Today is the never ending travel day. As usual, I wake up too early when going on a big trip and get up at 4 am in time to see us pulling up to the dock in Chongquing.
I headed to breakfast at 7 am when it opened and was surprised to see my tablemates there already. After breakfast, I went to my cabin for the last time to brush my teeth and get my carryons before returning to the dining room where we would meet our Chongqing guide.
Here’s a couple more pictures from the ship. First up is the library.
This is the club area where the shows and educational sessions were held. I stood in front of the bar for this picture.
Looking down the atrium from the top deck.
Staff were waiting by the door to say goodbye as passengers debarked.
By 8:30 am our guide Paul had arrived and took the seven of us traveling to Los Angeles with the three ladies from Louisiana (Cheryl, Pam and Linda). They have a flight with Air China 15 minutes after us going to Hong Kong (then they go to Los Angeles and then on to Houston!).
It’s been raining all night and morning making the walkway was wet and slippery. Plus it was longer and steeper than expected.
There was staff on the floating walkway but not on the steep steps and one of our group fell on the way up.
Once at the top of the steps (you can see them in the picture above), we had to walk a fair distance to where we would get on buses. We passed vendors selling umbrellas (timely but I had one) and these neat bird kite type things. They started out at 2 for $10 yuan and by the time we got to the top it was 5 for the same price. I went ahead and got them at that price!
We got to the top and was asked to make sure our bags were there by the guide before the bus came. Then he walked us to bus and had us make sure the porters brought the bags to the bus before boarding.
Our trip to the airport included a tour with a couple of stops. On the way to the first stop, Paul gave us background on Chongqing. Then we could get out at the people’s square and hall.
No one wanted to go see it but me (brief uphill walk). The three smokers got out for a cigarette but only he and I walked to the sites.
The hall was massive and although the style is from the Ming and Qing dynasties it was built in the early 1950s.
We passed an area with shops on the walk to the square.
Paul got the idea this group wouldn’t want to walk to the second sight so asked if they wanted to go downtown to coffee shop or shopping. The vote was to go straight to the airport.
He agreed but did have the driver go by the opera house (build in the style of the Sydney Opera house but brown and smaller) and the bay for views.
I think Chongqing would have been a really interesting city to tour if we had better weather.
At the airport, Paul went inside with each group and made sure they had no problem checking in and getting boarding passes. He made sure the four who needed wheelchairs had them arranged and that all of us could check in our bags early. We got the requested seats (aisles for most and window for one).
Before leaving Paul had told us that the wheelchair wranglers would take us through security at 12:30 and we should all go as group. They actually came about 10 minutes early and we went through security. This time my coins got caught but I didn’t need a pat down!
When we got through security we went to our looking at the food options as it was lunch time. There was McDonald’s and Subway in addition to Chinese food places. My choice was McDonald’s until I learned all they had was chicken and sprite. It looked like different sizes/preparations of chicken but that was the scope of the menu!
So I went back to Subway and found the rest of the Los Angeles contingent who made up table 17 this trip. I had 6 inch tuna sub and a coke. Good thing because lunch on the flight was… a rice hamburger!
The flight was uneventful and I even had an empty seat next to me. I read the English version of the paper and it definitely promotes propaganda from the government. For example, I read that China’s ban on google is to protect the public from unsafe websites.
We got to Beijing and had to transfer to terminal 3 for international flights. We were able to do that without going outside or seemingly outside security but nevertheless had to go through the process all over again.
First I had to fill out a departure form and go to immigration. Then wen went to security screening all over again. The rest of my trip home is a tale for another day.
Don’t miss the previous China posts linked below.
Going to China (tour and visa)
China: Trip Preparations
November 12-13, 2016: Travel to Beijing
November 14, 2016: Beijing and Great Wall
November 14, 2016: Ming Tombs and Peking Duck Dinner
West International Trade Hotel Beijing
November 15, 2016: Hutong and Temple of Heaven
November 15, 2016: Tiananmen Square, Fobidden City and Beijing Opera
November 16, 2016: Pearl Factory and Summer Palace
November 16, 2016: Traveling to Xi’an
November 17, 2016: Jade Factory and Terra Cotta Warriors
November 17, 2016: Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty Opera
Grand Barony Xian Hotel
November 18, 2016: Traveling to Wuhan
Howard Johnson Pearl Plaza Wuhan
November 19, 2016: Wuhan to Jingzhou
November 19, 2016: Boarding the Century Diamond
November 20, 2016: Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam
November 21, 2016: Yangtze River and Goddess Stream
November 22, 2016: Yangtze River and Shibaozhai Pagoda
November 22, 2016: Captain’s Farewell Dinner