Day 26 - 27th April - Wushan

Today is warm (we are back to shorts and T shirts) and we can even see patches of blue sky.

Spent the day on the Yangtze visited the Lesser Gorges and the Least Less Gorges. At least I think that’s what they said. While relatively narrow and the sides climb up 400 to 500m, I would describe them as interesting, rather than spectacular. But then I am spoilt kayaking the upper reaches of Middle Harbour with its many moods and variety of life.

Following the cruise we went into town. A climb of 500 stairs and decided once we were there we would stay for dinner.

If there are not already 2 billion smart phones in China, there will be next week. Every second shop was selling them. In this relatively small town (300k residents) there must have been at least 50 shops selling phones and plans, just down the main street. Not sure what happens when they reach saturation point, which can’t be far away as everyone seems to have at least 1 phone. They use them incessantly. Maybe they need all the shops as the cameras get warn out quickly.

On our cruise one couple (well 2 girls and a bloke) must have taken 1000 shots. Even without the selfie stick they pose. Arms and legs pointing in all directions and they even had a change of clothes. And when they ran out of poses with each other, they roped us in.

Although this area has clearly seen Europeans before, we are still a rare breed and every chance they can get to take a phot with us, they will grab. Walking through town they were more restrained. They just smiled and waved, except for the young kids who seemed to be daring each other to come up and say ‘hello’, wait for a response, laugh and then scarper.

A wander through the markets was a revelation. There were every kind of poultry in cages, fish, crustaceans (all alive), turtles, and lots of pork. What I mean is that every piece of the pig was on display. From half a pigs snout, to trotters and smoke houses with racks of hind quarters and shoulders ready for dispatch. This was a real working market with lots of stuff boiling and simmering away.

We lucked out for dinner as the kid who ran it spoke enough English for us to be understood. Once again our expertise at running the BBQ was evident. Not only did the proprietor’s wife help out, but most of the other tables came around to give a hand. And the beer was cold.

In the evening the town is alive. The footpaths are crowded and music blares from speaker – amplifiers that are somehow tapped into power points at the base of the power poles. At each set up large groups gather for waltzing or are lined up doing traditional Chinese dances. If you weren’t dancing you were watching. Must keep them fit.

Surprisingly the babies and kids are still up wandering the streets (at 8.00pm) with their parents or in their parent’s arms. I am not sure whether it’s the relaxation of the one child policy, but there is no shortage of babies.

Tomorrow we drive to Yichang and visit the Three Gorges Dam. I was going to say the controversial Three Gorges Dam, but its not controversial in China, just in the west it appears.