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Wednesday - 23 May - The cruise ship contined upstream during the night, passing by important ancient cities such as Baidicheng andWanxian and the unusual Lanruo Dian temple at Shibaozhai (The Stone Treasure Stronghold. All of these towns have interesting medieval temples and buildings worth visiting, but there is no time during this cruise. The ship docked during the night at Fengdu - the 'Ghost city' much of which is already destroyed and much already under water as the river rises. But a new theme park incorporating the medieval temples and many tourist shops has been built high on the mountain side. We are up at 0545 and have breakfast after 0620 - receive email message from Petra. At 0810 we depart by bus for the very short trip up hill to the entrance to Fengdu park. First we must walk across pontoons to reach the shore and then up rock steps to the road level. The road passes through a large area of ruined foundations, all that is left of the old city. The main Fengdu city now is on the other bank of the Yangtze - this side is only the 'ghost city' theme park. As always there are rows of shops and stalls along the street to the entrance gate. The temples are built in two sections, left and right of a side canyon. In the center on a high mountain is a huge bust. The section on the right is high up and a chair lift is provided to spare visitors the 250 stairs. This is the Ming Mountain with its Temple to the King of the underworld, Tianzi. The section on the left is reached by a bridge and fewer steps. This is the Shuang gui Mountain with a palace at the top and the Fengdu Confucian temple and Sugong Temple. All this is new construction paid for by investors to cater to tourist traffic. But then one discovers that it is built in several sections with many steps between them before one reaches the uppermost temple.This section passes through a succession of gates, past temples and shops. It is crowded, but I don't see anyone but Chinese here. All our tour group have taken the chair lift to the other section. There are many 'guardian' statues and perhaps deities, but I don't know if these are Taoist of Buddhist religous figures. Back on board the Victoria Cruise ship we have a big American lunch of hamburgers and french fries, chicken curry, beef, beans, hot vegetables, fruit and excellent puddingcream desert. We pass Fulong, a huge city at the confluence of the Wu River and Yangtze. Today there are lessons in Maijong and lectures on the river. During the afternoon we are invited to the bridge to visit the captain and observe the 4 duty officers on the control deck. They have radar and GPS and the usual controls. A very heavy thunderstorm passes at 1715. The river is more brown with silt. Tonight is the fairwell banquet at 1900 for which every one dresses more formally. The appertizers alone have 13 items. They are followed by 6 main courses plus soup and desert and birthday cakes. (Well, it is a few days early for me, but someone told the ship purser nevertheless.) Then we receive a Chinese gift. During the night we dock at Chongqing at a floating barge well away from shore and connected by a pontoon bridge. It is raining heavily all night.


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