, high alcohol content). Only the people in northern China drink this because it’s cold there.

    Back in my drinkin’ days I could not give a hoot what temperature was !

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  6. Some interesting information especially how strong their white wine is!!

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  7. The square dancing looks invigorating, but lordy the night life I wouldn’t survive anymore. The boat boarding? What in hades was that about?

    Love these posts, I truly do.

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  8. I wonder if teens experiment with alcohol as much there given the younger drinking age. Kind of scary to think of a 16-year-old driver who can legally drink.

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  9. I think square dancing because it looks like they are in a public square in the park. Cigarettes and alcohol…status symbols and an escape. No wonder so many of them die f Tom cancer and accidents. Your posts are informative and interesting. The more I see, the farther down on my top 100 places to visit. I think China now is ar 89. I am amazed you survived that trip intact.

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    • When it came to sales in the 60s, think Madmen, weren’t smoking and alcohol just as important? They’re doing business and only 50 years behind. Maybe?

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      • Maybe, it would make sense. But now we know about the harmful effects of alcohol and cigarettes. I have been told by a Korean how many times, young people Wil live off noodles so the can spend on Starbucks, ciggies, and wine to look cool and gain status. Seems pretty universal now. He said you can spot them easily and went on to tell me things of how they stick out and are noodle boys or node girls by more affluent young people.

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      • Yep. I believe it, Kanzen. The American dream? American movies? Big influences.

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      • Very big. I have seen many examples of trying g to be “more American” than Americans….the up to the minute fashion and extreme fashion, Asian musicians who try to outdo American counterparts, blond.ing their hair, having surgery to remove the epicenter fold so eyes are “round”, contact lenses for blue eyes, tough guy actions, the girls putting aside centuries of modesty for skimpy clothing, drinking hard liquor and fortified wines, smoking….AL on the perception of American values, including rampant consumerism.

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      • That’s the impression I had in China, where people had money. Dressed to the nines, buying in stores I wouldn’t be allowed through the door for lack of greenbacks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The rich get richer and the poor stay very poor. So much for the ideal of all equal, hey? In that country, you are put into your niche and that is where you say. No safety regs for barely paid high rise window washers, exclusive expensive stores for upper crust. No value for life unless you are one of the chosen. like it was centuries ago, if you think about it.

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  10. Another great post. I’m guessing the guide has the job for life–because it’s a Communist society–so no need to pick one with an understandable voice.

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  11. No Tess I just have to ask if you took the video in those nightclubs?
    A train that goes 400km/hr? Wow that is unbelievable!

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  12. That made me laugh that the different generations can’t stand the noise of each other’s music – I guess that’s the same the world over!

    Looking forward to hearing what happened once aboard!

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  13. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    As we travel with How the Cookie Crumbles through China it is clear that this massive country holds quite a few surprises including a passion for square dancing.. today we join Tess in Wuchan and she shares some interesting facts about this primarily university town with 1.5 million students requiring housing and night life. heaving 24/7. I am also looking forward to the next post which is a trip on the river Yangtze – join our intrepid guide as she navigates her way through this incredible country.

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  14. Well fancy that guide leaving the group to walk to the ship in the dark! From the photo it looks like a building except for the little bit of bow you can see on the left. I’m amazed by the smoking and drinking, not what I would expect at all, but I’d love both dance venues 🙂

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  15. You have convinced me…I never want to go there…good grief…so many people…and the price of smokes…yikes.

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  16. Hm. I think I see a new career for myself in black market cigarettes.

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  17. Continuing to enjoy these insights into the rich culture and interesting lifestyle of China.

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    • As we romped from from day to day–tired and mindless–I had no idea the amount of mileage we’d covered.

      Thank you, Leanne, for visiting. Hope I continue to entertain you with this tour. I am in awe as I revisit all the mileage we covered. ❤

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  18. Well I don’t think I would meet muster for the night life. Or the older people’s life. I don’t drink. Or square dance or any dance called square dance that is not square dance. 🙂 I would be a fuddy duddy to the fuddy duddy’s.

    So was the ship ‘okay’???? Though it’s kind of scary they were bringing you on board with flashlights.

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  19. China is in an economic boom, I think – is that right? I was about to comment that people who are in tough times – social, economic, stressed – fall to cigarettes. Why not? Life is short, I suppose. But that may not be the case with China.

    Wine with such a high alcohol content – how interesting! One sip, I’d be in la la land. And I love wine! (Grin)

    Tess, these are great looks at China – thanks for the informative and always interesting posts about your trip.

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  20. Wow,, great reporting and videos as always! Now, about that cruiseship? Did you go on it for any length of time? Not my idea of cruising, lol. 🙂

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  21. When are you coming home? Looks like a fascinating place, but….

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  22. I’m tipping the square dancers have not imbibed in the high alcohol content drink the night before! You are having a double holiday with writing these posts 😀💚 xx

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  23. All very interesting Tess. 16 seems so young for a drivers and drinking licence. 🌻

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  24. Tess, you should be a tour guide. Or show these posts to a good travel magazine and let them pay your way.

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  25. That is some sexy cruise ship. (Note to self: stay on cruise ship and avoid the million+ people and smog. )

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  26. “This is square dancing? I wonder why they call it that?”
    Maybe because they’re dancing in the square? I think it may be an off-shoot of Tai-Chi, some of the moves look vaguely familiar. It’s funny to watch the video with the (WordPress) snowflakes falling, everybody is so muffled up, it could well be snowing 🙂

    Like

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