How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

On the Yangtze Day 16, Part 7: Ghost City and Stairway to Hell

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I had never considered how precious a pen might be. I’d brought four with me and lost one. Almost out of ink, I began worrying what I’d do without one. I liked gel pens but had no idea they run out so fast. At home I’d pull another one out of my basket of dozens. Why hadn’t I brought more?

LUNCH

Salads

Cauliflower (lemon flavoured); red kidney beans and chick peas; fruit salad (with bananas, ugh); spicy red leaves (yum); tendons of beef mutton; mixed 5 kind of bean salad

Sliced oranges; cantaloupe (honey dew); whole pears; sliced red cabbage, sliced cucumbers; grape tomatoes; chunks romaine and red cabbage; chopped hard boiled eggs; raisins; real crumbled bacon

Dressings

French, Italian and Thousand Island (none of these are what we recognize as such)

Mains

Rice ball, duck breast in brown sauce; stir fry vegetables, bacon of Sichuan style; baked sweet potato; stewed beef brisket; pasta with mushroom cream sauce; steamed egg; stewed sliced fish in tomato sauce; steamed white rice; duck and pickles soup; cream of corn soup, and buns

* * *

The 3:00 p.m. extra excursion was reinstated: Ghost City Tour and Stairway to Hell (in place of cancelled Goddess Stream Tour previous day).

To visit Hell and Ghost City, we climbed (we were told) about 500 steps. No, it wasn’t continuous. The ground levelled out at intervals and showcased temples and statues and bridges etc. I stopped counting after 10 or 11 steps as I huffed and puffed to keep up with the crowd. With no illusions about completing the ascent, I soldiered on. Talk about a workout in muggy weather yet!

Heaven Hill under Construction

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

Look waayy up! Model of Temple of Hell.

Model Temple of Hell

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

Too many groups crowded around their guides, some with megaphones. It was too noisy and congested. I gave up listening.

The way down sloped at a steep angle and I was careful not to fall on my face. The road was paved and wide enough for a car, but used for traffic. Members of my group had disappeared. Some had lost interest. I came down alone.

At one point I saw no-one and heard only birdsong and my runners thump against the asphalt, then, another set of footfalls clunked behind me. My heart in my throat, I stopped to pretend-fix my laces and caught sight of a man fiddling with his camera. I wasted no time hoofing forward till I went around a bend in the road and saw people milling around. As well, I came upon a disfigured man, lying on the ground begging. This was my second experience since Shanghai.

At the bottom, we’d come through an open market. This time a particular display caught my attention. I stopped and bought a bottle of wine (either Great Wall label or Dynasty). After a brief negotiation, I paid 50 Yuan or $8.30 USD.

Outnumbered thousands to one, I found myself surrounded by Chinese tourists and the loud chatter of Chinese voices. Taking a deep breath, I approached the closest open mini-bus and said the name of our ship with a dramatic question mark attached. The driver nodded. Everyone stared. We waited to fill two more seats and proceeded to the top of more stairs. The driver stopped, I jumped out and booted it down the stairs, down the long walkway to another dark semi-enclosed market where everyone gaped. At least that’s how it felt. I noticed guys eating noodles, bottles of wine on offer (drat), lots of soft drinks, beer cases, and other food stuffs.

Hot and sticky, all I wanted was a shower and to cool off. I’m surprised my legs held me upright after all the stairs I’d scaled in the past couple hours. Aha. I forgot how we’d left for the excursion. I was guided the same way back through two, or was it three, ships anchored side-by-side.

After a quick shower, I went out on the balcony for some air. An almost breeze teased me. Smoking in the state rooms wasn’t allowed and alarms were installed in the ceiling. Puffing outside was okay. Tourists hanging out over their balconies sent smoke clouds and some of the smell settled in our room.

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie  (I can’t believe how crooked the imprint is)

Tonight is our last night on the cruise ship. Time to dress up for a fancy Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

This is the only time we had a menu for any meal on the cruise, not even at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner. This was a dress-up affair again and I felt tall in the four-inch spikes.

After dinner we paid up our chits and packed our bags, which were deposited in the main lobby. A new adventure awaited the next day.

 * * *

Additional links:

This link gives brief blurbs about the various ghosts.

http://www.lovethesepics.com/2011/04/freaky-fengdu-ghost-city-wtf-china-34-photos/

This one provides a 4.12-minute tour, but is difficult to understand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RuKGpIOQJ0

* * * 

Next time on January 30, Chongquin, Day 17, Part 1 (Flight to Guilin)

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

© 2015 All Right Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie

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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!

