Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reunion on the Yangtze

We were extremely honoured to have Ms Ng and Arne & Molly (Miss Batchelder) Solbak joining us on the Yangtze Cruise to celebrate our 40th Graduation Anniversary, and are most grateful to Molly for the following article in which she shares with us her thoughts of the trip.

The river narrows and the mountains become steeper. They are high and sometimes there are huge boulders with vegetation on them piled on top of what are already mountain tops. They are cut into with deep crevices. Some crevices are so deep they become caves where nobody is permitted to go due to danger or historic or natural treasury designation. There are burial sites cut into the sides of the walls of the mountains. Much of the beauty of the nature along the hilly gorge sides is covered with green vegetation, but hardly a bird or animal could be seen by us; it was probably too hot on that sunny day when we passed by and they were hiding amongst the cool lush growth. Our cruise vessel carefully navigated its way through the three gorges at a speed that cut a frothy trail behind us. This is a beautiful sight and one we will not forget anytime soon.

Steep mountain sides, craggy rocks, and high high peaks have often been painted on silk screens, scrolls and illustrated in books. They always looked so imaginary, so mythological to me, but now I have actually seen them in their true form and I understand better the paintings, pen and ink drawings and needle art where they are depicted. They are not imaginary but are very real and exist along the narrow gorges of the Yangtze River. This is the real beauty of the river and the beauty we came to see. I had no idea it would be so magnificent a sight. The narration along the river route helped us to understand what we were seeing. Our grandchildren will love the photos we took of the trackers who pulled our boat up the Shennong streambed.

Our trip was wonderful. I would not have wanted to change any part of it. We visited Erling Park in Chungqing, Fengdu, the “City of Ghosts,” and The White King Town. We saw the city of Wu Han from the top of the Yellow Crane tower. We outdid and surprised ourselves by climbing oh so many many steps to see the marvels at the tops of them. And we visited the fantastic Three Gorges Dam where we learned about its construction and the changes that have come to the lives of millions of people along the river.

The accommodations on the cruise boat were very satisfactory and the staff very hospitable and charming. We enjoyed the demonstrations of Chinese art and the tea ceremony. My husband and I loved the fact that we had so much Chinese food, both the usual and the unusual tastes were delightful for us. We like it hot and we like it spicy and we like it even when we do not exactly know what it is we are eating. Our tour guides were very accommodating when we did not understand their chatter and helped us with some special words of encouragement in our own language.

But we tell everyone that the best part of the trip were the people with whom we were traveling. Being with Miss Ng, the BHJS students and their spouses, friends and children MADE the trip so wonderful for us. They were very helpful by giving us translation when we seemed lost while listening to the guides and filling us in with the descriptions of the stories. For this we are very grateful. It enhanced our trip and our understanding. We enjoyed their laughter, their personalities, and their conversations. Even when we did not always understand all of what they were saying we could tell by the smiles and liveliness of the chatter that they were having fun and therefore we did too. Had we had any other travel companions, the trip would not have been as exciting and as much fun for us. We are so grateful to you all for allowing us to be with you on this trip and we hope to see you all again sometime soon.
The photos were taken by Fiona Wong and Fred & Pauline Cheng.


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