Last Day on the Ship

こんばんは。 How’s it going?

Today was a bittersweet day for me because it is our last full day on the ship, which has been an absolute blast. The reason it has been so wonderful is that I have enjoyed spending time with the crew and getting into a daily routine.

For instance, we wake up and head to Taichi for half an hour, then to breakfast, and then enjoy the planned excursions. In between the scheduled activities, I enjoy hanging out on the sundeck editing photos, or running in the gym, or having a drink in the bar. And because we see the same crew, we have plenty of opportunities to chat and joke around with them. It’s so much fun!

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But knowing that it’s our last day makes it bittersweet and a bit sad. 😢

Today’s morning excursion was a walk into the port city of Wuhan. There’s a popular shopping area that our tour leader brought us to, and then we split up to explore the area on our own.

"Tour Guide on Bike" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO200
“Tour Guide on Bike” Wuhan, 2018

But before we separated, I saw a haircut place which was only 10 yuan, so a spur of the moment decision had me sitting down for a quick trim. It was fun, and I can now say that I got my haircut in China!

"Fast Cut" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Fast Cut” Wuhan, 2018
"Barber" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO1000
“Barber” Wuhan, 2018

After that, I walked out of the modern shopping district and wandered around the local area, where I explored narrow alleys, a small sewing/tailoring street, and an indoor meat market. It was pretty cool! I kind of got into the groove of asking locals if I could take their photos, and everyone I asked was willing and happy. That was so fun!

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The afternoon excursion was to the Hubei Provincial Museum to view a set of ancient bells that were found in a tomb and then listen to a performance on a copy of the bells at the museum’s music hall. The bells were pretty cool, but I enjoyed the accompanying traditional Chinese flute and Guzheng zither even more.

"Bell Performance" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO1000
“Bell Performance” Wuhan, 2018

For tonight’s meal in Wuhan, we had an extra-special treat because my brothers, mother, and I were invited to dinner in town by the ship’s Program Director. We ate at a hotpot restaurant, which was such a great experience. The hotpot itself was divided into two sections so we could have a mild broth on one side, and then a spicy broth on the other, and when asked what level of spiciness I wanted, I went for the maximum!

"Hot Pot Dinner" Wuhan, 2018
“Hot Pot Dinner” Wuhan, 2018

Both Angie (the Program Director) and I love spicy food, but the rest of the group doesn’t eat it so much, so they suffered a bit when eating from that side of the pot. But for this special opportunity, I would have a HUGE regret if I didn’t go for the maximum spiciness. I have to say that it was indeed fiery, but not unbearable for myself, so I was really happy. 🔥🌶🤪 Anyways, we had plenty of cold beer to help us with the spicy food. 🍺

"Super Spicy vs. Mild" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Super Spicy vs. Mild” Wuhan, 2018
"Hot Pot Goodies" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Hot Pot Goodies” Wuhan, 2018
"Hot Pot" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/80 sec, ISO6400
“Hot Pot” Wuhan, 2018

So now it’s time for rest, and as I mentioned before, I am filled with a bittersweet feeling because we are leaving the ship tomorrow… but the journey will continue for a couple more days in the city of Shanghai. Onwards!


Elementary School Visit

"Fun Kids" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO320
“Fun Kids” Wuhan, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today was a special day of the vacation because we made a visit to the local school in Jingzhao that the cruise line sponsors. During the visit, the elementary school kids held a musical performance for us before we visited the classroom for some fun activities, such as singing and English lessons.

"Selfie" Wuhan, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 2.44mm, f/2.2, 1/35 sec, ISO160
“Selfie” Wuhan, 2018

Honestly, when I read the description for this “excursion”, I didn’t know what to expect, so I went into it with an open mind. But after meeting with the school kids, it was readily apparent how much this sponsorship means to them. I believe that the visit from the guests is a highlight of the kids’ school year, and happily, it happens with regularity as long as it is cruise season.

You might not know it, but I was a teacher for a few years, and I thoroughly enjoyed the job. It was so satisfying to know that you have a direct influence on people’s lives and that motivated me to give it my best effort every day. I have tremendous respect for teachers because of this.

The school visit ended late morning and we returned to the ship for lunch and a couple onboard activities, one of which was a visit to the bridge of the ship. We got to learn about the chain of command, the navigation tools used, and even a bit about the nature of the Yangtze river. Although it was a short time on the bridge, it turns out there’s not a lot about it that you wouldn’t expect. 🙂

"Bridge Visit" Yangtze, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO200
“Bridge Visit” Yangtze, 2018

The next activity was a presentation by the chef about how to make Chinese dumplings, complete with recipe sheet. In our house, we don’t cook dumplings so this was new to me. I think the filling is similar to gyoza, but the skin is doughier and since it is boiled, the dumplings are juicier and softer. Honestly, though, I prefer the gyoza we make at home, which is steamed and fried in the skillet.

The evening featured a performance by many of the staff members dancing in ethnic costumes. It was fantastic to see the beautiful types of clothes.

"Ethnic Costume Show" Yangtze, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/3.2, 1/150 sec, ISO400
“Ethnic Costume Show” Yangtze, 2018

Later in the evening, we ended up at the dancefloor once again, but now the musicians/DJ were used to us and played a bunch of reggae and some calypso as well and we did the limbo to close out the night. Another wonderful day in China!

"Limbo" Yangtze, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/10 sec, ISO6400
“Limbo” Yangtze, 2018

Here are a few more photos from the day:

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