83 thoughts on “On the Yangtze Day 16, Part 7: Ghost City and Stairway to Hell

  1. As always, interesting. And full of nifty details. And wry humor. I hate Chinese Street food – like those whole chickens….gives me the heebie jeebies. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a vendor with kebabed scorpions cooking on a grill. Yowzer. Show me the way to Mickey D’s!!!! you got a good deal on the wine. You did good keeping up and going beyond your tour group.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really like the photos and menus. Lot of stairs to climb. Your commentary on pens made me laugh. Thanks, Tess. 🙂

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  3. Oh the fear and horror of running out of pen/ink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, that would send me over the edge! I’m impressed with your traveling work out. You must have had calves of steele by the time you finished this trip. I find it hard to stomach some of the street food fare as well. David likes to watch a tv show where the guy travels the world to try exotic foods. Some of those pictures….no thanks. Some I can handle, some I can’t. But that captain’s meal looked quite fancy shmancy!

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  4. China spent a lot of time carving, some fabulous works of art….. I think I would starve if I was out there….

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  5. I’m so impressed with you that you made it through the crowd and can walk in 4 inch heels. That head ten stories high is very interesting. Also, perhaps you can buy refills for gel pens. I’ve done it with my uniballs, which are different.

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  6. Holy crap… Temple of Hell sounds like a good name for the whole day. It must have been a classic horror movie moment to find yourself alone. But you really scared me by ending the day in 4 inch heels! 😈
    Mega-hugs!

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  7. Hell and Ghost City–Now there’s a name. Your pics are fabulous. What an experience that must’ve been.

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  8. Very interesting. I would be with you in getting away from guides yelling through megaphones. Liked seeing the menu.

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  9. When I traveled to Russia–for a month!–someone stole my makeup. I couldn’t find eyebrow pencil anywhere. I had pale eyebrows the entire time.

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    • Ahhh. In Russia, you can’t even call the police, can you? I would so hate being brow-less AND far away from home. I lost my pencil once and had to go to work like that. Kept my head down until lunch when I skipped out to the drugstore. I worked with engineers. I bet they didn’t even notice. All that angst for naught. ^^’

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  10. Tess. I am so impressed. Weren’t you the one who had not done much traveling before this? I am blown away. (Pictures are fabulous by the way.)

    On an entirely different note, I love your “no award zone” sign. I hate those self-serving award thingies. I refuse to accept them. Not trying to be mean, but don’t get the point and they take up so much time–time I need for writing.

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    • Nice to see you and thanks so much for reading. 😀 ❤
      You do what you must in any situation, right? 😀 Makes for memories. True, I had no interest in traveling for almost 20 years prior to this trip. I don't know what got into me. 😮
      Yes, the No award zone button comes in handy because accepting is sooooo time consuming and I so hate 'picking' some from the many. Especially great being awarded when you're new at the game. Gives you a sense of accomplishment and we all need that when we start anything new.

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  11. Beautiful,and peaceful photos…

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  12. Terrific post, Tess. Love reading all about your travel in China. The food is different and exotic. Some of the things on the menu sound weird. You must have an educated palette! Photos are great. Really gives a true picture of food offered. The Temple from hell is kind of crazy. Why is it called that? It’s going up, not down – ha!

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    • I’m not sure. It’s to do with good being repaid with good and bad with bad and hell. The culture has a whole other tradition about the dead and ghosts. If you read the first link at the bottom of the post, there are short blurb about the ghosts beneath the pictures. 🙂

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  13. Fascinating stuff, Tess. I love the photographs. What an experience you had!

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  14. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Our China trip continues with the last night on the Yangtze with a farewell dinner but first hundreds of steps up to the Ghost City on the Stairwell to Hell, braver than me Tess especially navigating around the monument and the town alone… as always a slice of life in a country many of us will never visit…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh Tess you made me laugh again except that you seemed a bit panicky on your own and I was getting worried then. I’m glad you were brave enough to step out by yourself though, its good to have to manage with our internal resources 🙂

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    • I’ve been a bit of a mouse not traveling for almost 20 years, but it’s funny how quickly I can step up to the plate if I need to.
      We live and learn, right, Gilly?
      The hardest things was being surrounded by people and a language who can’t talk to each other. Note, these were more middle aged and older. The younger generation might have know a word of two of English.

