Travelling the Yangtse River, 1990-1991 (From our Diary)
Travelling the Yangtse River: Between December 1990 and January 1991, Adam and I travelled the Yangztse River from Shanghai to Chongqing; a journey that took us 9 days then. At that time, tourism along the Yangtse was in its infancy and we, as poor backpackers, couldn’t have afforded a cruise ship anyway. So we travelled on Chinese passenger boats that made very few concessions to either comfort or tourists. There were no sightseeing stops or side excursions; we even managed to miss one Gorge altogether, as the boat went through it at night.
- Suzhou Creek 1990
foreign visitors were charged much higher prices
In those days, foreign visitors were charged much higher prices for transport, hotels, sights, etc., than Chinese people and had to pay in Foreign Exchange Certificates (a special currency only for foreigners or foreign transactions), rather than Renminbi (the People’s money), which is why many backpackers resorted to black- marketeers. To get his hands on a couple of discounted, Chinese-price tickets for the first leg of the journey, Adam had to follow a Chinese man into the toilets of the Seaman’s Club at the Pujiang Hotel (known as Astor House Hotel after recent makeovers) in an action reminiscent of an old spy movie.
the weather was cold and wet
It was winter and the weather was cold and wet; the river often shrouded in impenetrable mist. The journey was uncomfortable, at times tedious, boring and slow, at times bizarre, mysterious and even otherworldly. To while away the long, uneventful hours on the river, food became a major obsession, as the numerous entries detailing our weird concoctions and slap-dash meals illustrate.Continue reading “Travelling the Yangtse River”