How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


83 Comments

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

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