We flew to Chongquin from Tibet where we would board our Ship for the cruise down the Yangtze River. While in Chongquin we walked through the old town and had tea at a traditional tea house, used as a social meeting place for Chinese. In a traditional tea house there is musical entertainment as well as tea. The loose tea is placed in a cup that has both a saucer and a lid. Someone comes to your table with a bag of boiling water suspended from his shoulders and the tea is dispensed into your cup through a long spout that is aimed carefully for your cup. Refills of hot water are dispensed as needed.

Chongquin is mountainous and there are hundreds of tunnels in the hills of the city where the population took refuge from the constant bombings by the Japanese during WW II.

After a visit to the Stillwell museum we had dinner and visited a supermarket to buy wine and snacks. We were then transported to the dock where our River Cruiser awaited its passengers. We boarded and were shown our staterooms which were small but comfortable and each had a small balcony with two chairs for outside lounging. We enjoyed watching the other ships on the river, the current here was very fast because the Three Gorges Dam had not yet backed water up this far. The ship would sail after midnight because one plane loaded with passengers had been delayed.

Celia Bell 2012