Hubei History Museum in Wuhan

Friday, September 26, 2008

Our ship is docked in Jiujiang, a city of about 4.6 million known as the City of Nine Rivers (the number of rivers may be exaggerated).  We were on the bus for over two hours, traveling along an expressway to the city of Jingdezhen, passing many rice paddies, pearl farms and Lake Poyang, the largest lake in China.  Jingzezhen is known as the Porcelain City.  There are porcelain light posts on the roads into the city.  Like Jiujiang, it has a population of over 4 million, and both cities looked more prosperous than others we have seen along the Yangtze. We visited the Ceramic Historical Museum where we saw demonstrations of the old way of making porcelain pottery.  Five hundred year old kilns were part of the museum, and we were able to walk inside a large one.  The museum was located in a pretty area with gardens, streams and bamboo groves and we had time to walk around to take pictures after the tour.  We had lunch at a restaurant in a Jingdezhen hotel, then went to the porcelain market, which consisted of countless stores all selling porcelain.  Most of the local residents are employed by the porcelain industry.  Back on the ship we had another Western dinner and then watched the Crew Cabaret Show.  It was very enjoyable as our friends Cicy, Jessica and Vivian (lovely voice) participated.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Today we had a free morning, so most of us watched the first Obama/McCain debate which was televised at 9:00 am local time.  We are 11 hours ahead of Minneapolis time.  The ship is docked in the city of Chizhoa, and after lunch we boarded a bus for a one hour drive to one of China’s four sacred mountains, Mt. Jiuhua.  The road up the mountain supposedly has 99 curves, and they have mirrors on the curves so drivers can see around the corners.  Yang talked about religion in China on the way up.  Only 10% of the population practices a religion, and of those 80% are Buddhists.  There are 86 temples on the mountain with about 700 monks and nuns  We visited two Buddhist temples.  We saw the monks in red and yellow robes and pilgrims in black robes processing into the older temple where they chanted during a ceremony.  Photos weren’t allowed inside this temple.  After walking around on the lower level, Barbara, Jay and Jack rode a funicular higher up the mountain.  The views were very nice, with clouds hovering around the nearby mountains.  We also saw a sitting mummy that is about 500 years old.  The mummy had been gilded a gold color, so we didn’t recognize it as a mummy until a Viking guide confirmed it.  Tonight was the Captain’s Dinner and he came to our table to greet us.  He didn’t speak English, and the Program Director translated when Paul thanked him for keeping the ship in the middle of the river.  The captain got a big kick out of it.  Dinner tonight was a delicious Chinese meal.  With the cruise portion of the trip over, we said our goodbyes to  our wonderful wait staff.  We cruised 1,200 miles of the Yangtze River and were impressed with Viking River Cruises.  The service was better than we’ve had on any ocean cruise and overall it was a great experience.  Tomorrow morning we disembark the ship and take a bus to Shanghai.

Thanks to all of you who have left comments on the blog or emailed us.  It’s great to hear from home.  The ship provided us with a little newspaper daily and televised CNN International, but the Twins fans among us wish we had more news than just yesterday’s scores.