How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE

On the Yangtze River: Day 13, Part 1


(Sorry, no photos for this post)

I awoke at 5:50. Outside, the weather looked dull and overcast and / or foggy—not smog, I hoped.   I called it misty because we were on the water after all. The previous night, we’d set sail around 10:00 p.m., but were stationary when Sue and I went to breakfast.

Sue had played with the alarm clock the night before, not sure if it would work. It buzzed at 6:20 a.m., exactly as she’d set it, but we were already up.

The shower tiny, but efficient, had a rounded, two-door closure, one shoved toward the other till they met in the center. If I hadn’t been forced in front of this seam blocking water like a shield, the floor would have been drenched. I’m pleased to report the water was hot.



We went to the Early Bird breakfast (7:00 – 7:30 a.m.) for the free coffee and arrived at 6:55. It was pleasant to linger over three coffees and sweet rolls.

I didn’t take inventory at breakfast 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.), but I had a hard-boiled egg, buns covered in sunflower seeds, strawberry jam, yogurt (plain and watery, but sweet—maybe too sweet), white cheese slices. No need to rush to Early Bird the next day as the coffee was free at the regular breakfast as well. What was Ivy, our presenter the previous night, thinking when she advised it was only free at 7:00 a.m.? Maybe it was the way she said it that we’d misunderstood. I had the feeling she was quite proud of her English and I confess it was quite good and 1000 percent better than my Chinese. Maybe she meant coffee was available for early risers?

I chose to pass on the morning excursion to the Red Cliffs (9:00 – 11:00), not because I had a need to be alone, but because I wanted some free time, and to wash out a few things and relax. Sue, however, looked forward to this tour.

Images of Red Cliffs Ruins in Chibi,+images+of+ruins&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1093&bih=514&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=z3eLVJXOJJegyASA0IHoCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ

While I enjoyed some lazy time sitting on the balcony, the maid came in to make up the room. I told her she didn’t need to, we would. No. She had to do it. After making the beds, she’d gone into the bathroom and came right out again. “One towel and one face cloth missing.” Eyes wide, her hands and voice trembled. I almost laughed aloud.

“I washed some tee shirts and wrapped one in the towel to draw out the water faster.”

“You can give to Laundry.” She pulled herself together and reached for the pricing brochure on the desk.

“Maybe next time,” I said even as I had no intention on following through with my lie. I unrolled my Tees and handed over the towel and face cloth.

The Yangtze is a true yellow, and dirty, harboring floating junk here and there. All the junk was small and a few branches, not large chunks of anything. I couldn’t help picturing someone emptying a bucketful of cigarette butts as I saw those as well. In spots I noticed large and small ripples as if there were a sandbar underneath—I hoped not. I knew the ripples weren’t from the ship stirring the water because we weren’t moving, but waited for the excursion group to return.

Lots of rusting barges and tugboats transported coal, sand, and gravel. I couldn’t imagine anyone fishing in this river. Would they? A blue ship with three white decks passed by. Automobiles took up every square inch of deck space. I can’t recall what make the cars were, though.

After Sue left, an alarm went off. An announcement over the PA advised this was a fire drill, but to stay in our cabins. The drill was cancelled a while later, and I decided to go to Reception to use the Internet.

The second floor was chock full of crew members wearing life-jackets over gorgeous blue uniforms. It appeared a health and safety meeting was in progress. A handsome, thirty-something man in a navy uniform (the only one with gold braiding on the cuffs and outfitted with a life-jacket as well), stood aside to allow me past. Face hot, I plodded through the other end of the same group again as I burned my way to Reception.


Next on December 19, On the Yangtze River, Day 13, Part 2 (

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

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


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!

59 thoughts on “On the Yangtze River: Day 13, Part 1

  1. What a interesting experience this must have been~


  2. “I confess it was quite good and 1000 percent better than my Chinese.”—Haha!

    Good thing you didn’t make off with those towels. Looks like they keep a very tight inventory. :/


  3. Yummy sounding breakfast. What a great trip. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂


  4. You are a grand storyteller. All you need is the drama–“But where had Sue gone? And why did I get that strange note under my door?”


  5. You know if you had kept those towel, she would have been thrown overboard into that polluted river to dissolve. Red Cliffs was an excellent movie about that epic battle, starring the gorgeous Takeshi Kaneshiro…at the end of the real battle, the surviving general surveyed the ruin and said, what a monumental waste of human life…


  6. Stealing towels and crashing staff meetings. Quite the trouble maker you are Tess! 🙂


  7. It is such a shame that people still pollute rivers. I had never heard of the battle of red cliffs, thanks for the link! I like that way of adding a bit of history to your posts – go and have a look if you want to!


  8. Your cruise sounds wonderful. Kevin


  9. The river sounds rather sus! I can understand the need to have some time to yourself – it is nice to just chill and take things in withouthaving to be in/or a tour.


  10. Tut, tut Tess whatever were you thinking of using towels for your own benefit! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  11. How’s come I’m reading “drill” but getting not one bit of comfort coming across the entire crew in life jackets….and you not…..


  12. This is all so interesting mind you the maid got extremely stressed over missing linen!! 🙂


  13. Well now Tess, stirring up trouble and stressing out the poor maid. How could you, nice woman that you are. Especially since they had laundry all ready there, on board. Of course they used river water so as not to waste the potable. 😉

    I simply love your storytelling. You have almost convinced me a tour might be fun (almost). I say again, I am so very happy you did this. What an adventure and you are sharing it with all of us, what a blessing.


  14. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Day 13 part one of Tess at How the Cookie Crumbles trip down the Yangtze River – obviously very industrial and as she says would probably not want to eat fish from the waters…


  15. Maybe the maid is held accountable for missing items. When I watched the Yangtze, it looked so full of odds and ends I wondered if I might soon see a dead body float by. I know what you mean by “gorgeous blue uniform.” I think the Chinese are very creative in their designs of uniforms. One of my outstanding memories of the cruise is perfectly clean, beautiful, feminine pink shoes on a young woman in a pink uniform standing in mud almost ready to sink. She was smiling, lovely and extending her hand to help boorish, gawky me walk across the mud in my ugly American walking shoes.


  16. To think you have been on the Yangtze River! Sometimes it is good to have some downtime on these trips. The towel story is a good one. Poor dear, she may have got into a lot of trouble or been made to pay for those towels. Glad you got it all sorted out.


  17. Fascinating experiences Tess, truly a once in a lifetime trip. Many times after long trips like that I feel as though I need a vacation when I get home, lol. 🙂


  18. And you were worried your posts about the cruise would be boring! No risk of that! 🙂


  19. What a funny story about the maid and the towels!!


  20. I love how to took a break from all the sightseeing. I need at least one of those downtime mental breaks per vacation. Usually more.

    Also three cups of coffee sounds like a fine breakfast.


  21. Oh that poor girl, how upset she was about the towels. I wonder what punishment awaits if they are deemed responsible for any missing? Rather worrying isn’t it? The cultural differences really do stand out in your ‘diary’ entries and make for fascinating reading the way you describe them. I have often wondered what it would be like to travel on the Yangtze River and now I know! It was good you got to have a bit of a breather and I have to say, I rather like the sound of your handsome naval officer…love how you ‘burned’ your way to Reception 🙄 Another wonderful travel post Tess, love it 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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