Chickens on Buses, Parties on Boats

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Yangtze River Cruise Boat President Number 6

Flag of China  , Chongqing,
Friday, March 25, 2011

07:16 Early mornings are becoming a bit of a theme. I was warmer last night after sleeping in my silk sleeping bag liner, but I had to get up twice to brave the cold and go to the toilet.
My cold has made a return, complete with a sore throat. Must have overdone it yesterday, probably not helped by this humid air.
09:58 Been on the bus since 730. Some locals have got on, one got on with a cat in a rice sack, it meowed away for some time but settled down after a bit. We also have a Chicken! It is perfectly calm and quiet sitting on the floor by the driver and doesn't seem in the least bit concerned by the non stop Hooting that the bus driver is doing. He beeps to let people know we are coming, either people on our side of the road, or the other side as well, since he's been driving down both sides. He even beeps when we're on the motorway which seems a little pointless.
We made a bathroom stop just now. I say bathroom. Hmm. This was a concrete block with a series of holes in the floor, small waist height Walls and no doors. 4 of our group went in, got in our 'cubicle' and just got on with it laughing as we went that we'd all know each other a lot better by the end of the holiday.
The countryside we have been driving through has been rice terraces, and also a yellow flower. Sometimes green rows of something line the fields, but also plastic covered tunnels. The roads have been a bit mixed. Sometimes smooth straight tarmac roads, and other times roads that are essentially mud tracks covered in a layer of fist sized stones.
11:29 I think they threw the highway code away here, being a pedestrian, bike rider or car driver, anything goes. I imagine the highway code says something like this.

Red lights: generally mean stop, but you don't have to, carry on if you want but know that everyone else is also doing that so use the horn to let them know you're there and negotiate your way through. Usually the biggest vehicle wins. Oh and if a police officer is also directing traffic to make sure people are obeying the lights, if you're on a scooter you can try and overturn his decision but he might blow his whistle and wave a naughty finger at you, and make you turn back.

Zebra crossings: the government painted White lines on the road, we don't know why or what they're for. Maybe it's an ode to the pandas. Pedestrians keep trying to walk across at this point which impedes my journey, but as i ran a red light I'm now just negotiating. As I'm the bigger vehicle I'll probably win unless too many pedestrians are in front blocking the way.

Roundabouts: feel free to take the shortest route to the road you want to turn off, even if this means going into oncoming traffic, particularly do this if on a bike/scooter.

Bike helmets: no need for those.

Bike passenger restrictions: none apply

Bike loading restrictions: none apply

Bike highway code: does not exist!

Roads: we suggest you drive on the right, because if everyone does this it's a bit easier. In country roads you don't have to.
Also on country roads, don't stop or look at junctions, just carry in assuming the way is clear. After all, in this country of billions of people, who else could you possibly meet in another vehicle.

Horns: use regularly for the following reasons:
letting a vehicle know you are coming up behind and will overtake.
Letting a pedestrian know you are coming up behind and you will overtake (this is also amusing as tourists jump out of their skins everytime).
Letting someone know you have stopped and wish to continue but they are in the way and you're annoyed by this.
Letting potential oncoming traffic know you are there when overtaking on a blind corner, hidden dip (or any other situation where overtaking may be considered dangerous)
16:41 We arrived at the boat in chongqing about an hour ago, after all stuffing ourselves into a couple of small buses that poached us from a taxi queue as a bit of moonlighting. It is a new boat, basically a ferry. We have a twin room with shower/bath bathroom and even a balcony. It is pretty nice actually. When we got in the boat they brought us tea. My cold is proving to be a total pain. I'm hoping that 3 days rest on the boat will sort it out.
19:09 Golden arches tonight! Woo! I love chinese food, i do i dooo! but sometimes you just need a bit of what you know and anyway, the whole group went so I had to.
Whilst in the golden arches I managed to pick up wifi quite unexpectedly and had a flood of emails, although I'm hoping my reading population hasn't wained due to boredom as its all gone a bit quiet. But I had some lovely emails which I was unable to reply to due to a fleeting visit.
My dear sister said she was worried that I appeared to always be on my iPhone writing rather than actually talking to actual human beings! I can assure you this is not the case.
I use a lovely little app called momento which allows me to type in a 'moment' with a time stamp, and I can write a quick note to remind me of something that has happened. At the end of the day, or during a quiet moment in a queue, or waiting for people to arrive at a meeting point, I might pop on an expand on what I've written (including back dated expansion) so I can assure you, I am interacting with people!
19:47 What has been a little disturbing and sad is how many Severely injured and disabled people we have seen begging in street. Apparently they do get some financial assistance from the government but seeing them lying in the street is a bit sad.

Best thing today: a nice room again

Worst thing: seeing a really disabled guy lying on a bed on castors in the street with a paper placard and a hat to collect money. It was such a sad sight.

Beautiful: the lights in the harbour when we set off down the river
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boats for sale on

Wow that is a lot of coin for a bar of metal.

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