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  16. Despite the panic attack this looks like one of the most interesting places you visited?
    I am with you 100% on bananas in fruit salad!

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  17. But you were proud of you for climbing those stairs! Great photos Tess. Sorry for the old disabled man though 😞

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  18. Pens are terribly important, I use to use fountain pens and carried extra cartridges everywhere; my purse always was a mess of ink.

    Loved the pictures, I won’t even say anything about, what the Hell was that Demon putting in his mouth? Oh, never mind I said it.

    Good for you for climbing all those steps and venturing alone. I love you did that! I am so enjoying your travels Tess, you are filling in the details like a pro.

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  19. This would be one city I would want to spend days or even weeks in. Can you tell that I like ghosts?

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  20. Tess i could really feel your emotion in this post. I felt as though I was walking with you. I can understand how you could have felt anxious and concerned being on your own like that.

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  21. You have done a great job making the reader feel like they are right there. Along with the writing the pictures complete the look and feel…well done!

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    • I’m an amateur. Most of these picture were taken by another tourist in our group. He’s nice enough to share. I kept forgetting to take pictures (too much to take in) and his were better. He and his wife are still enjoying reading about our trip. Interesting to hear when we compare perceptions or what we saw. 😀

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  22. This is so fabulous Tess you make me want to do this trip! ….. or maybe I might dine out on your experiences!!

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  23. Wonderful photos 😀 I think I might be off chickens for a while! The dinner looks good though – I’m a horse 😉

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  24. I like the wrinkly stone tree monkey thingy!

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  25. Wow what an eventful day! Some beautiful pictures here

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  26. Well, it’s not everyone who can say they’ve visited hell and came back to tell the tale 🙂 Thanks for sharing a fascinating journey.

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  27. wow – this a wonderful journey just watching a National Geographic Channel – The images very informative in sharing and brining such cultural and educational journey! I thank you for sharing it!

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  28. Hold on. I thought hell was down. Although climbing 500 steps does sound like hell to me!

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  29. Fantastic photos Tess, pity about the noise and the crowds. 500 steps sounds like quite a workout. 😊

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  30. Hi Tess! Love the photos and your narrative, I felt quite nervous for you as you describe walking back down from Hell City and then back all the way on that bus and across those ships. You are an adventuress that’s for sure. I love how you add little tidbits, like the way a lot of the group got bored and how everyone ‘stared’ and how you felt when that man was ‘following you. I can’t wait for the next adventure to begin 🙂 ❤ 😀

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  31. Awesome photos (could have done without the dead chickies though–yuck!) So what’s the home-seeing terrace? That tall structure behind the head?

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  32. I always have a ton of pens at home, but at my work, everyone would steal mine and I was always scrounging for one. I know I would be panicking if I was in China, penless.

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    • If I couldn’t take notes, my trip so far away would be lost already because there was so much going on. Going over these notes to post, makes me marvel at all we did. At the time it was all information overload and mechanical movement. Tired from the moment we arrived and slow down or clear my mind till the cruise.

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  33. Your menu sounded tasty! Those tall buildings looked creepy. IDK, I’m appreciating the virtual tour, but overall China will probably never entice me.

    Went to a Columbian (?) street fair last September. Vendors with SHEETS of raw beef everywhere, in hot, humid weather. Uh, no thanks. They can keep the e-coli.

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  34. What a shame. It looks from the pictures as if it could be a great experience but not if it is that crowded. You’ve reminded me of visiting Egypt quite a few years back and everybody in the streets asking me and my friend for pens…There must be a black market somewhere…Looking forward to more adventures.

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  35. Fascinating, Tess. I focused on the head-in-tact poultry selection for a several moment. I do believe I’d have to talk to it whilst I ate it.

    Thanks for continuing to share your fascinating travels.

    Best,
    eg

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  36. I was in China years ago, I enjoyed a lot, as I’m an enthusiastic about oriental countries, I’ve visited some of them. China, at least for me, is fantastic, I was in Beijing, Xian, Hungzhou, Guillin, Souhou and Shanghai. I hope, in spite of the problems as in all the trips, you enjoyed. Regards,

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  37. Hell doesn’t look too bad. Especially like the demon with the six pack abs. Impressed that you made all 500 steps!

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